Friday, 24 August 2012

A reflection on my birthday

I start by thanking the Almighty God for guiding and protecting me to this day when I mark my birthday. I accept his blessings with innermost humility and modesty. I love to quote Psalms 30:12-“That my soul may sing praise to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever. This verse always inspires me. It is through his grace and love that I today stand proud and with positive progress. So I will sing praise to him and be glad in his blessings.

The Lord has been good to me. It is only last week that graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations at USIU. These are blessings and I continue to thank the Lord. As I mark this day, I would like to reflect on some issues which I find pertinent in my life.

Having graduated, this day marks an important phase for me to reflect on the life ahead. Having started working, I now understand the complexity of the life after school. This notwithstanding, life after school presents us with an opportunity to embark on the trials and tribulations of life. I see life after school as an avenue for me to better and solidify my personal principles. My lifelong goal is to be part of a modern society where the rights of all people are respected. As I embark in this life journey, my conviction is to be an agent of change, advocacy and model of progress.

I thank my parents, sisters, close friends and all my relatives for being there for me always. I promise not to be compromised in my life pursuit. I will hold these convictions with utmost regard and promise not to relent in my drive for success and being part of a progressive society.

God Bless.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Somalia in Transition: New parliament inaugurated

Via Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis (CPRA) 

A total of 215 parliamentarians were sworn in on Monday, 20 August 2012, at a well-guarded ceremony at the Mogadishu airport, ushering in a new era of reforms in Somalia. The ceremony marked the attainment of one of the key milestones identified by the 2011 consultative meeting on ending the transition in the country. In all, 60 more members are to be added to the new parliament in order to attain the 275 full capacity of the new House, which is supposed to be the Lower House of the post-transition government in Somalia. Despite not being at full capacity, the present number gives the House more than the 185 parliamentarians required to form a quorum. 

Apart from marking a reformed parliament as envisaged in the Roadmap, the swearing-in ceremony is significant in the recent history of Somalia in a number of ways. It is the first time in the more than two decades of conflict in the country that such a ceremony has taken place on the soil of Somalia. Previous attempts to put in place institutions, including parliament, took place outside the country. It is also a reflection of the solid resolve and international commitment to deal with the situation in Somalia and to end the transition in 2012. Somalia has seen a number of extensions in the past and stakeholders are bent on making sure this is not one of those.

The international community and a number of stakeholders have praised the inauguration of the parliament and wished the people of Somalia well. Among the numerous comments on the ceremony, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called it a '...watershed moment on their road to peace, stability and political transformation', while his representative to Somalia, HE Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, who has been key in all the processes in the run-up to the occasion, has described it as a historic moment that '... marks the long-awaited end of the transitional period in Somalia'.

As stated by Mahiga, 20 August 2012 was the actual date scheduled for the end of the transition and therefore Somalia should in fact have had a parliament, speaker and deputies, and a president in place by that date. However, due to delays in meeting a number of the deadlines largely blamed on the politics surrounding the selection and submission of names by the traditional elders, and subsequently the vetting process by the Technical Selection Committee (TSC), the whole process was delayed. As a result, the deadline has passed without Somalia meeting all the important milestones envisaged under the Roadmap.

Among the crucial milestones remaining is the election of a speaker with his deputies and eventually a president, who will in turn appoint a prime minister. Given the hurdles and allegations of vote buying, and meddling by different stakeholders, the next steps represent the most important stages of the process. They therefore require great caution and circumspection in order not to derail the gains made so far. Already, the rejection of about 70 nominations by the TSC is creating tension as some of the clan leaders are refusing any replacements to the names submitted. Questions are also emerging as to why the TSC is not sticking to the criteria for selection and is rejecting some names, since it is not a court of law. This could foment trouble and ignite the age-old clan factor in the security dynamics of the country, which is capable of derailing the process. Such questions have already significantly affected the legitimacy of the process and need to be watched much more closely.

