Nigeria -

A big turn-around - elections this weekend. The front-runner is an ex-military ruler - there is no other kind in Nigeria. The good news is that he is the only military ruler to have voluntarily handed over to a civilian government in the past.

He is running for president this time.

The bad news - Nigeria has institutionalised corruption - it is normality. It is a long road back - this weekends elections are the first step. The hard work however is to persuade the small towns (and big) that there is an alternative to the style of control that everybody has grown up to understand.

Zimbabwe -

Mugabe has to go.

‘Zim’ has a great deal going for it - good infrastructure, an educated population, a beautiful country, proximity to South Africa.

Mugabe, however, sees enemies everywhere. He is late, very late, on his obligations to the blacks who helped him 20 years ago in his struggle against the Ian Smith government that led to the the independence they enjoy now. His answer is a wholesale transfer of land from successful Whites to landless Blacks.

Internation opinion is looking for ‘transparency’ - todays watchword, and a good one, in africa.

His government is also over-staffed, with cronies, africa-style, and after a disastrous devaluation/inflation last year where the Zim dollar fell to less than 50% of its value. He cannot see a future for the country without him. He has had a battle with the judiciary recently, over some journalists that were illegally taken into custody by the army and tortured. He has already lost that battle on the international stage, and he doesn’t even know it.

He is propping up Kabila in the old Zaire - an unpopular military involvement, and a failed diversion from problems at home.

Angola -

A naturally rich and beautiful country ravaged by decades of conflict. No sign of relief.

South Africa -

Heading for elections this year. No credible opposition to the ANC - the incumbents. The UDM is turning into the ‘protest’ party - not because they want to be there, but because they were thrown out by the ‘others’. Regionally, the IFP (Zulu) and the New National Party may gain seats, but as a minor opposition only. Maybe we have to wait until 2004 for a real choice.

I have been spending a considerable amount of time hiring people - a valuable skill, it appears. Kinda fun too - I enjoy it, and I am the authority ..

Looking to take a break from April - to pursue my plans on free data transport, that you may know about if I have spent much time with you ! I plan on travelling back to Eshowe, Swaziland, and Johannesburg, with a trip back to the USA in the June timeframe.

Cheers, Andy!