Tag Archives: African Union

UK Election Candidates and Lessons, by Gabriel C Banda

 

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UK Election Candidates and Lessons

By

Gabriel C Banda

THERE are some lessons the UK Elections of June 8, 2017 have for the conduct of elections and politics in other parts of the world.

We will now consider the leaders of the main political parties.  Prime Minister Theresa May, of the ruling Conservative Party, called for the elections after she got into office after taking over from her leader David Cameron, a fellow Conservative, who resigned after the negative result of the Brexit referendum.

David Cameron, who had expected a vote in favour of remaining in the European Union and called for the referendum, was disappointed with the “Leave” result. He could therefore not preside over the exit from Europe, an exit he opposed. Therefore, David Cameron resigned to give way for another ruler to deal with the exit.

                                                                 Brexit

Mama Theresa May is in a position of heading a government that must respond to the Brexit Referendum result requiring UK to leave the European Union. Of course, leaving Europe is very complex for Europe, UK, and others and will have effects that are likely to leave Britain worse off in various things.

After UK leaves the EU, it is almost certain that Scotland will leave the United Kingdom.  There will also be complications in Northern Ireland, administratively a part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland. We feel Brexit is more of a Break It.

But Theresa May is now prime minister and has, whether she likes Brexit or not, the task of following the referendum result that requires UK to leave UK. Because she must administer the exit required by the referendum, she has focussed on performing the task, whether she wants of not.

She has set her mind on doing some necessary task and role. She is making herself to flow with it. But we have to wait to find out if she will turn out like Cameron, calling for a poll and not winning it. But the elections she called are useful because they enable people, all citizens, to actually make a choice about who should be their prime minister at this time.

Of course, the elections will be more than just about Brexit.

                                                          Conservative for All?

Now, there are some issues that may be difficult for Theresa May because they are Conservative Party position and issues, not necessary that they are her limitations. It is interesting that Theresa May has, from the beginning of her rule, has called for a Britain and Conservative Party, often associated with positions of wealthy persons and the right wing striving for the exclusive, that works for prosperity for all people.

She wants to move the Conservative Party to be a party for people from all areas of life, rather than the wealthy and exclusive, so-called “elite.” She wants a Conservative Party and Britain for all.

Of course, sometimes Theresa May acts with a sincerity that can be considered naïve. At her meeting new USA president Donald Trump, one would have been careful about showing a shoulder-to-shoulder relationship with the Trump presidency.

Some people’s attitude towards her can be affected by their attitude towards Donald Trump. But Theresa May comes out as a person one may differ with over some issues but will respect for her listening to what others are saying and to her sincerity.

                                                               Jeremy Corbyn

In the elections also is my big man, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader. Just like my big man Bernie Sanders of the USA, Jeremy Corbyn is both sharply analytical and very courageous. He is fearless. And he is sincere as he speaks his message. His sincerity connects to the hearts and minds of many.

There were some persons, many from Labour in Parliament, who blamed him for what was not his fault – the “Yes” Brexit result.  They implied he did not do enough.

But Jeremy Corbyn could not do much about the result. Jeremy Corbyn did not cause the “Yes” Brexit result. Some persons, some of them Labour parliamentarians, also tried to stigmatise Jeremy Corbyn but, without much facts and basis, implying that he did not appeal to voters.

While those politicians within and outside Labour may not like Corbyn or his political positions, he actually has a lot of support with the public. The plotters of the coup plot may have envied, ignored, or underestimated Jeremy Corbyn’s widening appeal to the public.

If Corbyn’s Labour does not win the June 2017 elections, Corbyn, who was for Europe, will be saved from a very uncomfortable and complex Brexit UK delink process. If he then stays as Labour leader, he is very likely to win the next elections.

It seems Corbyn may currently be in a Win-Win situation. But, like in all elections, you do not speculate but just wait for the final announced results. In the UK, the elections are not held directly on the leaders of parties, but the leader of the party that gets the most parliamentary seats, or a coalition of parties with most seats, becomes prime minister. A victor may get the most seats but not necessarily the most votes nationwide.

