Breaking the no rooting rule in sport or ion politics usually gets you in big trouble…but even more trouble if you do it in Tunisia with your cousin:
A SCANDAL involving abuse of public money and gossip of adultery would be bad enough in ordinary times. Just now, though, Tunisia happens to be in the throes both of an imminent cabinet reshuffle and a budget crisis. The state of the country’s finances led some economists to suggest last week that the government would fail to pay salaries in January. Worse, the minister at the heart of the affair is not only a top figure in the Nahda Party, the long-persecuted Islamist group that helped overthrow the corrupt dictatorship of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago and now leads the country’s ruling coalition. He is also married to the daughter of its widely revered chief, Rachid Ghannouchi.
Nothing has been proven, but Rafik Abdesselem, Tunisia’s minister of foreign affairs, is having a tough time explaining himself. His troubles started on December 26th, when a popular blogger, Olfat Riahi, published what appeared to be copies of hotel bills from last year that had been issued in the minister’s name and paid by his ministry, oddly enough by way of Tunisia’s embassy in Ethiopia. The hotel in question is one of the Tunisian capital’s fanciest, the Sheraton, a large hilltop structure that happens to be across the street from Mr Abdesselem’s office. Read more »