Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hope in the face of HIV.

When is a Picture worth a thousand words?
No words could ever convey the change on Silvia's face.
Vanity Fair sent photographer Antonin Kratochvil to Zambia in March this year, to do a before and after ARV story on HIV persons - in an effort to lobby for more funding, for cheaper drugs. The result could not have been more convincing!

On this World AIDS day, Kashikulu would like to encourage Zambians in Diaspora to continue supporting charity organizations like Red campaign , World Vision and others - it's amazing what $20 on your credit card every month can do!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Piety, Piece, Peace! – will we ever have it all?

There is an intrinsic benefit that comes with constant inquiry and observation- a sound appreciation of those eternal facts of life on earth. How the human specie have gotten along with one another since Adam and Eve’s piety succumbed to a serpent incited lust for a piece of forbidden fruit turning the peace and tranquil of the man’s first habitat, the garden on its head.

You may not share this version of man’s history; however therein rest the facts of life – the goodness of heart that is required to give every man and woman on earth their fair portion in life so we can all live in peace is ever elusive. Every society has within it, those that are marginalized by circumstance or greed, they can not have their piece of land, of food, or rest - their peace is always threatened.

So as Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas, begin peace talks in Annapolis US, in an attempt to resolve the oldest conflict over of land, Kashikulu wonders if this latest effort has any real opportunity for success.

The Israelis by strength and strategy hold a bigger piece of the disputed land; do they have the collective piety or humanity necessary to give their Palestinian neighbors a fair share of the piece?
On the other hand do the Palestinians have the collective piety and humanity necessary to accept their Israeli neighbors’ right to a homeland and a peaceful existence after all they have been through?

I hope for some kind of agreement from the Annapolis talks; Abbas however has a bigger challenge to convince the Palestinians to accept whatever terms they agree. History has shown that Palestinians who were empowered by Israel did not last for long in power. The best example is the Village Leagues, a group that was established in the West Bank after Israel dismissed most of the elected pro-PLO mayors in the early 1980s. The heads and members of the Village Leagues were quickly condemned as traitors by their own people and some of them were assassinated. The group, which was supposed to pave the way for the emergence of a "moderate" alternative to the PLO, was eventually dismantled.

In Africa peace has been elusive, ironically not primarily because of the indigenous people’ failure to get along with one another; but because of the greed and lust of western corporations and interest for a piece of Africa’s wealth. Brutal and bloody diamond or oil driven conflicts have ravaged Liberia, Congo, Nigeria, Angola and Darfur.
In Zambia foreign corporations and investors lacking in piety or corporate responsibility refuse to give Zambians their deserved piece of proceeds from the exploitation of national resources such as copper.

On the other hand, there are many well meaning western organizations working for causes such as debt relief and ending hunger active in Africa, but will there ever be an end to exploitation?

Sadly my friends, after much inquiry and observation Mwankole affirms that despite humanity’s best aspiration we cannot all have piety, life’s fair piece and peace- there will always be some in our world that always have the least of one or all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Can Prof Chirwa get down and dirty? – Lesson from the past!

In the 2001 elections, Yobert Shamapande a former UN official (now adjunct professor at Columbia University) who returned to Zambia mid 2000, after many years abroad, high on a combination of audacity and hope (result of many years in Diaspora) dared to contest the presidency. After dispensing most of his pension fund while canvassing around Zambia in an effort to woo support, he only managed 9,481 (0.54%) votes of that elections final count. In hindsight, he blamed his dismal performance on a failure to resonate with the common voter and a late entrance to the Zambian political arena.

Prof Chirwa on the other hand may have time and the audacity of hope, as allies but can he resonate with the fisherman on the banks of Lake Mweru in Luapula or the marketeer in Chawama compound in Lusaka?

Can he speak the language of fish and impwa?
Can he pull up an Obama speech ?

I know Prof Chirwa holds impeccable credentials, however I have not heard his manner of speaking nor do I know his personality. I truly hope his bold declaration that “he will not be bruised” will hold true after the 2011 elections.

As Eastern province MMD chairman Mr. Mangani says
Yes, he may be well educated. But politics are different from academic qualifications. In politics you don’t need to brag. Politics will terminate his education and become a nobody within a short period of time. It is very normal and this is what is happening in the Zambian politics and Africa at large,”

Kashikulu wishes the Profesori good luck and prays he has a very thick skin and very deep pockets indeed!