                                                                   Lessons

In the June 2017 elections, there are also other contestant parties and candidates. For now, some of the key lessons are about the conduct of candidates during elections. The controversial, and cut-throat 2016 United States elections provided big contrast to the current UK elections.

The UK elections of June 2017 provide great lessons. The UK party leaders, like Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May, are generally, or relatively, polite. You do not hear outright insults and uncouth statements. They try to focus on policies and issues, and actually discuss those issues, even if they do not have the answers.

What I find striking is the sincerity of both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, in opposition. You may differ with some things they say, but theirs are not political gymnastics to please voters. They are sincere in their discussion. They lay out their positions on issues. They are persons who have missions they feel are important for the society, not just for their personal and group interests. Their sincerity is very notable.

                                                              David Cameron

Besides the examples of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, in UK there was also some good lessons from David Cameron. One of the greatest things Cameron did was to allow the decision of parliament about not striking Syria over accusations of chemical weapons.

David Cameron, who actually as a person comes out as a likeable person, respected the decision of parliament. In America, that provided Barack Obama a window to also not raid Syria.

Raiding Syria at that time could have made ISIS thrive earlier and brought about further difficulties for the Middle East, the Western World, and the whole. Syria would have become ISIS.

Earlier, David Cameron and Barack Obama had made the mistake of supporting, even if reluctantly for Obama, the war-lord Nicolas Sarkozy, in charge of France’s forces, to, despite caution and opposition from the African Union, raid Libya and murder and overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and regime, leading to instability that has greatly affected the world.

The 2017 lessons about sincerity of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn towards politics and governance can help others in many parts of the world. Politics would be more civilised, more cultured. UK June 2017 elections are better example in politics and governance than USA 2016. And, currently, we have not heard about some Russia conspiracy to hack into the UK Elections!

ginfinite@yahoo.com

The Author: Based in Lusaka, Zambia, Gabriel C Banda is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and observation of conflict and peace issues.

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– GCB, June 2017.   At Wednesday, June 7th 2017.

 

 

Burundi and Solomon’s Child, By Gabriel C Banda

Peace Pieces – Peace Points, by Gabriel Banda, June/July 2015:
Shorter than Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, these are compressed, shorter, pieces on topical issues.

Burundi and Solomon’s Child

Gabriel C Banda

By Gabriel C Banda

THE recent events in Burundi have deep implications not only for Burundi, but the region, the whole of Africa, and beyond the continent. They affect current and future generations in Burundi and many places.

The President, Pierre Nkurunziza, wants to push on with elections where he will stand. Opponents say he does not qualify to stand as the Constitution restricts candidates to two terms. He has argued that the first term he has had, given in August 2005 when he was elected, unopposed, by parliament, should not be counted.

In August 2010, he was elected for another five year term in elections opposed by some parties. Opposition regard his current 2015 attempt to stand for another five year term as a third term attempt. He regards it as his second term. Whether his interpretation is true or not, there are many factors to consider.

Already, differences have led to protests, violence, and even deaths. An unsuccessful coup attempt happened on May 13, 2015. Many persons have been displaced and fled Burundi. Neighbours and beyond have been affected.

This being one common and very interlinked world, one person’s action in one place affects the lives of many others in other places of the world. That effect will be now or at some later time, even to those who are not yet born. The lesson is not just for Burundi and Africa. It is an issue of human action in any place of the world.

Even now, actions with great negative consequences for people in other parts of the world, such as on Libya and Syria, are being made by rulers in the western world.

Key here for leaders and rulers in various situations is how to handle contested issues that have grave bearing on the life, or even death, of many persons in many places, now and in the future. What is the effect of our individual or team situation on others? What is the effect of our actions on the greater society, on current and future situations and generations?

In Burundi, there is a situation where a significant number of persons and with significant force, are opposed to Pierre Nkurunziza standing for another term. Parties involved are dug in. The effects for now and the future are heavy. In such case, whether Nkurunziza’s stance is legally correct or not does not help the situation where people are deeply divided.

