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"Billionaire Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of SpaceX, sent his Falcon 9 rocket into space early Tuesday morning with an unmanned Dragon capsule after an original mission was aborted over the weekend. How’s he feeling? Extremely relieved. After the rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. at 3.44 a.m., Musk tweeted: “Falcon flew perfectly!! Dragon in orbit, comm locked and solar arrays active!! Feels like a giant weight just came off my back :)”
- Tiffany Hsu, Los Angles Times
He also accused African leaders of conniving with international agencies to impoverish their peoples.
Obasanjo said this at the public presentation of the Africa Human Development Report 2012 in Abuja.
He said, “I don’t like that word, Structural Adjustment, because it was one of the things that killed our agriculture, when the World Bank said we should be structurally adjusted even when we had no structure to adjust.”
He also explained that the report re-echoed what was already public knowledge among Africans.
Obasanjo said, “This report is a damning condemnation of decades of governance in sub-Saharan Africa.
“It tells us what we know that the poverty of Africa is the making of African leaders over the years.
“African leaders have made the option of taking us along the route or path of poverty; we don’t need to be told.”
The former President added, “It also repeats what many of us have said over and over again that the prescription given to us by the International Community is like force feeding a diabetic patient in coma with concentrated liquid sugar.
“I know that because I am a diabetic patient and I run away from sugar.
“In short, this report is an indictment of African and International leadership in the area of African economic development generally but particularly in the area of food production and food and nutrition security in Africa.”
He said for too long, Africa seemed to have encouraged laziness, inefficiency, waste, corruption and leaders at all levels “have got away with murder through poor, inadequate and incompetent performance, what this report is saying is enough is enough Africa”.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Daouda Toure, said the report pointed out two disturbing paradoxes in sub-saharan Africa.
He said, “The paradox is that Africa is not predestined to hunger and malnutrition. Our continent has the lowest occupation of arable land, yet one quarter of the African population is affected by hunger.”
"In compiling the books on this list, the editors at SuperScholar have tried to provide a window into the culture of the last 50 years. Ideally, if you read every book on this list, you will know how we got to where we are today. Not all the books on this list are “great.” The criterion for inclusion was not greatness but INFLUENCE. All the books on this list have been enormously influential." - Super Scholar
1. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958), as the most widely read book in contemporary African literature, focuses on the clash of colonialism, Christianity, and native African culture.
2. Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) reinvented the science fiction genre, making it at once sociologically incisive as well as funny.
3. Robert Atkins’ Dr Atkins’s New Diet Revolution (1992, last edition 2002) launched the low-carbohydrate diet revolution, variants of which continue to be seen in numerous other diet programs.
4. Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion (2006), drawing on his background as an evolutionary theorist to elevate science at the expense of religion, propelled the neo-atheist movement.
5. Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind (1987) set the tone for the questioning of political correctness and the reassertion of a “canon” of Western civilization.
6. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (2003), an entertaining thriller, has been enormously influential in getting people to think that Jesus is not who Christians say he is and that Christianity is all a conspiracy.
7. Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970) transformed the way we view native Americans as they lost their land, lives, and dignity to expanding white social and military pressures.
8. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) more than any other book helped launch the environmental movement.
9. Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures (1957), laying out his ideas of transformational grammar, revolutionized the field of linguistics and at the same time dethroned behaviorism in psychology.
10. Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (1989) set the standard for books on leadership and effectiveness in business.
11. Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box (1996), though roundly rejected by the scientific community, epitomizes the challenge of so-called intelligent design to evolutionary theory and has spawned an enormous literature, both pro and con.
12. Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), in employing evolutionary determinism as a lens for understanding human history, reignited grand history making in the spirit Spengler and Toynbee.
13. Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (1980) examines, in the context of a mystery at a medieval monastery, the key themes of premodernity, modernity and postmodernity.
14. Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning (1962) provides a particularly effective answer to totalitarian attempts to crush the human spirit, showing how humanity can overcome horror and futility through finding meaning and purpose.
15. Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963), in giving expression to the discontent women felt in being confined to the role of homemaker, helped galvanize the women’s movement.
16. Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962) argued that capitalism constitutes a necessary condition for political liberties and thus paved the way for the conservative economics of the Reagan years.
17. Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence (1995) showed clearly how skills in dealing with and reading emotions can be even more important than the cognitive skills that are usually cited as the official reason for career advancement.
18. Jane Goodall’s In the Shadow of Man (1971), in relating her experiences with chimpanzees in the wild, underscored the deep connection between humans and the rest of the animal world.
19. John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992), in highlighting and elevating the differences between men and women in their relationships, challenged the contention that gender differences are socially constructed.
20. Alex Haley’s Roots (1976), by personalizing the tragic history of American slavery through the story of Kunta Kinte, provided a poignant challenge to racism in America.
21. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time (1988, updated and expanded 1998), by one of the age’s great physicists, attempts to answer the big questions of existence, not least how the universe got here.
22. Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (1961) etched into public consciousness a deep skepticism of bureaucracies, which in the book are portrayed as self-serving and soul-destroying.
23. Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962, last edition 1978) changed our view of science from a fully rational enterprise to one fraught with bias and irrational elements.
24. Harold Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good People (1981) transformed people’s view of God, exonerating God of evil by making him less than all-powerful.
25. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) served as prelude to the civil rights advances of the 1960s by portraying race relations from a fresh vantage—the vantage of an innocent child untainted by surrounding racism and bigotry.
26. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), as an example magical realism, epitomizes the renaissance in Latin American literature.
27. Alasdair McIntyre’s After Virtue (1981, last edition 2007) is one of the 20th century’s most important works of moral philosophy, critiquing the rationalism and irrationalism that pervade modern moral discourse.
28. Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved (1987) provides a profound and moving reflection on the impact of American slavery.
29. Abdul Rahman Munif’s Cities of Salt (1984-89) is a quintet of novels in Arabic focusing on the psychological, sociological, and economic impact on the Middle East of oil.
30. Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed> (1965), attacking car industry’s lax safety standards, not only improved the safety of cars but also mainstreamed consumer protection (we take such protections for granted now).
31. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks’ The 9/11 Commission Report (2004), though not the final statement on the 9/11 disaster, encapsulated the broader threat of terrorism in the new millennium.
32. Roger Penrose’s The Emperor’s New Mind (1988) provides a sweeping view of 20th century’s scientific advances while at the same time challenging the reductionism prevalent among many scientists.
33. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957) has become a key inspiration for conservative economics in challenging entitlements and promoting unimpeded markets.
34. John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice (1971, last edition 1999) is the most significant effort to date to resolve the problem of distributive justice and has formed the backdrop for public policy debates.
35. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series (seven volumes, 1997-2007), loved by children, panned by many literary critics, has nonetheless set the standard for contemporary children’s literature.
36. Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988), which led Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a death edict (fatwa) against Rushdie, underscored the clash between Islamic fundamentalism and Western civilization.
37. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (1980), based on his wildly popular PBS series by the same name, inspired widespread interest in science while promoting the idea that nothing beyond the cosmos exists.
38. Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation (2001) details the massive impact that the U.S. fast food industry has had on people’s diets not just in the U.S. but also across the globe.
39. Amartya Sen’s Resources, Values and Development (1984, last edition 1997) develops an approach to economics that, instead of focusing on utility maximization, attempts to alleviate human suffering by redressing the poverty that results from economic mismanagement.
40. B. F. Skinner’s Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) attacked free will and moral autonomy in an effort to justify the use of scientific (behavioral) methods in improving socie
41. Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago (in three volumes, 1974-78) relentlessly exposed the totalitarian oppression of the former Soviet Union and, more than any other book, was responsible for its government’s subsequent dissolution.
