Friday, June 11, 2010

The World Cup, the Madiba's and tragedy

Finally the tournament i hear, and South Africa, the host, goes into the game, this afternoon against Mexico, hoping to win the game. The excitement has long been bubbling for months and got more to its fever pitch days before the first ball is kicked. More than ninety thousand partisan supporters with their vuvuzelas are expected to pack the stadium, and give the Bafana-Bafana the needed boost. It is first time in Africa and almost everyone including the Mandela's were looking forward to the game. However the death of a thirteen year old great granddaughter moments after the concert in the Soweto appear to have shattered their joys. The thirteen year old girl who is said to have celebrated her birthday two days ago, was driving home from the concert venue when the tragedy occurred. News report at the moments are mixed as to whether or not Nelson Mandela will be attending the opening ceremony. He is largely credited for bringing the tournament to the one time aparthied South Africa and his presence, according to most South Africans, will inspire the team to victory. But with the tragedy now sitting right at the centre of their home, it will be hard for the man to leave the family behind and celebrate with the football fans. The Mandela is a global brand and inasmuch as his iconic status brought the tournament to South Africa, the latest tragedy adds to the family's biography. 'Ke na Ko but certainly not in this moment of tragedy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

oil still creates doubts

Ghana has found oil, that is often the sermon politicians tell their friends in the International community. They are quick to say the revenue from the oil will change everything in Ghana; good roads, education, jobs and appreciable incomes. Unfortunately not many people are falling for that. After all gold, cocoa, timber and other natural resources have done extremely little to change the country's fortunes. People are still poor. Obuasi, the hub of gold mining in Ghana is in a gory state; residents are living in abject poverty. Enchi, one of the most endowed cocoa growing communities is living without any decent electricity, buildings, decent water and roads. Health facilities are completely crap. The only health health facility is more than seven kilometres away from most of the people and was built by the presbyterian church. They run the hospital with no funds coming from government. It's a pity but that is the truth. So not many people are swallowing this whole talk of oil boom and economic prospects. Lessons have well being learnt by the average Ghana and the thing you don't do is to allow the politicians to convince you when it comes to matters like natural resources. At the moment the country's percentage is less than five percent, so where is that economic empowerment going to come from? There is no proper oil regulation to define the boundaries about the drilling and how the expectations among ordinary people will be managed. The BBC has been on the road with the programme, Africa Kicks, where they look at different aspects of life in countries they are visiting.The team was in Takoradi on Tuesday afternoon to discuss this so-called black gold. After an hour of crossed debate from all the guests it became clear that not many people are looking forward with clean teeth about the oil changing anything. It's going to be the same old story, according to one of the guest, a dreadlocked beauty who spoke with loads of Jamaican slang in his lines. Others like her also cited the wanton corruption in the system and how much politicians love to talk but do nothing. It was an unfortunate spectacle but the gospel truth, even from me, is that the oil discovery will change nothing. Ghana will be as corrupt and inefficient as it has been for more than forty years. That is my verdict.