Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Still Perfecting Regime Change Half a Century into Post-Colonialism

Watching what's going on in Libya, with Muammar Qaddafi slaughtering his own citizens, and the aftermaths of elections in Uganda and Cote d'Ivoire amongst other places, it is hard to believe that so many Africans are having to fight for their liberty... again. The irony is that the worst offenders on the continent seem to be former "liberators" of their countries. Kagame, Uncle Bob, Qaddafi, Museveni. Even in countries where elections are held, it seems that handing over power is a difficult thing to do.

What does this mean for Tanzania? I tend to look to South Africa rather than our neighboring countries* in order to try and imagine a potential political trajectory. Although the question has been kicked around here and there, I really can't imagine the North African/Middle East revolts reproducing themselves here. We're too differently organized, and there isn't a Grand Unified Cause yet to bring Tanzanians together across the country in solidarity to overturn a system as deeply entrenched as the CCM political structure. Besides, our Presidents don't make particularly good targets seeing as they respect their term limits, which means the goalposts are moving every ten years or so. Which means you have to target the whole party. Which is damn hard to do.

South Africa (specifically the ANC) has made some interesting choices in it's recent political life. The post-Madiba Presidents have come with incredible liabilities attached: Mbeki mishandled the HIV/AIDS issue with surprising incompetence, and then there's Jacob Zuma who has, with the help of his protege Malema, made a joke of the Party. Corruption, failure to deliver services as promised to the poor majority, a visible income gap growing between the BEE class and regular folks who have no access to kickbacks. Sound just like home :) Since the ANC, like CCM, is not the personal fiefdom of one crazed old freedom fighter but is rather made up of several groupings of ambitious power-brokers, no one is going to get a chance at leading the country until The Establishment is well and truly ready to give in.

We've proved by the ballot that we are quite comfortable continuing with a CCM government, no matter what the more vigorous malcontents might say in the press. I guess most of us are quite pragmatic that way: better the devil you know. Judging by the way our opposition is behaving on the mainland- Zanzibar is exempted as a GNU- we're obviously not ready for a party change here. And if you think we are, I ask you to consider this: if the formal opposition in Parliament has been unapologetically hogged by one opposition party with no remorse for alienating its natural allies, what will they get up to when they have access to all the public monies and the power that comes with government?

I don't doubt that there will come a day when even the idea of a CCM government will be untenable, and a viable alternative will present itself. It's even possible that we'll change parties without any loss of life or property in this idyllic future. In the meantime, there's a lot of groundwork to be done by the citizenry, and not the political class, to foster an environment where Tanzanians feel personally invested in and capable of contributing to the country. I believe the term is active citizenship? I live in hope.

BTW, despots are usually easy to spot: they tend to cultivate colorful, bizarre habits. Qaddafi's Jheri Curl hair products have obviously pickled his brain due to long use. Never, ever, ever tolerate a leader who looks like an escapee from the Koffi Olomide School of Manly Beauty. Or one with a fly whisk/animal print hat/ white handkerchief/vegetarian with a predilection for twins/dandy tendencies/fondness for the White Hunter look...

*I think we have a few more political similarities with SA than we do with our fellow EAC countries, actually. Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda apparently don't really do peaceful regime change, and Kenya seems to be looking for it's internal coherence with both hands and a flashlight. While I wish them the best and reluctantly agree that the EAC might have some economic utility, as a Tanzanian I want no part of the political federation scheduled for 2013...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jazz, The Military and Democracy Too.

To follow up on the Gongo la Mboto munitions dump explosions, Swahili Street has put up some links to excellent articles about the military in Tanzania. Not easy to find this kind of information, so the links are quite valuable.

Better late than never: FREE Jazz tonight at the Black Tomato from 6:30-8:30 pm- Top Brass. Yeah, it's army guys...

And a little something something that brings gaming joy to political buffs: I can't recommend this simulation enough. It really brings a touch of perspective about the interesting complexities of keeping a votership happy. Kinda like SimCity or Flight Sims, but for wanna-be politicians :) Just be warned, it takes a LOT of effort not to get booted out within a couple of cycles.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Culture of Accountability: Off With Their Heads!

A bit of a discussion about the aftermath of the bombings came up, and I expressed my deep skepticism about any calls for resignation at this time. Fellow blogger hj had this to say in response:

"I don't think it's just political posturing or unfocused anger that is pushing for these calls of resignation. The situation in gongo la mboto is simply a microcosm of a larger problem at hand. Accountability and governance isn't just donor-ingratiating jargon. Yes, a resignation or dismantling of the government structure may not do much good, but what is the alternative. There is more at stake here then simply a power shift, this may be an opportunity to cultivate a culture of responsibility and engagement rather than complicity, armchair activism and rhetorical spin."

I really like that last part: "this may be an opportunity to cultivate a culture of responsibility and engagement..."

As it happens, this afternoon the Army called a press conference to partially inform the public about the Gongo la Mboto events. Even more shockingly, the two high ranking officers tasked with the job- Brigadier General Leonard Mndeme and Brigadier General Paul Mella- did their best to answer journalists in a courteous and informative manner (they didn't always succeed, but they tried). When challenged as to whether the report of the commission tasked with investigating this event will be made public, considering that the report on the Mbagala bombings was not, Brig. Gen. Mella had a telling moment. He joked that with the current parliament that we have, it would be difficult not to make the report available to the public.

Accountability is indeed not donor-ingratiating jargon- if anything I would argue that donors should stay far away from that party.* However accountability is also not a top-down game, you can't parachute it in with a couple of high-profile resignations. It has to be demanded and fostered at the grassroots level and become an inalienable component of our understanding of professionalism in the public sector.

I am not against the resignations per se, but I do think that they lose their impact as a political tool when used improperly. Case in point: Former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa** resigned in 2005 over the Richmond/Dowans scandal. In 2011 he is back in parliament as Chairman of the Standing Parliamentary Committee for Defence, Security and Foreign Affairs. Dowans is being paid taxpayer money for not producing any electricity, and we are experiencing 12-hour power cuts that have already caused a number of small industries to shut down, rendering their employees jobless. Who is laughing now?

During the army press conference, there was no sign of our Minister of Defence and National Service, Mr. Hussein Mwinyi. Chief of the Armed Forces General Davis Mwamunyange was also conspicuously absent. We haven't been told anything about the officers who were directly in charge of that munitions dump. These are glaring holes in the story, a story we are yet to piece together. A resignation based on a general principle of accountability is fine, but I would rather a resignation or three based on evidence, facts and direct culpability. That, I would find deeply and lastingly satisfying.

But, more importantly- how do we make sure that Gongo la Mboto's events spur us to create a culture of responsibility and engagement? And specifically, what tools can we bring to bear in the effort? I want to go back to the Army press conference. Major Mela essentially promised by implication that the report would be made available to Bunge, which is the people's organ of government.

We are not privy to cabinet deliberations but I can guarantee you that within seconds of that document hitting Bunge, wenyenchi will be all over it like flies on a warm glass of Safari. In fact, in the past five or so years parliament has arguably done more to foster accountability (however hairy and inconsistent the ride has been) than any other tool/method/forum outside of independent media. None of this would even have been possible if certain politicians hadn't used that platform to blow things wide open a few years ago where government is concerned. Now, if only we can stop the habit of letting politicians bribe us for our votes during elections, we might have a fighting chance at this good governance thing.

I want to make one last point. Dramatic, emotionally charged events with high loss of life such as Gongo la Mboto excite us, understandably, to examine issues of accountability and governance with great immediacy. Off with their heads! But... every year far large numbers of us are dying thanks to poor healthcare, access to medicines, clean and safe water, antiretrovirals, safe birthing services... you get the drift. Sadly, these every day stories are not sexy outside of NGO circles. We would rather see Mwinyi or Mwamunyange be fired in disgrace and savor that moment than storm the walls of the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education and demand their heads on a platter. For that matter, we don't even know how much money the Army spends on toys and guns when the budget for Health is so horrifyingly inadequate.

