February 22, 2010
Caprivi Gambling Machines

Namibia / Gambling machines from Russia in Caprivi

On my trip through Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, I stopped at a small coffee joint to satisfy my caffeine-needs. In the end, I am still a Dutch. It was not my first time that I visited this small place in one of the poorest areas of beautiful Namibia. The type of area where people die of malaria because they can’t find transport to the nearest hospital or can’t spend two dollar to safe their own baby’s life. On the outside, nothing had changed. Still the dark orange/brown red-earthy color. Inside still the slow service and the super friendly girl who looks like she doesn’t need anybody as a customer today. Yes: everything looked as usual: I was even happy with the absence of Take Away Coffees. The mugs are on the way, like two years ago, I was told. But I
October 16, 2008

Kenya / Promptly Establish Special Tribunal

Human Rights Watch: Government, Donors Should Support Commission’s Findings on Election Violence [inspic=143,left,,thumb](New York, October 15, 2008) – The Kenyan government and international partners should strongly support the call by the Waki commission investigating post-election violence to create a special tribunal to end Kenya’s cycle of impunity, Human Rights Watch said today. “The Waki commission has done an admirable job describing the causes of the violence and assembling evidence,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Now the politicians need to set up the special tribunal it recommends. Justice is crucial for Kenya’s stability.” The report of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence, headed by Justice Philip Waki, was published on October 15, 2008. The commission concluded that politicians on all sides had organized and funded attacks on supporters of their opponents. The inquiry also found that
January 16, 2008

Kenya / Coming up: pockets of rioting youth

The morning was quiet in Nairobi. This afternoon i visited the informal settlements Mathare and Kibera. Police was around and Mathare seemed realtively quiet. Downtown Nairobi though there were pockets of rioting youth. They were dispersed by special police forces that used teargas. Less than an hour later, I witnessed singing youth who were challenging the police in the informal settlement Kibera. Police went in (that is the moment you hear on the audiofile). Minutes later, it seemed back to ‘normal’, as far as i can use that word in this extraordinary days for Kenya. Observation: more journalists around than common people. The riots will be in the media much bigger than they were. [mygal=nairobiriots]
January 15, 2008

Kenya / 17.15 pm / Pictures: Just back from opening of Parliament

Just back from the opening of Parliament. Quit hectic. Noit enough room for the press, so I had to improvise a bit to get some pictures. A warm thank you to the dilpmats from Greece and Cyprus who were very friendly indeed. One of the agenda points was the election of the speaker. The pictures are a quick impression. One of them shows president Mwai Kibaki bringing out his vote. Meeting is still going on. Nairobi downtown seems to be quiet at the moment (17.15 local time). Pictures are clickable. [mygal=parliament] All pictures were taken this afternoon. Audio available shortly. Enjoy the day!
January 15, 2008

Kenya / Nairobi: Just outside Parliament now

Just outside Kenyan Parlement now. It’s still quiet, riot police are around and an old lady is removing dust from the streets in front of the Parliament buildings, thus giving them a final touch. She laughs at me, I greet her and I wonder what she thinks…
January 15, 2008

Kenya / Politicians seem to come from an other planet

Good morning! I woke up this morning realising how lucky I am. I went to bed with the story of a Kenyan who arrived in Nairobi confused. He spent his last money on the bus to flee for his life, because a group of soldiers and citizens came to his home at night. Screaming to him: Who did you vote for!! Who did you vote for!! I will keep it short. He and his family bled into a river bed and spent the night. From there he and his family saw how groups went through the area putting fire on houses in the region. This man’s life was saved, and the attackers did not set his house a blaze. But they took his cows. I had a paeceful sleep although the story of the man popped up from time to
January 14, 2008

Kenya / Tourism Board: 'We are digging our graves…'

Just back from a press trip with the Kenyan Tourist Board. According to the Kenyan Tourist Board, things have never been so bad, not even after 09/11 when a lot of Tourists stayed away from Kenya. The Tourism sector is ringing the Alarm Bell: 20.000 direct jobs will have gone the end of this month if Kibaki and Odinga don’t come to their senses. According to the Tourist Board within 3 months 120.000 jobs are at stake, 12,8% of Kenya’s GDP comes from tourism. What they want to say: tourists please come back, you are perfectly safe on the Kenyan Coast. Shortly available: audio.
October 20, 2007

Togo / Lomé Togo-complot against the West (2)

The masses decide the direction of history. Yes it is a cliché. Thanks for observing that. At least you know your cliché’s. And also: thew image is never as bad as reality, especially if you talk about so called African countries with political tension. Examples? My first visit to Nigeria years ago, I did not get the AK47 roadblocks every 200 meters that people prepared me for. I neglected the advice of friends (who had never been to Africa), asking me if a story is worth my life. I went and I met a crazy country, but not the roadblocks. And I have had the experience before and often. Anyway: travelling to Togo is was prepared for soldiers and harassment during election time. The immigration officer in neighbouring country Ghana had already warned me when he asked my profession. Don’t