Tiptoe in The Tulips

Tiptoe in The Tulips

usugandaCollusion? Vengeance? Contrariness? Or just stupidity?

These four questions, which hover over practically every action by high American officials today, are perfectly illustrated with an example in Uganda. Following citings for massive bribery issued by New York prosecutors against Uganda’s foreign minister, the Trump administration holds high-level meetings with the accused to praise him.

Collusion? Vengeance? Contrariness? Or just stupidity?

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End of What?

End of What?

africawhatisitAnything happen this year?

Sorry. Perhaps a poor attempt for just a bit of relief. End-of-the-year analyses are coming out. I sit in a little world of Africa news and things, but I expect all the little worlds feel the same thing I do: the universe is tanking. Now if you’re sitting at a big desk on Wall Street you see it otherwise, because the rich world is doing just fine. But time’s have changed. The world is starting to move as one, and how Africa or Taipei or the Ukraine or Latvia goes, so eventually does the whole world, even eventually the rich.

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Two Doth Tango

Two Doth Tango

donttellThere are multiple ways to distort news. One of the most effective is to get rid of the person who gathers it. It’s a harsher step than simply bellowing out untruths like Fox News but the latter often foreshadows the former.

Two weeks ago journalist Azory Gwanda was kidnapped and hasn’t been seen since. He was a reporter for a Swahili-language Tanzanian media company that was often critical of the current president, John Magufuli.

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Paradise Hidden

Paradise Hidden

paradise hiddenThe lofty positions held by a number of Africans in both government and business is jeopardized by the Paradise Papers expose, and for exactly the same reason that Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, is on the way out.

Nothing illegal is alleged in the Paradise Papers’ leaked business deals, mostly with Cayman Island banks. Nothing illegal is alleged in the Times’ expose of Apple’s tax havens in Britain and Ireland.

But legality isn’t the issue. Morality is. Wealth of this magnitude should not be held by so few.

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Live Free To Die

Live Free To Die

protecting democracyUltimately it’s a matter of whether the people in power are good or bad. Doesn’t really matter whether they won an election or ascended a throne, whether they’re an elected judge or an appointed one. They’re either good or bad.

But as multiple African countries show, today, there’s a lot of bad running democracies. Listen quick: I’m not saying authoritarian regimes are better than democracies. I’m just saying there can be just as much badness in democracy as in authoritarianism.

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Now or Never?

Now or Never?

tanzanitenoworneverTourists are going to be floored this season by how expensive Tanzanite has become.

The Tanzanian president’s sweeping dictatorial attempts to reduce corruption are currently focused on the country’s precious minerals. The fight is far from over, but so far he’s struck out with the biggest player, Acacia [Gold] Mining, so he’s set his sites on Tanzania’s small Tanzanite industry.

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Kenyan Conundrum

Kenyan Conundrum

courtannulselectionDiplomats and experts alike are hailing Kenya’s Supreme Court for its decision Friday annulling the national elections as proof that this dynamic emerging nation has firmly sided on the rule of law.

I see it differently: another example that democracy is growing self-destructive. With opposition candidates already declining to take part in the announced election rerun, the chances for widespread violence and major political disruption are now greater than ever.

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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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Corruption Starts at Home

Corruption Starts at Home

wherecoruptionstarts“Etete can smell the money. If at nearly 70 years old he turn(s) his nose up at nearly $1.2 bill he is completely certifiable. But I think he knows it’s his for the taking.”

This is an email from a consultant to a top-notch, highly educated, church-going multinational Shell oil executive referring to the bribe offered a Nigerian oil minister so that Shell could get control of one of the largest oil fields on earth. It was published by BuzzFeed working with by Global Witness.

We call this market capitalism. When done with sufficient finesse it’s not even illegal in the U.S. This is how the world goes round. Details at the Secretary of State’s office.

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Kurudisha Tanzania

Kurudisha Tanzania

BringBackRomaA very dark cloud forms over Tanzania. The country is increasingly unsafe … for Tanzanians. Kidnappings, extra-judicial interrogations and intimidations against opponents of the regime increase day by day.

Last week a popular Tanzanian rapper, Roma Mkatoliki, was kidnapped. Social media went bonkers. Fellow rappers produced a video that by this morning almost 100,000 people had watched on YouTube. The government of Tanzanian can ignore this no longer.

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What Future?

What Future?

imfmozambiqueReset by the global recession, reconfigured by massive new production of oil and gas in the U.S. simultaneously with aggressive development of non-fossil fuels, Africa begins to collapse.

Nigeria, Angola, Egypt and Algeria, even Ghana and many countries not wholly dependent upon natural resources are in economic tailspins. The best example is Mozambique.

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