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Vladmir Putin – a risk sensitive manager or shrewd politician?

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War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, I am a pacifist and in this day and age, it seems to be especially obsolete.

Remember when most of us thought that Vladimir Putin would look at Russia’s odds if he invaded Ukraine and figure it’s not worth it? He is otherwise such a shrewd politician. Well, all that was only 10 or so days ago.

In the last article, I said, tongue-in-cheek, that “this time the revolution will be tweeted”. If I ever regretted a joke it would be now.

Twitter does not ban Russia

I pray that Twitter does not ban Russia because civilian reporting and live footage are necessary. People are documenting the ugly truth and letting us bear witness.

Social media has so far been one of the most effective ways to push back against Putin’s misinformation inside and outside of Russia.

There is so much to talk about I can’t even begin to be comprehensive, but let’s start with President Putin’s super long meeting tables.

A little about Putin

I have always wondered a little about Putin, especially after pictures were released a few years ago showing him doing very macho things.

Far from being impressive to anyone other than Donald Trump, I think he raised many eyebrows.

I figured he was a little “different,” which is fine — unless you’re the lifelong dictator of a superpower with the world’s largest number of nuclear weapons. In that case, being different is not okay.

Monster tables

This brings me to the monster tables. If this practice was kept to a few meetings in the Kremlin that we would never know about, that would be a little peculiar but okay.

But he met with President Emmanuel Macron, a fellow head of state, and placed him at one end of a hilariously huge table.

That thing was half a kilometer at least. Seeing this, I felt bad for Macron, perched on his seat, leaning forward. First, he had to wrestle Donald Trump. And now this. I thought, “this can’t be good.”

Fair share of dictators

The world has had its fair share of dictators and, if you look closely and are immune to the worship of powerful people, you can find their signs of potential instability.

Like when old presidents try to prove they’re more powerful than younger guys. Red flag.

Then Putin sat across a room from his senior advisers who were all lined up on their chairs like primary school children who have been invited to watch a show at a neighboring school.

Putin proceeded to dress down his Chief of Intelligence, and he made sure that the exercise in power and humiliation was seen by the press, which means we all got to see it too.

Risk to Russia

Even after this, I had hope because I figured that the risk to Russia if it invaded Ukraine, would act as a deterrent.

Yet here we are. I have spoken to several of my fellow countrymen who are fans of Putin. They don’t seem to have any idea why everyone is terrified of an escalation.

They are proud that someone has the courage to stand up to the white man. I don’t have the heart to tell them.

Africans who were denied evacuation

As they speak, I keep in mind Africans who were denied evacuation from cities that were under attack or threat of attack.

The fleeing Africans were told that these efforts were only for Ukrainians — which can’t be true —and point-blank informed that as black people they were on their own and they would have to walk to safety.

Meanwhile, horrified at the first European land war since WWII, a number of television anchors and commentators have said; that they would never expect to see this level of fighting.

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Ukraine isn’t Africa

Because Ukraine isn’t Africa or the Middle East, where “these things happen.” This is from people who suffered two world wars and fought by proxy in the Cold War — and that is the most recent encounter.

The deliberate forgetting of their own history, which stretches back in time, shocked me. There is racism in Europe, I know this. But war changes everything.

This does not reflect well on a people who have risen up and resisted their invaders in a way that is admirable.

Losses will be great

I cheer them on as they keep fighting, knowing their losses will be great, knowing they might be occupied.

People who know far more than me about this conflict have tried to explain it, but the only ones I have understood are a couple of Russian journalists who are in exile in the US.

They keep cautioning that Putin cannot, must not, be underestimated, and when asked for good news they usually decline with an undeniably dry sense of doom.

Russian joke

One lady shared this Russian joke: just when you think you have hit rock bottom, you hear someone knocking from the floor beneath you. Grim, but funny.

Speaking of grim but funny, how about that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy? As I said, social media is making a huge difference.

