Saturday, December 22, 2007

Turbulant times for South Africa with new ANC Chief


Canberra Times,
December 22, 2007


South Africa is facing its greatest upheaval since its historic leap towards democracy in 1994.

The elevation this week of the populist, charismatic and allegedly corrupt politician Jacob Zuma to the leadership of the ruling party threatens to take South Africa on a much more turbulent course.

Whoever leads the African National Congress is traditionally the party's presidential candidate. The party's overwhelming backing has ensured victories first for Nelson Mandela in '94, then Thabo Mbeki in 1999 and 2004.

The main opposition party called the ANC convention vote on Tuesday “dismal” for the ANC and for the nation; an indictment on the ruling party that they could find no better candidate than Zuma to lead it.

It's true. Zuma's win says more about the failings of South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki’s than Zuma's strengths.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Intervention in the NT


Anglican News,
October 2007


The sunset over Darwin’s Arafura Sea is spectacular and swift. Against the falling red sun, the aqua ocean is picture perfect toward the end of this, typically hot and sticky day. But things are not all they seem. The locals know that the sea is full of stingers. Only ignorant tourists take the risk.

There’s something unnerving about the country up here, particularly for me; someone made soft by the more temperate weather down south.

But it’s not just the environment. It’s the territory's poverty and economics too.

Delegates from around Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea at the Anglicare National Conference this month were confronted with the realities of life for many Northern Territorians. Few of us, I believe, grasp how big the gap between Indigenous Australians and the rest of Australia is and the sweeping nature of the change being rolled out under the Commonwealth’s Northern Territory intervention passed with the support of both major parties in August.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mbeki must change course to save Zimbabwe


The Canberra Times, April 17, 2007


It's enough to make you weep.

Zimbabwe's once thriving economy is on the brink of collapse. Robert Mugabe's post-independence paradise, the erstwhile breadbasket of Southern Africa, is now so dependent on international aid millions would go hungry without it. And still many do.

Even with significant aid, Zimbabwe's life expectancy, about 34 years, is among the lowest in the world. Recent elections have been a farce and people are being brutalised every day by a regime led by an ageing despot determined to cling to power.

It has been that way for years but it took the senseless bashing of opposition members by ZANU-PF thugs to make us really sit up and wrestle with the question: "What can and must be done?"

Australia's John Howard attacked Zimbabwe's leader, calling him a disaster presiding over a "heap of misery".

But Howard, like Tony Blair and George W. Bush, insists South Africa can do more and should pressure Mugabe to go.

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