I worry that if a scapegoat is identified and "forced" to resign, our nimble thespians will put on a satisfying show on the political stage and nothing else. We the people will buy tickets to the public political beheadings and go back home... to our powerless, waterless houses to put our kids to sleep, praying they don't get malaria and that maybe they will learn to read and write when they go to school tomorrow, that we'll still have that small factory job that's earning us a wee bit of a living, that when we go to hospital we'll have enough saved up to bribe the nurses into selling us medicines that were meant to be given for free, that the government will not sell off to much of the Strategic Grain Reserves to Kenya as this is a drought year and the price of food is already going up...

I would rather wait and see what's going to be done about our weapons storage/management issues, compensation in disasters, settlement policy with regards to military bases and real accountability in a meaningful way, without the distraction of a public hanging.

*... yeah, this is one of those things we kinda need to do for ourselves. As it is, the government is far too concerned with being accountable to donors while it ignores local watchdogs and voters.

The King's Diary: Gongo la Mboto

Dear Me,

What a terrible and shocking incident. Apparently my Kingdom does not need terrorists to blow people up. And what a bad timing. It disturbs me that this tragedy coincides with the upheaval in the Arab Nations. I fear that if I do not placate my people soon they might exploit this event to revolt and create havoc.

To immediately defuse people’s anger I will tell my secretary to call the media to tell them that I intend to visit the site of the explosion. Expressing sympathy to victims makes for good coverage and is likely to boost my popularity. This may not be enough, though. People are really irate: I’ve been told that calls for demonstrations are circulating already.

After the attacks in the Great Nation, their Leader called for a War on Terror. It boosted his popularity and eventually brought him his re-election. I wonder whether I could follow this example. Would it be possible to initiate something major that secures pleases ordinary people? Something that can be done without spending too much: after all we remain broke.

Hmmmm. What about a Responsible Citizen campaign? One element could be an investigation into what happened. I could use it to clean up of the military. If I blame the incident on less loyal elements, I could even use it to expand my power base. Yes, let me form an investigation committee, led by staunch supporters, with a mandate to make heads roll.

In addition I could opt to bring improvements to ordinary people’s lives. If I harness citizens own efforts and address issues that require mostly coordination, it will not have to cost much. And the TKP can easily provide coordination as the 10 household system has the capability to bring people together. It has not been used for this purpose but being the King I could order all 10 household leaders to organize their people. Initially the people could be enticed to donate blood for the victims. Later, the Campaign could expand to include monthly environmental clean ups, maintenance of drainage systems or pothole repairs.

Nice, I like it. Zero cost changes that boost my position and improve the lives of ordinary people. This tragedy might have a silver lining after all.

February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The King's Diary: That Disappointment in Egypt...

Dear Me,

Some Great Arab Leaders were forced to flee their countries. What losers! To be ousted by youngsters with a desire for change but no real sense of purpose. Chaos will come from this. Not that it matters. New leaders will emerge and once they have established themselves, things will revert back to normal. Personally I am a bit concerned, though, as I would hate to have to give up my job.

Many of the elements that ignited the mass movement in the Arab Nations are present in my Kingdom today. The TKP just celebrated 50 years in power and while the TKP brought stability, people remain poor and repressed. And like in the Arab Nations, the Kingdom’s population is young, unemployed and unhappy about its lack of prospects.

But I have two things going for me:

  1. The youth are badly educated
  2. The youth are not connected to the internet all phone numbers have been registered: no anonymity in my Kingdom!

This will buy me some time. But sooner or later internet will become accessible to all. It might be wise to explore possibilities for censoring while I can. I learned that effective web filtering technology exists. Let’s test it out on porn and other filth on the internet under the guise of stopping moral decay. If it works satisfactorily, we can expand its reach to other areas.

