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Top sports stars now doping suspects

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Asafa Powell

With the latest doping saga involving top, record-breaking  athletes failing anti-doping test for taking performance-enhancing substances, it is hard to believe that any top sports person nowadays has not taken illegal drugs or doped.

It was just a few weeks back, when dethroned king of cycling, Lance Armstrong came out of his shell to say without remorse that there cannot be any winning of Tour de France without doping, then the wind has suddenly changed direction hitting the athletics world with the 2013 World Athletics Championship in Moscow just by the corners.

Yesterday, it was American sprinter Tyson Gay who announced that he had tested positive for a banned substance and has lost his sponsorship with sportswear giant, Adidas.

As if that was not enough bad news for athletics fans worldwide, today it is the shocking announcement of five Jamaican athletes including 100m world superstar Asafa Powell to have taken banned performance-enhancing substance.

Asafa Powell stunned the world when he broke the 10-second barrier in the 100m heat than anyone between 2005 and 2008 before been plagued by injuries and overtaken by his fellow countrymen, Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt, who is the current world recorder holder for 100m and 200m.

Powell, 30,  positive test for banned stimulant, Oxilofrine would be a big sabotage for the Jamaica versus USA head-on challenge on the racing track as well as to the reign of superfast Usain Bolt.

Of course, the next question would be if Usain Bolt himself has not taken any of the banned performance-enhancing substance to be where he is today.

It might be too early to think or say that with most top sports men and women coming forwards to reveal that they took banned substances during their best performances or at some stages of their record-breaking results, only time would tell if Usain Bolt is pure or is just a running human machine.

What a shame

With most of these top athletes regarded as models for most would-be athletes, and now caught in the anti-doping medical screening, this would of course, have a psychosomatic impacts on most of these young athletes.

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Jamaica remains the best in athletics

Worse still, is that the athletes are very fast to apologise and at the same time trying to clear their names by saying that they have never taken such a substance before or are not cheat or are embarrassed for failing the test.

Lance Armstrong never failed any doping test and went ahead to win seven Tour de France, only to admit later that he took performance-enhancing substances that were concealed in one of the world’s most knotty doping racket.

It shall be hard to believe that these top athletes train every day, but are still tempted to break world records by going an extra mile to take these substances. Why do they do that and what becomes of modern sports and competitions, are hard to postulate as for now.

Unless something is done now through anti-doping screening and global campaigns, fans and enthusiasts of crowd pulling sports would find an easy reason not to bother to watch or spend money to pay tickets to watch cheats and not genuine athletes and sports people competing against each other.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in News Analysis, Opinion

 

Cameroon’s Fecafoot fidgeting with fire

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Fecafoot must defend Cameroon’s flag at all times

World football governing body, Fifa has again suspended Cameroon from all its activities following a continuous power squabble and an annulled, controversial election at the Cameroon football federation, Fecafoot, thereby deepening its crises and exposing the follies of its administrators.

This is not the first time; Fifa is suspending Cameroon, and especially on pretext that the government through the Ministry of Sports is meddling with the affairs of Fecafoot that is supposed to be an autonomous body for the interest of Cameroon football.

On many occasions, the sanctions of the world football governing body have been imperative and done on the interest of the administrators managing Fecafoot, thus forcing the government to cede; thus creating a favourable atmosphere for them to freely work.

Unfortunately, because most of the elected members of the executive bureau of the federation know very well that Fifa would always be on their side, they have instead turned Fecafoot into national cake where each of them can freely eat even without bothering that others are yet to have a tad. As a result corruption and clique squandering of funds have been a common game. As Cameroon football has been on the down slope of late, the government cannot fold its hands and watch, but to intervene for national interest and pride.

The Fifa latest suspension might be agonizing, especially to the millions of fans of the national team, the Indomitable Lions, but it is absolutely necessary to put the house in order.The same people cannot be voted all the times to head the federation, and if any outsider step up to challenge and bring change, the clique of voters of the incumbent president makes sure that person is voted out.

