Stories from Quick Reads and Governance
From Bhutan, the land of Gross National Happiness, blogger Passang Tshering shares how people can achieve happiness in democracy. He compares democracy to love marriage and says that there are three groups of people, the lovers, the haters and the concern citizens.
The Lovers are the ones who swear by one party, and regardless of how good or bad the decision the party makes they will not move an inch into disagreement. They are like a obsessive husband who could go and hug his wife after she has thrown a hot pan on his face.
Contrary to that The Haters are the ones who turn blind eyes to all the good things a party does and suddenly becomes so loud when they see a flaw. They are like an angry husband who would slap his wife even when she gifts him a bouquet of flowers.
If we have more of these two groups of people then democracy is at risk. They could fail a country. Therefore we must strive to be and saw the seed of The Concerned Citizens in our youth. Educating and inspiring them to grow the heart that is courteous enough to acknowledge the good even if it's done by an enemy, and courageous enough to condemn even when the wrongdoer is a friend. That like a very human and loving husband.
In view of widespread rumors regarding the health of Zambia's president, Michael Sata, Gershom Ndhlovu argues that the constitution mandates the cabinet to probe his health:
The last time Zambia’s President Michael Sata was seen publicly was on or around June 20 when he hosted a Chinese government delegation led by Vice President Li Yuanchao at the Presidential Palace. At that time, Sata’s appearance was that of an ailing man, a confirmation of his scraggy appearance at the High Court a couple of weeks earlier.
When pictures of a seemingly sick Sata went viral on social media, one online publication, the Zambian Watchdog, reported that the President had been evacuated to Israel for treatment.
Obviously, the expose did not go down very well with government whose senior officials at the level of vice president and ministers issued all manner of statements ranging from the president being on a working holiday to wooing investors and meeting that country’s President Shimon Perez.
Upon his return to Lusaka, the president’s office tried to show him as working normally and even posted pictures of him chairing a Cabinet meeting. The people were not convinced and called of the bluff, alleging that the pictures were photoshopped.
However, the most disastrous public relations stunt that spectacularly backfired was the picture of President Sata swearing in then Solicitor General Musa Mwenye who had been ratified by parliament for the position of Attorney-General but had been unsworn for weeks on end. There had been concerns that Mwenye would not perform in his new role without being sworn in.
The picture which was published on the Presidential Palace Facebook page, supposedly with the aim of showing that Mwenye had been sworn in as Attorney-General, had in it a deceased individual and another one who had been posted to the diplomatic service two years earlier.
Barbados Free Press says that few people realise “that the vaunted Caribbean Court of Justice carries no actual power or authority”, partly because compliance with the court's decisions is apparently voluntary. Comparing the institution to a toothless bulldog, the post went on to provide links to reports on several incidents that are allegedly affecting the integrity and performance of the court, including lawsuits from former employees, a legal battle with a daily newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago, and quite damningly, reports of mismanagement and judicial misconduct.
Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Sport has been forced to resign following public dissatisfaction surrounding the corrupt LifeSport programme, in which millions of dollars were allegedly funneled out to fund criminal activities and contractors were reportedly paid huge sums of money without actually doing any work.
Wired868 republishes the full text of his resignation letter to the Prime Minister and her response, noting that the former minister was careful to “[admit] no wrongdoing”.
— Afropages (@Afropages) August 18, 2014
Armed forces and dahalos (highwaymen in Malagasy) clashed in Amboasary Sud in the southern region of Madagascar on Aug. 15 over a theft of humped cattle (Zebus), a type of domestic cattle with a fleshy hump on their shoulders. Thirteen Dahalos and two members of the armed forces died during the clashes. Official reports states that 450 Zebus were stolen by about 90 armed thieves when authorities intervened.
Heavy rains and flooding in Niger have killed 12 people and left thousands without homes. Rivers in Niamey and the extended regions have risen and destroyed thousands of houses. In the region, land degradation and cultivation of marginal land increase the risk that extreme events can develop into natural disasters. Some solutions for flood preparedness were being implemented by national authorities :
ANADIA Niger aims to develop methodologies and tools to assess flood risk, to support planning at different decision making levels, to increase the resilience of local communities and to develop a greater capacity for forecasting and response. In this context, the development of a floods database will contribute to a more effective decision-making.
I AM SO FLABBERGASTED: WHO gives a FOREIGN government the RIGHT to CHOOSE WHICH LAND IT WANTS?
As part of an investment exchange, the Jamaican government has agreed to give 1,200 acres of land to the Chinese government – wherever it wants. Cucumber Juice has critical questions that she feels the government must answer: What is the value of the land? How will it be used? What if it's already occupied? She concludes that “Jamaica is for sale, is being sold, and is not at all as independent as its citizens and residents like to think.”
Blogger Antarik Anwesan recalls an alarming experience at Goregaon train Station in Mumbai, India. A local train started from the platform without notice and the crowd hurried to get on board. As the train gathered speed quickly, some people fell from the door and two persons were miraculously saved from death. This was not reported in any media. The blogger highlights that although the casualties in the local trains are much higher each year, the government is not making provisions for safety for the ever-increasing demand on the local trains.
IP addresses inside the Russian government continue to be active on Wikipedia, where a computer at the Russian Secret Service, the FSO, revised the German entry for Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, changing the word “separatists” into “rebels.” The Twitter bot @RuGovEdits, which automatically logs all Wikipedia edits made from Russian government IP addresses, caught five separate attempts by an FSO computer this morning to make the “rebels” language stick. The effort failed. German Wikipedia editors reverted the article's language to the original text, every time.