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Weak States

This category contains 16 posts

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

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

The Killing Fields of Africa

Why do Africans kill each other so easily? Atrocities abound, whether in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan or Zimbabwe. Even South Africans, in fits of xenophobia, attack outsiders. Some of these episodes of murderous mayhem rise to the scale of genocide, as defined and prohibited … Continue reading

Africa’s Famine Should be Canada’s Moment to Lead

At the very moment when acute hunger has made hardscrabble South Sudanese, Somalis and Yemenis the world’s most vulnerable people – in their millions – so the rise of xenophobic populism in Europe and the United States has made the provision of meaningful assistance much less likely. President Donald Trump’s ham-fisted retreat from soft power … Continue reading

Curbing Ivory Trade Requires Curbing of Foreign Demand

Effectively reducing the killing of African elephants and rhinoceroses depends more on curbing the foreign demand for tusks and horn than on localized national endeavors to combat poachers. Although approaches from both angles are essential, it is the consumer appetite for elephant ivory and rhino horn that propels illegal attacks on innocent herbivorous mammals across … Continue reading

The Little Understood Connection between Terror and Drug Profits

Terrorists are in it as much for the loot as for the ideology. The Islamic State, or ISIS, could hardly exist, whatever its Islamist fervor, without hard cash from sales of pilfered petroleum, taxes on its subject population and kidnappings for ransom. Likewise ISIS- and al-Qaida-linked groups in Africa prosper by trafficking drugs across the … Continue reading

Confronting Drugs, Crime, and Warfare in Africa

Drug smuggling and its profits help significantly to fuel Africa’s wars as criminal enterprises. Terrorists frequently build drug-driven hybrid organizations to finance their operations and to reap illicit rents. In Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, conflict is strongly tied to drug trafficking by syndicates allied to al-Qaeda–associated insurgents. The … Continue reading

Plunder and Succession in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe

      Zimbabwe is expiring, again. More banks are failing, beer sales – a key indicator – have slumped dramatically since 2013, tourist arrivals are down, and the business confidence index is at lowest ebb since the wildly inflationary days of 2008. Most tellingly, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe in January told civil servants to … Continue reading

Drugs, Crime, and Terror in Africa

The wars of Africa are fueled by narcotics. That is an exaggerated over-simplification, but what is less well known than it should be is that many of the internal conflicts of today’s Africa are driven in part, sometimes  a substantial part, by profits being made from the trafficking of hard drugs and precursor chemicals. The … Continue reading

Good Governance: Even Africa’s Best are Nothing to Brag About

    Africa’s development chances and social possibilities remain heavily hindered by its overall mediocre governance. Despite the talk of Africa rising and growth rates that now exceed other parts of the globe, too many of the continent’s peoples are subject to the kinds of governments that favour ruling elites rather than ordinary villagers and … Continue reading