Tuesday, January 31, 2006


The political elite of just about every country in Africa are obsessed with owning a car manufactured by Daimler-Chrysler. In other words, a Merc, or Benzi for short. They are so popular amongst government officials, some of them have several. Now, thanks to Sir Bob, sales are booming for the (still,) Stuttgart based firm.

However, after threatening their German staff with factory closures in 2004 and building more plants in South Africa, the workforce capitulated, agreed on an almost effective 30% wage cut and carry on making cars. The backlash is that Mercedes called back more cars because of faults in 2005 than they actually made in that year! Of course this makes no difference to African Despots and their hangers on. The ‘WaBenzi’ tribe, as they are popularly known, simply apply immediately for aid should a Merc not start and they are replaced with the latest model.

AC-DC, African Corruption and Daimler Chrysler have been hand in hand for decades, along as the customer was Black of course. I recall reading only a few years ago Zimbabwe police getting a whole lot of Mercs and the drivers were trained in Germany. Presumably to be part of President Mugabe’s motor convoy as he himself sits in…dig this..a £2 million pound armoured Mercedes capable of doing 5 miles to the gallon.

I brushed upon this theme a few years ago, even soliciting a response from customer service from Mercs H.Q. Basically, they said they sell vehicles to anyone and don’t mix in politics. This is more than obvious with the latest news coming out of Kenya this week. With the land recently praised for ousting out the last corrupt government, barely in power the new lot are even worse. How’s this from the Independent newspaper today,

Kenyans, who are bombarded daily with news of corruption and famine in their country, were outraged to learn that government ministers had spent £7m on vehicles including 57 Mercedes Benz and fleets of four-wheel drive cars in their first 18 months in office.

You think this is bad…here is the best bit,

The World Bank last week agreed to lend Kenya $120m (£70m) despite Mr Githongo's (former anti-corruption adviser,) revelations. President Kibaki has also appealed for $150m to feed the four million Kenyans who are facing food shortages caused by droughts.

So, if I understand this correctly. German car manufacturers are working harder for less, pay taxes that are donated to people who don’t work and want more Mercs, which then keeps the German plants still operative and covers director’s million Euro salaries.

I was reading an article in The Spectator, unfortunately the online version only allows the first few chapters for free, all about aid and Mercs in Africa. The best bit though…on the right hand side of the article was a ‘roll over’ advert for, guess who? Yup, Mercedes-Benz!

Still researching, I came across a brilliant piece of journalism on this theme. It effectively makes my comments pale in comparison, but backs my observations to the hilt.

But…Google, who have plunged in the ratings recently, both morally and financially (they lost 20 billion of their worth after the China censorship deal,) are totally losing the plot. They are so busy being clever, that some of their brilliance is hilarious. I thought about putting their adware system onto my blog. The idea is that their creepy crawler spiders work out the best related adverts to the themes posted on here. Thoughts of promoting the Sex Pistols newly released, Greatest Vomits album, or cheap Chinese toys from, Idiots ‘R’ U, seemed like a good way to make a few pence.

The brilliant plan being that people are so impressed with my Blog, they click on the related advert and whatever. Just the fact they click the link earns me some minimal amount. I worked out, I could pay a Zimbabwean asylum seeker 50 pence a day to sit and click on the advert non stop from the local councils library. Sadly, the installation gobbely gook was too complicated for me, so I didn’t bother.
So…where is this leading? Well if you go to the site I posted above, you get one of the best laughs of the day. The article takes Mercedes with its corrupt marketing procedures with African despots really to task. So what do the clever spiders from Google do? Promptly put up three adverts for buying Mercedes cars. Every time someone clicks the link, the advertiser pays Google. I wonder if,

Cheshire Classic Benz View our stock of 80s & 90s classic Coupe & Convertible Mercedes Cars www.cheshireclassicbenz.co.uk

knows they are being taken for a ride…hah hah hah. Or perhaps the article will actually promote sales. Nothing like a good slagging to increase interest. Rather a bad reputation than non at all. The banners change at each refresh to crazy hypocritical clashes. Next to one Merc promotion was this one,

Volunteer Teach in Africa Structured 3-12 week volunteer programs in Ghana & Tanzania.

Mmmm, might just apply, I wanna be a WaBenzi too!

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