In the middle of last week, President Barack Obama announced the end of combat operations in Iraq bringing to a close 7 years of painful futility in trying to enforce his predecessor’s vision of a democratic and prosperous Iraq as a shining example to the rest of the Middle East.
Those deadly weapons of mass destruction were never found and so within the first year of occupation the focus had been switched to creating this example. Nearly 100,000 dead Iraqis and 5000 coalition troops later this vision was at the very best, partly created.
Now the people of Iraq have been left to their own devices – with the help of 50,000 armed American advisors. Does this strike anyone else as a sort of Vietnam scenario in reverse?
While back home, it is reported that the Ministry of Infrastructure is placing plans before the cabinet to approval the switch of driving lanes from right to left. This was after a survey they commissioned that found that 52% approved of this while only 32% disapproved.
This writer falls among the disapproving. I think that this plan is not the biggest priority that the Ministry of Infrastructure should be worrying about [construct a few more roads first before spending on all the signage and sensitisation programs that will follow approval of this plan], it is also unnecessary as regional integration can happen with different systems in place [refer to the UK and Ireland in the European Union who drive on the left while everyone else drives on the right] and lastly will have some serious effect in terms of traffic jams and pollution.
Vehicles designed to drive on the left are cheaper than those designed to drive on the right because the largest producers of vehicles and also largest sellers of reconditioned vehicles are the Japanese.
They drive on the left. Cheap vehicles mean more vehicles and less revenue on import duties levied on vehicles. I wonder if the Ministry has plans for enlargement of the roads to accommodate the traffic jams that are about to hit us.
They will make our current rush hour jams look like a quiet drive on a country lane. More cars also means more exhaust pollution, forget about that fresh air we are all so proud about. REMA’s unnecessary focus on climate change might finally be put to test as we are about to find out what they will do about the amounts of carbondioxide emissions that will follow this decision.
An interesting reason given for the switch is that cheaper vehicles means that more people will invest in public transport. The last time I heard this reason being used, transport fares were being hiked. You will understand my scepticism.
On the bright side, outside of $800 billion wars and sketchy rationale for lane switching, today is inauguration day. The will of the people having been manifested, their choice for President will take an oath to serve them and obey the laws of this land.
A happy occasion. As always, every happy occasion has a killjoy [like the Governor of the Eastern province who wanted people to be in bed on New Year’s night].
The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights is preparing to release a mapping report on the events in the DRC [1993 – 2003] that has deliberately chosen to use inflammatory language based on the lowest standard of proof. Then someone leaked it in advance so that the language is not changed.
The evil genius of this and the timing of the leak has to be acknowledged, now our country has to expend unnecessary vigour and resources in countering this malicious report. Even presidential wannabe, Victoire Ingabire, is taking this opportunity to declare the government illegitimate and demanding for a transitional government in which she has some role.
Never mind that this ‘leader of the opposition’ has not even won an election in her cellule, this is apparently the ‘democratic’ way. Then Amnesty International releases a report on the laws on divisionism and genocide denial saying that they’re deliberately vague notwithstanding the fact that the parliament is looking into them.
The killjoys abound but for today let’s consign them to background noise and celebrate the outcome of our election and watch as the President takes his oath.
And I’m confident, the accomplishments of his mandate will prove them all wrong. Happy Inauguration day.
Oscar Kabbatende is a lawyer