Hawking Democracy

Hawking Democracy

I hear a giant ho-hum following the grunt-grunt of the lion walking through the night.

Two days after the election with 10% of the polling stations still outstanding the two rivals for the Kenyan presidency are divided by less than 1 percent. It will be days before we know who is President. Maybe weeks as it gets hung up in the courts. Kenya is as tense as a cocked mousetrap.

But right now the country is peaceful. Young people didn’t vote. Parts of the country – particularly heavily populated parts near the coast – hardly turned out at all. The slums which account for more than half of the greater Nairobi population and which were instrumental in past elections’ violence, are quiet tonight.
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Gutting Democracy

Gutting Democracy

Some of the best legal scholarship of our times created Kenya’s new constitution 15 years ago and South Africa’s a decade earlier.

In the end both Kenya and South Africa adopted a three-branch federal government like the United States. But both societies established a creed practical for the modern age. And it’s the reason both countries protect the right for abortion and the U.S. no longer does.
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GoodvBad

GoodvBad

Africa, make no mistake: abstaining from morality is immoral. Serious moves afoot to boycott those African countries that abstained from demanding that Russia withdraw from Ukraine. This includes South Africa which by abstaining from this historic vote condemns its own courageous struggle for democracy.

The majority of African countries, as with the majority of countries worldwide, voted to demand that Russia cease hostilities and withdraw. It was a historic and brave moment for the world. The results demonstrate which African countries are weak and withering, and which are strong and prospering.
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In The Darkness

In The Darkness

Britain’s House of Lords isn’t normally a cauldron for news. Scheduled tea breaks would likely prevail over debate of the imminent apocalypse of an asteroid racing towards Westminster. But Wednesday Lord Peter Hain managed to step onto the world stage to – with not quite these words – warn America of what has just happened in South Africa.

I’ve often connected South Africa and former President Zuma, with America and former President Trump. Well, move Mitt Romney into the mix, now. Something’s very depressing about all of this.
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On The March

On The March

Western fixation with terrorism at the expense of poverty and basic human rights is finally coming home to roost in Africa.

New or reinvigorated democracies supported by the U.S. and France are imploding. Military coups are rearranging the rubble. A decade or so ago this would have represented serious political backwardness. But now it’s quite different. I’m surprised to find myself saying so, but these military coups look a lot better than the regimes they’re toppling.
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Desmond Delivered

Desmond Delivered

There’s an intersection in the middle of Nairobi city which we used to call the Square of Churches years ago. There’s only one church there, the city’s main Catholic Cathedral, Holy Family Minor Basilica, and it’s a roundabout so I have no idea how the moniker developed.

Kitty-corner from the Basilica is Jomo Kenyatta’s Mausoleum. Between the two on the north end is the Intercontinental Hotel, and kitty-corner from that, City Park. If the new highway didn’t obscure my nostalgic memories I’d suggest that the name of the place be changed to the Desmond Tutu Plaza.
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T&C’s

T&C’s

How about if each of you – especially if you’re strangers to me – each send me $100 for the best dinner you’ve ever had in your life. We’ll do it in about a year. Promise it will be the most memorable meal of your life!

Any takers?

There’s a reason that travel purchases aren’t capitalistic. There’s no enforceable contract between the consumer and the provider of the service. In a sense it’s just hype. You can’t try it on. You can’t return it when it arrives broken. There’s no warranty other than ebullient promises.
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Mr. 13173

Mr. 13173

Terrible, scandalous, hypocritical and immoral but never surprising. Africa leaders have feathered their beds ever since colonial masters bribed them into submission, ever since world powers bought their Cold War loyalties, then now when giant corporations and disreputable not-for-profits buy influence. Excruciatingly terrible but what’s new?

What’s new is Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. The expose regarding Uhuru Kenyatta specifically published in the recently released Pandora Papers might just at long last make a difference.
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God’s Will

God’s Will

No doubt that Paul Rusesabagina, fictionalized as the hero of “Hotel Rwanda,” supports the revolutionary group that successfully blew up tiny bits of Rwanda over the last five years. But was his tricked kidnapping by a wicked priest for a show trial in Kigali the right way to keep Rwandans from massacring each other?

Rusesabagina, now a Belgian citizen and permanent U.S. resident, was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday for treason against Rwanda. His story reveals better than most the extraordinary supremacy of authoritarianism over the complexities of truth and history.
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Really Lost

Really Lost

Yes, I’ve found a connection between the Serengeti and right-wing propaganda. Didn’t expect it would be so easy, but the take-home is that somebody out there – governments or dictators or god incarnate – needs to control social media. The wild west of information dissemination is destroying truth and I worry it may never be restored.
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Heady Aches

Heady Aches

Excited about the increasing depth of the Trump criminal investigations?

Don’t put too much faith in the law. A good portion, but not too much. And while you’re at it take a quick look at what’s happening with Africa’s Trump, more than four years after he slid from power.

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Nonemployment

Nonemployment

Is “unemployment” an important metric? Very similar controversies in the United States and South Africa throw this goldmark standard for economic planning into question.

Both countries currently suffer from chronic waves of refugees exacerbated by a wry mixture of politics with pandemic. Both countries’ fairly liberal policies towards refugees are at contentious odds with large parts of their citizenry. Both deal with growing social unrest that many argue impedes difficult struggles with institutionalized racism.

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Suluhu under Virus

Suluhu under Virus

The world’s most mutated Covid-19 variant has been found in travelers from Tanzania. The discovery was announced three days ago by the Krisp Institute, which first discovered the South African variant.

Krisp is growing the virus to determine any effects of the mutations. There may be none but there is concern that several mutations involve the critical “spikes” that bind the virus to its prey. Several other of its specific mutations have been confirmed in many different virus samples from around the world, reflecting the natural selections that give the virus advantage.

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Serious Suluhu

Serious Suluhu

The former president, John Magufuli, will be laid to rest tomorrow in a Tanzanian state funeral. The chief mourner is the new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who recently told the BBC, “It’s possible that some people take my soft-spoken nature as a sign of weakness, but to make them understand you doesn’t mean you have to shout.”

A respected African think-tank said today that Magufuli’s death in the face of Suluhu’s modest demeanor “has thrown the East African nation into a period of political uncertainty.” Here’s why:

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