42. Hernando de Soto’s The Mystery of Capitalism (2000) argues that the absence of legal infrastructure, especially as it relates to property, is the key reason that capitalism fails when it does fail.
43. Benjamin Spock’s The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946, last edition 2004) sold 50 million copies and revolutionized how Americans raise their children
44. Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan (2007, last edition 2010) provides the most trenchant critique to date of the financial and monetary backdrop to the current economic crisis.
45. Mao Tse-tung’s The Little Red Book, aka Quotations From Chairman Mao (1966) was required reading throughout China and epitomized his political and social philosophy
46. Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life (2002), though addressed to the American evangelical culture, has crossed boundaries and even led to Warren giving the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration.
47. James D. Watson’s The Double Helix (1969), in presenting a personal account of his discovery, with Francis Crick, of the structure of DNA, not only recounted one of the 20th century’s greatest scientific discoveries but also showed how science, as a human enterprise, really works.
48. E. O. Wilson’s Sociobiology (1975) challenged the idea that cultural evolution can be decoupled from biological evolution, thus engendering the fields of evolutionary psychology and evolutionary ethics.
49. Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), written posthumously by Alex Haley from interviews, portrays a complex activist for human rights at a complex time in American history.
50. Muhammad Yunus’ Banker to the Poor (1999, last edition 2007) lays out how “micro-lending” made it possible to provide credit to the poor, thereby offering a viable way to significantly diminish world poverty.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stoked a volatile debate about refugees and migrant workers from Africa, warning that “illegal infiltrators flooding the country” were threatening the security and identity of the Jewish state.
“If we don’t stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60 000 could grow to 600 000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state,” Netanyahu said at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. “This phenomenon is very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity.” Israel’s population is 7.8-million.
His comments follow media reports of rising crime, including two gang rapes, in southern Tel Aviv, where many African migrants are concentrated.
Micky Rosenfeld, spokesperson for the Israeli police, said the overall crime rate in Israel had fallen.
There had been one alleged rape of a teenage girl connected to the migrant community, for which three suspects were in custody, he added.
Yohanan Danino, the Israeli police chief, said migrants should be permitted to work to discourage petty crime. Nearly all are unable to work legally and live in overcrowded and impoverished conditions. “The community needs to be supported in order to prevent economic and social problems,” said Rosenfeld.
But Interior Minister Eli Yishai rejected such a move, saying: “Why should we provide them with jobs? I’m sick of the bleeding hearts, including politicians. Jobs would settle them here, they’ll make babies and that offer will only result in hundreds of thousands more coming over here.”
Yishai repeated an earlier call for all migrants to be jailed pending deportation. “I want everyone to be able to walk the streets without fear or trepidation ... The migrants are giving birth to hundreds of thousands and the Zionist dream is dying,” he told Army Radio. Last week he said most migrants were involved in criminal activity.
Israeli youths wave Israeli flags during a march celebrating Jerusalem Day in front Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City. (AP)
According to police data quoted by the Hotline for Migrant Workers, the crime rate among foreigners in Israel was 2.04% in 2010, compared with 4.99% among Israelis.
More than 13 500 people entered Israel illegally in 2010, of whom almost two-thirds were Eritrean and one-third were Sudanese. Three were granted refugee status by Israel, rising to six last year. Human rights organisations say more than 50 000 asylum seekers and migrants have entered Israel illegally since 2005.
Most are smuggled across the Israel-Egypt border by Bedouin tribesmen. Israel is constructing a vast steel fence through 150 miles of the Sinai desert as a deterrent to people-trafficking and the smuggling of drugs and weapons. The barrier would be completed, bar one small section, by October, Netanyahu said.
Spate of attacks
Israel is also constructing the world’s largest detention centre for asylum-seekers and illegal migrants, capable of holding 11 000 people. The £58-million building, close to the border, will receive its first detainees by the end of the year.
Netanyahu said the state would embark on “the physical withdrawal” of migrants, despite fears among human rights organisations about the dangers they could face in their home countries. Yishai said: “I’m not responsible for what happens in Eritrea and Sudan, the UN is.”
As tensions rise in cities with relatively high African populations, the past month has seen a spate of attacks on buildings in south Tel Aviv that house asylum seekers and migrant workers. In one incident, a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the courtyard of a kindergarten. NGOs working with migrants have also received abusive and threatening calls.
Amid the anti-immigration clamour, some Israelis have argued that, in the light of Jewish history, their state should be sympathetic and welcoming to those fleeing persecution. – © Guardian News and Media 2012.
HARRIET SHERWOOD writes for Mail & Guardian, South Africa.
Business executives from agricultural giants such as DuPont and Monsanto will join Obama, along with the leaders of three African countries who have pledged policy changes that U.S. officials say will improve business climates and encourage investment.
“We believe we’re really unlocking business investment in African agriculture in a way that will transform that sector and support improved outcomes for small farmers,” said Raj Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The plan comes as aid groups are calling on the U.S. and members of the G-8 nations gathering Friday at Camp David to renew a pledge they made at their 2009 summit to spend $22 billion on efforts to alleviate global hunger. Advocates said they hoped the largely private effort would complement, not replace, a public commitment from the countries, which gather amid worries over the troubled European economy.
“We welcome a more robust private presence, but it can’t be an excuse for the G-8 to slow down and stop public investments,” said Adam Taylor, the vice president of advocacy for World Vision, a U.S.-based Christian aid agency. “We’re hopeful the G-8 will demonstrate the political will.”
Obama administration officials said the U.S. would look at the summit to keep the same level of commitment as agreed to in 2009.
“It’s not about replacing aid, it’s about combining aid with private capital and tools for innovation,” said Michael Froman, the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.
Shah said the U.S. thought that a significant public-sector commitment was required, but he said the private companies were able to share “incredibly unique technologies and business models that simply can’t be replicated” by the public sector.
He said, for example, that the United Kingdom telecommunications company Vodafone planned to connect 500,000 small-scale farmers in Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya with local market prices via mobile phone, allowing them to negotiate for better prices.
“It’s highly unlikely that there’s a public-sector solution that could fill that gap,” Shah said. Another company, Norway’s Yara International, plans to build what would be Africa’s first fertilizer-production facility. “We need both public and private partnership in order to achieve these extraordinary results,” he said.
Obama, who pressed world leaders at the 2009 summit to make food security a focus, has invited the leaders of Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia to attend the Camp David summit, along with African Union President Yayi Boni of Benin.
The program includes investments from as many 45 companies worth as much as $3 billion, Shah said. The plans call for improving and increasing the production of crops such as cashew and cassava, along with improving irrigation systems and seed stock.
Participants include multinational giants such as Cargill, Monsanto, DuPont and the British brewer SABMiller, along with African companies such as Ghana Nuts and Agrica/KPL, a commercial rice producer in Tanzania.
Aid groups expressed concern about the emphasis on the private sector, saying the neediest subsistence farmers could be overlooked.
“The rhetoric is all about small-scale producers, but they haven’t yet been a part of the G-8’s conversation,” Oxfam’s Lamine Ndiaye said.
Ndiaye said that without a strong commitment from government, private investment was unlikely to help the smallest farmers, who feed the bulk of the continent.
“Their objective is not to fight against hunger; their objective is to make money,” he said of private-sector companies. “If the foundation is not strong, the private sector will probably not come.”
Shah said the private partnership took into account a “tough fiscal environment” for the U.S. and the other G-8 countries and that the plan allowed for extending dollars “as far as possible.”
“We know these types of partnerships tend to stretch our dollars,” he said. “If we’re ever going to succeed in tackling hunger and poverty on a scale like this, it’s going to be through these kinds of partnerships.”
He said the plan included a commitment to tracking the results: “Instead of doing scattered projects all over the place, we’re really focusing on a handful of countries,” he said.