We have seen a leader at work on the front lines and we know it is not a photoshopped exercise in war games. People have made much of the fact that he was an entertainer.

Human nature

Would it have made more sense to us if he had been a cobbler? A bartender, maybe?

Generally, comedians have to be incredibly insightful and smart about human nature to have a chance at success.

If Zelenskyy has coupled that kind of intellect with courage, patriotism, and a gift for speaking not just to Ukrainians.

But to the world to appeal for a peace that will allow humanity to survive, then I salute him.

Keep the people of Kyiv in mind.

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Robert Mugabe, Revolutionary Turned Despot For 37 Years!

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Robert Gabriel Mugabe ( 21 February 1924 – 6 September 2019) was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician.

He served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017.

Also as Leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) from 1980 to 2017.

African Nationalist

Ideologically an African nationalist, during the 1970s and 1980s he identified as a Marxist–Leninist. And as a socialist after the 1990s.

Mugabe was born to a poor Shona family in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia. Educated at Kutama College and the University of Fort Hare.

He worked as a schoolteacher in Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Ghana. Angered by white minority rule of his homeland, within the British Empire, Mugabe embraced Marxism.

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Independent State

And joined African nationalists calling for an independent state, controlled by the black majority.

After making anti-government comments, he was convicted of sedition and imprisoned between 1964 and 1974.

On release, he fled to Mozambique. Established his leadership of ZANU and oversaw its role in the Rhodesian Bush War. Fighting Ian Smith’s predominately white government.

Peace Talks

He reluctantly participated in peace talks in the United Kingdom that resulted in the Lancaster House Agreement, putting an end to the war.

In the 1980 general election, Mugabe led ZANU-PF to victory, becoming Prime Minister. When the country, now renamed Zimbabwe, gained internationally recognized independence later that year.

Mugabe’s administration expanded healthcare and education. And, despite his professed desire for a socialist society, adhered largely to mainstream economic policies.

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Racial Reconciliation

Mugabe’s calls for racial reconciliation failed to stem growing white emigration. While relations with Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) also deteriorated.

In the Gukurahundi of 1982–1987, Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade crushed ZAPU-linked opposition in Matabeleland. In a campaign that killed at least 10,000 people, mostly Ndebele civilians.

Internationally he sent troops into the Second Congo War and chaired the Non-Aligned Movement (1986–89).

Decolonization

He also chaired the Organization of African Unity (1997–98), and the African Union (2015–16). Pursuing decolonization, Mugabe emphasized the redistribution of land.

Controlled by white farmers to landless blacks, initially on a “willing seller–willing buyer” basis.

Frustrated at the slow rate of redistribution, from 2000 he encouraged black Zimbabweans to violently seize white-owned farms.

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Economic Decline

Food production was severely impacted, leading to famine, economic decline, and foreign sanctions.

Opposition to Mugabe grew, but he was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2013 through campaigns dominated by violence, electoral fraud, and nationalistic appeals.

To his rural Shona voter base and in 2017, members of his party ousted him in a coup, replacing him with former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Four Decades

Having dominated Zimbabwe’s politics for nearly four decades, Mugabe was a controversial figure.

He was praised as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism, and white minority rule.

Critics accused Mugabe of being a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement and widespread corruption and human rights abuses, including anti-white racism and crimes against humanity.

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

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The supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un

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Kim Jong-un born 8 January 1983, is a North Korean politician. He has been Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011. Also the leader of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) since 2012.

He is a son of Kim Jong-il, who was North Korea’s second supreme leader from 1994 to 2011, and Ko Yong-hui.

He is a grandson of Kim Il-sung who was the founder and first supreme leader of North Korea. From its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994.

First Leader of North Korea

Kim II Sung is the first leader of North Korea to have been born in the country after its founding in 1948.

Kim Jong Un was viewed a successor to the leadership of North Korea from late 2010. Following his father’s death in December 2011, state television announced Kim as the “Great Successor”.

