The Wall Grows

The Wall Grows

banlaptoponairlinesThe 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.

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Evil Unleashed

Evil Unleashed

catsawaymiceplayWhen 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.

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Fake Buddies

Fake Buddies

bestbuddiesThe 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.
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Raging Ripples

Raging Ripples

ripplesAmbassador 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.

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Flower Futures

Flower Futures

trump-africaAfricans 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.

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Too Much Trump

Too Much Trump

lovetrumpAfrican 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.

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Travel Tanks

Travel Tanks

Passengers walk through a terminal at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., last mont

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.

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A Little World Filled

A Little World Filled

trumpsworldToday in a few hours America installs Trump. It’s very hard for any of us to do much of anything but watch and listen to the proceedings.

Gambia, too, is installing a new president today, with the help of thousands of soldiers from neighboring countries and in the absence of nearly a fifth of the country’s population which has fled.

Which would you rather be? A Gambian or an American?

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Utterly Unequal

Utterly Unequal

incomeDAVOSEach year at this time one news story is repeated, analyzed, attracts more comments and fuels more anger in Africa than any other single story of at any other time of the year, year after year:

The rich gather at Davos and Oxfam releases its report on the inequality of wealth. Nothing comes close to getting the attention this does African-wide. And year after year it gets worse and worse:

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Better Not Pout!

Better Not Pout!

betterwatchoutAfrica’s a bit unsettled. Europe’s more unsettled than ever.

The world is connected by a million strings. They’re best seen from afar, because up close they’re indistinguishable from the humdrum of everyday life. The ones I watch are in Africa:

Growing protests turn really violent in the DR-Congo. The Gambian president who conceded defeat in an election now says only God can tell him to step down. The Ugandan military is flexing its arms like it did under Amin.

What’s happening and is it coming to America?

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The Last Laugh?

The Last Laugh?

lastlaughThe alt-right may be ecstatic, but the majority of us in the world are increasingly depressed. And now guess what? There’s no comic relief.

A much watched tongue-in-cheek news podcast in South Africa recently replaced twenty years of sarcasm with all that’s left: “there’s only bad news.”

I thought of South Africa’s much loved Evita Bezuidenhoutis after watching this week’s opening sketch of Saturday Night Live. Plays on Trump’s naivete if ignorance are less funny now, because they’ve turned out to be real. The news was wrong: Sarcasm is the truth.

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