Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Maybe 14 wives is (at least) one too many

You may not be aware of it but polygamy is still widely practiced and legal in many countries in southern and eastern Africa. There is a lively debate going on both among women and men over the virtues and problems with this kind of marriage.

Most would however agree that 14 wives is overdoing it. And that is how many wives King Mswati III of Swaziland has. This has got to do partially with an old tradition of the king marrying a woman every year but at least my guess is that he must be enjoying it as well - traditions can after all change...

But now it seems that one of them have not been too happy with sharing one man with 13 others. One wife has been caught, literally, in bed with another man. And not just any man but a minister in the government and a childhood friend of the king!

I guess one should not laugh at matters like this, especially as the consequenses for the two might become very serious indeed, but I can't help myself!

Just look at the pictures in this online report:

caught in bed, literally..

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010


For the past month or so many in Zimbabwe have followed with fascination the case of a certain Mr. Temba Mliswa.

He is one of those "businessmen" who rose to riches during the land reform / farm invasions in the early 2000 years. Currently he is in remand jail since about a month. He has been rearrested 3 times about 5 minutes after getting bail approved by the courts.

I quote from online reports:"Mliswa, who was granted bail last Friday by Harare magistrate Don Ndirowei on charges of stealing generators and defrauding the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe of US$3,5 million, was re-arrested for the third time after getting bail at the courts. Mliswa was dramatically re-arrested at Chikurubi Maximum remand prison on Friday in an operation that left even prison guards shell shocked. At least 15 heavily armed police officers in four top of the range vehicles - a BMW, a Range Rover, a Mazda B2500 and an Isuzu raided Chikurubi and snatched Mliswa soon after he was released. The vehicles sped in the direction of the city centre and family members pursuing the police convoy were threatened by plain clothes police officers from one of the vehicles."

In Zimbabwe the above is a treatment normally reserved for those perceived to be enemies of the state, such as human rights campaigners and opposition politicians, not members of Zanu PF and successful "businessmen". So what happened?

As I understand the backround Mliswa was a fitness instructor when the farm invasions and land reform started. Somehow he was awarded a farm and got rich. All has been well (for him) since then until very recently. What went wrong?

Well, calling the Police Commissioner "the most corrupt individual in the country" seems to have been a bad idea. Not long after that he was arrested on charges of trying to fraudelently take over a company. Since then a long string of crimes (about 40...) has come to light: persuading white farmers that he could protect their property he bought several huge generators. He just never paid for them... and then sold them on, one of them he claims to a certain Police Commissioner.

Among other crimes he is accused of is defrauding the Reserve Bank of millions of USD by getting grants to buy tobacco and never pay back.

The latest is attempted murder.

In a way what I find really interesting about this whole saga is not the fate of this person or the rather obvious harassment but what it tells about the background of not only his but very likely a number of other "successful businessmen". I have no idea as to why the media still refers to him as businessman actually, conman or fraudster sounds more like it. It may be that not all of the cases against him are actual but everything points to that quite a number of them are. Then the real question is of course "why is he only being arrested now"? And the answer to that I leave up to the reader to figure out.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Musings on Malawi

Spent a week in Malawi recently, in the capital Lilongwe to be more precise.

Found some interesting political developments. For starters they have built a new Parliament building. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, they used to convene in the President's residence for historical reasons.

But the building itself... think USA Capitol Hill, only larger. No, I am not joking, according to reports it IS larger than Capitol Hill. Pair that with a parkinglot sized for Olympic Games and you have a general impression. Now someting tells me that a small, poor country like Malawi could/should have had problems funding that, wonder where the money was found?

Also the president has decided (more or less on his own it seems) that it is time to change the national flag. Today it features a rising sun at dawn, halfway up. He wants a full, in zenith, sun. The argument: after 46 years of independence it can no longer be dawn for the nation.

Sort of makes sense, but again the cost...

Also I found to my huge surprise that a certain Jim Jumani Johansson from Sweden, a lawyer in his forties, are claiming to be the illegitimate son of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the country's first president!

As he died without children (officially) this is big news and political dynamite in Malawi and all newspapers are full of theories, reports, stories etc about Jumani.

His mother claims it is all nonsense and he got confused while spending a year in jail (for beating his ex-wife apparently) but he demands DNA-testing. That the Banda family is refusing. No matter how it ends, it is dramatic for Malawians and I will keep an eye on it.

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