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In search of a new world order

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AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT

First, the panoramic painting of events of these times. For all who can see, and to all who can feel, it is crystal clear that this world we inhabit is out of joint from whichever angle we may look at it, be it in politics, economy, social or natural phenomenon. The build-up to the magic year 2019 in our land here is laden with frightening omens. Politicians are warming up. The signals we have seen from Ekiti, Kogi and Rivers would seem to be dress rehearsals for 2019. The rehearsals are demonstrating that the Nigerian politicians would not shrink from employing violence, indeed, wade through slaughter to the throne, in their altruistic desire and love to serve us and lead us to Eldorado, to their dream land of promise.

The Zimbabwe election is in deep and unresolved crisis despite, as is usually the case, the pretences of the powers that be to the contrary. The young opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, of the Movement for Democratic Change, has rejected the results of the election of 30 July on the grounds that the Election Commission rigged it in favour President Emerson Mnangagwa, the successor of ousted 94-year-old Robert Mugabe who was in the saddle for 38 years. Chamisa had his day in court yesterday, trying to overturn the results which were greeted with sustained protest march by his supporters. Six persons died in the protests. It was about the same time the Uganda Supreme Court lifted age peg to enable President Yoweri Museveni seek re-election for a sixth term. He is 73 and the age limit had been 75. He has been in power since he kicked out General Idi Amin and subsequently transmuted into a civilian to return the country to democratic rule. He got the two-term tenure scrapped in 2005.

In South Africa, chaos is in the horizon as the African National Congress is set to carry out its determination to redistribute land. President Cyril Ramaphosa had foreshadowed the action when he said ANC was committed to the retrieval of lands from the White farming communities. ANC spokesman said the redistribution is “tied to addressing the injustices of the past.” The ACN chairman put it even more bluntly when he said to the White farming community that anyone who owns more than 25,000 acres would forfeit the excess without compensation. And that is where chaos is inherent. Why not ask that the excess be sold? But that is a subject for another day. In Kenya, after the turmoil in which more than 100 persons died, followed by months of uncertainty and anxieties, the government and the opposition have sheathed their sword and the leaders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have publicly embraced.

In the Western World, Mr. Trump is at loggerhead with his peers. Last month, he stormed out of the meeting of G7 in Quebec, Canada, over disagreement on US trade tariffs which Mr. Sophie Trudeau dismissed as illegal. The President of the European Council put it even more starkly when he said Mr. Trump’s stance on trade, climate change and Iran constituted a grave danger. The BBC reporting the Summit said it started very badly as divisions between Mr. Trump and the other six leaders went beyond trade to cover climate change, relations with Iran and the Israel-Palestinian imbroglio. Indeed, European Council President Donald Tusk said: “What worries me most, however, is the fact that the rules-based international order is being challenged, quite surprisingly not by the usual suspects but by its architect and guarantor, the U.S.” Mr. Trump went from there before the Summit was over to Singapore to meet his arch adversary, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un for a historic meeting which in the end was a harvest of rhetorics than substance although Mr. Trump was effusive in praise of it, saying what his predecessor could not achieve in 30 years he achieved in three months! The follow-up meeting between Kim Jong Un and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to further press Mr. Trump’s demand for North Korea’s denuclearization was shunned by Pyongyang. While Mr. Pompeo arrived, his supposed host Kim Jong Un was away to inspect a potato farm. Mr. Trump’s hope now is catching Kim Jong Un at the United Nations Assembly coming off soon.

Back home, a maverick President who rejoices in controversy had a punch to his face on Tuesday when a jury in Virginia found his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty of financial crimes totaling eight which if related to the campaign that brought Trump to power may entrap him when he leaves office for trial. His lawyer Cohen is in no better shape than Manafort.

What I am getting at is if all manner of infractions go into getting into high elective offices one begins to wonder if that is the way the world is supposed to go. Three weeks ago, it was Nicaragua where protesters were calling for the head of Daniel Ortega. Of course, there were also deaths. One more point on Mr. Trump and I am done: among early morning headlines yesterday online was what was described as his furious ultimatum to European Union leaders that they either back the United States or back Iran!

Catastrophes are practically a daily occurrence in today’s world. Only on Tuesday, earthquake measuring 7.3 in magnitude rocked Venezuela’s north coast. The quake is said to be the largest to strike Venezuela since 1900, that is in 118 years. Reports say there have been 17 previous earthquakes measuring about 6.0 magnitude in the region. The United States Geological Service is reported to have recorded Tuesday’s incident in the coastal town of Irapa and tremors were felt in the capital Caracas 262 kilometres away and indeed in several states of Venezuela. Here is a country reeling under what IMF has estimated as one million per cent inflation. The earthquake triggered alert warnings of possible tsunami in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Grenada. In Indonesia Lombok earthquake, death toll rose to 259. Earthquake measuring 7.1 devastated central Mexico following the one that struck 12 days earlier which was 8.1. There was magnitude 5.0 earthquake in Hawaii spewing red-hot lava.
From earthquake, the waves of disasters moved to wild fires and from inferno to floods and landslides. What dominated the headlines for weeks was the fire in Northern California with fire tornado wind speeding at more than 143 mph about the same time an earthquake struck in Southern California. According to reports, 42 forest fires were raging in northeast of Ontario with 19 of them almost out of control. In France helicopters were used to ferry 1,600 to safety following flooding in southern part of the country. In Japan, following unceasing pounding of torrential rain in Yamagata, 2, 000 households were evacuated. Landslides left 14 killed in Western Nepal. India Monsoon floods are said to be the worst in a century. Heat wave took its own toll leaving 29 dead in South Korea and three in Portugal. In Europe, media reports say generally record temperature swept through the continent.

There is intensification and acceleration of natural catastrophes from year to year. In 1980, there were only 100 disasters, but today more than 300 disasters take place according to records from Science Live publication. There was this terrifying report by AFP on the powerful earthquake that struck the Indonesia holiday island of Lombok which left hundreds dead. The report reads in part: “The latest quakes struck Sunday, with the first measuring 6.3 shortly before midday. It triggered landslides and sent people fleeing for cover as parts of Lombok suffered blackouts. It was followed nearly 12 hours later by a 6.9 magnitude quake and a string of powerful aftershocks. The picturesque island next to holiday hotspot Bali was already reeling from two quakes on July 29 and August 5 that killed 500 people. Tens of thousands of homes, mosques and businesses across Lombok had earlier been destroyed by the quake earlier this month. Most people caught in the latest tremor had been outside their homes or at shelters when it struck which kept casualties low, said national disaster agency spokesman called Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
“The trauma because of the earlier quake on Sunday morning made people prefer to stay outside.”

The Agency went on to say: “We are gravely concerned about the repeated distress caused to children by the multiple shocks.” And a resident, according to AFP, had this to say, “I’am too scared to stay at my house because it’s damaged. I have been here since the quake earlier this month. I went home two days ago and now I’m back here again.” Another resident said: “The earthquake was incredibly strong. Everything was shaking. Everyone ran into the street screaming and crying.”
Scientists who have preoccupied themselves with the phenomenon believe the increase in hydro-metrological disasters is as a result of a combination of natural and man-made factors. Global warming, they say, is responsible for the change in temperature and increases in the temperature of the oceans and the atmosphere, are leading to more intense storms of all types, including hurricane. They further argue that the activities of the human beings are the main cause of natural disasters.

Pope John Paul 11 had this to say as cited by former US Vice-President Al Gore in his book, Earth in the Balance to which reference is also made in the work, Building Future Societies by Dr. Stephen Lampe: “Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its life-style. In many parts of the world, society is given to instant gratification and consumerism while remaining indifferent to the damage which these cause. As I have already stated, the seriousness of the ecological issue lays bare the depth of man’s moral crisis.”

From all the experiences of different people across the globe, it is becoming clear that the whole world might be encircled faster than we may think and there would be no hiding place for anyone. To any thinking man, the question remains unanswered: Is this how the world is to continue? The United Nations was formed in 1945 to engender and enforce peace in all parts of the world. It has as its executive organs six bodies established by its charter, namely General assembly; Security Council; Economic and Social council; Trusteeship Council; International Court of Justice and the Secretariat. Science and technology are unrelenting in the search for a new world order. Mankind is driven to its wits end yet the world is not as it should and could be!

Next week: The world as it could be.


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