Saturday, July 4, 2009

The "P" word / From Poetry to Politics...

Ushered at Justice Ogoola’s launch of his poetry anthology this past Friday (had nothing better to do, naturally) and couldn’t help noticing that the higher the status of the person(guest) the ruder and uncivilized they were! I found it embarrassing how a Judge or member of parliament can complain about standing in a queue to register before being escorted to their seats, exclaiming that they “weren’t used to such order”, WTF?! What do they do in parliament or court here? Scrabble for seats? LoL! And these are ment to be the "well traveled, intellectual, learned and cultured" group of Ugandans!

I have a lot of faith in politics, I believe and often quote the saying that everything (well most things) is political, and I’ve noticed that in Africa ,to bring about great change, one has to get involved in politics at one point or another, whether they like it or not. Also I believe there is a “great politician” in most of the greatest people in the world…but politicians like ours shoot down my whole concept of Politics! (I don’t blame President Obama for choosing west Africa, Ghana for his first visit to Africa over East Africa, Kenya!)

Although there is no academic consensus on the exact definition of "Politics", to me Politics is (or should be) the best method of collecting, organizing, using and governing a country’s resources (inclusive of manpower, natural resources etc) for the betterment of the people of that nation. Unfortunately, people have taken politics to be more of the the skill of gaining and maintaining power, which I personally feel beats the whole point of it. Power comes with leadership, which is merely a means of bettering the nation. Ideally, politics should be Righteous not Sleezy!
Yet again, so should being a religious leaders, yet these days when you think priest you think homosexual pedophilic molester! …damn, the world really is coming to an end!

A while ago I had wanted to do law, and get into the work of governance of my nation. Then I grew a little older and wiser? Tainted? Jaded? Not quite sure, but I thought against it.
Too often I have noticed that although people get into law and government for the right reasons, they quickly compromise their morals due to the crafty corruption riddled nature of African politics today. They go from being a man/woman for the people to becoming fat, egotistic animal-farm like pigs! Even if I was to join a big organization, like the UN or World Bank, the ridiculous level of procedures and in-between-stuff debase their efforts to a little more than nothing. They are simply not that practical, and you often find that their efforts are intercepted midway by this or that which prevent people from really benefiting from them.

During my GCSE’s /O Levels I joined and participated in the model united nations, which is held evry year at the UN quarters in Nairobi. (I was the Environmental delegate for Colombia) Basically its run entirely by teenagers and runs exactly like the actual real UN.
We wrote proposals, debated them out in the different chambers, a press corp. that produced a daily newspaper (also student run), dressed up, learnt all the proper UN debate lingo and procedures, (I even got my badge clipped for chewing gum! LoL) we even had pretend emergency situations in which we would be required to quickly think up of solutions!
It was fun, an unforgettable experience, but I realized that all the UN do is talk, draw up proposals, argue over the smallest most times insignificant things, are biased more by nation interests than the betterment of the world as a whole, and at the end of it all, they don’t really take effective action!

To make it worse, the comfy job which often offers the opportunity to work abroad and a fat salary eventually get to people, and they no longer care whether what they are doing really is helping people on the ground, back home. I don’t want to be caught up in that, that’s why I often say wherever life takes me, I will always come back home, and constantly remind myself not to get to comfy, there’s a lot of work to be done!

Still amidst all the bullshit, certain individuals manage to get things done. For instance today on the African Voices show on the BBC, they interviewed an African woman I have come to admire; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She’s the former Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, current managing director of the World Bank. Despite the big titles, she seems to be a humble yet passionate Africanist lady. I did some more research on her and I‘ve found her inspirational. I admire her for two reasons:

1) She left her comfy World Bank job in Washington to come back to better serve her country as finance minister (2003-2006)

2) During her time as finance minister, she introduced some economic reforms which enabled greater fiscal transparency to combat corruption (a great problem a lot of African nations are failing to solve) Her reforms basically introduced the publishing of government spending/budget/allocation of money basically, which this enabled the people to see how much money was allocated to their local governments, and hence give them grounds on which to question why there were still pot holes in the roads, why the public schools were so under equipped, why their salaries haven’t risen and the general standard of life is worse despite the money being pumped into the area. This also puts pressure on the local governments to perform, and makes corruption harder to cover up. Excellent policy isn’t it?
After all, true change often comes from the bottom up, from the inside out...

