Age Is Just a Number

Doris Day, who found her birth certificate recently, was surprised to learn she was turning 95 instead of 93. It seems she said: “Age is just a number.” Right. At least for African standards, she is presidential material.

Politically speaking, things are hotting up in this side of the world. Tomorrow there must be a huge protest against controversial president Jacob Zuma. Once again, tech and politics collide. Going against tech doesn’t solve wrong politics. Cameroon is a good example of that. The government blacked out the internet mid-January, in an attempt to control the protests spreading through English-speaking parts of the country.

“However this attempt to stifle opposition seems to have backfired, sparking further activism and galvanising international attention,” writes a reporter. “The affected areas – primarily English speaking – have been the center of protests over policies of the country’s 83 year old president, Paul Biya, rooted in a language dispute linked to the country’s colonial past. The internet outage has disrupted business and bank transfers in the west African country and prompted a #BringBackOurInternet Twitter campaign. The outage has cost the country $1.39bn in economic activity so far, according to global digital activist group Access Now. A former German, British, and French colony, Cameroon became an independent republic in 1961. As part of a reunification process, it adopted both English and French as official languages. However, now Cameroon’s federal government has been imposing various forms of French administration on the other regions, prompting a backlash.”

As it seems, the situation is improving. Anyways, the article underlines the “irony in how the mounting backlash has unfolded. The government’s attempt to stymie protest has demonstrated that the most powerful tool in shining a light on that blackout is the internet itself.”

Back to Zuma (74), after reading the above I was surprised to find myself thinking how “young” he is if compared with Robert Mugabe (93), Paul Biya (82) and other African leaders. No wonder some people believe that right now Zuma is pondering over his options: shall I stay or force ex-wife Dlamini-Zuma way up?