You might not have noticed the cheering but there are some serious praises coming out of Africa for Trumpism.
Africa’s despots, dictators and iron-fisted rulers rather seem to like our new president. Trump and they struck quite a few bar buddy poses at DAVOS.
Should teachers be paid bonuses when their students achieve better test results? What would you think about giving a 6th grade English teacher a bonus equivalent to half his salary if more than half his students ranked in the highest 5 percentile of the No-Child-Left-Behind tests?
That’s what Tanzania is currently doing, and the approval from all parts of society is so high that foreign NGOs are now kicking in some of the funds.
There 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.
Another two tourists were killed by elephant Saturday.
There are conflicting accounts of the deaths. The official Zambian police report claims that the 57-year old Belgian woman walked “too close” to take photos. But family members of the two killed told the Lusaka Times “the duo were looking at the giant mammals from a distance” and were charged unexpectedly.
In the big scheme of things, here’s why the details matter less than you might think.
Clarity on how badly elephants may be declining is at hand. Wednesday scientists began the “2017 Selous-Mikumi Large Mammal Census” which will be conducted over a huge area of nearly 43,000 sq. miles in central Tanzania.
It will be the first such careful animal census of the area since 2014 but more importantly will help determine the much debated viability of the “Great Elephant Census (GEC)”, which tore through the continent a year ago. One of the great criticisms of that inflammatory report was precisely that it ignored areas that the current census will now sample.
Why believe this one?
Tourists 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.
Words and gestures are gunpowder.
Tanzania’s leading opposition politician was sprayed with bullets yesterday as he arrived home from Parliament. It was a busy mid-day in the middle of a metropolis. The drive-by was a measured, obviously well planned attack. The police say they have no leads.
The president of the country tweeted that he was “shocked.” I’m not.
The presidents of Tanzania and the United States are blood brothers in their defiance of law. I don’t think Tanzania and the U.S. are organically connected politically, but clearly both are being effected by social waves of discontent in the same way.
In both Tanzania and the U.S., two so different societies half-way round the world from one another, both leaders came to power democratically with support from people who now think it’s fine to undermine democracy.
Tanzania’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.
Crimes 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.
A good safari is an adventure, and an adventure takes effort. I keep thinking of the phrase, “No Pain – No Gain.” Sure, we can end the day at an unbelievably luxurious place with bubble bath and champagne. But just take a look at a successful safari traveler stepping out of her vehicle at the end of the day:
You won’t see the Belle of the Ball.
People come on safari to see lions and elephants, but they return for another trip and refer their friends often because of the surprisingly moving non-game viewing experiences.
Just as there’s more to America than Disneyland and Vegas, there’s a whole lot more to the places where the great animals still roam the wild.
For the first time in a number of years, the great wildebeest migration seems to be “on track.” This means when I return to Africa in a few weeks that I should be able to show my clients a dramatic river crossing in The Mara.
This year the weather was fairly “normal” as defined by the mean of the last twenty years. Parts of Tanzania suffered a mini-drought, and the lands of the wilde were a bit dryer than “normal” but all within the margin of “normal.” But does “normal” mean anything, any more?
After 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.
African governments thumb their noses at tourists and tourists flounder in the irony of their wealth. What a story!
Safari fees are increasing fast and furiously, and the blame has begun to fly. Following Rwanda’s decision to double a mountain gorilla fee from $750 to $1500 per hour, Tanzania nearly doubled tourist fees Friday night.
Social media is aghast. Tourist platforms like TripAdvisor are fanning the flames as distorted facts are amplified. Let’s try to sort it all out: