Rhino Ruse

Rhino Ruse

rhinoauctionThere are 65 world treaties governing such things as conduct in war, rights of the child and trade of endangered species (CITES). The first was in 1865 (governing the breakthrough telegraph) and the latest in 2006 (governing the rights of the disabled).

Getting the whole wide world to agree on something isn’t easy. It represents man’s greatest achievement: These treaties define mankind. Friday, one man in South Africa will defy one of these treaties with the blessings of a misguided South African court.

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Zeus to the Rescue

Zeus to the Rescue

MagufuliZeusTanzania’s president doesn’t so often follow the law as make it. The public doesn’t seem to mind. “He’s reducing corruption,” I often hear in his defense.

I’ve seen local police cower from motorists who are increasingly challenging their road stops. Clerks at national parks are subdued: The normal “chai” that greased palms is in short supply. Everybody fears that Magufuli will show up, fire them or worse, jail them.

But when “Magufuli Justice” was applied internationally, recently, it didn’t go so well.

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False Charity

False Charity

PAMS vs charityCrimes are often subjective. Elephant poachers, drug users, and teenage suicide bombers fall into this category. There are thousands more examples across a wide spectrum of wrongness.

Wednesday evening one of the most successful crusaders against elephant poaching was murdered on the streets of Dar-es-Salaam where he defied his notorious reputation with a zealous fight against poachers and brokers of illicit ivory. It’s no surprise.

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Desertification

Desertification

raila in the desertI walked off the charter aircraft in front of my guests, our yellow-vested escort so close he kept bumping me. He stared straight ahead, walked stiffly and unnaturally fast towards the terminal building, more concerned with getting out of the open than showing us the exit.

That was Wednesday, the day after the election. Nairobi was as tense as a strand of cashmere nuked in a microwave. Today the city is nearly back to normal. As nations around the world drop into either the “crazy-and-dangerous” category or the “sane-and-hopeful,” Kenya has demonstrably shown it’s in the latter.

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OnSafari: Lucy’s Future

OnSafari: Lucy’s Future

kenya and lucyWe had a Maasai guide for our final days in Kenya. There are about 500 guides in Kenya’s best game park, the Maasai Mara. Only three are women: “our” Lucy was one.

Two days after national elections, results have yet to be announced but the country looks increasingly like it will accept the outcome peacefully. Lucy won’t be the only beneficiary of peace. In 8 of Kenya’s 47 counties (comparable to our states) provisional results give governorships to women.

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OnSafari: Nairobi Simmers

OnSafari: Nairobi Simmers

KenyaelectionUnusually, we chartered from Kenya’s best game park directly into the international airport rather than normally into a smaller airport across town to avoid having to make that transfer.

We’re hunkered down in a new hotel inside the secure international airport complex waiting for our evening departures to Europe. Violence so far is only in the west of the country, but even here the tension is palpable.

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OnSafari: Election Day

OnSafari: Election Day

ktn1Incredibly punishing rains fell last night. Lightning kept the night alive as if it were a fire. Water fell into the wee hours and ended with a cold wind that continues to blow under overcast skies.

It’s election day in Kenya. You need to pay attention. No country’s problems will be solved within their own borders, anymore. No matter where in the world you live, the frustrations you feel are likely global; solutions must be global. You’ve got to understand the rest of the world, even if you never leave home.

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OnSafari: Serengeti

OnSafari: Serengeti

lion.cubbellyfullAs usual for this time of year it was bone dry. Mornings were still and cold. Saturn twinkled above in the ink blue predawn sky almost as brightly as the half moon which had set in the middle of the night. The sun rose as a giant orange ball behind a charcoal grey curtain of dust and the first breezes tossled the fields of dead, blonde grass. By noon dust devils twisted across the veld. By afternoon strong winds obliterated the cloudless sky with layers of dust.

Pundits like to advise potential safari travelers that this is the best time to see cats. To a certain extent that’s true. But what they see isn’t often what they expect:

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OnSafari: Best Fare

OnSafari: Best Fare

Kibera2007Riding cabs in Nairobi isn’t fun.  Traffic is unbelievable. You really get to know your cabbie.

Mine said he worked right through the last two elections. I didn’t believe him. I’d spoken to other cabbies, hotel workers, airport staffers – none plan on going to work August 8, the next election.  He caught my wry smile in his rear view mirror and shouted, “I will!” then told me why.

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Democratic Flames

Democratic Flames

flamesofdemocracyKenya’s August 8 national election will test democracy as never before, anywhere in the world. Kenya’s incredible tribalism and its new found intellectualism are being force-blended into a modern world that just so happens at this very moment in human history to be questioning the very worth of democracy.

I think it will make it. Others aren’t so sure.

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