Mrs. President

mugabe

I am all in favour of female Presidents, because let’s face it, men are such egotistical bastards when it comes to governing. Unsurprisingly I rooted for Hillary Clinton to become the President of the USA when the choice was “do you want America to have its first Black President or first female President.”

Female heads of state are not rare, but neither is it a common occurrence. Europe, South America and the Far East seem to have a more enlightened approach and leads the way when it comes to electing a head of state, compared to the rest of the world. Africa has had only about three female heads of state, if you exclude those who acted in the position. In what is traditionally a male dominated sphere, women who do become Head of State, must surely have had a tough time getting there, and an even rougher time, being there.

However, in certain instances one has to draw the line at who is allowed to become a female leader of a country. I draw the line when cronyism or competence is involved.

Grace, Robert Mugabe’s wife’s entrance into politics in Zimbabwe is a classic case of cronyism. Anyone with two brain cells must immediately conclude that this is a blatant attempt by Mugabe to entrench his hold on power by creating a political dynasty involving his family. Off course in a country where democracy is just a word, and elections a mere formality, her rise to the top is all but guaranteed.

South Africans from many quarters have been proposing that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ex-wife of incumbent President Jacob Zuma, become the next President. As much as I would love to have a female President of South Africa, it must not be this woman. If her performance and achievements as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Health and Home Affairs at various times ar anything to go by, she is not fit to be a leader of state. Her current portfolio as head of the African Union Commission (AUC), formerly The Organization of African Unity (OAU) is also not something to be proud of. This is essentially a glorified Dictator’s Club.

South Africa has many women of substantial quality who can lead the country, when Jacob Zuma is hopefully booted out unceremoniously. We must choose wisely.

Sanctuary lost

abuse

Religion is a pretty tenuous thing at best to seek sanctuary in, but most people seem to find comfort there, and as much as I speak out against this aberration, I realise that it is going to take a long long time to totally rid the world of its hold, if ever. So imagine how despondent it must feel to those seeking sanctuary in its bosom, to be discriminated against on the basis of their gender.

Far be it for me to claim to know how women feel about being discriminated against, but at least I can relate, having endured victimization under apartheid in South Africa. So I do know that it must feel rotten.

Just about every religion I’ve come across, has discriminated against women, some more so than others. All on the basis of interpretation of obscure and archaic religious texts, written in a time when men had not much more knowledge than garden snails. And let’s be clear about it; it’s men (99.99% of the time) who are the perpetrators of this discrimination.

It’s shocking and disheartening to learn on a daily basis how religiously inspired men around the world, treat women with contempt, even going so far as to maim, mutilate and kill them, because of some insignificant act committed, which is deemed to be in violation of a religious doctrine.

Just the other day, I read with utter dismay how the number of women imprisoned in Afghanistan in the last 18 months has risen by 50%, to 600. Their offenses which range from running away from abusive husbands, family and forced marriages, to being the victims of sexual abuse, are regarded as “moral crimes.” What kind of mindset can turn the victim of sexual assault into a moral criminal?

Afghanistan is a shit hole, but this kind of thing happens in many other countries which are considered advanced, even civilized by modern standards. A proposed Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law in Afghanistan is being blocked by religiously inspired lawmakers who argue that some sections are un-Islamic. That is incomprehensible and utterly devoid of sane or rational thinking.

In the Middle and Far East, women are subject to other forms of discrimination such as limitations on basic freedoms like free movement, enforcement of dress codes, and being prevented from driving vehicles. We are told by self-appointed moralists that these basic rights infringe on certain religious tenets. It’s however by no means any different in the highly advanced West where lesbians face the threat of violence, and discrimination against termination of pregnancy, or Africa where female genital mutilation is still enforced.

No amount of cuss words can describe how utterly deprived these beliefs are.The common denominator is religion, and patriarchal men who hide behind it, spreading their hatred… and fear of women.

If this is the treatment meted out to god-fearing women, I can only shudder in disgust at what non-believing women have to go through.

Should South Africa trade in rhino horn legally?

South Africa is facing an onslaught from poachers who are decimating our rhino population to satisfy the demand from mainly the Far East [Vietnam in particular], of ignorant people who believe quite absurdly that the horn is some sort of cure for a multitude of physical ailments.

Last year more than 400 rhinos were slaughtered illegally, and four months into this year nearly 200 more have been killed.

The Ministry for the Environment announced today that they are contemplating approaching the international community to lift the ban on trade in rhino horn so that South Africa can sell it legally, in an attempt to disrupt or destroy the poaching business. Reports indicate that South Africa may be sitting on a stockpile of around 20 tons of the stuff, which is estimated to be worth around R 500 000 a kilogram. That’s several times the value of gold.

Like many things in life, the answer is not straightforward and there are both pros and cons.

What do you think? Vote below: