Monthly Archives: February 2011

dictionary of african politics


South Africa’s Mail & Guardian has coined what it called the working 21st-century dictionary of African politics.

  • One-party democracy. A system of government in which only the incumbent president’s name and his party appear on the ballot paper. Alternatively, the electoral form where opposition parties appear on the ballot paper, but where every form of violent intimidation, blackmail and trickery are used to deter citizens from voting for them.
  • Mubarakism. A form of government in which, to quote President Hosni Mubarak, a president serves “until the last breath in my lungs, and the last beat of my heart” — and then hands over power to his son. Daddy Mubarak left the vice-president’s seat unoccupied for three decades so that son Gamal could take over when a mummified papa joins the pharaohs in the pyramids. But the events of the past three weeks mean that Mubarakism doesn’t necessarily have to take a hereditary form. Former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman looks likely to perpetuate Mubarakism, at least for a while.
  • Pan-Mubarakism. A philosophy espoused by Africa’s life presidents, whose guiding tenets are cronyism, autocracy, corruption and violence. In this select group appear Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Cameroon’s Paul Biya, the late Omar Bongo of Gabon, Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the late Malawian dictator Kamuzu Banda and Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh presents a few theoretical problems. The other club members just want to be presidents for life — this soldier-president wants to be king.
  • Doing a Kibaki. The very notion of liberal democracy is no longer valid in some African countries. Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki, by most accounts, lost the elections of December 2007. But by stuffing the ballot boxes and engaging in other election chicanery, he was able to stay on as president.

Culled from


malawi to outlaw public farting


Malawian government’s proposal to introduce a bill seeking to prohibit public farting is generating a lot of attention in the country and beyond.

The proposed law, still being debated across the country, will criminalize public farting. In that, once enacted people must learn to hold tight that wasted in public, or else face the full brunt of the law.

The bill’s legality is already brewing tensions in the justice ministry, with officials mired in confusion. Justice Minister George Chaponda and Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga have yet to agree on whether public farting falls within the class of pollution law.

The southeastern African, one of the poorest countries in the world, boasts of significant growth in tourism mainly because of its many attractions, including beach lodges along Lake Malawi, national parks and wildlife. It’s murmured that enforcement of the proposed law is capable of harming the country’s already booming tourist growth.

Considered un-African, disrespectful and insulting to most cultures, no African country is yet to deal with public farting. It’s not clear what the new proposed law will offer those who unintentionally blow gas because not everyone is proud of farting. Malawian lawmakers need to take that into consideration if they are still adamant to outlaw public farting.