OF QUICK AND EASY VICTORY FADE FOR EMBATTLED ANC
Apr. 14 (GIN) – As the May 7 election
day in South Africa nears, former friends and
allies of the ruling African National Congress are
betting that voters will follow them out of the
party or at least send a strong message that the
country’s current direction is not good enough.
of veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle and
former government leaders have even launched a
“Vote NO!” campaign that could dash ANC hopes
for a quick and easy win.
veterans is former intelligence minister Ronnie
Kasrils, former deputy health minister Nozizwe
Madlala-Routledge and other ANC stalwarts.
Vukani! - "We are fed up! Wake up!"
That’s the message coming from some longtime ANC
loyalists who now say: "The ANC needs to know
that it can no longer take for granted its
traditional support and we would be failing South
Africa and our democracy by not voting."
groups expecting to pick up votes from
disillusioned voters are the Economic Freedom
Fighters led by Julius Malema, the Democratic
Alliance led by Helen Zille and the United
Democratic Movement led by Bantu Holomisa.
secretary general Gwede Mantashe rebuked the
now-opposition leaders saying they hadn't done a
good job when they were in Cabinet. Also with the
opposition is Pallo Jordan, current member of the
party’s national executive committee who has
written columns critical of the $23 million
upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s country
inequality is one issue that particularly incenses
South Africans who are aghast at the sky high
salaries for corporate CEOs.
“super salaries at the top, and very meager
livelihoods at the bottom,” said Trade and
Industry Minister Rob Davies. "The
highest-paid chief executive has earned 51,000
times what someone earns at the lowest rung.
That's the level of inequality that we have in
politician Mamphela Ramphele said the Nkandla
affair has exposed a serious flaw in the ruling
party. “The ANC is in the death grip of corrupt,
greedy and arrogant people who don’t actually
see that they are destroying this beautiful
country and its resources.”
a popular parody song has become the refrain of
the President’s re-election campaign. It goes:
"If you're number one, you get to drive the
LINES OF VOTERS IN GUINEA-BISSAU COULD FAVOR A
Apr. 14 (GIN) – Thirteen candidates
are in the running for the presidency in this West
African country which has yet to have an elected
leader serve a full term since independence from
Portugal in 1974.
saw long lines at the polls on Monday with no
reported problems or incidents.
with the largest war chests include former finance
minister Jose Mario Vaz of the African Party for
the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, and
Abel Incada, a member of the Party for Social
Renewal of former President Kumba Yala, who died
surprise upstart in the elections is 50 year old
Paulo Gomes, an independent candidate and
economist. At minimum, he is comfortable with
social media, having a website, a YouTube video,
and a page on LinkedIn.
to paulogomes.com, he was born in a family “with
a long history of struggle and leadership for
human rights and dignity.” His grandfather
“was persecuted and arrested by the Portuguese
during colonial times and his parents took part in
the liberation movement leading to independence in
eleven, he was sent to various military boarding
schools in Bor, Bafata and Bolama where he
developed the camaraderie, rigor and
discipline that would come to define his life and
studies in Paris, according to his website, he
returned home to join the President’s Office for
Economic and International Affairs and later
served as the National Strategic Planning
Director. In 1995, he left Bissau for the Kennedy
School of Government at Harvard University. Two
years later he was back home again working as the
principal advisor to the Minister of Finance.
Finance Ministry, Paulo was sent to the World
Bank, first as Alternate Executive Director and
then as Executive Director. He currently holds
several Board positions at area banks.
home to 1.6 million people, has few resources
other than cashew nuts and fish. In recent years,
South American drug cartels have turned the
country into a cocaine trafficking hub, making use
of the country’s dozens of remote islands and a
jagged coastline of mangrove creeks.
results will be announced later this week.
BANDA’S RE-ELECTION HOPES COULD BE DOOMED BY
Apr. 14 (GIN) – One of the few women
presidents in Africa stands to lose her post in
next month’s polls since foreign donors have cut
off support from the once popular leader over
funds stolen or misappropriated by members of her
headline in the region summed it up: “Donors
Desert Joyce Banda in Hour of Need”
her two year administration, the 64 year old
President spent her initial year in office pushing
for rapprochement with the international donor
community while grappling with spiraling inflation
and an angry populace at home.
other efforts to address food shortages in the
country, she sold off a jet which the former
president bought for $22 million. Former president
Bingu wa Mutharika, who died last year from a
heart attack, had defended the purchase, saying
the jet was cheap to run and a status symbol for
the poor southern African nation.
came to a head in October when some 92 million
kwacha ($230,000) were reported missing or stolen,
allegedly by junior members of the Banda cabinet
and staff. The incident was dubbed “Cashgate”
by the local media.
European Union then threatened not to release some
29 million euros ($40 million) to the
aid-dependent country until the government cleaned
up the treasury fraud. This, compounded by an IMF-backed
devaluation of the kwacha currency, stoked
inflation, raised the price of food for rural poor
and cut into Banda's domestic support.
the southern African country is bankrolled up to
40 percent by foreign donors.
pressure is being exerted by the International
Monetary Fund whose prescriptions – including
the sell-off of national companies - would further
squeeze the struggling population.
at an outdoor rally attended by some 10,000
supporters, President Banda warned that elements
behind the stolen funds still face prosecution.
“Ndipitiliza Kukumangani” (I will continue to
arrest you), she warned.
Christian, Mrs. Banda told the gathering that just
like the biblical Nehemiah who embarked on
rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, she has been
rebuilding the walls since taking over government
from the former ruling party.
are schedule for May 20.
COAST ‘BLACK COMMENTATOR’ AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Apr. 14 (GIN) – Longtime editorial
writer, poet and political organizer Carl Bloice
was remembered by friends and comrades at a
gathering in San Francisco this week. The West
Coast writer succumbed suddenly to a years-long
battle with cancer.
was known for his many columns on U.S. and
international issues that appeared widely. He was
on the Editorial Board of the Black Commentator.
Facebook post, friends wrote that “to his last
days, Carl kept up his enormous capacity and
energy for reading and writing. His columns for
the Black Commentator were circulated in Portside
and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy
and Socialism (CCDS).
as editor of the Peoples World newspaper, he was
named as sponsor of the National Anti-Imperialist
Conference in Solidarity with African Liberation,
held in Chicago. In 1991 along with other
dissident members of the Communist Party, he was
part of the CCDS, a breakway group that held its
first national conference in Berkeley California.
Facebook post continued: “Carl never let up
insisting that we focus politically on the
economic crisis, the fight to preserve and expand
social programs, the outrage of joblessness
particularly as it impacted young people, African
Americans and Latinos.”
most recent pieces were: ”In a Changing Middle
East, Israel and Saudi Arabia Cling Together” in
Foreign Policy in Focus. “Austerity Measures
Meet Resistance and the Democratic Will” in the
LA Progressive, and “Mobilizing for War, Not for
Jobs,” in Truthout.
Ave. c/o Demos 8th fl