Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Patience Jonathan, The Inimitable Dame!

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
It is a classic case of ‘One Week, One Controversy’!  And the inimitable Dame, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, has been in the news again. She hardly disappoints. Perhaps, before your read this piece, Mrs. Jonathan would have returned from Germany where she had gone “to have some rest,” or receive medical treatment, or both, depending on whom you choose to believe between the media, opposition parties  and Aso Rock spokespersons.  Or her husband, our president, would have decided to come clean about her exact state of health and whereabouts. 

*Mrs Patience Jonathan  
(pix: onobello)
But the latter may eventually not happen. Indeed, President Goodluck Jonathan understands this game very well. So, he is not unduly perturbed by all the din saturating the polity because of what his wife chooses to do with herself or not to say about her health condition. Yes, he does not “give a damn” because he knows full well that no sooner than his wife’s plane touches down in Abuja, and she sweeps across the red carpet like the marvelous Dame that she is, than she would stumble onto another controversy which would immediately and effectively kill and bury the present one over which the media and the opposition have raised ear-splitting cries. And so life goes on. Who, for instance, is still talking about her controversial appointment as Permanent Secretary in Baylesa State or the famous purchase, (or is it donation or lending or all three?) of posh cars scandal that embarrassed us all during the African First Ladies Summit in Abuja recently.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Is The West Lusting For Robert Mugabe Again?

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye  
Two interesting incidents that played out on the international scene recently clearly underlined the profound confusion of values that has crept into Western policies and attitudes towards President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Late in May, the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) announced the choice of President Mugabe as a United Nations Ambassador for Tourism, despite the fact that the international travel ban and other sanctions imposed on him by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) were yet to be lifted. He was warmly welcomed into the prestigious “leaders of tourism” group with his Zambian counterpart, Michael Sata.  
*Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
 And His 
Wife, Grace...
At Victoria Falls, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, where Sata and Mugabe met to sign an agreement with the UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, Mugabe must have been surprised and elated to hear Rifai say this about his own Zimbabwe

"I was told about the wonderful experience and the warm hospitality of this country … By coming here, it is a recognition, an endorsement on the country that it is a safe destination." 

Following this May 28, 2012 agreement, Zambia and Zimbabwe will jointly host the UNWTO general assembly in August 2013.  

Reactions to this development were prompt and unsparing. Human rights groups across the world and government functionaries in EU countries condemned it in very strong terms, just as Canada immediately announced its decision to withdraw from the UNWTO. But while Canada maintained that Mugabe’s appointment was the key factor that inspired its decision to terminate its membership of the global body, UNWTO stated that Canada had already withdrawn its membership two weeks before Mugabe was invited to join the body. 

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