African leaders’ tax returns and other Weekend Specials

Including your monthly reminder about the pitfalls of the #AfricaRising narrative.

Image via The Outline

(1) It is common knowledge that many African leaders, like several leaders all over the globe, put in place structures for tax evasion; basically theft. But the Paradise Papers are shedding light on the mechanics of how that actually happens domestically. From Liberia’s outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the head of Nigeria’s senate Bukola Saraki, fishing in Namibia and the important role of the oft-forgotten island of Mauritius in all this.

(2) The Paradise Papers also make a connection between the commodities company Glencore (originally a South African company), a notoriously corrupt Israeli billionaire accused of illegal weapons trading by the UN (and close friend of Congolese President, Joseph Kabila) and mining rights in the DRC.  Keeping an eye on Glencore is important because they have their hands in problematic deals all over the continent. This includes oil rights in Chad, which is looking to end this relationship this week.

(3) Elites in Africa’s youngest country South Sudan exploit the ongoing war there to loot the country’s foreign reserves. A leaked report shows how this happened.

(4) Welcome to Harare R.G. Mugabe International Airport. Our dear leader has had a busy week, as he fired his vice president to pave way for his wife to succeed him. Blessing-Miles Tendi, writing in African Arguments makes the case that Britain, which has subtly showed support for ex-VP Emmerson Mnangawa, betrayed a lack of understanding of Zimbabwe’s political history.  Others argue Mr. Mnangawa was not as shrewd as he appeared to be. Either way, there is evidence of mounting support against our dear leader.

(5) The Ebola pandemic did not stop internal fraud in the Red Cross, which discovered that about US$5 million was stolen via staff (overpriced supplies, salaries for non-existent aid workers and fake customs bills) in collusion with local banks.

 (6) Americans voted last week. Meet the Liberian refugee who was voted Mayor of Helena, Montana last week.

(7)  An investigation in to the alleged Vampire attacks that have surfaced in Malawi.

(8) Your monthly reminder about the pitfalls of the #AfricaRising narrative.

(9) Why is it so hard to get to the truth about violence against protestors in Togo?

(10) Finally, how motorcycles have increased in African streets, and African modern art.

Further Reading

Laundering Isabel dos Santos

“African corruption” is only African as regards its victims. Its perpetrators are institutions and individuals from across the globe who are willing to loot without conscience as they watch their offshore accounts grow.

Fela enshrined

Fela Kuti’s friend, Carlos Moore, the black Cuban emigre writer, is the subject of a film about their at times difficult relationship. The result is complex.

On Safari

We are not just marking the end of 2019, but also the end of a momentous, if frustrating decade for building a more humane, caring future for Africans.

Time travelin’

The Chimurenga arts collective explores the relevance of FESTAC, a near forgotten, epic black arts festival held in Nigeria in the mid-1970s, for our age.