Two Steps Backwards

So after the strides made by Kenyans in exercising their power at the ballot box last week it looks increasingly like things are coming off the rails. Every step forwards, it seems, is met with two steps backwards, a media blackout and mass killings. For now my inbox is full of press releases from diplomats … More Two Steps Backwards

Dropping Like Flies

It is all too easy to spot sea changes in Africa, only to later see them reduced to the status of tidal flux – a routine shift that is reversed within a heartbeat. But while the presidential race in Kenya remains too close to call, something interesting is happening in the parliamentary seats. Chris Murungaru, … More Dropping Like Flies

I Predict A Riot

Kenya goes to the polls tomorrow. It’s shaping up to be the closest election in Kenyan history. Raila started with a huge lead in the polls – perhaps not surprising as he started campaigning three years ago after walking out of the government. Kibaki reeled him in, only to see Raila head out in front again. … More I Predict A Riot

Christmas Lists II

I’m still in list mode. So here is a list of: Diseases I have had in Africa  Tick Bite Fever – A severe pounding headache, aching all over and general exhaustion. So how disappointing on my return from Addis Ababa to be told I had tick bite fever. I assumed this was the diagnosis used by doctors in Nairobi … More Christmas Lists II

A Sudanese Feast

Before my last trip to Khartoum was so rudely interrupted, I was invited to join a Sudanese celebration. My trusty fixer Al Siir drove me to meet his family for something of a feast. His “sister” – meaning, I think in these circumstances a female relative – had recently returned from Jordan where she had … More A Sudanese Feast

Christmas Lists

It’s that time of year when I feel compelled to compile lists. Here are some books on Africa that I have (or should have) read this year. What is the What, Dave Eggers: Probably the best book I’ve read on Sudan – fiction or nonfiction. Deals with the complexities of the civil war in an elegant … More Christmas Lists

Mission Impossible

It is easy to dismiss the efforts of the African Union mission to bring peace to Darfur. The 7000 or so troops are no longer able to protect themselves, much less the civilians and humanitarian workers they are supposed to be helping. On December 31 the mission comes to an end. For now most of the soldiers seem … More Mission Impossible

How to Lose Your Job as a Civil Servant Very Quickly Indeed

You can just imagine what was going through Francis Musyimi’s mind as he prepared to act as MC for the Kenyan president’s independence day bash. “I mustn’t confuse the first lady with the president’s other wife…I mustn’t confuse the first lady with the president’s other wife…I mustn’t confuse…Oh bugger.” His slip of the tongue – … More How to Lose Your Job as a Civil Servant Very Quickly Indeed