The politics surrounding the election of the speaker and the president are two remaining crucial issues. This is because the two positions cannot go to the same clan and, as such, clans may try to play their cards to get the optimum result, given the winner-takes-all-nature of the politics surrounding the transition. The situation is still extremely fragile and the country would benefit from maximum support from the international community, while ensuring Somali-centeredness and ownership.

Although Somalia did not meet the deadline for the selection of the speaker and the president, the swearing-in of parliamentarians is a watershed moment for a country that has been riddled with lawlessness for 20 years. The progress made has given new hope to some Somalis and renewed the faith of the international community in the peace process.

Lessons from Dr. Kafumu Election Petition Loss

Nicodemus Minde 
The High Court of Tanzania stripped Igunga MP off his parliamentary seat. Dr. Dalali Kafumu who 'won' the Igunga by election last October after the magnate Rostam Aziz threw in the towel, has lost the election petition. The presiding judge said that CCM was guilty of of “bribing” voters after the government distributed relief food during the campaigns. Judge Shangali said: “It is hard to understand why maize was distributed during campaign season. Is it to imply that Igunga residents were much more hungry during the campaigns? (see The Citizen newspaper). 

This is yet another indication of CCM dwindling fortunes. The myriad of CCM woes which still continue to expose their role in electoral malpractice. This is a victory for the judiciary which is now a degree of independence despite the numerous interferences from the ruling party. With the process of drafting a new constitution on going, I hope that the need for more judicial independence is looked into. The judiciary has been at the mercy of CCM machinations for long now. 

The move by Dr. Kafumu not to appeal the decision and to ditch politics for good is another victory for professional progress. It sounds to me that Dr. Kafumu who was the commissioner for minerals before joining politics was forced to sacrifice his profession for politics. Reading from various Tanzanian media sources, Dr. Kafumu recently teamed up with several friends to launch the Earth Sciences Institute of Shinyanga (ESIS). This private technical institution is registered by the National Council for Technical Education of Tanzania to offer courses in exploration, mining engineering, mineral processing and gemology. 

Dr. Kafumu is teaching us a great lesson today. Many professionals are compromising their jobs for politics. I understand that politics needs intellectuals and great minds. However, let it be a balancing act and not an avenue to seek political fame and amass more wealth. Thank you Dr. Kafumu, now you can serve the nation in a more professional manner. 

JOHN MNYIKA: Taarifa Fupi kuhusu Kazi za Maendeleo Jimboni Ubun...

This is the kind of leadership we need. Mr. Mnyika, thank you  once again.
JOHN MNYIKA: Taarifa Fupi kuhusu Kazi za Maendeleo Jimboni Ubun...: UTANGULIZI: Kwa nyakati mbalimbali kumekuwepo na mijadala kwenye mitandao ya kijamii kuhusu utendaji kazi wangu katika kuwezesha maendel...

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Ethiopian State Media announce Zenawi's passing

"Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed away yesterday [Monday] evening at around midnight," government spokesman Bereket Simon said, adding that he was "abroad" when he died, according to AFP news agency. "He had been recuperating well, but suddenly something happened and he had to be rushed to the ICU [intensive care unit] and they couldn't keep him alive." State television said he had died after contracting a "sudden" infection. Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also Ethiopia's foreign minister, will be acting head of government, state television said. "Even if Ethiopia has been badly affected for missing its great leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi initiated fundamental policies and strategies which will be further strengthened," the TV said. Mr Meles had not been seen in public for some eight weeks prior to his death, and was reported to have been admitted to hospital in July. 

Tanzania's Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Bernard Membe passed his condolences via his twitter page. His says that the death of Meles Zenawi is a great loss to the continent and the African Union in particular. Speculations about his death were rife in late July, with reports saying he had actually passed on. Meles Zenawi has been described as a statesman by many while others described him as a brutal dictator who ruled over a police state. It remains to be seen what Ethiopia will turn out to be in the wake of his demise.