The Chills and Frills of 2016 – an Eagle’s eye view!

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 11:15:49 +0000


Years come and go. Some look short. Others long. Yet all have same days. 360 days precisely. The long ones are those whose events look predictable and people easily follow through. The short ones are those that are characterized with many national and international calamities of all sorts. Paradious Sakala reflects on some events of the year.

IT IS finally giving up. Never to be experienced again in our lives. It is over with this generation. Not even in a hundred years to come. Slowly it is saying goodbye. Its end is indeed near. Of course, it has just to go. The clock never ceases to tick. It is on its straight motion turning seconds to minutes. Minutes to hours. Hours to days. Days to weeks. Weeks to months and then months to years. Never to stop!

Come 31st December, precisely at midnight on the dot, the world over, young and old, will be awake to pay their last respect to 2016, and say hello to 2017.

It is at this same time that could see hell break loose apart from dividing the world into two social clusters according the wishes and dreams of different people.

On one end, some people will for sure be saying bye to 2016, dinning and winning. Chickens, goats, cows, sheep, pigs, and many other bloodletting animals will be sacrificed in form of braai, just as a symbol of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As others will be reveling and breaking the bottles, on one end, some people will definitely be in churches, mosques, kingdom halls and synagogues praising and worshiping the Universal Land Lord fondly known as Yahweh or Jehovah or God.

For 2016 will be gone. Gone for good.

Indeed 2016 was not just an ordinary year both locally and internationally. It is a year to remember for all the good and the bad things.

Some of the things very good while others extremely bad.  This is across the human divide; both socially, politically, and economically.

On the international front, the international community has not lived up to its promise in 2016.

The world is engulfed into so many pockets of civil unrest in many parts of the Continents. The worst being in the Arab world.

Five years since the conflict began, more than 450,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, more than a million injured and over 12 million Syrians – half the country’s prewar population – have been displaced from their homes.

Sadly some of these can’t find political asylum in the developed world. They have scattered all over the world.

In 2011, what became known as the “Arab Spring” revolts toppled Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

That March, peaceful protests erupted in Syria as well, after 15 boys were detained and tortured for having written graffiti in support of the Arab Spring. One of the boys, 13-year-old Hamza al-Khateeb, was killed after having been brutally tortured.

The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded to the protests by killing hundreds of demonstrators and imprisoning many more.

In July 2011, defectors from the military announced the formation of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group aiming to overthrow the government, and Syria began to slide into civil war.

This is still going on. The Syrian civil war is the deadliest conflict the 21st century has witnessed.

One would have hoped it would end before the end of the year!

In Britain, David Cameron made an early exit from the throne through his own created Brexit passport. He sought an opinion of the Britons on whether Britain needed to remain in the European Union through a referendum.

And indeed the result was something else. The least expected for that matter. But then he had no choice in the matter. He had to leave Downing Street to pave way for Lady Theresa Mary May.

Lady May, PC, MP is a British politician, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

She has been leader of the Conservative Party since July 2016. She has been the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead since 1997.

Her entry into this portfolio gives Europeans two powerful ladies as their leaders. The two leaders are Angela Merkel the Germany Chancellor and Ms May of Britain.

Then, just across the Atlantic Ocean, another powerful woman Hillary Clinton had just been humiliated in a gender balanced presidential race of the century. Both Americans and Africans alike witnessed the shock of the times as to what elections can do.

Donald Trump, the man who said things people least expected to come from an American President elect emerged winner. This is the man who clearly told the world all illegal immigrants will be sent back to their countries.

He also controversially said he will force Mexico to build a hedge around its border with America at the former’s cost right on the Mexican soil. Whether one likes or not, America has a president the world never thought would make it to White House and come 2017, he will be the one in the Oval Office.

On a sad note, the passing away of the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castrol, was the last episode of the once upon time legend of his time.

The Cuban leader Castro (1926-2016) established the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere after leading an overthrow of the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959.

He preisded over Cuba for nearly five decades, until he handed power to his younger brother Raúl in 2008.

During that time, Castro’s regime was successful in reducing illiteracy, stamping out racism and improving public health care, but was widely criticized for stifling economic and political freedoms.

Castro’s Cuba also had a highly antagonistic relationship with the United States–most notably resulting in the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The two nations officially normalized relations in July 2015, ending a trade embargo that had been in place since 1960, when U.S.-owned businesses in Cuba were nationalized without compensation.

Castro died on November 25, 2016, at 90. This is a man who survived 638 suicide attempts on his life.

In South Africa, April was an interesting month for President Jacob Zuma. He actually survived what could have been humiliation of the worst kind through a private motion to impeach him.

His survival though largely on patronage, at least showed the magnanimity of our South African brothers to defend one of their own. Their own who was there at the time South Africans needed to fight for mother land to remove the apartheid regime.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) voted down an opposition motion to impeach President Zuma for what was called flouting the Constitution in his handling of the Nkandla scandal, sticking doggedly to a narrative that he never acted in bad faith.

The motion brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and fiercely backed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and most small opposition parties drew 143 votes in favour and 233 against.

Our historical neighbor Zimbabwe, whose umbilical cord we share has just shocked the world by announcing to the world that grand pa, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe will be the presidential candidate for the ruling  ZANU-PF in 2018.

Our brothers were just short of saying that President Mugabe was a life president looking at his advanced age!  By then he will be aged 94. Possibly the oldest Presidential candidate ever to tour the breadth and width of the country ever.

And the youth wing of the party seem to be relishing the idea of declaring Mugabe life president.

He has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980. The show of party support belies the discontent in the country which has seen unprecedented protests over Zimbabwe’s deteriorating economy.

Turning to our own soil, as always, the year started with the pomp and splendor. As it has turned out that fireworks and reveling be part of welcoming the New Year in most cities, 2016 was such.

On the political lines, much more significant was the signing into law the Zambian Constitution on 25th January at a colorful procession at the Heroes stadium witnessed by many people across the globe.

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu did not only show his political determination, but also his resolve to be a genuine leader that for generation will be remembered for boldness.

He took a completely different route from his predecessors. Much to the admiration of many people across nations. He was not selfish. He signed the Constitution into law that did not only limit his power, but also showed the world he did not need to keep the date of elections to himself.

The new Constitution came at a price. It brought new lines of doing things. It brought in the Grade 12 certificate clause. That meant even those that were around the President Edgar Lungu without grade 12 could not be adopted to stand for elections.

President Lungu further put his name on the political firing range through the same constitution.

The position of deputy minister was gone. Not even there in the constitution. The 50+1 percent issue for a presidential victory and the running mate brought another dimension into the country’s political scene.

These were matters many thought would scare the President Lungu from apending the constitution.

Continues Tomorrow

The author of this article is Sinda District Commissioner and a seasoned journalist.


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