The elections will not have the blessing of significant numbers of the population. Clearly, even the days leading to the election day will be stressful. If Pierre Nkurunziza gets into office again, he will not have the acceptance of a significant number of persons. The disapproval and forces against him will be such that it will be difficult for Nkurunziza to rule. In such situation, he and his colleagues will not have real calm and peace.

Ruling works best through consent and support by significant numbers and forces in a society. Already, Burundi has some long history of violent conflict and insurgency. In very recent times, there was a political settlement after some long armed rebellion. But in this current situation, a culture of armed reaction may again come into play.

It is important for Pierre Nkurunziza’s team, the opposition in Burundi, the East African Community, the African Union, the United Nations, and various actors, to settle the current dispute before it gets further damaging, more costly, and more difficult to settle.

Key is how to consider the stability of the society, and humanity in general, and let go one’s personal situation and interests. In fact, there are times when letting go is not loss, but very healing and fulfilling. There is no other purpose higher than the harmony of life.

In that harmony, our contentment and happiness will also be. Acting to fulfilling that purpose, we will inside ourselves find contentment. There is no loss in doing something good. Letting go may be gaining one’s peace. Holding on to stress imprisons us.

We may need to yield in order to save the greater society and serve the greater Good. There are lessons about how letting go frees us. There are practical examples amongst governments. There are practical examples amongst heads of governments.

Zambia’s First President, Kenneth Kaunda has received great respect, for, amongst other things like the building of basic infrastructure and people’s access to basic needs, national unity, and also supporting freedom struggles against racism and apartheid.

Another reason for the respect he receives is how he managed transition of political situations. With a unified party system, a form of Government of National Unity, Zambia’s UNIP government was in 1990 confronted by pressure for change of government system back to a multiparty system.

In December 1990, sidestepping a proposed referendum required by law, Dr Kaunda signed the reversal of the Article 4 legislation that had restricted the formation and operation of opposition parties. Kenneth Kaunda yielded to changing the system and, in the process, cutting his government’s term in order to allow for new elections, which took place in October 1991.

Around the time, even before elections, Dr Kaunda told the story of Solomon and the two women claiming a child. In the Bible, in 1 Kings Chapter 2, is the story of two women brought before King Solomon. Each of the two women claims a living baby hers. King Solomon eventually asks for the living child to be split into two and shared between the two women.

One woman says the child should not be split but be given to the other woman. The other woman says, yes, the child should be split into two and shared so that, “he shall belong to none of us. Cut him in half!”

Then King Solomon ordered that the child not be cut into two but be given to the woman who had said the baby should be left alive and given to the other. King Solomon knew that woman, with interest of the child’s life, was the real mother. The mother had sacrificed so that the child would live.

In thinking about the Solomon story, Kenneth Kaunda’s decision was, like the good mother in scriptures, to let go so that the Zambia society he loved could be stable and go on living and growing. Zambia’s multiparty elections took place in October 1991, with results declaring opposition’s Frederick Chiluba winner and new president. Kenneth Kaunda let go and yielded to the results.

Dr Kaunda later got very involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS. But from that experience of letting go through cutting short his term and accepting the results of the elections, Dr Kenneth Kaunda gained much admiration worldwide. Sought after, he travels a lot and continues to be greatly respected.

Letting go for the common good can be honourable. It can be freeing. Like Rwanda, a place of many Christian Church goers, many Catholic, in Burundi it may be necessary to learn from events in scriptures. Also, we can learn what happened in places like Côte d’Ivoire, and other places of the world, when rulers do not let go to allow the child to live.

We can also follow the examples of letting go as Kenneth Kaunda and others have shown and benefitted themselves and societies through. Letting go and making some fair settlement will benefit Pierre Nkurunziza, the people of Burundi, neighbours, and humanity.

                                   Contact email: ginfinite@yahoo.com

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and peace issues. He holds an MA in Peace Studies, University of Bradford.

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GCB, June/July 06th, 2015