Drama for dictatorship

A good testimony of the fiasco and drama in the Cameroon federation is the latest election of a new head. After several postponements, it was Iya Mohammed who was finally re-voted even when he was not around to campaign despite being in jail and being investigated for alleged embezzlement and mismanagement of public funds at a state-own cotton corporation, which he has been general manager for donkeys years.

That was not all, while the other candidates who ran for the election cried foul of the irregularities of the election and how money changed hand several times to guarantee victory for Iya, it was battle after battle as various vice presidents tussle to assume the seat as acting or interim president as the supposed, voted incumbent president Iya is still languishing in jail awaiting trial.

With one former minister fighting the post with another former minister, the government had to deploy or station gendarmes to guard Fecafoot’s headquarters, while trying to diffuse the internal fall out. All these struggling among various fractions are all indications that all those who want leadership post have something to gain than just pretending to lead Cameroon football through reforms, transparency and accountability.

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When Fecafoot’s officials are failures, the government must react

This month’s Fifa suspension which is unreasonable based on the argument that the government is intervening in the affairs of the federation should not be totally condemned, but rather cross-examined from all perspectives. How, did Fifa in the first place accepted the re-election of Iya after being notified of his case and that he has been temporary banned from holding any public post as the investigation for his alleged embezzlement is underway? Did Fifa sent any official to actually be an observer during the election? If there actually sent or had one, could the person be trusted and what report did that person send back to Fifa regarding the conduct and fairness of the election?

Unless we know the answers to these questions, then it can be concluded that Fifa decision to shelve Cameroon was rather too drastic or that the reason for the suspension need to be redefined or made more explicit.  Fecafoot is autonomous according to Fifa; however, under Cameroon’s rule the government has the right to control any organisation that deals with affairs or activities that touch national interest and pride.

Fecafoot manages Cameroon football, but when the national team is playing or participating at international  competitions, it is defending the national colours of the country and not Fecafoot. With individuals or group eyeing posts or positions at Fecafoot to get rich and to travel the world even when they have no vital part to play in federation’s management, there is virtually no way, the government can stop intervening with Fecafoot’s affairs.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in News Analysis, Opinion

 

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Egypt today, president or people to be blamed

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President Mohammed Morsi has been involuntarily forced out of power yesterday by the Army just as he celebrated his first anniversary as the first democratically elected leader, ending four days of continuous street protest, but who would take the blame for the KO, although Adli Mansour has been sworn in as the interim leader.

It is easy to conclude that it is now officially the end of the road for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood rule, which has been characterised or trade-marked by constant  street demonstration, destruction and religious and anti-camp fighting leaving a politically and socially divided Egypt with a muddled economy and generally falling standards of living for most.

Were Morsi and his Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood party really the problem? Was Morsi’s hands tied by the dogma of his political party, preventing him to act promptly for the interest of his people? Was Morsi actually given enough time to manage his government and push for feasible political reforms meeting the demanding of the country? Are the people to take the rap for hating the Muslim Brotherhood and seeing nothing good in the party and its leadership?

The list of questions is inexhaustible, but whoever step in to take control after Adli Mansour, if only the Army would give that person full authorities as president should be prepared to do lots of house cleaning. It is a shame, that Egyptian politicians and the people have failed the world, especially those who still believe that Egypt remains the birthplace of modern civilization.

If Egyptians embraced the Arab spring stirred up in neighbouring Tunisia as a stepping stone to end Hosni Mubarak tyranny reign and to open doors for democracy, then they most have got it all wrong. Post-Mubarak Egypt is a nightmare, although others would argue that there is freedom, even though the freedom is now in the hands of thugs.

Bad apple syndrome

In a true democracy not “demo-crazy” people enjoy the freedom to freely and fairly elect their leaders and be prepared to work with that leader. Morsi came to power through the first, free and fair, democratic election on 30 June 2012, but instead of the people of Egypt even those that did not vote for him, to pledge unflinching support for him and his team to rebuild the nation, it was just the contrary. The bad apples spoiled the bunch; they spent their time trying to tarnish the image of the President, looking for the least error by his administration to throng the streets in the name of protest.

