Hashtag trends: #democracyfailed

This year has been an enlightening one. First with Brexit and now Trump. The ‘popular’ view conceded to the majority view and people have been left wondering how this could happen. There are two answers: first, to the Brexiteers delight there were people who voted in their favour but did not believe their vote could count. These individuals were surprised that their vote would actually cause the disintegration of EU relations and kill free travel to Ibiza. Second, there are people who wanted to make Britain great again, reminiscent of imperial days where the EU did not meddle in it’s affairs. In both instances, views represented the values of the majority through a democratic process. Perhaps there are strong parallels in the US election result. Did democracy fail?

According the Stanford University democracy is:

  1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.
  1. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.
  1. Protection of the human rights of all citizens.
  1. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

Looking at both the US and British cases, Democracy did what it is meant to. The majority chose Trump. I believe democracy has been given a burden that is too great for it to bear. Democracy is meant to do the “right thing”. Democracy is meant to sustain what elites might view as the correct order of things and it is meant to fix the problems in other nations. Democracy is meant to confirm the populist view and keep all opposing views at bay. Democracy should serve people who are “always right” and continue to keep those on the “margin” disenfranchised. This incredibly clique-ish democracy is a tool for personal interests and not to serve citizens in a stable democracy.

Coming from an African perspective, higher up the social order, democracy is a goal and a condition for development. It is meant to influence growth and ensure the rights of the people are upheld. Democracy and modernity are bedfellows, which is the ideal. There is an inference that democracy should mean the world to all those who have yet to achieve a stable democracy. We should want it bad enough to fight for it but democracy has a different face in different places.

Trevor Noah on Trump

There have been some great presidents but democracy has delivered some duds I must say. Democracy has been disappointing. Yes there is election rigging that is no fault of democracy. However, there is vote buying, black market trading of the vote. In some parts it means very little to be able to have your voice heard through the vote. Some people do not have that romantic view of democracy. It is just another part of the system they have to adopt, another language they have to learn.

Democracy has not failed those who hold that view either. It has not delivered the optimum results because of the conditions it has to operate in.

Stanford University highlights these requirements and even still, these do not guarantee democracy can perform the job it has been asked to do.

We are asking too much of democracy.

  1. We want it work for our views and our values (only)
  2. (We want it to work for our country and make everything better
  3. We want it to work for other countries and make them more like us
  4. We want it to produce only the best candidates (according to us) for democratic elections
  5. We want it to not allow people to sell their vote for essentials or campaign promises
  6. We want it to perform miracles
  7. We want it to be perfect

There is more we ask of democracy that I don’t think alone it can deliver. Democracy is working perfectly fine, we just have to fix our view of it.

 

Feature Image: http://almostfearless.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/IMG_5642_sm.jpg

 

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Hashtag Trends: #LSESAfrica #ThisFlag

The LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs and the Africa Centre organised a public lecture to explore the views of leader of the South Africa opposition on “Protecting South Africa’s Fragile Democracy”. #LSESAfrica was trending according to several sites with top tweets coming from accounts like the @AudienceNet (engaging in the Millennial Dialogue), @alechogg (prominent editor and publisher) and @AfricaInsights (progressive independent not-for-profit think tank) just to mention a few.

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#LSEAfrica continued to populate timelines because the leader of the Democratic Alliance (@our_DA), Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) fortifeid the importance of strong institutions for effective democratic process. He challenged the continued protracted liberation rhetoric, and the need for Africa to be “liberated from the Liberators”. He spoke of how he aims to professionalise the public service, keeping in mind the voter is the principle in this contract.

 

What took the Vetkoek for me was his ideas on leadership (I hope you enjoyed the South African reference). His ideals embodied leadership, African leadership that the continent is hungry for. Mmusi spoke eloqunetly on the value of quality leadership. Leadership that welcomes and expects contraints to ensure effectiveness. This struck a chord personally because as a young African I question my idea of leadership.

As a Master of Public Administration candidate, I am on a course full of leaders. I was personally over-joyed to learn that Mmusi Maimane is himself a Master of Public Administration, it shows. LSE has plenty of opportunities to nurture leaders but the greatest opportunity must be the Programme for African Leaders (PfAL) from the LSE Africa Centre. Its rigor and collaborative nature shapes African leaders that will pave the way for a more democratic Africa.

Another surprising fact about Mmusi is his role as a pastor in South Africa and how that feeds into his political career. After the lecture I asked him about the road from the pulpit to the podium #ThisFlag (the other hashtag trending) that promted me to ask that question. This trend exemplifying voter-led protest, is still trending on all social media platforms and the story was picked up by the Guardian. A pastor’s conviction of the value of his Zimbabwean flag and his question for the government pertinent issues like the then proposed issuing of bond notes into the Zimbabwean economy.

