A 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.
Populism begets dictatorship. Examine Africa to understand our era’s dramatic moves towards authoritarianism.
The weekend’s referendum in Turkey is at center stage. But it’s to the faster developing, least developed and most desperate societies in Africa that you should turn your attention. Strong men are reappearing and stronger than ever, precisely because they achieve their power using the ballot box.
Study carefully the picture above. (The inset is mine of South African protests, today.) That’s the website page that millions, maybe billions of people worldwide access to understand U.S. foreign policy. And that’s how it looked this morning: Come Back Later.
As a group of activists in my small town discussed the possibility of creating a new political force, I found particular use in the image above.
Jacob Zuma and Donald Trump are as different as the politics and societies of South Africa and the U.S. Yet the similarities make me wonder if we ought to watch carefully now what’s happening in South Africa as Zuma incrementally destroys the country he leads.
Yesterday the Rand ended a struggled recovery, the country’s bond status fell to the junk floor, there was yet another major cabinet reshuffling, the Deputy President of the country criticized the President, and Parliament began what in America we call impeachment.
A Kenyan diplomat told Foreign Policy this week that Trump’s budget “will leave a big hole in terms of the aid people are getting.” The magazine summed it up in their headline, “Trump’s America First Puts Africa Last.”
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said Trump’s skinny budget is “dead on arrival.” But each day this week we’re learning more of the details of that skinny budget, and each detail is more devastating than the last.
Courts may have socked him, Congress may have dumped him, but the Trump administration is hardly down and out. This week it signaled its intention to blow up the fragile peace in one of the most beautiful and precious areas of the world, the eastern Congo.
Friday, the UN’s peacekeeping mandate in The Congo expires, and the Trump administration has signaled it has no intention of continuing it at is.
The first bricks of the wall – not just facing Mexico but around all of America – were laid today and neither the courts nor Congress can stop it.
At 3 a.m. this morning Homeland Security banned personal electronics from the airline cabins of 9 Muslim airlines. Last weekend a conference in California for African investment petered out because every African who applied to attend was denied a visa.
Trump is the front man. The engine behind him is slipping into gear with the certainty and finesse of a Benz.
When the cats away the mice will play. In this case the mice are multiple emerging nations like Myanmar, or Zimbabwe and Cameroon in Africa, countries with a record of citizen abuse but which have no strategic interest to world powers. The cat is the west, Britain and the U.S. mostly.
Since Brexit followed by Trump, these abusive countries have become more so. They’re being left “to their own devices,” devil-be-damned. Cameroon is the best example.
I’m sometimes inspired by celebrities’ dedication to progressive causes. But George Clooney’s analysis of the South Sudan crisis – his personal cause – is shallow and has become counter productive. He should tone down his involvement.
Six years ago I asked you readers if Clooney’s approach to the South Sudan would help or hurt. I’m afraid time has proved the latter.
The Tanzania government yesterday fired nine journalists for disseminating a completely fake story claiming that Trump had praised the Tanzanian president as an “African hero,” republished from a completely fake news outlet called the “Fox Channel.”
The article suggested Trump admired John Magufuli, the Tanzanian leader, for his hard ball techniques in advancing his agenda which many observers believe grossly oversteps the Tanzanian constitution.
Ambassador Carson’s warning yesterday appears to be true today. There are unsettling ripples all over Africa, all carrying the frequency of Trump mayhem.
Wednesday’s all-so-important Somali election is in real trouble because monitors can no longer go there (or more accurately, come back). Great hopes for Libya’s national coalition collapse. Egypt sends jetboats to threaten Ethiopia’s new dam on The Nile, Eritrea makes a new alliance with Saudia Arabia to destabilize Ethiopia. The Ivory Coast is challenged by new internal military struggles.
It’s all new and hard to unweave, and it’s all related to Trump.
Africans are putting together the first drafts of policy to deal with Trump and while it reflects the sophistication and skill of today’s African leaders, the outlook is grim. The much loved former U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Johnnie Carson, wrote today, the best Africa can hope for is “benign neglect.”
Which is unlikely if Trump twists the globe and learns there’s a continent over there. The case in point is Kenya. I implied yesterday that Kenya’s unexpected extradition of two alleged drug kingpins to the U.S. was clearly courting favor. Sycophancy aside, the country is preparing for the worse.
African leaders scramble while their citizens shout and scream, terrified that they will be added to Trump’s ban list.
On America’s most watched morning political show today one of the regulars asked why Trump’s travel ban didn’t include “Kenya?” This is a show that we know Trump and much of the Senate watch. The commentator finally brought into the open what everyone is secretly worried about.
It’s time you really think about travel, really. Because, it’s tanking.
The figures I know best are for Africa, and they’re stunningly clear. Beware of the elated travel reporting which always finds the trend is up … even when it’s down and recognize that most media stories are about the present, not the future. I’m talking about 8-10 months from now.
African lodges and hotels and safari companies are slashing prices, offering extraordinary deals, reducing contract rates. The last time this happened was in 2008.
Monday millions of African women lost their family planning assistance. Abortions, HIV and infant mortality will now increase dramatically.
The 2016 U.S. budget included $607.5 million in funding for reproductive health internationally. If Trump’s executive order is taken at face value, that stops. I guess we need it for the wall.