How to win elections and intimidate people

Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe may not have written the book yet on electoral manipulation, but its fundamental precepts are well-known all over Africa and other parts of the world that are afflicted by, and so easily succumb to, dictatorial rule.

And just like the blurb on the bestselling Dale Carnegie book, Mugabe knows: How to go after the election you want…and win it! Take the dictatorship you have…and make it more brutal! Take any situation you’re in…and make it seem like the fault of white colonialism!

It’s no surprise to learn therefore that:

After conducting an audit of the [electoral] roll, the ZESN [Zimbabwe Election Support Network] reported that 27% of people registered to vote were dead.

The computer test revealed that 2 344 people born between 1901 and 1909, therefore aged between 101 and 110 years, were on the voters’ roll.

Nine people born between 1890 and 1900, aged between 111 and 120 years, are registered voters.

The ZESN report found that 41% of voters had moved without updating their details

About 52% of men were registered, compared with 48% of women. This is unusual considering there are more women in the country than men.

Young people were underrepresented, with only 18% registered.

I don’t how the ZESN managed to painstakingly collate all this information, considering that the ZANY-PF government “maintained only paper editions of the [voters’] register,” but it makes for frightening reading.

It makes one wonder what sort of machinations the incumbent SA-government are up to, ahead of local government elections, and national elections scheduled for next year. With their penchant for dipping their fingers regularly in the public cooky jar, their love for power and the determination to keep it all costs,  crooking the books is not beyond them either…and yes, they’re very chummy with one Robert Gabriel Mugabe, to boot.

Redistribution of wealth through incompetence

I think I’ve worked out how the [post-Polokwane] ANC is redistributing the wealth of South Africa. And it’s not being redistributed to the poor as you would expect.

I’ve also worked out why they are reluctant to privatize State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) such as Eskom, Transnet, South African Airways (SAA), The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) etc. These enterprises are a rich and easy source of wealth that can be siphoned off quite legally, though not ethically. And the worst bit is that the rich pickings are being redistributed to a new assemblage of amoral, get-rich-quick cunts – the new ANC-connected elite.

Here’s how I think it’s being done:

The [post-Polokwane] ANC deploy their cadres who are also grossly incompetent pricks, to run these SOE’s (normally as CEO’s). It’s vital that they are incompetent; the more so, the better. This prerequisite ensures a quicker turnover in the CEO position; which means that another cadre can have his turn at the feeding trough much sooner. The brilliance of the scheme is that when these thieving bastards get found out, we’re told that they have to coerced into stepping aside through the inducement of a golden handshake, which invariably turns out to be millions of rands. That is the simplicity and beauty of this scam.

Its been going on for years, and most, if not all SOE’s have been targeted. The latest instance involves the CEO of the SABC, Solly Mokoetle who is allegedly receiving a settlement of around R30 million, for less than a year’s work. It’s therefore not surprising that Roy Padayachie, a relatively unknown but apparently well-connected Minister of Communications was on hand to commend Solly and say that it was time to

open a new page and start a new chapter

Off course we all know what that new page and new chapter means. A new cadre waiting expectantly in the wings for his or her turn at the trough.

But, perhaps I’m just imagining things…

It’s arrogant and reckless to think that prayer will cure cancer…or anything else for that matter

I received another one of those deceptively cute e-mails today from someone who I don’t think is a Christian. The contents are what you’d expect from a fundie.

However, I know this person and she’s definitely no fundie; maybe just another innocent believer who is a tad lazy to employ some reasoning skills. And also becoming an unwitting spammer.

So here’s the contents of the mail:

Friday is world cancer day – I’d appreciate it if you will forward this request 

 93% won’t forward 

A small request.. Just one line. 

Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer.  Amen

[Image of candle removed]

All you are asked to do is keep this circulating, even if it’s only to one more person. 
In memory of anyone you know who has been struck down by cancer or is still living with it.

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle.. 

Please Keep This Candle Going

Okay, the first obvious problem with this mail is that World Cancer Day is on the 4th of February 2011, more than two weeks away; not this coming Friday as the impression is being created. I however don’t have any problem with that; it’s actually laudable to create awareness about this important day. What I do have a problem with is the call to prayer and the conceited suggestion that you will be only one of the mere 7% of people who are “good” and “give a shit about cancer.”

My second problem with this mail has to do with reasoning. Let’s assume that there is a god. Cancer has been around since the dawn of man. It’s just that its only been relatively recently diagnosed, not through divine revelation mind you, but through the hard work of scientists. Let’s also assume that god is responsible for creating everything and he [or she] has a divine plan, just like scripture [or the priesthood] tells us. Now wouldn’t it then also be logical to conclude that cancer was created by god and it’s part of his divine plan?

Wouldn’t it also then be arrogant, not to mention futile of man to pray for its eradication, seeing as it is a constituent of a bigger divine plan? Isn’t it reasonable to make these conclusions? And isn’t a divine plan supposed to be incontestable? As the late great George Carlin so eloquently reminded us:

What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?