Catch the full heated controversial interview between Evan Mawarire (@PastorEvanLive, leader of the #ThisFlag, and Tafadzwa Musarara, a Zanu-PF loyalist.

Tafadzwa’s main point was how #ThisFalg was highlighting issues and not offering solutions to the problems in Zimbabwe (supported view from Zanu-PF Youths). Evan Mawarire in his rebuttal highlighted that the government has been elected to serve the people of Zimbabwe, they are ther to provide the solutions. As a voter he is merely holding them accountable.

Then the Twitter wars ensued…

 

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Zanu-PF officials hurled insults and even created a counter hashtag #OurFlag to try divert the agency-led momentum but it failed to take hold. #OurFlag even used to share some Union-Jack/#Brexit love on Twitter.

Since then the dialogue has begun and the electorate had a opportunity to address the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on his plans to issue bond notes to the ease liquidity crisis.

From the interview, it seemed Evan Mawarire being a pastor was used to discredit him and I was curious to know Mmusi’s struggles in fostering confidence as the people’s politician when his views can be seen as ‘tainted’ or ‘deminished’ by religion.”It takes personal conviction” Mmusi said to me, after admiting how much it was not easy. I see that strong personal conviction in the #thisflag creator. Both working hard for change, one using opposition-led protest and the other electorate-led protest. Either way, I hope both Evan Mawarire and Mmusi Maimane continue to pave the way for the new breed of leadership to walk the African soil.

More on #LSESAfrica – Protecting South Africa’s Fragile Democracy

Politics in Africa should not be a contestation of people

but a contestation of ideas and ideals

Mmusi touched on why nations fail from his perspective and he stressed the negative impact of public protectors, appointed through ‘cadre employment’, who serve the agenda of the incumbent. He urged the importance of the private sector in the process of nation building, whether it is supporting BEE or land reform. Business can lead the way in solving the problem of inequality. Yes, BEE came up during Q&A and after slight accusations hon DA being vague on the subject, I believe he was direct in outlining their strategies to ensure broad-based economic empowerment. His party’s idea of score-cards will distrupt the patronage practises rife in BEE efforts.

Mmusi Maimane has a firm grip on what he thinks politicians owe the voter. Dr Katie Orkin from Merton College Oxford presented how for voters need politicians to, “build the conviction that their vote matters”. It is the old faithful “mi-trust of politicians”, not just the young, the rural folk, various individuals from various demographics had a dimished trust in the opposition. How could they trust the new kid on the block, since independence results have only ever come from the incumbent party – the ANC.

Dr Orin challenged him on his strategies for targetting rural voters. I believe he was right that the complexity of entrenched patronage newtorks in rural areas makes it difficult to manoevre in the sparsely populated rural towns. He did stick up for the rural youth, saying they are just as politically engaged as any youth from town. (*dancing lady emoji for the gains of the spread of mobile tech to all places in Africa). So for now he will work with the space has been given in the rural space – schools and social media. He prides himself in using his own Twitter handle for more authentic engagement with the electorate.

He had so many wisdom nuggets for enthusiasts and critics alike.. here are some of my favourite (loosely paraphrased) quotes:

~ As a leader, Subject yourself to institutional democracy

~ Democracy should be a transformative process and not a transactive one

~ Property rights require policy posture

I still have questions on crime in South Africa and question how well the DA’s manifesto proposes to address this problem and I wonder about Xenophobia’s rating on the attention scale.

He speaks today at Chatham House: “South Africa’s Opposition: Fostering Debate, Accountability and Good Governance”, my questions will hopefully be addressed and I look forward to joining the debate.

Dalia Deals: Housemaid Horrors, still necessary?

There is currently a search for baby Annabel who was kidnapped by a housemaid in Kenya.

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The horror stories continue after the shocking footage of the Ugandan nanny, ironically named Jolly Tumuhiirwe, tortured a 18 month old baby girl. The video is too shocking to share. These are the stories we know about, there are more heartbreaking episodes that make me wonder should the era of the housemaid stop??

I was brought up by one ‘aunty’ who has lasted the years. Many people are shocked because it’s unheard of. A household could go through up to 6 maids a year because various reasons mainly to do with their personal lives of the workload.

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Captioned – Modern Day Slavery

My mom tells me this story about how her intuition saved the lives of my brother. One brother got burned by the maid by hot porridge. Mum noticed her baby was different and decided to bath her child only to discover burn marks. That maid got fired and mum then decided to wash her baby everyday when she came from work to inspect her child.

These are typical stories with very young children who can’t defend themselves. There are more from children who can speak up for themselves but few know about. I have heard stories of maids trying on teenage girls clothes including underwear but the most damage is done to our young boys.

