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: 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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Double Doofuses

Double Doofuses

trumpdoofuszumaSouth Africans delightedly use Trump as a global explanation for their own Jacob Zuma, but if we get distracted by colorful individuals at the helm of complex political systems imploding all around us, we’ll have created nothing to fill the vacuum that follows their recklessness.

Wasting time trying to pin sophisticated crimes on the “orange doofus” (as South Africans describe Trump) will fatally delay fixing the system.

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Jumbo Politics

Jumbo Politics

luangwaselesAfter elephants “terrified” a Kenyan politician campaigning near Tsavo National Park, the candidate told supporters the government has done “Very little… to make sure human-wildlife conflict is addressed.”

A few weeks earlier Kenya’s proud new SGR train plowed into a cow in the same area because elephants had torn down the fence along the rail line.

In the last few months I’ve seen first-hand the increasing human/wildlife conflict.  It’s not a pretty scene.

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Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers

trumpmacronafricomLast night Trump took a “fun trip” to a “ a dystopian land of terror… a city so, so, so out of control, so dangerous.” “France is no longer France,” Trump recently pronounced.

It’s hard to believe that someone who confuses WWI with WWII and can’t even name the advisories of either one is joining the centennial celebrations of WWI. What’s behind this meeting?

The neo-cons controlling Trump. Africa is the reason for this meeting. Let me explain.

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Poaching Politics

Poaching Politics

antipoaching fenceIn this upended world even long-standing beliefs about extinction are being contested by a public ready to do anything so long as it’s different.

Rhino haven’t survived in the wild for decades, but since the 1980s they’ve been so well protected in fenced reserves that their numbers actually increased. That’s changing: Poaching inside fences is exploding, courts are freeing poachers, breeders are defying international bans and regimes like Trump’s are rescinding years of safeguards.

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Yuge Kenyan Rallies

Yuge Kenyan Rallies

kenyaelctionI’m in Kenya and you can’t walk out your door without feeling the buzz! Keep your eyes squarely here: It all happens on August 8. A national election that increasingly looks like it will be a major upset.

Kenyans have always been incredibly open people, and they are brimming over with optimism about this election! It’s not about their candidate. It’s what they think is about to happen:

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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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Sortition

Sortition

Democracy TrapPopulism 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.

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