Shah noted that the 2009 G-8 commitment had netted results, but that chronic hunger still exists. A drought in east Africa last year put 13 million people at risk and prompted a massive infusion of food aid and emergency humanitarian assistance.
“We’re trying to move to a proactive effort that helps countries modernize their food economies, address malnutrition and withstand difficult instances so they don’t need food aid and food assistance,” he said.
The presidents of Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana have agreed to policy changes aimed at improving the business climate, Shah said, such as tackling corruption and reforming access to landownership.
The reforms vary by country, Shah said. For example, in Ethiopia, reforms will allow more private-sector access to land and better titling of land, especially for female farmers, who represent more than half the farmers in Africa. Knowing they have legal title to their land could give small farmers the security to invest in upgrading their irrigation systems and soil, Shah said.
“We believe those kinds of reforms will help hundreds of thousands of small holder farmers improve their standing,” he said.
Speaking the minds of his colleagues at the opening session of the meeting, chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, and Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu said the northern governors, this time around, will not allow what happened in 2011 to repeat itself in 2015 as they will unite against candidates from the south.
According to Governor Aliyu, "we must be united more than ever to go into the 2015 elections as one entity with the aim of producing the president". He then advised all governors and politicians in the north to remain focused and pursue issues of development rather than trivial issues that have led to the retrogression of the region in recent years.
Meanwhile, following the war of words between former head of state, and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, General Muhammadu Buhari and the presidency over the general prediction of a bloodbath should the 2015 election be rigged, the forum admonished political leaders in the country to be cautious about their comments on important national issues that may polarise the country.
In a communique issued after the meeting, the forum said, "we want to caution eminent Nigerians against inflammatory statements capable of affecting our fragile unity and security. We must be concerned about the unity and development of the country in all ramifications"
Chairman of the Forum, Babangida Aliyu who was asked by newsmen after he had read the communiqué to state the position of the forum on the comment credited to Gen. Mohammed Buhari had this to say: "May be those who may be too concerned have not looked at what other eminent Nigerians have been talking about. I saw one that said Nigeria is going to be Somalianized; I saw another one who has been talking like there would be war tomorrow. So, for me, that statement should be taken on its own value - do not go and do bad election.
" I think that is the whole thing I will take there. All of us who are involved in elections, political parties, contestants and voters themselves, we must all be careful about what we say. But, again, like I said certain people in that position, certain vocabularies they use should be chosen carefully. So, both ways let's take it on our own stride and ensure that future elections are seen to be transparent and are seen to be good", he said.
On security in the North, the communiqué reads: "The level of insecurity in the northern states is alarming. The forum resolved to intensify efforts to find lasting solutions to the problems by reaching out to all stakeholders".
On the major economic issues affecting the northern states, the communiqué said various committees have been set up to address them accordingly. The committees have been set up on agriculture, Textile industries and the New Nigeria Newspapers whose workers have been on strike for more than three months.
Speaking before the commencement of the meeting, Muazu Babangida Aliyu stated that the Northern governors would stake their mandates together as a united team in 2015..
He however noted that 2015 was still too far to become the main topic of discussion among serious elected leaders.
Maslow suggests that people are motivated to fulfill fundamental needs before moving on to more advanced ones. According to Abraham Maslow, security of body, property and resources are the most basic of human needs.
Therefore, it is only when people have a good sense of safety and security that they are motivated to pursue other goals. Even in this day and age, Maslow's theory remains valid in any discussions about human developmental psychology.
In fact, this is why the primary duty of any government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens. When a government fails in this primary duty, it lacks the moral legitimacy to continue in other aspects of governance. As such, a state is characterized as having failed when the government fails to protect its citizens, or when a sense of relative safety is no longer felt by its people.
While it may be an exaggeration to argue that Nigeria has become a failed state, in May of 2011 the Fund for Peace, a Washington DC-based non-profit research and educational institution, issued a stern warning indicating that Nigeria is on the verge of being a completely failed state based on safety issues.