Finally, my dangerous friend just expanded his power base by becoming the chair of the military oversight committee in parliament. If he really gets the support of the military he is well placed to become my successor. I better keep a close eye on him: he is great when loyal and a formidable adversary when not.

February 17, 2011

Show Me Your Ass...ets.

I have to post another missive from His Handsome Highness in a minute, so I better lay the last poll to rest. The numbers: 13 of you voted, making this a tie for the most participated-in poll on TMR to date. Of you 13 who voted:

- Four of you are in favor of the walk-out culture. Smells like, smells like... smells like Chadema to me, to me.
- Three of you are in favor of a tax refund. Hell yeah. New rule: MPs who walk out of Bunge sessions due to temper tantrums should forfeit their salary for that month. Said salary should be redirected towards school feeding programs in the primary school of their constituency of birth.
- Two of you think that Bunge sucks (it does, on occasion) and feel neither anger nor evil satisfaction at Chadema's antics. So equanimous... what are you, Buddhist monks?
- And four of you would like to know about developments in the Steak Quest. Well, have I got a little news for you: apparently, The Waterfront at the SlipperyWay serves a hunk of fillet cooked to the right temperature for a reasonable price. Which means- eat it before the Chef migrates to greener pastures because you know how restaurants always (always) deteriorate here. The Black Tomato also treats it's steaklet right, but that's a morning sop-up-the-hangover special so it's on the thinner side... which doesn't matter since you get eggs with it for that coronary-on-a-plate feeling. Best steak in town? Yeah, I know where to source that. Saving it for the next big TMR give-away though, so don't ask.

39 Hits Today...

One of my trackers is registering nearly forty hits today, and I can imagine why- the bombs. I figure, somebody out there wants to know what's up, and nothing sells quite like news of an African country shooting itself in the foot. Okay. Yesterday and today's powercuts have given me lots of time to think about what to say, so here goes:

1. I don't really want to wade into this issue in a political way. But I think that it does provide a wonderful lens through which to examine ideas of accountability, governance, authority and standing armed forces. A FB friend was calling for the resignation of somebody over something- I personally find such unfocused statements tedious beyond belief. This is a very specific issue: an officer, in uniform, was in charge of making sure that ammunitions would not go off willy-nilly and decimate a residential area- not to mention emptying out the country's largest arms depot. This officer, and a number of this officer's superiors, are the ones who need to be court-martialled, dismissed without honor and subsequently sued to within an inch of their lives. Oh, and the army should spend a little time doing hard labour rebuilding that which they have broken.

2. For a "peaceful" country, Tanzania's army is quite professional. I know, it doesn't really seem that way, but it is. The veil of secrecy that protects our armed forces from public scrutiny is supported by legislation* but if you are industrious enough you can find information on the intertubes about the size, composition, professionalism and, uh, hardware of our armed forces. So how does an otherwise disciplined army SNAFU not the once, but the twice, in the primate city? Worth a little think, that. Kulikoni...

3. I am interested to see what will be done to compensate civilians whose lives and properties were lost/damaged in these blasts. The complication? How many of these settlements were legal, and can they produce the paperwork to prove it?

4. Lost revenue: it's like this particular administration has a perverse inclination to bugger up everything they have going for them. Power's out. Water supply is dodgy. Politicians are toxic. And now the (usually dependable) army is coming across flakier than a Fairy Delights chapati? I mean, seriously- you guys broke the airport? Wow. Like... how?

5. Some notes on media: since the aforementioned government is criminally overwhelmed by the day to day complexities of doing its job, and is essentially incapable of providing electricity**, mass communication in a time of crisis was compromised. Broadcast and the internet came through for the general population because of one thing, and one thing only: mobile phones. 3G phones allowed some of us to access the internets, and our service providers did a great job (at least mine did) of sending public announcements updating customers of the situation. Best update tool: radio-enable handsets. I don't wanna product-name-drop, but there is a company that is making affordable and dependable mobile phones and merchandise for the African market that come through time and time again. Now that's just good business sense.