Kim holds the titles of General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. He is the President of the State Affairs Commission.

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Presidium of the Politburo

And also, a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the Workers’ Party of Korea. The highest decision-making body.

Kim received a promotion to the highest rank of Marshal in the Korean People’s Army in July 2010. Consolidating his position as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

North Korean state media often refer to him as “Marshal Kim Jong-un” or “Dear Respected Leader”.

Policy of Byungjin

He has promoted the policy of byungjin. Similar to Kim Il-sung’s policy from the 1960s, referring to the simultaneous development of both the economy and the country’s nuclear weapons program.

Kim rules North Korea as a totalitarian dictatorship. And his leadership has followed the same cult of personality as his grandfather and father.

A landmark United Nations Human Rights Council report, suggested that Kim be put on trial for crimes against humanity in 2014.

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Execution of North Korean Officials

He has ordered the purge or execution of several North Korean officials. He is believed to have assasinated his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam in 2017.

This was in Malaysia. He has presided over an expansion of the consumer economy, construction projects and tourist attractions.

Kim also expanded North Korea’s nuclear program. Which led to heightened tensions with the United States and South Korea.

Summits with South Korean and US Presidents

In 2018 and 2019, Kim took part in summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump.

He has claimed success in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in North Korea Although many experts doubt the country has had no cases altogether.

Second of three children

Kim Jong-un is the second of three children Ko Yong-hui bore to Kim Jong-il. His elder brother Kim Jong-chul was born in 1981.

While his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, was born in 1987. He is a grandson of Kim Il-sung.

Who was the founder of and led North Korea, from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994.

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North Korean Citizen

Kim is the first leader of North Korea, to have been born a North Korean citizen. His father having been born in the Soviet Union, and his grandfather having been born a Japanese subject during the colonial period.

All the children of Kim Jong-il spent their lives in Switzerland. As well as the mother of the two youngest sons, who lived in Geneva for some time.

First reports said that Kim Jong-un attended the private International School of Berne. In Gümligen in Switzerland, under the name “Chol-pak” or “Pak-chol” from 1993 to 1998.

Shy and Good Student

He is shy, a good student who got along well with his classmates, and was a basketball fan.

However, it is later suggested that the student at the Gümligen school, was not Kim Jong-un, but his elder brother Kim Jong-chul.

Kim Jong-un attended the Liebefeld Steinhölzli state school. In Köniz near Bern under the name “Pak-un”.

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1989 – 2000

Or “Un-pak” from 1998 until 2000 as the son of an employee of the North Korean embassy in Bern.

Authorities confirmed that a North Korean student from North Korea attended the school during that period.

Pak-un first attended a special class for foreign-language children and later attended the regular classes of the 6th, 7th, 8th.

Final 9th Year

And part of the final 9th year, leaving the school abruptly in the autumn of 2000. He is a well-integrated and ambitious student and liked to play basketball.

However, his grades and attendance rating were poor. The ambassador of North Korea in Switzerland, Ri Chol, had a close relationship with him and acted as a mentor.

One of Pak-un’s classmates told reporters that he had told him, that he was the son of the leader of North Korea.

Awkward with girls

According to some reports, Kim s described by classmates as a shy child who was awkward with girls.

And indifferent to political issues, but who distinguished himself in sports and had a fascination, with the American National Basketball Association and Michael Jordan.

Lived in Switzerland

In April 2012, new documents came to light indicating that Kim Jong-un had lived in Switzerland. Since 1991 or 1992, earlier than previously thought.

The Laboratory of Anatomic Anthropology at the University of Lyon, France, compared the picture of Pak-un taken at the Liebefeld Steinhölzli school in 1999.

With a picture of Kim Jong-un from 2012 and concluded that the faces show a conformity of 95%. Suggesting that it is most likely that they are the same person.

Washington Post report

The Washington Post reported in 2009, that Kim Jong-un’s school friends, recalled he “spent hours doing meticulous pencil drawings of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan”.