So perhaps there is hope for politics, especially in Africa, although we are far from reaching the political ideals I mentioned before hand…

I was just wondering, whether it would be worth getting into politics.

Being a young African woman, who feels more comfortable speaking English than her own mother tongue, suburban born and raised…sometimes I feel helpless in the struggle to build and improve Africa, even in my own country.

Sometimes I wish I was born in the freedom fighter days, (born conveniently as a man) when all I had to do to join the struggle was to pick up a Gun.

12 comments:

Mullmeister said...

These days politicians don't really give voters much of a choice. it's really about choosing the lesser of two evils. WTF happened to the system?

Obama was/is the biggest let down ever, he showed so much promise n then to me, he has shown his true colours. He is bitching bout unnecessary spending etc but look what he did on his visit to the UK for that meeting, the G8 or whatever it was. He brought along 600 members of staff. WTF, bloody hypocrite...

eizzy.k said...

WTF happend to the system is right!
thats why i think sometimes we need to step up to the plate and fix shit, cuz i dont see anyone else who's gonna do it...but i'm so unqualified! LoL! Sucks!

Dont write Obama off just yet! at least he spent it on gov't affairs, the money could have been used for more unnecessary things, like botox...lol!

Its still too early to judge...

Sarah said...

I found myself nodding and just agreeing while reading this!

Mckeith said...

In Africa when a sane and upright person joins politics they are treated join the syphoninng goons

I watched African Voices but the one i watched was on CNN. Nigeria is still murked in corruption and high levels of graft something she could not stop.

Obama is great orator and will deliver but he knows where true politicians live. In Ghana and not in Kenya...

@mulliemester. Obama has delivered. Troops will pull out of Iraq, he has improved the US reputation abroad. The G8 is more than just leaders meeting. There are also other negotiations that go on so you'd need people to help you handle that.

ck said...

"power recognizes power". to bad its not the case here. Africa, holding guns sounds much better...

ck said...

ushered at ogaala's.cool. heard his book is deep.

Mullmeister said...

@MacKeith... We could argue about US politics all day but let me point out that the french presidents entourage consisted of 32 people including security. Obama had about 200 secret service alone....

eizzy.k said...

@ Mckeith - oh yeah, it was CNN! lol! my bad!
And true about Nigeria, thats why i often think the situation is hopeless...at least in my lifetime!

@CK - yeah, tho it reads more like prose than poetry

@Mullmeister - actually that makes sense, Obama is a more likly assasination target than the french president!?! LoL

eizzy.k said...

@ Sarah - Hiii! LoL! Glad u feel me!

jny23 said...

Yu never cease to amuse me.
keep it up.

still waiting for that email. use jny23ug@gmail.com

Mckeith said...

@Mullmeister. Obama is the president of the United States. 3000 kilometers away he needs to still ran the office. Security is a major concern. Assassination attempts by Al Qaeda and its supporters in Britain are one concern, as are attacks by racists.

willpress said...

Somebody said a few Sundays ago that MPs and leaders around these parts are the cream of the political crap. .yes, crap. .and every single cell and body fluid in me agrees with that statement. How now have we come to such a state? How come lots of young visionary people with genuine aspirations for their country never get to attain leadership? I will fast foward to your last paragraph and use it as an openor. Perhaps there is a communication problem somewhere.

Unfortunately the most important term in African politics is "the grassroots". The electorate on the ground. A simple people whose buttons once you know how to press, leadership will be guaranteed. .no matter how tainted, corrupt and unfocused you really are.

Am glad Obama didnt show up. Peeps dnt realise that he's no longer our son from Kogello. He's the President of the worlds most powerful nation now so I doubt if we would have been able to rub shoulders with him the way we want.