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We do not need to study economics to understand that continuous street protest that forces businesses to close is bad cut on the economy that is hard to yield to treatment once inflicted. For one year, since Morsi took power, Egypt’s active population that ought to provide the bulk of the country’s workforce must have spent more time on the streets demonstrating and waiting aimlessly than actually working for the progress of the country or its struggling economy.

Nobody would expect to harvest where it was never sown. After Mubarak was toppled by the people with the help of the Army in the 2011 infectious revolution, no miracle was expected overnight to put the economy back on the right track. Instead of encouraging foreign investors and existing multinationals to fix the falling financial situation and to elevate Egypt back on its feet, the streets demonstrations and destructions were just bad omen to think of at all.

Today, it is clear Egyptians of all walks of life most take the blame of the awful failure and should be ready to turn another page by working for a new leader and a new Egypt.  It is not the election of another president that is going to turn the downturn of the economy and solve the tons of problems in Egypt, but rather simple understanding, dialogue, responsibility, accountability and the will and devotion to work for Egypt. Morsi might be kicking himself for having failed woefully to deliver as a leader or had very little time to do anything, but one thing is certain that it is going to be messy for a while before getting better for all.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in News Analysis, Opinion

 

African Union at 50, anything to celebrate

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We’re all failure and must take responsibility now

Africa’s pan-Africanism organisation marks its golden jubilee as African leaders and international dignitaries gather in Addis Abba, Ethiopia to celebrate. The organisation established in 1963 by 53 members with the name, the Organisation of African Union, OAU, mutated into African Union, AU on 26 May 2001.

Created shortly after most African countries had gained independence, it main aims were to further African unity and solidarity, to co-ordinate political, economic, social and defence policies, and to eliminate colonialism in Africa. It is hard to say whether any of these goals has been fully achieved or attained as the continent is instead awash or torn apart with conflicts, poverty, hunger, endemic diseases and underdevelopment.

Although, it is flattering to say that Africa today and that of 50 years back has a remarkable change, however much still has to been done. The organisation is yet to have an authoritative power or voice to take drastic measures to ensure that all its member states are promoting the goals of the organisation and not violating them and going unpunished. Most African states are still miles away from running smoothly without turning to the international community for aids or support and cannot pay their contributions for the running of the organisation. Substantial budgetary arrears due to delays in the payment of national contributions have meant that the pan-African movement continually faces difficulties in furthering and fostering its aims.

At 50, is a ripen age for any organisation, but the AU, needs to step out of its shadow and doldrums to make an impact on the continent, starting by resolving some of the shameful conflicts that have continued to back-paddle or encumber developmental efforts.  Like Nelson Mandela clearly pointed out in one of his address at an OAU summit that although Africans had endured lots of suffering and subjugation prior to independence, many modern  –  post independent –  African leaders had added to the toll of misery.

Wake up Africa

As some of those African leaders will be among invited guests celebrating the golden jubilee, this is another opportunity to encourage them to reflex on Mandela’s words.

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It’s dawn people, wake up and work for Africa

“We must face the matter squarely that where there is something wrong in how we govern ourselves, it must be said that the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are ill-governed.”

Mandela’s cry was for an African renaissance. The idea of an African renaissance was not novel, since it had been a common theme in the 1950s and 1960s during the era of African emancipation from colonial rule.

Thabo Mbeki, the successor of Mandela, championed the ideology of an African renaissance where, one-party states and military dictatorships were no longer considered acceptable forms of government. Mbeki took it as a personal challenge to improve Africa’s image so as to attract foreign investment.

“The African renaissance, in all its parts, can only succeed if its aims and objectives are defined by Africans themselves and if we take responsibility for the success or failure of our policies.” Thabo Mbeki in Martin Meredith (2006) The State of Africa.