In the next few days, the international press will latch onto this (I exaggerate- only 17 African lives lost means that maybe we'll last until tomorrow in the news cycle. Remember- the Middle East is revolting which is so much more exciting) and we will have plenty of debates about who is to blame, why Kikwete/Mwinyi/Mwamunyange/Pinda/Nemesis of Choice should resign, lots of bemoaning about how terrible everything is about Tanzania (please feel free to emigrate. May I suggest the DRC?) and perhaps Chadema will walk out of parliament again in protest***.

For those who are more constructively inclined: there have been many heartfelt calls for donations: blood, clothing, food etc. for those who have been affected by this disaster. Please act as your conscience dictates. And do spare a moment of thought for the children, and their families, who have lost so much in the past 48 hours.

* Something about national security. Last time a newspaper tried to print our defense budget, it got slapped on the wrists rather strongly by the military. TIA: never f*ck with the guys with the guns. It really is just that simple.

** I was just musing the other day on the utility of this particular administration. While I acknowledge that it inherited a number of problems, I am surprised by how it has managed to actually make the country worse in the course of seven years. Which begs the question, is the CCM of 2o11 the same CCM of 197-odd? And if not, why are the young turks so eager to claim achievements of the past that they had no hand in? Hm.

***Yup, go on. Show us them backsides. Very effective political tool that, the displaying of your big round African heritages.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This isn't working out quite as hoped. Blogging about Bunge sessions is amazingly difficult to do when Tanesco refuses to provide power. Perverse company. So, this week has been a complete washout though The World's Best Housekeeper tries to keep me informed... apparently her corner of Mikocheni doesn't experience as many "technical difficulties" of an unspecified nature as our streets. I know for a fact that there are parts of Dar that don't get rationed at all. It helps to have a current minister/former or current President/retired military officer living on your street, if you know what I mean.

Protesters: 1, Mubarak: 0. Nice to see that the Egyptian youth who started the revolution won the Face/Off. Am interested in what this transition will look like in about two years' time in the hopes that perhaps something of democratic non-violent regime change might be learned from our northern sistren that can be reproduced in other countries. Like Zimbabwe. In the meantime, basking in the global glow. Everyone loves a successful revolution :) Now, on to Algeria. Bonne Chance! The revolution will be tweeted.

The Party That Cried Wolf, and Another Poll

Now, we're talking. Bunge has kicked of apace this morning, seems that the formal opposition camp is having a little trouble composing itself. In the previous session (the 9th Bunge) Hamad Rashid Mohamed (CUF- Wawi) was the head of the opposition and the shadow cabinet was composed of a good mix of CUF and CCM and Others- reflecting the collaborative atmosphere of the time.

Today, Freeman Mbowe (Chadema- Hai) is the head honcho and as such may form a Shadow Cabinet in Parliament as a formal institution so long as the opposition hold no less that 12.5% (Kanuni ya tano, sehemu ya pili)* of the seats in parliament. Result: Chadema have not only stated that they have a difference of opinion with their old cronies CUF**, they do not want to share any of their toys now that they are the majority opposition party in Parliament. In fact, they had quite the slapfest with the Speaker and other CCM parliamentarians and it took me over an hour to realize that they were pulling each other's hair out over...definitions.

... I was kind of hoping something like this would happen :) I think it's a fascinating time in our democratic development, when opposition has realized that being united against a common foe isn't quite enough glue to stick them together. And now we'll separate the girls from the women...

Much more satisfying, of course, is watching the various strategies in play. As a guest of Parliament apparently inquired after the morning session (anecdotal) "Is it normal for opposition parties to commit political suicide in public in Tanzania?" Nah. Only one particular party has made that it's modus operandi. More importantly- is it actually political suicide? For every person who finds Chadema's antics fatiguing to the extreme, there is someone ready to defend what they see as a vigorous assault on The Establishment's repressive ways.

