June 21, 2007
Oh dear. Where are the old colonial hands when you need them? In The Times today:
The inquiry into the affairs of presidents Omar Bongo, of Gabon, and Denis Sassou N’Guesso, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, marks a break with the protection that was accorded to France’s African “clients” by President Chirac and other former leaders.
Err, no. Mr. N'Guesso is the kleptocrat in charge of the Republic of Congo (otherwise known as Congo-Brazzaville) while it is a certain Mr. Kabila who has the honour of being in a similar position in The Democratic Republic of Congo.
These things are important of course, such distinctions make sending the gunboats to the right place that much easier. The Viscount Palmerston would not be impressed.
Altogether now: Don't These People Have Editors?
(BTW, in order to make these matters simpler, shouldn't we create a list of those African leaders who are not kleptocrats? Not just simpler, shorter as well perhaps?)
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I think that the reason why no one has made " a list of those African leaders who are not kleptocrats" is that is it is likely to be approximately 0 leaders long.
Tim adds: Off the top of my head I'd start with Botswana, whoever their leader (s) is (are). Additions welcome.
Posted by: Francis | Jun 21, 2007 11:34:50 AM
Who's running Sierra Leone these days?
Re the original post, I'm not sure even Palmerston would have sent a gunboat to the Congo. Unless it had wheels.
Tim adds: Err, the Congo River is the border between the two countries.
Posted by: john b | Jun 21, 2007 1:33:12 PM
But it's only navigable from the sea as far as Matadi, which isn't much use to anyone.
Tim adds: Ah, yes, African Queen and all that. Obviously I'm right then, we do need more colonial experts.
Posted by: john b | Jun 21, 2007 1:44:49 PM
"shouldn't we create a list of those African leaders who are not kleptocrats?"
Shouldn't we just ask each kleptocrat to designate an account at a Swiss bank so that "aid" can be transferred direct from the Treasury rather than be diverted through an endless chain of (expensive) middlemen? This would have the advantages of both cheapness and transparency.
Posted by: Umbongo | Jun 22, 2007 10:51:58 AM