Last week, a third-born son of the caretaker leader of one of the last bastions of Communism was elevated from position of a rarely photographed 27-year old to a four-star General, Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Party Central Military Commission and a member of the Central Committee.
The country is North Korea and the young man is Kim Jong-Un. With reports of the poor health of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Il, these appointments look like preparations for a successor.
It seems that it is true what they say, ‘its not what you know but who you know’. In a country founded on the principles of popular welfare and dismantling of the classes of exploitation, it is ironic that the leadership has resorted to the most visible form of perpetuation of privilege and exploitation by becoming a monarchy in all but name.
In Pakistan, the bad news continued to heap. Pakistan has had to contend with the aftermath of disastrous floods, extremist islamist groups and general political instability not to mention a video that made it to the international media last week showing members of the Pakistani military participating in extra-judicial killings of civilians.
The reports did not get anymore cheerful when NATO forces in pursuit of Taliban insurgents in neighbouring Afghanistan crossed into Pakistani airspace and fired a missile at border guards killing three of them.
Pakistan reacted by closing its border crossings with Afghanistan. A day later, 27 fuel tanks destined for NATO forces in Afghanistan were set alight close to the city of Karachi in an area with no known militant activity. Revenge by Pakistan’s security forces or freak attack by militants? It is difficult to say.
In the US, Whitehouse Chief of Staff, Emanuel Rahm resigned from his position in order to prepare for the Mayoral race in Chicago (known as the “Windy City”). In what President Obama termed the ‘least suspenseful announcement of all time’, the man known by some in the media as “Rahm-bo” took his leave gracefully.
Mr. Rahm is known for his combative style of handling issues with stories abounding of some of his more outrageous acts that include sending a dead fish to a pollster whose polls he had taken exception with and, more recently, confronting a congressman while naked in a gym shower over his position on a budget vote.
He is all by accounts a colourful character. It was interesting from an African perspective that anyone would willingly leave a position where one has the direct ear of the President to pursue a Mayoral ambition.
Back home, the 1st of October passed quietly. The day when a group of fighters attacked the Kagitumba border post and began a four-year struggle against old Juvie’s politics of exclusion.
The intervening 20 years have seen both the depths of darkness and the steely resilience of the Rwandan people.
On cue, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released the report on the alleged abuses committed by Rwanda’s forces in the Congo even while the same troops are still serving courageously on UN mandates in various UN missions.
All one can say to a report that used so low a standard of investigation to produce such weighty accusations is that the authors will one day be embarrassed by how mistaken they were.
The author is a lawyer