Corruption and poor governance are just a few of the bulk of problems bugging Africa’s development and economic growth. However, as the rest of the world has moved forward in development, Africa remains the burden that must be uploaded for a global economic and trade to pick up. Therefore, after 50 years, members of AU have little to celebrate but a ton of problems to ponder on and find feasible solutions. African leaders gathering for this 50th anniversary summit must take the responsibility to pilot the continent into a new era of success like what is happening in India and China today.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in News Analysis, Opinion

 

Come on, Uhuru Kenyatta deserves respect

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Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is currently on his first, official visit abroad on an invitation by British PM, David Cameron, but it’s awful that the mainstream media in the UK can’t see anything good about him or the visit but the ICC indictment.

Media experts know that good news in the UK is no news, but cheap public relations. But to continuously brand a president that has been fairly and democratically voted by his people an “ICC indictee” is not only showing lapses of unprofessionalism but being insolent on the part of the British Media, especially the BBC. The coded label has not just, contorted the significance of the visit but has demeaned David Cameron who invited him in the first place. There is no qualm or bone to pick to passively bring up the ICC case, but why not bring in the point that President Uhuru has been cooperating since the case started and has promised to continue the cooperation even though he still has his presidential duty to perform.

Who needs who here? Is it Kenya needing Britain or Britain needing Kenya? In today’s modern world, it is not a matter of choice on whom you can choose or who should be your friend or partner. As the world has been reduced to a small global village by trade and advanced technologies, everyone is now related by virtues and not choice. With the reputation Britain has the world over, its media that enjoy the best freedom of expression, even with the unethical phone hacking saga of late, were supposed to remain courteous and not cynical, especially when dealing with issues of external affairs.

Imagine a Kenyan eager to read news about his president from Nairobi and sees this biased or amateurish report about President Uhuru, and starts an uprising or protest outside the British High Commission, can anyone blame the Kenyan. Sometimes, it’s the trivial things that we disregard that end up costing us much and even lives. It’s not the number of adjectives that a reporter or media use that it going to make it the best, but the simple commonsense of judgment about how any ordinary reader or viewer is going to react, before clicking that mouse or button to publish or air it.

Freedom of press doesn’t means you can just say anything anywhere and go unpunished, but freedom of press to any professional journalist means you are responsible for anything you say or write. Being responsible or accountable means you need to think about the deontology of the profession, think about the house policies of the medium or organ you are working for and you must always do your assignment to ensure you are not inciting or egging on people to commit atrocities or step on others’ toes. Profession journalism should not be about selling the greatest number of copies or publication each day or having the best and well paid adverts because of the number of audiences, but should be the journalism that strive for justice, promote democracy and human rights and always put the people first before the news.

Kenya – British ties

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Kenya and Britain have an exceptional diplomatic relationship. First Kenya is one of British colonies in Africa and equally one of its finest hubs in East Africa. Secondly both countries benefit from trade, with the UK being the main destination of gross exports from Kenya. Kenya is the world’s fourth producer of tea. It also grows coffee, maize, sugarcane and wheat. Kenya also exports fruit, vegetable and agricultural products, which are all highly consumed in the UK. With a thriving tourism industry as Kenya is largely covered with national reserved parks in addition to sandy beaches in Mombasa, it is one of the destinations for British tourists. The UK equally exports lots of goods to Kenya in addition to other business deal between the two countries.

President Uhuru three-day state visit would offer him the prospect to revise most of these trade deals as well as meet new business partners. It is the duty of the British press to project the positive sides of this visit and not to waste time telling people about the ICC case, which many people already know and are tired of it. Uhuru narrowly won the March presidential election, and his main rival Raila Odinga contested the results before the Supreme Court ruled to give him the victory. Kenyans celebrated and have remained peaceful all through. Odinga who is supposed to be the last person to accept the results has finally agreed that Uhuru is the president. Whether, the British press want to see him as that honourable president he is or an ICC wanted man in their making, Kenyans and Africans are proud of him.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in News Analysis, Opinion

 

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Akono must lick his own wounds

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Jean-Paul Akono

Head coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, Jean-Paul Akono has only himself to blame if his boss, the Minister of Sports, Adoum Garoua snubbed him to search for a big name to take his post.  Appointed as an interim coach to take the prestigious post after Frenchman, Denis Lavagne was sacked; it was a golden opportunity for Akono to embrace with open hands after being in the doldrums of job hunt for donkey years.

