A retrospective: In December 1980 it rained in Kampala…and a miracle happened

THIS article was first published in the weekly The East African, on April 4, 2005 with the headline “Uganda: Because Seremba Can Forgive, Obote is Able to Return”. I have adapted here because the events leading to the February Uganda elections, especially the violence and polarisation, are an uncomfortable echo of the tragic past that

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There Are Stories Behind What We Wear: If It Ain’t Got A T-shirt In Africa, It Ain’t Got Nothing

SOMETIMES, it feels like the t-shirt was a greater invention for Africa than sliced bread – after all, as those who know about poverty on the continent better than I ever will say, many of them can’t afford bread. Many can’t afford t-shirts either, but at least they are easier to get for free. For

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POLITICALLY INCORRECT: Oil-Rich Middle East Nations Already Buy Athletic African Citizens – What Does That Have To Do With The Migrant Crisis In Europe?

AT the just ended World Athletics Championships in Beijing, I was again struck by the number of “former” Ethiopian, Nigerian, and Kenyan, athletes who now race for, especially, countries in the Middle East like Qatar. A few European countries also have a couple of “ex-African” athletes. The oil-rich Middle Eastern countries are fairly straightforward about

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If You Want To Turn Africa Green Again, Then Allow The People To Steal Trees

A FEW days ago, Africa’s first biogas plant connected to the national grid started producing power in Kenya. That was a big deal for green energy. Then it occurred to me that one of the best lessons the world can learn from Kenya in these Mother-Nature-cuddling matters could be missed – unless someone makes a

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Strange Encounters Of The Green City In The Sun: Humour And Honour Among The Corrupt

I GOT a call from one of my favourite cabbies in Nairobi a short while ago, wondering why I had’t given him business for some weeks. He is the ultimate chronicler of urban life, a man with a remarkable mind for the juicy tales of the city, and I chuckled when I remembered the recent

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Presidents Into Kings: We’ve Lost The Fight Against 3rd Terms In Africa, So Here Are Some Parting Sour Shots

AS presidential term limits collapse in the face of attacks by big men in Africa, a seemingly difficult question has taken root: Britain, Germany, Israel and other successful nations in Europe and Asia don’t have term limits. So why is it being touted as the magic elixir for Africa’s politics? It’s a valid question, and

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Why Did Obama Not Arrest a ‘Bad-mannerred’ Schoolgirl, And How Can The Scots Get a Divorce Referendum Without a War?

AS Africans, we have every right to hold a grudge (even hate) the west: They colonised us and, worse, subjected Africans to the worst form of degradation and exploitation – slavery (though, of course, our chiefs were deeply complicit in this crime). Yet, hate it as we might, the West keeps throwing stuff at us

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Why Revolution, Occupy Movements, Terrorists And All Sorts Of Anti-Establishment Things Are Good For Capitalism  

I HAVE been studying photos of the Sunni jihadist group, Islamic State of Iraq, those militants who are trying to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria – to begin with. On June 10 last week, they made some mind-blowing military gains, capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and most of the surrounding province of

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Desperate Measures: To Deal With Rape, Men Should Get Johnson Licences

WARNING: This blog has been written in anger. I REALLY HOPED I WOULDN’T HAVE TO WRITE ANOTHER BLOG AGAINST RAPE SO SOON: I don’t quite understand why, but the story of the rape of those two teenage Indian girls (cousins Murti and Pushpa), who were then murdered and left hanging from a mango tree, disturbed

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Why Do Soldiers And Rebels Shoot People’s Legs Or Cut Off Their Feet In War? You Don’t Want To Know

ONE OF  THE  HORRIFIC  photographs of the recent ethnic slaughter in Bentui, capital of South Sudan’s Unity State, showed the bodies of four men lying near a mini van It seems they were travelling in the vehicle, and were stopped and murdered by one of the factions in the ugly war in South Sudan. Two

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