Yet many Nigerians presume that Nigeria is as safe as any other nation in the world. This presumption seems valid if you consider events like September 11, 2001. On this day, al - Qaeda succeeded in killing more than 3000 Americans in a single attack. Consider also that on July 7, 2005, Islamic home-grown terrorists detonated bombs, in three quick successions, aboard London Underground trains.
A fourth bomb was detonated on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two people were killed, 700 others were injured. Since these attacks, many more terrorist attacks have happened in other parts of the world. The United States and Britain also struggle with domestic crimes, just like the ones we see in Nigeria. So, terrorism and crime are not peculiar to Nigeria.
Perhaps, it is under the same presumption that President Jonathan announced to the world that Nigeria is a safe place for travel and business. He made the announcement in the wake of a Boko Haram attack on December 25, 2011, in which more than 42 Nigerians were killed in Madalla near Abuja. Even after the President's announcement, the world still does not perceive Nigeria as a relatively safe place for travel and business. In fact, the CIA continues to issue alerts to American citizens travelling to Nigeria.
In saying that Nigeria is safe for travel and business, President Jonathan assumes that safety is exclusively the absence of terrorism or crimes. It makes me wonder if President Jonathan actually knows that a collective sense of safety is primarily a measure of trust in the system. For instance, a sense of safety exists in the United States and Britain because people trust that the emergency systems are well-equipped to work in cases like September 11, 2001 and July 7, 2005, respectively.
For the world to agree with the President that Nigeria is safe for travel and business, there must be well-equipped emergency response systems put in place. For instance, the hospitals should be equipped with modern infrastructures and well-trained personnel. The police and fire services should also be ready to respond with precision and professionalism to emergency situations. But the irony is that no country that is as corrupt as Nigeria can afford modern infrastructures for hospitals, police, and the emergency response system required to deal with sophisticated terrorist plots. This is why the world sees Nigeria as unsafe for travel and business, despite the President's appeal.
If we dig deeply into the security issues Nigeria faces as a nation, it is more meaningful for Nigerians to have a sense of safety. Only then can anyone make the argument to the rest of the world that Nigeria is safe for travel and business. The high walls around houses and the personal use of the police by those who can afford it is an indication that Nigerians do not feel safe. In fact, these are the first things that any visitor to Nigeria observes. The reason Nigerians build high walls and use the police as a private security force is the same reason they are inclined toward jungle justice. It is because the police have failed in their duty to protect and serve, and the courts have failed in dispensing justice.
While it is important to stop crimes before they happen, protecting citizens is not necessarily the absence of crime. Protecting citizens extends to what happens after a crime is committed. When the police take bribes and fail to solve a crime, when Nigerians are being kidnapped without any serious effort by authorities to get to the root of it, and when judges fail to dispense justice without bias people's sense of safety is eroded.
Americans have a sense of safety not because they live in a crime-free society, but because they are confident that when a crime is committed the authorities will get to the root of it even if the crime is committed against the most deprived citizen. They also trust that the justice system will take its course.
To sum it up, in today's world when no country is immune from terrorism and crime, fulfilling the need for safety - the most fundamental human need - means having a rapid and well- equipped emergency response system. It also means the ability to solve crimes and dispense justice.
Mr. HAMILTON ODUNZE, a media consultant, wrote from USA.
In a 10-minute conversation with Christiane Amanpour, De Klerk provided a callous defense of the very apartheid system he once helped dismantle. He refused to agree with Amanpour that apartheid was “morally repugnant.” Instead he insisted it had been designed simply to ensure that different groups could live peacefully apart and then had happened to fail in practice. Blacks were not disenfranchised back then, he said. They got to vote in their “homeland reserves,” and the central government looked after them well.
“If only the developed world would put so much money into Africa, which is struggling with poverty, as we poured into those homelands,” De Klerk ventured. “How many universities were built? How many schools?”
