Sunday Nation (Kenya)
In Kenya’s Sunday Nation there’s an excellent opinion piece by Ken Kamoche about the crisis in Zimbabwe. He starts by talking about the Chinese arms shipment to Robert Mugabe’s regime, saying it shows up a disturbing insensitivity and lack of understanding on the part of the Chinese – “it beggars belief how anyone in China could have expected the incident to pass unnoticed,” he says. The author is thankful that South African workers have refused to let it through.
Kamoche then moves on to give a damning account of Robert Mugabe and his desperate efforts to cling to power, dismantling some of his own arguments in quite a witty way, applying business school logic to the situation: the very fact that Mugabe thinks there’s no-one even in his own party who could successfully take over from him is an indictment of his own inability to nurture talent – which is in itself a leadership failing.
Kamoche also says Zimbabwe has gone from being the breadbasket of Africa to its basket case, before saying more seriously that any African who turns a blind eye to the situation in Zimbabwe “stands accused of complicity in the dehumanization of fellow Africans” – implicitly pointing the finger in particular at South African President Thabo Mbeki, who’s refusal to speak out against his neighbour, Mugabe, is drawing increasing criticism at home and abroad.
Aujourd’hui en France (France)
What do Martinicans dream of?
The French paper Aujourd’hui en France (known as Le Parisien in the Paris region) visits the island of Martinique to see how the Caribbean Overseas Department is doing as it mourns the death of its most famous son, Aimé Césaire, whose funeral took place last week.
The newspaper features an interview with the poet’s successor as mayor of the capital Fort-de-France, Serge Letchimy. His party favours autonomy for the island, but not independence; a view that seems to be shared by most. Martinique of course has a much weaker economy than the rest of France. Figures provided by Aujourd’hui en France highlight the gap: the island has an unemployment rate of 22 percent; its economy, particularly banana cultivations, was hit badly by hurricane Dean last year.
For the young students interviewed by the paper, Martinique still needs France. They say they’re proud to be Martinican but also proud to be French, and if they went to finish their studies in mainland France or abroad, they’d definitely return to Martinique to try and contribute to the island’s development.
Sunday Times (UK)
Every year the Sunday Tmes publishes it’s rich list, detailing the fortunes of the richest people in Britain. Today, Lakshmi Mittal is ahead by a country mile. The steel magnate is the sixth wealthiest man in the world, and with 27.7 billion pounds, his fortune is more than double that of the next person on the British list: Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich. The list for Britain is chocked full of foreign names, which I suppose reflects at once British multiculturalism… and British tax policy.
Independent on Sunday (UK)
The Independent on Sunday, however, thinks all this celebration of wealth is in rather bad taste. Let’s talk about happiness, not money, says the paper, and it’s compiled a list of the hundred people in Britain who’ve done most to contribute to the happiness of others.
It’s rather a hard thing to calculate I think, but you’ve got for example Henry Allingham, a WW1 veteran and Britain’s oldest man at 111… alongside a 16-year-old cancer sufferer who’s written a heartening book about how to deal with cancer when you’re a kid. The list ranges from anonymous charity workers to apparently generous-hearted famous people, such as the painter David Hockney, and JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, who enjoys the honour of appearing on both lists.