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José Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s former 38 year dictator dies aged 79

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José Eduardo dos Santos (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈzɛ eˈðwaɾðu dus ˈsɐ̃tuʃ]; 28 August 1942 – 8 July 2022), was an Angolan politician.

Who served as the president of Angola from 1979 to 2017. As President, José Eduardo dos Santos was also the commander in chief of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA).

And President of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The party that has ruled Angola since it gained independence in 1975.

Second longest serving President.

He was the second-longest-serving president in Africa, surpassed only by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea. Who took power less than two months before dos Santos.

Dos Santos joined the MPLA, then an anti-colonial movement, while still in school. And earned degrees in petroleum engineering and radar communications while studying in the Soviet Union.

He fought for the MPLA during the Angolan War of Independence. Which became the sole legal party after the country’s independence in 1975.

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Marxism – Leninism

And adopted Marxism-Leninism as its ideology. He then held several positions, including Minister of Foreign Affairs, during the rule of the country’s first president, Agostinho Neto.

Following Neto’s death in 1979, dos Santos was elected the country’s new president. Inheriting a civil war against Western-backed anti-communist rebels.

Most notably, UNITA, while himself being supported by the Second World. By 1991, his government agreed with rebels to introduce a multi-party system.

MPLA’s Ideology

While changing the MPLA’s ideology from communism to social democracy. He was elected president in the 1992 Angolan general election.

Over UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, and presided over free-market economic liberalization and the development of the country’s oil sector.

In 1996, he contributed to a rebel invasion of neighboring Zaire during the First Congo War, leading to the overthrow of UNITA ally Mobutu Sese Seko.

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Installation of Laurent-Désiré Kabila

And the installation of Laurent-Désiré Kabila as President in 1997. During the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003, he supported Kabila’s government.

And later that of his son Joseph against several rebel groups allied with UNITA. The MPLA achieved victory in the Angolan Civil War in 2002 following Savimbi’s death.

After winning a second presidential term in the 2012 election, he retired from the presidency in 2017. And was succeeded by João Lourenço in the 2017 Angolan general election.

Controversial Figure

A controversial figure, dos Santos has received many international awards for his commitment to anti-colonialism.

And promotion of peace negotiations with rebels to end wars and has also been praised for developing Angola’s economy and attracting significant foreign investment.

He has simultaneously been criticized as a dictator accused of creating one of the most corrupt regimes in Africa, with a deeply-entrenched patronage network.

Death

Dos Santos died on 8th July 2022, aged 79, in a Spain hospital.

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Japanese Fashion Designer Issey Miyake Has Died

Miyake died of liver cancer.

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Renowned avant-garde fashion designer and innovator Issey Miyake has died in hospital in Tokyo aged 84. Miyake rose to prominence in the 1970s, with his work over the years defined by technology-driven designs, bold, colorful styles and origami-like pleats – the latter of which earned him the title ‘Prince of Pleats’.

The visionary designer founded the Miyake Design Studio in 1970 and went on to create a range of fashion lines as well as fragrances. Miyake’s designs have been worn by the likes of Miles Davis and Grace Jones and he was responsible for Apple founder Steve Jobs’ signature turtleneck sweaters. Although he officially retired from fashion in 1997 he continued to oversee the creative direction of his company’s fashion lines.

Miyake defined an era in Japan’s modern history, reaching stardom in the 1970s among a generation of designers and artists who reached global fame by defining a Japanese vision that was unique from the West.

He also used computer technology in weaving to create apparel. His down-to-earth clothing was meant to celebrate the human body regardless of race, build, size or age.

See also:https://thebigissue.co.ke/timberland-the-billion-dollar-shoe-company/

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Who is Rigathi Gachagua ?Kenya Kwanza’s second in command

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Rigathi Gachagua is a Kenyan politician and the current member of parliament for Mathira Constituency.

He is also the running mate for Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate William Ruto for Kenya’s presidential elections set for August 2022.

He was born in 1965 in Hiriga village of Mathira Constituency, Nyeri County. Being the eighth born child to Nashashon Gachagua Reriani and Martha Kirigo.

His association with Mau Mau Freedom Fighters

His parents were Mau Mau freedom fighters in Mt.Kenya forest. Where Nashashon Gachagua Reriani was building and servicing guns for the freedom fighters.

Education

He enrolled at Kabiruini Primary School from 1971 to 1977 before proceeding to Kianyaga High School. For his O-levels and A-levels.

In 1985, he joined the University of Nairobi, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Political Science and Literature in 1988.

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Nyeri District University Students Association

At the University of Nairobi, Gachagua was the Nyeri District University Students Association (Ndusa) leader and the chairman of The Association of Literature Students. Married to Dorcas Wanjiku Rigathi, a pastor based in Mathira.

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Ministry of Home Affairs & National Heritage

After graduating, Gachagua was employed for a short time at Kenya’s Ministry of Home Affairs & National Heritage before he joined Administration Police Institute in 1990.

After graduating from the Administration Police Institute, Gachagua was posted at the Office of the then president Daniel Arap Moi as a District Officer Cadet between 1991 and 1992.

Gachagua then served as a District Officer in Kakamega, Ng’arua, and Laikipia districts.

Kenya School of Government

From 1999 and 2000, he joined the Kenya School of Government, where he graduated with a Diploma in Advanced Public Administration.

Starting 2001 to 2006, Gachagua then worked as the Personal Assistant to Uhuru Kenyatta, the current President of the Republic of Kenya.

For ten years, from 2007 to 2017, Gachagua remained behind the scenes running his businesses.