So much for that Nobel Peace Prize he shared with Nelson Mandela in 1993. Even before the CNN interview, De Klerk’s legacy was somewhat fragile. Many South Africans, including historians, have wondered whether his role in the transition from apartheid to democracy was really motivated by a sincere commitment to justice and reconciliation. Some believe he was just opportunistic: sensing that apartheid had become politically and economically untenable, he thought it would be strategically savvy to relinquish control then, retire and enjoy the wealth that white South Africans like him had accumulated through the exploitation of the black majority.
De Klerk’s attempt last week to justify apartheid as, in effect, a morally neutral project that somehow went awry is breathtakingly callous. Apartheid was intrinsically morally odious. It was premised on a white supremacist ideology and the conviction that blacks, being inferior to whites and subhuman, did not deserve to be politically or economically integrated in white-minority-ruled South Africa.
FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela at a photocall on Wednesday, May 2, 1990 in Cape Town. Photograph: Denis Farrell/Associated Press
De Klerk’s outrageous views don’t just shatter his legacy; they also undermine ongoing national reconciliation efforts. South Africans are still learning to rid themselves of racial prejudice and racial mistrust. De Klerk’s remarks will feed latent feelings among many blacks that whites are still unable to acknowledge past injustices.
The upshot of this disastrous interview is clear: you can only mask your true political colors for so long. When he helped end apartheid, De Klerk may have been politically shrewd, but he was not morally upstanding.
Eusebius McKaiser is a political analyst at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa.
(CNN) -- Under fire for his comments on apartheid, former South African President F.W. de Klerk clarified his position again Wednesday, saying that he repudiates the system of racial segregation as unacceptable.
"I have no residual belief in, or attachment to, separate development," de Klerk told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
"Whatever the intentions may have been, I concluded many years ago that apartheid had failed, that it was unacceptable and offensive, and that it had resulted in manifest injustice."
Many South Africans say they have waited for their former president, who helped dismantle apartheid and give rise to Nelson Mandela's presidency, to renounce the brutal period of their nation's history.
CNN offered that opportunity to de Klerk last week.
In the original CNN interview, de Klerk would not back off his belief in the validity of the concept of "separate but equal" nation states.
"I'm offering you the opportunity as the person who helped dismantle apartheid to say whether or not you believed that it was also morally repugnant, today, in retrospect," Amanpour said.
De Klerk repudiated the effects of apartheid, but not the concept.
"I can only say that in a qualified way," de Klerk said. "In as much as it trampled human rights, it was -- and remains, and that I've said also publicly -- morally indefensible. There were many aspects which are morally indefensible."
The qualified statement drew criticism on Twitter and in South African and international media.
"I don't apologize for saying that what drove me as a young man, before I decided we need to embrace a new vision, was a quest to bring justice for black South Africans in a way which would not -- that's what I believed then -- destroy the justice to which my people were entitled," de Klerk said last week on CNN. "My people, whose self-determination (was) taken away by colonial power in the Anglo-Boer War."
And De Klerk's foundation said the former president's initial remarks on CNN had been taken out of context.
"The F.W. de Klerk Foundation regrets that the comments that F.W, de Klerk made in his recent interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN have been taken so unfairly out of context," the foundation said in a statement last Friday.
"The question that she asked related to the policies that he had supported when he was a young man -- and his reply centered on his view that, though idealistic at the time, they had resulted in the unacceptable injustices of apartheid," the foundation said.
De Klerk, 76, shared the 1933 Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela, 93, for their efforts to abolish apartheid. Following the remarks, critics have called for de Klerk to be stripped of the honor.
De Klerk told CNN that he and Mandela have been "close friends."
"Not the closest in the sense that we see each other once a week," he said. "But he's been in my home as a guest. I've been in his home as a guest. When I go to Johannesburg, my wife and I will have tea with him and Graca, his wife.
"There is no animosity left between us," he said.
However, his opinion on the African National Congress, South Africa's governing party once led by Mandela, was less kind.
The ANC, de Klerk said, has wielded too much power and its leaders have lost their "moral compass."
At the on-going World Economic Forum at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the Nigerian minister of finance, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala spoke to Wall Street Journal on the country’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF). She confirmed that $1 Billion was withdrawn from Excess Crude Account and was used as seed money to establish Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund.
The Excess Crude Account was also the source for funding of fuel subsidy. The government of President Jonathan made an attempt to completely remove fuel subsidy in order to replenish the account. The idea was to divert the fund from subsidy into upgrading and providing of the badly needed infrastructure in the country. Nigerians have been living with inadequate electric power supply, bad roads, defective health facilities and poorly equipped schools. By establishing a sovereign wealth fund, the set aside fund will be prudently invested and the returns put to a good use in building social amenities, but also as a bulwark against a rainy day. Moreover Nigeria’s oil reserve will not last forever; at least a reasonable and quantifiable wealth will be left for future generations of Nigerians.
According to Wall Street Journal, “Nigeria's $1 billion The sovereign-wealth fund will be overseen by a governing council, made up of members of civil society including representatives from media and academics, that will review its decisions to ensure that the money is transparently invested, she said. is set to start operating in the next few months, said the country's finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in what would mark a crucial step to help the government finance the revamping of its ramshackle roads and power grids… The sovereign-wealth fund will be overseen by a governing council, made up of members of civil society including representatives from media and academics, that will review its decisions to ensure that the money is transparently invested, she said.”
With Okonjo-Iweala at helm of affairs, she racks in the credibility that will make the project sustainable. The most important thing is to ensure that operation of the sovereign-wealth fund will be efficiently managed and be grounded in transparency. To make the public to be aware of the running of the fund, it may be necessary for the administration to lunch a website that is accessible to Nigerians. The website will delineate and show transactions, investments and returns coming from the sovereign-wealth fund.
Achieving Transparency through checks and Balances
For Nigeria to successfully manage her sovereign-wealth fund, transparency and probity must be underpinning tools that must be present. Transparency is doable and possible when responsible and patriotic Nigerians are called to duty to serve their fatherland by partaking in the running and managing of the fund. The management team will not be isolated to the country’s elite but by casting a wide net many Nigerians from all walks of life will be recruited. From business executives, experts, students, labour Union to market women. It is important that this is done in order to clamp down on cynicism while prompting and enhancing trust. Gathering of Nigerians from sectors of the economy will be an antidote to intellectual laziness which is prevailing among the country’s elite.
Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol, wrote, “Transparency is an important foundation on having and managing a corrupt free sovereign wealth fund (SWF). It is essential that transparency and probity will be the guiding light to our country as we invest our money with the returns to create more wealth. First and foremost, capable men and women of integrity will run and manage the SWF. Some people are so bearish and cynical on Nigeria that they think that Nigerians are devoid of honesty, uprightness and integrity. But the truth is that Nigeria has good men and women who are patriots and will do a good job for our beloved Nigeria. Transparency must be self evident in the sense that it will be open to the public and anybody can be able to access information on the investments and returns.”
Chiakwelu further stated: “The presidency should set up a committee of experts to manage the wealth fund. The Minister of Finance or the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria may head the committee. The presidency may decide to step outside the confines of the government and appoint nongovernmental bureaucrat to head a commission. But whatever the case might be, by the nature of their roles – minister of finance and governor of the central bank will play active roles in the management of the SWF. It is essential that the committee must comprise of Nigerians from all walks of life including the average Nigerian trader and market women to university professor and government bureaucrats. This is important in order to involve the Nigerian society as partakers and watchdogs. SWF can work for Nigeria when properly managed with transparency and probity.”
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a woman of integrity and she will do a good job in assembling men and women of goodwill to manage Nigeria’s sovereign-wealth. One advice for her is to hold her grip firmly on the door knob in order to make sure that unnecessary pressurized intrusion will not obstruct this golden opportunity for Nigeria.