Take, for instance, the change of Government in the Republic of Malawi to the south of Tanzania, where Lady Joyce Banda (61) was formally ‘crowned’ State President and sworn into the highest Office in the land on April 7. This gives Africa the second woman president in modern History, a scenario pioneered by Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The Malawi development made Liberia's Lady Ellen no end euphoric. “This means I no longer will be lonely. The potential for more women leadership at the highest level is now being made even stronger,” the Liberian enthused. [The Citizen: April 12, 2012].
[Will Tanzania provide the third woman president next? I've in mind here the 2015 presidential elections, and if we take into account developments in the last two elections when the Presidents were former Foreign Affairs stalwarts, the Rule of Thumb doctrine would dictate that the next president also comes from that Ministry… and, if there is such a woman, then so be it — As they say: ‘Asha-kum si matusi…’ But, I digress here!]
As I was saying before I interrupted myself, the Malawi developments combined the tragic and the ecstatic. Lady Joyce joyfully rode to presidential fame on the back of the tragic death from a heart attack of the immediate past President, Bingu wa Mutharika (78), on April 5.
Apparently, the two had broken political ranks two years earlier, and Mutharika was inclined to pass on the ‘throne’ to his elder brother and Foreign Minister Peter come the 2014 ‘elections!’ How did he plan to accomplish that feat if the elections were to be free and fair, pray? I don’t know… Do you?
Anyway, Banda still has to win the presidency of her own right in 2014— if she chooses to contest. But, that's a bridge to be crossed if and when she comes to it!
In any case, Mutharika's Machiavellian machinations clearly failed, and the Constitution worked to the letter and the spirit. As Mutharika’s deputy, Lady Joyce was constitutionally set to succeed the president under such circumstances as behooved the situation — compliments of the Sisters of Fate! In the event, she did, and is so far performing up to general expectations.
Further to the south of Malawi, Maverick President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was to marry yet another woman, Bongi Ngema, with whom he already has a 3-year old son. This brings his marital tally to, to, to… Well: four wives? Five, six wives, living, dead and separated? I’ve lost count — typical of me!
According to ‘The Sunday Times,’ Zuma’s village home has been refurbished at a cost of 64m rand (about US$8.27m, or Tsh5.17bn). The marvel comprises six rondavels, each bedroom of which is connected to the man’s main house by underground tunnels. What's he hiding from view and purview, pray? Sheesh!
Anyway, that's a Cross Zuma has chosen of his own volition to trundle around… Presumably, he can always lay it down if and when the going gets tougher than it already it!
That's what his fellow ruler in Swaziland, King Mswati, did after he had chalked up a baker’s dozen marriages beginning at the relatively tender (there's no way you're going to get me to say 'innocent!') age of 19 years!
Is Mswati wiser today, having reached middle age? I don’t know… But, he hasn’t (re)married in recent times — and had the sense to refuse spending a fortune to mark 25 years at the throne in a country that's riddled with abject poverty and the AIDS virus (HIV)…
Are the Zuma and Mswati cases tragic, comic or what? I don’t know! But, certainly tragic are the developments in the two Sudans, the Omar al'Bashier Sudan in Khartoum, and the Salva Kirr (South) Sudan in Juba. Both are fighting over oil wealth on their common border, over the Heglig oil site. For all practical purposes, this is a continuing demonstration of the Oil Curse that has been plaguing other countries in Africa: Nigeria, Angola, Gabon…!
Both countries applied to join the East African Community. Bashir's Sudan was rejected out of hand for not being contiguous with any EAC member country. South Sudan — which was severed from the (Greater) Sudan in July 2011 — borders on Kenya and Uganda. If its application is approved, will that automatically aid Bashir's Sudan's application, as it would then be contiguous with its nemesis to the South? I don't know! Cheers!