A very enlightened young man highlighted the point that teenage boys are being taught about sexuality by our housemaids. They learn unhealthy dynamics of relationships from the young housegirls we let into our houses where they are ultimately the boss. For some boys these are the first sexual experiences that both parties are not in a hurry to tell parents. These stories are shared at school and at times shared with fathers who may express pride in their son “growing up”. Is this right? It is inherently child abuse, or paedophilia but there has been no whistle-blowing to date. Then we wonder why society suffers unhealthy relationships, it starts in our homes. How many households are dealing with extramarital affairs with maids? How many sons have impregnated maids?

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The house girl issue is reaching mainstream media.

The impossible housemaid – Kansiime Anne – watch here

The many stories of maids putting juju in the food of their employers or specifically the mother of the house. That strained relationship between ‘madame’ and ‘sisi’ which I believe spurs the violence and misconduct. Some maids are dehumanised and feel somewhat abused by the activities they are asked to do with the amount they get paid. I am especially interested in this housemaid situation because I wrote my dissertarion on the well being of child domestice workers in Egypt, apart of the Gender lens working groups for the 2011 EADI conference, read more here. There is more to the story to those criminalised in the housemaid world. Was Jolly the Ugandan nanny acting out of frustration? Jolly, dubbed the monster maid, was given a chance to say her side of the story..
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She says she was beaten by the dad till she bled… was that called for? More on the story here

Some maids come from backgrounds of difficult circumsaltances, could they actually need some sort of counselling? Does this house girl culture perpetuate poverty? Does it lead to the destruction of society? Should it stop?

Please share your views about this issue that is so close to home for most of us.

Thank you for reading, lets get a-tweeting (@dali_lamah)

Hashtag Trends – #ObamaSpeech

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How could #ObamaSpeech / #SOTU not trend on social media after that ‘mic drop’ moment he presented to us in broad daylight. He is not perfect but he is the man.

President Obama neutralised all haterade when he calmly stated that he has no more campaigns to run because he run both of them. Wait I’m not capturing the moment…

Mic Drop

I do not think we will ever be so inspired by an American president even if he didn’t save the world as he promised. He disappointed us with swagger and we love him for it.

Obama Generation
I have had many conversations with young men today and I realised many of them want to be president of their respective countries in Africa (okay specifically Zimbabwe). It is a confession that I greet with acceptance and suspicion. Why do you want to be president? I have been accused of being a future Zimbabwe State House candidate on numerous occasions but I deny any interest of being Madame President. Not failing in ambition or capability but I recognise where I’m needed most and politics is not the place.

These young men have placed it on their hearts to be the next big man in Zimbabwe and I want to understand their motivation. Do they realise they are not the only potential president elects plotting for the podium? What are your views on this?

Look out for more on this topic – Generation President
Thank you for reading, lets get a-tweeting (@dali_lamah)

Hashtag Trends: Je Suis Charlie, N’oublions Pas Les Victimes de Boko Haram

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It’s not one of the many #jesuischarlie posts, I attack the news agenda. Montreal Gazette have run the story about the solidarity shown worldwide against the horrific killings of 17 people in Paris. In countries around the world many took to the streets for liberty and defiance against extremism. #jesuischarlie was trending.

This hashtag trend article wants to highlight what should be trending next. #NoublionsPasBaga . Montreal Gazette highlighted that while the world was focussed on Paris, the people in Baga, were mercilessly  culled by the extremist group Boko Haram. 2000 people were butchered in the streets, men, women and children, and others drowned trying to escape the massacre. Nothing was mentioned on the news and still nothing has been said. Subsequently the  group continued to kill villages by sending suicide bombers: young girls aged 15 years and 10 years old. They were sent into crowded places to kill more and more innocent people on separate occasions. This is the sin of the news agenda has allowed the extremist groups to win, especially since the Nigerian Army fled the village leaving Boko Haram free reign with the inhabitants there. It is a given, international attention gives governments pressure to act. Read more about it here.

For those who see the horiffic scenes in Baka on social media, we ask where is the press? Where is the solidarity for the people in Baga? We may not share the views of the publication Charlie Hebdo but we share the views of the people in Baga who were not explicitly provacative, education and life is a human right.

Yes, freedom of speech is a right, responsible journalism is expected.
Jounalistes, #NoublionsPasBaga

I could be wrong, please share your views on the matter on the comments section below.

Thank you for reading, lets get a-tweeting (@dali_lamah)

‘Skinny Shamed’ – #MyFatStory

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Katie says she feels “skinny shamed” and I would admit that I understand what that feels like.

