Saturday, 10 April 2010

What is the British High Commission for?

Certainly not helping British subjects in difficulty or trying to ensure the smooth relationships between two countries... Having been officially branded a British agent, we were trying to get the High Commission to request a meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs on our behalf, or at the very least to send a representative along o such a meeting to try and sort things out quiety and behind the scenes on Thursday or Friday of this week. After massess of phone calls and e-mails over the last week I finally got the message that the High Commission would do, precicely, nothing. They sent back to London for advice - how far should their involvement go - having been very positive and friendly. And were then told that they shouldn't do anything. They did say that this didn't mean they wouldn't do anything at some later date if certain conditions were met. But when I asked the local representative who has been my go-between most of the time what these conditions might actually be, he expressed amazement and ignorance... We discussed it a bit an concluded that it might possible be if we either had evidence that someone is not following the local laws and procedures, or if it was a genuinely government to government high level thing. Which we both concluded it really was - afterall, if the Tanzanian government announces tomorrow that it intends to deport a British Spy shortly it's hardly going to go unmissed by the media and the government is certainly going to have to be involved - it's surely in everyone's interest to help try and sort the problem quietly now behind the scenes... No? So we requested clarification about what circumstances had to be met before the High Commission would act and the pro-consul called and said she didn't know, she'd pass my questions on to the Deputy High Commissioner who'd call me. And several phone calls later I still haven't heard from the DHC beyond hearing second hand that she's assigned to someone else who;s on leave until Monday. Great. So the chance of they making a meeting that was supposed to have happed on Thursday or Friday was precicely nil. I think the meeting has been delayed now - the lawyers have to go and do other things (but it might have happened anyway - I've no heard from them yet). And we're off today for a few more days of safari (back on Thurs, so don't expect any more before then). Buyt I might or might not get a call from someone in the next few days explaining under what circumstances the High Commission actually does anything...

Meanwhile, we did manage to fit in a nice walk in the dry around lake Duluti yesterday - no giant millipedes (to Grannie's delight) but some impressive looking Nile Monitors and plenty of beautiful Malachite Sunbirds. Hopefully more beasties in the next few days - a gentle trip to a lodge with a pool on the edge of Ngorongoro today, then up and over the highlands tomorrow, lunch at Olduvai gorge visiting the relatives, and on to Ndutu for a couple of days in the migration I hope, then back for a day in the crater staying on the far side of the rim where I'm told there are lots of nice birdies. Hurah!

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