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Posts Tagged ‘BBC

‘Tanzanians the Most Superstitious in Africa’

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Well, at least that’s what research conducted by The Pew Research Center suggests. The BBC has summarized the ten most important things to come out of the research about Africa. Tanzania’s gain to fame comes at point number seven. The entire document is worth reading.

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April 15, 2010 at 17:13


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It must be quite something being the US Ambassador to Tanzania. The previous gentleman to occupy the position, Mark Green, was Bush’s man. Generally, a well received fellow. Queitly spoken, focused on the issues that were being endorsed by his President. PEPFAR stuff. All par for the course.

And then along comes Alfonso. He is a military guy and right now with Yemen across the Indian ocean training Africans how to conceal bombs in their underwear, the entire coastline being patrolled by Somali pirates, some would say the US military has a right to be in the neighbourhood, patrolling the beat, swinging its truncheon. (Others have even suggested that his familiarity with handling high level security was a significant factor in his appointment with the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Dar es Salaam still in the minds of American national security policy makers.)

Alfonso is a soldier playing the role of a diplomat. He has certainly been vocal and has weighed in on a host of issues, counterfeit drugs, women’s rightscorruption, but his most notable comments were on the peace process in Zanzibar which were  reprinted in various media outlets and publications in the country. But are we listening? Should we be? Tanzania continues to struggle with the fight against corruption. Zanzibar manages to go for 3 months with no electricity (and by the way not a single protest is heard about it from its peoples) yet the $770 million committed by Bush as part of the Millenium Challenge Corporation is safe. Alfonso has confirmed as much. So, no need for undue urgency then, is there?

President Kikwete has appointed Judge Mark Bomani, again, to be chairman of the (take a deep breath) Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives Multistakeholder Working Group.  Enough said.

So who are we to believe in the row between Sir Bob Geldolf and the BBC? The foul mouthed Irish campaigner has over the years had to endure the public casting aspersions on his efforts largely because of his associations with the less popular but more musically talented Bono. But Geldof is different, more committed and one would imagine, more likely to get into a physical altercation to defend his honour and word. The BBC on the other hand, especially the Africa service, appears to be driven by pushing as many bizarre and negative stories as they possibly can on a daily basis. If you don’t believe me, go to the BBC website and read the top stories. We here at Serengeti hope Geldof kicks the crap out of them. The ‘stud of Baghdad’, aka Rageh Omar, defends his former employers here. Mr. Geldof responds to his response is here.

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March 11, 2010 at 16:48

SAL Abroad: Lagos, February 2010, Ctd

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It all happened rather quickly. By Wednesday last week, Nigeria had, in former Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, an Acting President, a position which is apparently unrecognised in the country’s constitution. There are only two ways in which an incumbent President can be removed from office in Nigeria. Either the Federal Executive Council, i.e the Cabinet, can dislogde him for reasons of permanent incapacitation. Or he can be impeached by the Senate.

Neither of these happened last Tuesday. Instead, Goodluck Jonathan was declared Acting President by ‘a resolution of the National Assembly.’ Apparently the basis for the National Assembly’s action was an interview given by President Yar’Adua on the BBC on January 12, 2010. You can listen to it here. The interview was transcribed, printed and thus became the physical ‘letter’ which was needed to prove that the President had declared himself too ill to govern.

So, this expedient solution to the crisis of a President-less country raises interesting conundrums. Is Goodluck at once both (Acting) President and (former) Vice President? From Next:

According to the lawyers, while Mr. Jonathan now serves as the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, there currently exists no vacancy in the vice presidency, the position Mr. Jonathan occupied until last week when a resolution by the National Assembly declared him the Acting President of the country. The lawyers said that Mr. Jonathan will continue to run the presidency without an official deputy until 2011 unless the ailing president, Umaru Yar’Adua, ceases to be president as a result of his impeachment or permanent incapacitation.

Constitutional quandaries aside, the jostling for the non-vacant number two position is in full swing. Given that Jonathan is from the south of the country, all five front-runners for the non-vacant vice presidency are from northern Nigeria.

The fallout from this change of guard was not without its casualties. Michael Aondoakaa, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, who had fought tooth and nail to keep Jonathan from the Presidency was the first to lose his job. He was redeployed to Special Duties. He also had to apologise to one Prof Dora Akinyili, the Minister for Information who had led an impressive and spirited one-person campaign in the Cabinet for Yar’Adua to hand over power, even if temporarily, to his deputy. This was for allegedly accusing the minister, during one of the heated internal debates, of being less than clean while running the country’s food and drug administration (NAFDAC).

It seems like the old proverb still rings true: she who laughs last, laughs longest. Maybe.

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February 16, 2010 at 09:51