I slipped into the tightest jeans I had every owed when I was 12 years old, which hugged the little womanly curves I could muster at that age. I was happy as pie because they were not another of my brothers’ hand-me-down. I had just finished a performance and had to go back to school to get my satchel. I bumped into a school-mate we barely spoke or joked together so a quick ‘sup’ escaped my mouth. She stood in my path to stop me and looked me up and down commenting scornfully at my outfit. “Your legs are so thin, they are actually disgusting.” Time froze as those words sunk in. I don’t know what I muttered to break free and found myself in my class packing up. What happened directly after that I cannot remember (the wonderful job of repression) but I remember I never looked at myself the same again. Till that day I never had an opinion about my body. It was ok, oh wait, I was slightly embarrassed about it because I was ‘an early bloomer’. Other than that I didn’t mind it but had to bury it in oversized clothes… until those jeans. The two legged representation of liberation into a new incarceration. I wanted to gain weight.

I would also make myself ‘protein shakes’ and would drudge through man-size portions to try gain a few but to no avail I would titter around the 45 kg / 7 stone 2 lbs mark. I tried a couple years of gulping raw eggs for added protein to no avail. This caused me to have a strained relationship with food where it served a purpose to help me gain weight not to enjoy. I don’t know which angel told me that my metabolism may be at play and I would not easily gain weight and my mom said she had the same happen to her. So I have been basically the same weight since I was 12 years old. Other that what triggered it, people thinking you are 17 when you are 27 has its affects on relationships, career progression and general mental wellbeing.

So I’m a size 6 (UK size)… alot of people think I shouldn’t complain and that every woman in the world should aim to be that size.

Misconceptions are:

You’re healthier (cholesterol can still be clogging your arteries)
You get nice clothes (most shops start on size 8)
You will get more opportunities (You come across juvenile and inexperienced)
You are more attractive to men (Maybe some)
you get praised in the streets (no one does)
you feel better about yourself (skinny shame is real)

Things only get worse when you are size 6 and woman of colour. In the African context you are a woman when you are curvaceous you are more attractive, fertile and more fortunate. It is so coveted that in parts of the world there are feeding houses for girls so that they gain weight. In Mauritania gavage feeding happens till this day to speed up puberty and speed up marriage. Al Jazeera made a documentary about it.

There are fat houses in Nigeria, although the practise is illegal, where it is considered as a right of passage and an assurance of marriage. Journeyman pictures made a documentary too.

So being African and skinny isn’t the best traditionally and will lead to skinny shame. Being African and a size 6 but with globalisation the idea isn’t as repulsive.

Personally I have given up the fight to gain weight and decided to love me the way I am (cue inspirational music). I do struggle with food and often ‘forget’ to eat until I’m about to pass out. I always say it will change when I have a family. Probably not. Till then.. I need to finish my supper.

Hashtag Trends: #MyFatStory – Hated Katie Hopkins hates fat

Funny how after a season where you a commercially coerced to binge without a thought all the shocking shows about weight gain and morbid obesity are shown all in a row, but I digress.

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Last night #MyFatStory was trending in the UK and the highest rated programme on paid TV last night. The nation tuned in  not because people were moved by an emotional journey of weight loss after weight gain. No. It was the opinionated self-confessed FATTIST voted the second worst person by Vice, after Vladimir Putin, deliberately making herself “fat” (at size 12) to lose it all again to prove that anyone can lose weight.

Katie met her local rugby team in her little 2 piece for body advice (as one does) before the eating challenge.

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We were all shocked at the guys’ reactions and it hit Katie hard.. we can see it on her face.

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Katie met with this American lady and her boyfriend who celebrated her body type. Katie was so rude she was kicked out their house…

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People tuned in and wanted to see her kick off basically. I think we enjoy reacting to someone so brash and rude about other people. Viewers were armed with the controversial quote that she would not hire someone who is over-weight because she wouldn’t ‘keep up’.
Here is an interview of her defending her point of view…

Instead of battling between throwing up or throwing tomatoes at the TV because of her shocking quips but we end up seeing her human side and at times feeling sorry for her.

An emotional video diary entry… have a listen about why she’s whining.

After an intrusive session with a psychologist, she realises that she has issues and that she has been unreasonably harsh on people who struggle with weight issues. We await the second show… not sure what to expect. In my opinion, she looks better with the extra pudge.

Here’s a sneak peek… has Katie met her match?

#MyFatStory is a great hashtag and TLC UK have done a great job with this social media campaign, seems like the first of many to come. I was avidly following the hashtag and the amount of abuse towards Katie because she’s abusive was hard to watch. One person pointed out that as much as Katie is hard to like, people can be ruthless and equally as detestable. Another person confessed that she was watching because she wanted to find out tips about how to gain weight… my deepest secret was revealed. Well I owned this secret by retweeting it. I became undone, it was time for me to face the woman in the mirror and talk about my #MyFatStory…