I like a little blood on the floor in Bunge*** but I have to admit that I am in the former camp. There's only so many times you can walk out of parliament (Miz Mdee...)**** before I start to wonder if I voted you in so that I can watch your backside heading towards the exit door. And such feelings lead to voter regret, which leads to flirting with other parties and then who knows what can happen then? But that's just me- what y'all think? Poll on the right, you know the drill.

* Parliamentary Canon Number five, section two.
** Things got complicated when CUF formed a GNU with CCM in Zanzibar, thereby becoming part of the dreaded Establishment... according to some folks.
*** Soccer? Pah. Give me politics any day.
**** I understand the whole loyalty/discipline thing but... As a Kawe resident, I got other issues. I would so much rather my MP used that sharp mind for something entirely more productive than supporting the crazed elements in her party.

The King's Diary: Billboards Economics.

Dear Me,

How I love the new Minister for Infrastructure! Last campaign billboard companies offered me a lot of free publicity. Now the Minister has decided to ensure more. With great zeal he is threatening to remove illegally constructed bill boards. Of course they are illegal!

How well those red crosses on the sign boards work. The publicity companies fear for their business, and it won’t be long till they will request an audience. I will grant it graciously. I will even be prepared to consider maintaining their boards. In return for some small favours, of course.

A pity that such an effective Minister will lose his job soon. In the run up to the elections a few too many road contracts were signed. Yesterday I checked the numbers: there are roads under construction for almost King’s Shillings 3.1 trillion (Kshs 3,100,000,000,000). Meanwhile we are procuring roads for another KShs 940 billion. All this will have to be paid from the development budget in the Ministry of Infrastructure which only has Kshs 721 billion. So there is a whopping Kshs 3.2 trillion shortfall!

Good thing not all will have to be paid this year. And brilliant of the Minister to threaten cancelling road contracts for shoddy work. But this won’t do. There is no way the Treasury is going to find the money to pay for this. As soon as it comes out, someone will need to be scapegoated. I fear the Minister will pay for it with his job. Shame really. He’s been serving me so well.

Reading, Culture.

So the first Pen & Mic event was, by all reports, fantastic. If you want some of that flavor, Facebook Friend the group (Pen & Mic) and get clued up for the next session. Meantime, here is some good press for the event from The Daily News.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Company...

Remember when Bill Clinton was in the throes of denying his affair with whatsername, the White House intern? Yeah. Tragic, wasn't it? If Bill had just manned up, the world would have been spared all that tedious American puritanism and barely louche jokes about cigars and stained dresses. Decorum, people, is one part savvy and four parts sheer balls.

So, yesterday Jay Kay denied having any sexual relations with Dowans, or knowing anything at all about anything that might be useful to anyone. In a nutshell he said: "I'm clueless. And, I'm powerless too. So don't bother me."

Dude. Seriously? Or, as we say in Bongoland: Duh?! Aiseee....

Sure, we understand plausible deniability. Even understand that Jay Kay was probably not directly involved in the cooking of the Richmondowans books. Because that would take foresight, skill and a certain savoir-faire that we can't accuse Jay Kay of possessing following his recent statements. Hell, TIA: we even understand that it's perfectly acceptable for a rich/powerful/politician dude to throw his friends under the bus for expedience. Sure.

But irrefutable PR disasters? That's just not how we want our Presidents to roll. Which is why I gotta ask: where in the world is the Ikulu Director of Communications? If I held that job (CJ Craig, what what!) and my boss was about to put his foot in his mouth and eat it with ketchup, I would engage him in a flying tackle that would knock his presidential ass out long before he could say anything so damaging to the Office of the Presidency. I mean, c'mon! Half a decade of independence, one pan-african hero, a towering (ahem) international political reputation and our President thinks it's a good idea to come across as a developmentally challenged head of state?

...flying tackle for sure. Because no matter how ignorant you are, as a President and (theoretically) a paramount leader of an independent nation, there is one thing you are not allowed to do: cheerfully admit your fricking incompetence to the world. Jeez, Ikulu: can I buy you a clue?


