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rrotberg

rrotberg has written 153 posts for Africa and Asia: The Key Issues

Bribing to Get Oil Rights

  Gaining preferential access to potentially lucrative petroleum deposits always attracts ambitious prospectors, in Africa as in Asia and Latin America. Often procuring such preferences can only be accomplished by knowing the politically prominent right persons, or by purchasing the necessary influence and permits. That is precisely what apparently occurred when a former Hong Kong … Continue reading

Mnangagwa Has the Capacity to Focus on the New Zimbabwe. But Will He?

Emmerson “Crocodile” Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s crafty new interim president, is known as a ruthless, deeply unprincipled and a political infighter. He has lost several recent parliamentary elections but retained his party positions over four decades largely because he was ex-President Robert Mugabe’s chief enforcer and tribute collector. But now President Mnangagwa has a golden opportunity to leave that … Continue reading

Could Zimbabwe Break a Recurring Pattern of Corruption?

Even as Zimbabweans took to the streets to celebrate Robert Mugabe’s ouster after 37 years, experienced politicians in the country were wary of what might come next. “We have removed a tyrant,” former minister of education David Coltart said, “but not yet a tyranny.” Mugabe, 93, was recently forced out as president by military commanders … Continue reading

South Africa’s Corruption Embroils China

  South Africa’s massive corruption scandals are now enmeshing China and Chinese corporations. In the latest iteration, an especially created subsidiary of China South Rail is accused of facilitating a multi-million dollar scheme to enrich cabinet ministers and the heads of South African state-owned enterprises. Also benefiting from the arrangement is the shady Gupta family … Continue reading

In Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa’s Rise is Democracy Delayed

Vice-President Emmerson (Crocodile) Mnangagwa, 75, has decisively won the battle to succeed Zimbabwe’s heavy-handed President Robert Mugabe, 93, thanks to a bloodless military coup (the leading generals call it a “correction”). Mr. Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday seals the seismic shift that has engulfed the southern African country. But Zimbabwe is not about to become a … Continue reading

Grace Mugabe May Spark a Deadly Presidential Succession

When the scheming spouse attempts to take power and prominence away from a long-time heir-apparent, victory is rarely guaranteed in family or corporate struggles. Nor is such a triumph certain in politics. In today’s Zimbabwe, however, Grace Mugabe, President Robert Mugabe’s wife, has prevailed upon her husband to oust his veritable presumed successor, vice-president (until … Continue reading

Africa’s Existential Exodus

The Italian navy is tired of plucking Africans from dangerous Mediterranean waters off Libya night after night Thousands of Africans are smuggled weekly across the dunes of the Sahara Desert from the northern outposts of Niger by people smugglers After desperate days in holding camps in northern Libya, another set of people smugglers sends African … Continue reading

Roadblocks and Bribes: Zimbabwe is Africa’s Shakedown State

We had just arrived at Harare International Airport from less troubled and far less corrupt parts of Africa when we came face to face with the daily punishments that Zimbabwe’s government metes out to its own hapless citizens. Our local car was a mere 100 metres beyond the terminal when the vehicle, along with many … Continue reading

Saving Burma’s Rohingya

Now that Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has declared the oppression of Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic minority “ethnic cleansing,” the UN’s official Responsibility to Protect mechanism should be triggered to save Rohingya from continued persecution and death. World order must not dither. Since what is happening in Myanmar has been designated as “ethnic … Continue reading

Chinese Company Fires HIV-Positive Workers

One of China’s largest and most powerful construction companies, with operations all over Africa, discharges local employees if they test positive for HIV. The firm insists that its workers be tested for HIV and then, obtaining the test results directly from the testing clinic, fires those whose results affirm their HIV status. Aggrieved employees recently … Continue reading