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Member of Parliament

In 2017 Gachagua won elections as a Kenyan member of parliament for the Mathira constituency. He is the running mate to UDA presidential candidate William Ruto since the 15th of May 2022 under Kenya Kwanza political coalition.

Others who were eyeing the same position included Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Kandara MP Alice Wahome, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

Rigathi has chequered past with pending court cases over alleged cases of misappropriation of government funds.

Read more at https://thebigissue.co.ke

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Sri Lankan Economic Crisis 2019 to 2022. Reason for President’s resignation.

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The Sri Lankan economic crisis is an ongoing crisis in the island-state of Sri Lanka. It started in 2019 and it is the country’s worst economic crisis, since its independence in 1948.

It has led to unprecedented levels of inflation, near-depletion of foreign exchange reserves, shortages of medical supplies and an increase in prices of basic commodities.

The crisis begun due to multiple compounding factors like money creation. A nationwide policy to shift to organic or biological farming.

Easter Bombings in Sri Lanka – 2019

The Easter bombings in 2019, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The subsequent economic hardships resulted in the 2022 Sri Lankan protests.

Sri Lanka was earmarked for sovereign default, as the remaining foreign exchange reserves of US$1.9 billion as of March 2022 were minimal.

They would not be sufficient to pay the country’s foreign debt obligations for 2022, with US$4 billion to be repaid.

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International Sovereign Bond

An International Sovereign Bond repayment of US$1 billion is due for repayment by the government in July 2022.

Bloomberg reported that Sri Lanka had a total of US$8.6 billion in repayments due in 2022. Including both local debt and foreign debt.

In April 2022, the Sri Lankan government announced that it was defaulting. Making it the first sovereign default in Sri Lankan history since its independence in 1948.

Sovereign Default

And the first state in the Asia-Pacific region to enter sovereign default in the 21st century. In June 2022, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in parliament, that the economy had collapsed, leaving it unable to pay for essentials.

According to W. A. Wijewardena, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the country was a long way into an economic crisis in 2015.

The government which came into power in 2015 knew this. And had been warned by the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka about a number of risks.

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

In 2015, the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presented a strong economic policy to address the situation.

The coalition government could not get the policy pushed through Parliament. Which would eventually result in further policy confusion in the coming months.

The government did not adequately address the economic warnings. And emerging dangers, consuming itself in other government related activities such as “constitutional reforms”.

Ministry of Finance led by Ravi Karunanayake

Certain practices, including those used by the Ministry of Finance led by Ravi Karunanayake, were globally frowned upon.

Election related economic decisions were pushed. Such as excessive distribution of freebies. The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka’s 2014 State of the Economy Report highlighted.

Hot money, worrying borrowing practices, temporary and superficial quick-fixes. And monopoly of Foreign direct investment flow, into the hospitality sector.

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Political Turmoil in 2018

Further political turmoil in 2018 worsened the economic outlook. By that time the government had carried out several reforms.

Under an IMF supported program towards fiscal monetary consolidation and had successfully controlled inflation.

These reforms included an automatic fuel pricing formula. Which significantly reduced fiscal risks posed by state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Value Added Tax Rate

Raised the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate from 11 percent to 15 percent and broadened the VAT base by removing exemptions.

Many of the reforms were reversed by the new government after the 2019 elections. The last administration also drafted the 2019 Central Bank Bill.

To make the Central Bank independent from political influence by banning the Treasury Secretary and any member of the Government.

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Members of the Monetary Board

From becoming members of the Monetary Board. Money printing was also to be banned, as the bill states “The Central Bank shall not purchase securities issued by the government.

Or any government-owned entity and any other public entity in the primary market.” Then Central Bank Governor, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, noted.

Balance of Payments issues, increased inflation, and asset bubbles as reasons for the ban. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Party opposed an independent Central Bank. And discarded the bill as soon as they came to power.

Lebanon’s Economic Situation

Many experts compared Lebanon’s economic situation with that of Sri Lanka. And had warned that Sri Lanka too was on the way to defaulting on its sovereign bonds.

Both nations had similar issues, including deep economic crises occurring after their successive governments, piled up unsustainable debts following the end of civil wars.

In March 2022, spontaneous and organized protests by both political parties and non-partisan groups, over the government’s mishandling of the economy were reported from several areas.

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Political Opposition

Several protests were staged by the political opposition demanding the current administration to solve the financial crisis and to immediately resign in wake of the wider economic crisis.

Tens of thousands of supporters of the opposition party, the United People’s Force led by Sajith Premadasa carried out protests on 16 March.

In front of the President’s office demanding that the president quit. On 30 March, Namal Rajapaksa arrived for the opening ceremony of a sports ground in Bandarawela.

Energy protests

Angry locals blocked the road demanding fuel which resulted in Namal Rajapaksa avoiding the area and the grounds being opened by the mayor instead.

On 31 March, a large group gathered around the residence of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In Mirihana to protest against the power cuts that had reached over 12-hours a day.

The protest was initially spontaneous peaceful protest by citizens, until the police attacked the protestors with tear gas. And water cannons and the protestors burned a bus carrying riot control troops.

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Curfew in Colombo

The government declared a curfew in Colombo. Simultaneous protests were also reported on the Kandy-Colombo Road which was blocked by the protesters.

The government accused the protesters of being members of an extremist group and began to arrest them.

Candle light protests were also continuing in several areas while car horn tooting protests were also reported.

May 2022

In May 2022 the Rajapaksa family home was set on fire by protestors. Amidst the protests Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Prime Minister in May 2022.

But Gotabaya Rajapaksa refused to resign from the position of President and the protests continued.[204]

On 9 July protesters breached President’s Official House and set fire on the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s private residence in Colombo.

Read more at https://thebigissue.co.ke

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