Although Akono has the technical expertise and many accolades including an Olympic gold medal under his belts, there was no guarantee that he was going to put the struggling Indomitable Lions back on the glory trail. With jobs hard to get, recruiters today are interested in results and not CVs or past glories. Thus, having been in the same position several times before, Akono would have known better than anyone else that he is just a local hero and coach, but is lucky to be offered a job often reserved for foreigners.

Asking a gross monthly salary and trying to be tough at a time when everyone is trying to cut costs to stay afloat with this incessant hardship was enough signal to tell Adoum Garoua that he was not serious about the job he has just been put on probation. With Akono comparing himself with foreign coaches by putting his salary high, he was just ridiculing his status of a respected coach. Foreigners are coming in from countries where costs of living are generally high and leaving families and friends behind to work abroad these coaches must be able to earn enough to sustain their families back home.

Even living in a luxurious villa in Yaoundé, Cameroon and spending virtually nothing as comparable to people abroad, Akono, a civil servant now wants to earn a salary of CFA 15 million a month, higher than that of the president of Cameroon. That demand alone is not just being greedy on his part, but trying to tempt the Minster of Sports who is not even on such a salary or has a dream of earning that big.

Fire-fighters don’t complain

In any case, Akono has a right to set his own salary to sign his contract, however being called in to play the role of a fire-fighter, interim coach, he must act both tactically and intelligently to stay permanently. Fire-fighters are only needed when there is a fire, and once the fire is extinguished nobody bothers about what they do after the incident.

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Indomitable Lions are lacking form as coach changes

For Akono to interpret the advertisement of his post as an official sacking is like running than his own personal pace. The minister might be fulfilling a bureaucratic rule, which says that once one person is dismissed or sacked or has resigned that vacancy must be advertised even if it has already been offered to someone. As a senior civil servant, Akono should not be surprised if that is the case here. Once one goes for an interview, the next step is to patiently wait for that call or mail saying that you have been successful or refused the job, but that doesn’t stop you from calling the recruiter to ask about the fate of the interview. The recruiter has the right to search for someone else even if you have signed a contract or not, but you need to wait for that dismissal letter to ask for compensation or payment for bridge of contract or to take legal action.

Akono should apply for the post like anyone else if he is still interested and wait to be called and not to go instead to the media to belittle himself. Pride would not offer him the job but a realistic attitude as to why he must be maintained there. It’s true that times have changed, and football management has also evolved, but hardship has forced everyone to save for the raining days. Big clubs in Europe are cutting expensive salaries of players as well as that of coaching staff to stay in the business. Some players are today offering to play for free to keep their clubs from falling into administration. Akono needs to think twice before asking for too much.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in News feature, Opinion

 

South Korea seeks peace with flying balloons

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While the tension between the two Koreans has been cooking and almost overflowing, South Korean protesters shocked many people today with the move for peace and dialogue.

Countless balloons baring the pictures of the two leaders and that of a dove were released at the border town of Paju to fly to North Korea.

The significant of these balloons speak volumes and although it might be neglected by most critics of North Korea, it might as well be just the olive leaf that is going to pacify Kim Yong-Un to put off any intension of starting a war.

Rhetoric wars and the eminent threats the war would pose if it finally goes ahead cannot be underestimated. However, at this breaking point just simple signal like that of the balloons can play the trick – change minds as well as actions.

China, the only country that can speak and understand North Korea has the biggest task to play in any effort to stop any combat between the two.

Whether China finally succeeds, it’s only a matter of time.

It remains the hope of everyone, including South Korea and its allies that Pyongyang should think of the consequences any war might cause.

Dialogue is the way for peace, and it’s never late to start one.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in News, Opinion

 
 
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