In a recent musing, His Excellently Handsome Highness wondered whether he has been a bit lax in disciplining the cadres of The King's Party. As a follow-up on the issue, the last TMR question was: "Do you think that corrupt public servants can be disciplined, and if they can what would happen?"

The results of the poll are in: 66% of respondents think that a little discipline will bring about socio-economic growth and the remaining 33% believe that discipline in the King's Party will bring about a combination of growth and instability. Hopefully that'll help HEHH make up his mind.

Speaking of serving the public, Bunge Season Premier** is in three days. Freshmen MPs are brushing up on their Parliamentary Canons, Timely Interruptions, Protestations of Unfair Play and The Red Chair I'm So Bored Slump as we speak. Can't wait :)

*Um. Gambling is illegal and I certainly do not encourage such a filthy habit. That said: I'm putting money down on the idea that the first MP to get into a quagmire of a confrontation (unwinnable) with Makinda and/or CCM is going to be Tundu Lissu.

** Politigeek alert: the newly refurbished Bunge website has uploaded the Standing Orders, in addition to the Hansards and other publications. While the search function for MPs isn't working but at least they can be narrowed down by region/constituency/party. Not too shabby.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Egypt and Other Problems

Day 11. Mubarak is hanging on to "power" by the skin of his preternaturally black hair. International news agencies most worried about the effect of Egypt's crisis on the Suez canal and thus (of course) on the price of oil. African despots are tough old birds- like Mugabe he is utterly unfazed by the unreasonableness of his inaction in the face of extreme unpopularity. How long is it going to take the protesters to turf him out? I thought one week, tops. Now I am not so sure Mubarak is actually going to lose this face-off anytime soon.

Was following a brief conversation on Twitter recently when one Twitterer...Tweep (?) asked whether what was happening in Egypt could happen in Tanzania, and the other Tweep said "no." I'm inclined to agree- I can't imagine an incumbent here surviving such a prolonged moral siege. Our system isn't geared quite that way. What do y'all think? I have to mention though, that as a method of regime change this new wave of protests is a wonderful step up from the more traditional assassinations/military coups/"liberation" movements/fillial successions of yore.

So, this power rationing has wreaked havoc- havoc, I tell you!- with the blogging. It's like Tanesco has a special punishment list and Mikocheni Business is at the top of it. I don't know who is getting all our extra power, whoever you are I hope you are enjoying it...

Speaking of chakachua, get this: two or so weeks into the release of the new notes and folks are complaining that there are fake notes already in circulation. So soon, so soon after the elections. Which begs the question- how come we were printing new money around the elections to begin with? Hmmm.

The King's Diary: International Business

Dear Me

So nice to be around peers. I love coming to the Secluded Kingdom. Good wine, powerful company and BIG money. The mountain air does me well. I’m in such a good mood, I even allowed myself to divulge in charity.

Yesterday I met the Leader from the Island Kingdom. He assured me of his continued support. I wished he had left it at that. But he continued to waffle about value for money and even ... climate change. Adapt or perish I believe he said! How hard it was to keep a straight face. As if climate change is on my list of things to worry about! Leadership change, maybe. But climate change?

Still, I believe I managed to make a somewhat intelligible remark stating that I would probably be a first victim of rising sea levels as my palace is close to the ocean’s shore. I pulled it off and money will continue to flow. That is what matters really.

Speaking of money, the elections were so costly that we are out of cash. Two weeks ago I ordered the Ministry of Finance to send a letter to the representatives of Great Nations requesting for additional funds. Today provides an opportunity to reiterate my request. To soften the minds, I will demonstrate what a responsible international player the Kingdom is. I’ll make some goodwill gestures. Maybe by stating that the Serengeti highway will not harm wildlife. And, I could agree to discuss setting up a court to try pirates.

To top it all up, I’ll ask my secretary to book a stop-over in one of the Evil Nuclear Nations. With the newly discovered uranium reserves, it will send a clear message that I am not just begging for money; I mean business.

January 31, 2011

A little birdie told me...

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