Obsessed with basketball and computer games, he was a fan of Jackie Chan action movies.

Most analysts agree that Kim Jong-un attended Kim Il-sung University. A leading officer-training school in Pyongyang, from 2002 to 2007.

Two Degrees

Kim obtained two degrees, one in physics at Kim Il-sung University. And another as an Army officer at the Kim Il-sung Military University.

In late February 2018, Reuters reported that Kim and his father, had used forged passport. Supposedly issued by Brazil and dated 26 February 1996.

To apply for visas in various countries. Both 10-year passports carry a stamp saying “Embassy of Brazil in Prague”. Kim Jong-un’s passport records the name “Josef Pwag” and a date of birth of 1 February 1983.

Photo Outside North Korea

Only one confirmed photograph of him is known to exist for many years. Outside North Korea, apparently taken in the mid-1990s, when he was eleven.

Other supposed images of him occasionally surfaced but disputed. It was only in June 2010, shortly before he was given official posts.

And publicly introduced to the North Korean people, that more pictures were released of Kim. Taken when he was attending school in Switzerland.

First Official Image

The first official image of him as an adult, was a group photograph released on 30 September 2010.

The party conference effectively anointed him and in which he is sat in the front row. Two places from his father. Followed by newsreel footage of him attending the conference.

Eldest half – brother

Kim Jong-un’s eldest half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, had been the favorite to succeed. But reportedly fell out of favor after 2001.

When he was caught attempting to enter Japan, on a fake passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland. In 2017, Kim Jong-nam was killed in Malaysia by suspected North Korean agents.

Kim Jong-il’s former personal chef, Kenji Fujimoto, revealed details regarding Kim Jong-un. With whom he had a good relationship.

Fujimoto

Stating that he was favored to be his father’s successor. Fujimoto also said that Jong-un was favored by his father, over his elder brother, Kim Jong-chul.

Reasoning that Jong-chul is too feminine in character. While Jong-un is “exactly like his father”.

Furthermore, Fujimoto stated that “if power is to be handed over, then Jong-un is the best for it. He has superb physical gifts. Is a big drinker and never admits defeat.”

Smokes Yves Saint Laurent Cigarettes

Also, according to Fujimoto, Jong-un smokes Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes. Loves Johnnie Walker whisky and has a Mercedes-Benz 600 luxury sedan.

When Jong-un was 18, Fujimoto described an episode where Jong-un once questioned his lavish lifestyle.

And asked, “we are here, playing basketball, riding horses, riding jet skis, having fun together. But what of the lives of the average people?”

Reports of a successor

On 15 January 2009, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that Kim Jong-il had appointed Kim Jong-un to be his successor.

On 8 March 2009, BBC News reported that Kim Jong-un was on the ballot for 2009 elections. To the Supreme People’s Assembly, the rubber stamp parliament of North Korea.

Subsequent reports indicated that his name did not appear on the list of lawmakers.

North Korean Military

In the National Defense Commission, which is a banch of the North Korean military. From 2009, it was understood by foreign diplomatic services that Kim was to succeed his father Kim Jong-il.

As the head of the Korean Workers’ Party and de facto leader of North Korea. He has been named “Yŏngmyŏng-han Tongji” (영명한 동지).

Which loosely translates to “Brilliant Comrade”. His father had also asked embassy staff abroad to pledge loyalty to his son.

Newly Composed Song of Praise

There have also been reports that citizens in North Korea were encouraged to sing a newly composed “song of praise” to Kim Jong-un.

In a similar fashion to that of praise songs relating to Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung. Later, in June, Kim was reported to have visited China.

Secretly to “present himself” to the Chinese leadership, who later warned against North Korea conducting another nuclear test. The Chinese foreign ministry has strongly denied that this visit occurred.

September 2009

In September 2009, it was reported that Kim Jong-il had secured support for the succession plan after a propaganda campaign.

It is believed by some that, Kim Jong-un was involved in the Cheonan sinking and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong.

