It was bound to happen – as with every other nation on Earth, those with access to money and power became corrupted by it. All over the southern coastline of Kafra, slums were destroyed to make way for the large estates and mansions of the politically powerful, mostly tribal leaders and other prominent members of the Desera Council. Money that was being given through the council’s welfare scheme to the different tribes was not all making its way back to their respective areas – some of it was being kept in the pockets of those entrusted with it, and being spent in Kafra to build themselves luxurious homes and the like. What a difference a year makes, truly.
Unfortunately for the Royal President Sidebe Mallam, there was little he could do. As much as it pained him to see corruption begin to reveal its ugly head, he needed the support of the tribal leaders now more than ever. The Desera Council was operating as usual, but behind the scenes, trouble was always brewing. There was an uneasy truce between the members of the council, one that was not without its share of fighting. If the council was to fall apart, so too would the legitimacy of the Deseran government led by Mallam – at that point, who knows what foreign powers with their eye towards Deseran resources might do. For the sake of peace and progress, the Royal President had to turn a blind eye towards the corruption or else risk upsetting the balance of the council.
He was now 51 years old – his son and heir, Prince Diallo Mallam, 28 years old. It was the young prince who had brought the investors initially to Desera, and it was through these investors and the riches they brought with them that Mallam named himself Royal President. Lately, however, the prince was constantly at odds with his father – he thought Desera was progressing too slowly and wanted less responsibility in the hands of the Desera Council, which he proclaimed was the reason the nation was being held back. In response to the growing dissent amongst the other tribal leaders, Prince Diallo doubled the size of the Deseran Army, which was loyal to the ruling family. Additionally, he was attempting to persuade his father to set up a division of the Deseran Armed Forces whose sole responsibility would be to protect the Royal Presidency – a Royal Guard, of sorts. A wiser man than his son, the Royal President rejected the notion, claiming that other tribal leaders would view that as a threat to their own power and would rebel. Secretly, the Royal President was worried – it seemed the prince had little regard for the consequences of his suggested actions, and would rather resort to violence than diplomacy to get his way.
Kafra saw its greatest growth to date in Year Six, with its population doubling in a single to over 30,000 residents. While there were a few families, mostly West Africans, that had immigrated to the nation in hopes of finding a better life, the vast majority of Kafra’s new residents were former nomadic families who settled in the capital city because of the economic opportunities, healthcare, and educational facilities. The Desera Council was having trouble keeping up and controlling the sprawling shanty towns that were growing in every direction. Central and eastern Kafra’s streets were lined with trees standing in front of what architects were calling Deseran Revivalist buildings. Drawing inspiration from 17th and 18th century European architecture, Deseran Revivalist buildings were similar to the type of buildings one would see in London, Paris, or New York, and even included a hint of Mediterranean architecture found in Italy and Spain. It was the Royal President’s love for that type of architecture that led to the construction of these types of buildings, which were most evident on Masjid Street heading towards the University Roundabout.
The commercial center of the city had shifted east, while warehouses and other light industrial buildings began finding a home towards the west of Kafra, also on Masjid Street. After completion of the University of Kafra, construction around the area sprung up seemingly overnight, and while most traders and wholesalers still did their business in the area just north of the Kafra Seaport, retailers and service oriented businesses saw a shift towards the eastern end of Masjid Street. The university in itself was described by the Royal President as Desera’s finest achievement. The architecture was Deseran Revivalist through and through, and its three halls were home to over 3,000 students during its first term. Also on campus was the Sidebe Mallam Stadium, which also was named the official stadium for all future outdoor national teams. The entire university project cost almost E100 million upon completion, but it was safe to say that the investment in education was going to pay that off fairly quickly.
Above: The first three pictures are of the new commercial center of Kafra, the last three are of the University of Kafra.
The area between the Kafra Beach Hotel and the University of Kafra quickly became the most expensive and sought after address in town, serving as a continuation for the southern coastal area where estates and mansions were built. By the end of Year Six, the area became known as the Akhdar neighborhood, which translates into the word green, because of lushness of trees and grass that could be found there. In addition to serving as the neighborhood of residence for several of Desera’s most prominent individuals, it also housed important foreign envoys and ambassadors, with the mansions serving as embassies as well as the official residences.
The most immediate concern for the Desera Council as the town swelled to a population of over 30,000 was the fact that the Kafra Seaport was now too small to handle the load required of it. Plans had to be drawn up for a new seaport, both of bulk containers and for its oil and gas industry. A lot of money was now being put into the welfare schemes in hopes of betting the lives of its people, but an estimated E1 billion to be made available for the new seaport. How this was going to be possible was not yet clear, but it was a most pressing matter.