Coming back to reality, the plain and honest truth is that prayer is not going to do any good in curing cancer; there is no evidence whatsoever that it does anything apart from making you feel like you can sit on your ass and magically command things to happen. Cancer is treatable when detected early and the chances are good that cancerous cells can be treated into remission. Ongoing research, however may one day lead scientists to discover how to switch cancerous cells off, so that they don’t divide and replicate.

This e-mail is dangerous in that it encourages both fundies and the ignorant to pray rather than seek medical help. Let’s be part of that 93% that employs our reasoning faculties.

A lesson for South Africa's leaders on MLK day

Today, the USA celebrates Martin Luther King Day. It’s therefore appropriate that South Africa’s so-called leaders take note of some of the things this icon of the freedom movement, had to say, apart from I have a dream…

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it

I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people

South African leaders on the other hand have a scheme:

I have a scheme to create 5 million jobs…

And it involves giving a lot of those jobs to pals.

I have a scheme to implement the 10 Point Plan on health…

Let’s see how healthy this plan is a year from now?

I have a scheme in education which ensures that teachers must be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day…

Except when they need to strike and demand more money for ensuring that our kids make the 30% required to pass.

I have a scheme to ensure that our people are safe and secure…

And it involves keeping our police officers’ stomachs in and chests out, mostly.

I have a scheme to  restore land to the people who always been an integral part of the struggle for freedom…

Just like Mugabe showed us.

I have a scheme to provide more housing opportunities…

 And it involves giving more tenders to pals who will once again build shoddy houses that fall apart as as soon as someone moves in.

I have a scheme to appoint women to the National Prosecutions Department to ensure gender equity…

 And it involves giving a women with dubious character the opportunity to fuck justice over so that the glorious leaders can do as they please with the law.

And so on, and so forth; you get the picture…

[hat tip to Odin Rapscallion]

OMG! Oh my God! Oh my Gawd!

There was a time when using the phrase “Oh my God” was considered a profanity and tantamount to taking the lord’s name in vain. There was probably a time when you could have been burned at the stake for uttering those words.

These days however, everybody uses the term quite nonchalantly, and nobody seems to take any offence.

Its been shortened to OMG for those who find spelling challenging, and are more comfortable at texting seemingly undecipherable gibberish on their cellular devices. Its been more recognisable to rap artists and other challenged musicians as Oh my Gawd. And off course atheists have no problem saying Oh my God, when they invariably use it sarcastically.

But somehow, it sounds so sissyish when used by men.

I therefore would like to recommend that in future men start using the term Oh my dog instead. I don’t see how dogs could be offended; they’re so forgiving of man’s every indiscretion. And if any animal-lover is offended, we could just ignore them, as usual.

It could be shortened to OMD, which could perhaps raise an objection from the band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, but they’re certainly not very influential these days. And rappers and singers of very little note would have no problems with Oh my Dawg.

Off course blondes can continue to use OMG; we most certainly don’t want to cause them any undue stress.

There, you see, all sorted godammit

Tyrants beware, the people shall rise…

It used to be that the dearly beloved king ruled over his people for many prosperous, happy years. 23 years of stewardship in the fabled kingdoms of old, signified a content nation.

Coming back to reality and the oppression-dom of Africa, 23 years of stewardship only signifies that the ruler despot-in-charge is besotted with his hold on power and/or that the people have become used to the status quo with what could only be described as religious deference.

However, there comes a time when the people will rise up against tyranny, usually when they have nothing or very little left to lose. And usually the people who rise up tend to be motivated by rational necessity , but more often than not guided by some form of ideological cause.

And so, the 23-year reign of Tunisia’s repressive ruler, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali came to an end this week, when he chose to flee the country, rather than have his head paraded through the streets propped on a stick.

The people eventually grew tired of his repressive regime and living in abject poverty. However, it appears they were guided by a fairly significant extent by the growing appeal of Islamic militancy that is springing up among young people all over the Middle East and North Africa. And therein lies the problem. It creates a gap for the religious fundamentalist clerics to attain a grip on the affairs of state.

It would be sad to see Tunisia replacing political tyranny with a religious one…

South Sudan freedom…so close

The secession vote is going well in South Sudan; it looks inevitable that they will soon be free to form a new country with a new leader.

My only fear is that the people cruelly become the victims of yet another despotic regime. It’s happened so many times before, it’s become quite routine for Africa.

They all seem to start out as liberators…let’s hope for the best.

#243 unlucky? Bollocks!!!

According to research conducted by a Financial Services website, #243 is the unluckiest house or door number in the United Kingdom, with 45% of home insurance claims made since 2007 emanating from this address.

However, the customary #13 features pretty low down on the list at position 182. So, has 243 replaced 13 as the new unlucky number?

My parents have lived at #243 for about 45 years now, 20 of which I shared with them, and they have yet to make any sort of insurance claim described by the website as typical. As far as I remember, those 20 years did not involve any sort of bad luck in the traditional sense, and I’m not aware of any other incidences of bad luck since I left.

Perhaps this is just a British phenomenon, but I’m more inclined to believe that this is just another case of a statistical fallacy so enamoured of pseudo-scientists and religious apologists.

It just does not make logical sense for any number to be unlucky, or lucky for that matter.