To strengthen his military credentials and facilitate a successful transition of power from his father.

Central Military Commission

Kim Jong-un was made a daejang. The equivalent of a four-star general in the United States, on 27 September 2010.

A day ahead of a rare Workers’ Party of Korea conference in Pyongyang. The first time North Korean media had mentioned him by name.

And despite him having no previous military experience. Despite the promotion, no further details.

September 2010

On 28 September 2010, he was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. And appointed to the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, in an apparent nod to become the successor to Kim Jong-il.

On 10 October 2010, Kim Jong-un was alongside his father, when he attended the ruling Workers’ Party’s 65th-anniversary celebration.

This was seen as confirming his position, as the next leader of the Workers’ Party. Unprecedented international press access was granted to the event.

Importance of Kim Jong Un’s presence

Further indicating the importance of Kim Jong-un’s presence.[57] In January 2011. The regime reportedly began purging around 200 protégés.

Of both Jong-un’s uncle-in-law Jang Song-thaek and O Kuk-ryol, the vice chairman of the National Defence Commission.

By either detention or execution to further prevent either man from rivaling Jong-un.

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

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DR Congo worst dictator who served for 32 uninterrupted years!

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Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga, born Joseph-Désiré Mobutu in the DR Congo; 14 October 1930 – 7 September 1997) is a Congolese politician.

Also a military officer and the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1971, and Zaire from 1971 to 1997. He served as Chairman of the Organization of African Unity from 1967 to 1968.

In the Congo Crisis, Mobutu, as Chief of Staff of the Army and with support from Belgium and the United States, deposed the democratically elected government.

Patrice Lumumba

Headed by left-wing nationalist, Patrice Lumumba in 1960. Mobutu installed a government, executing Lumumba in 1961.

The executor government lead the country’s armed forces until he took power directly in a second coup in 1965.

To consolidate his power, he established the Popular Movement of the Revolution as the sole legal political party in 1967.

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Change of Congo’s name to Zaire

He also changed the Congo’s name to Zaire in 1971, and his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko in 1972.

Mobutu claimed his political ideology is “neither left nor right, nor even centre”. Though nevertheless he developed a regime intensely autocratic, even by African standards of his time.

He made attempts to purge the country of all colonial cultural influence through his program of “national authenticity”.

Cult of a personality

Mobutu is the object of a pervasive cult of personality. In his rule, he amassed a large personal fortune through economic exploitation and corruption.

This led some to call his rule a “kleptocracy”. He presided over a period of widespread human rights violations.

Under his rule, the nation experienced uncontrolled inflation, a large debt, and massive currency devaluations.

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The US, France and Beligium

Mobutu received strong support (military, diplomatic and economic). This came from the United States, France, and Belgium.

Who believed he is a strong opponent of communism in Francophone Africa. He did build close ties with the governments of apartheid South Africa, Israel and the Greek military junta.

From 1972 onward, he secured support from Mao Zedong of China, mainly due to his anti-Soviet stance.

Afro Asians Nations

The dictatorial Congo was favored by the Chinese leader as part of Mao’s attempts to create a bloc of Afro-Asian nations led by him.

The massive Chinese economic aid that flowing into Zaire gave Mobutu more flexibility in his dealings with Western governments.

It allowed him to identify as an “anti-capitalist revolutionary”, and enabled him to avoid going to the International Monetary Fund for assistance.

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Economic Deterioration

By 1990, economic deterioration and unrest led Mobutu to agree to share power with opposition leaders.

But he used the army to thwart change until May 1997, when rebel forces led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila overran the country. And forced him into exile.

Already suffering from advanced prostate cancer, he died three months later in Morocco. Mobutu was notorious for corruption, nepotism, and the embezzlement.

Amounts Involved in Corruption

Mobutu embezzled between US$4 billion and $15 billion during his rule and known for extravagances such as shopping trips to Paris via the supersonic and expensive Concorde.

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

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