President François Hollande’s visit last week to Côte d’Ivoire was full of fanfares for regional security and doing business with France but behind the scenes intense manoeuvrings in all the major domestic political parties were under way. President Alassane Dramane Ouattara welcomed his French counterpart at the airport on 17 July as Hollande began the first leg of a tour which also took him to Niger and Chad. Hollande combined the two themes of business and security by taking a symbolic ride in a French-built patrol boat called L'Émergence, which Yamoussoukro will use to fight the growing menace of piracy off its coast.
South Africans are trying to figure out the secret of the hold that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has on his position as Chief Operations Officer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Following revelations that Motsoeneng had lied about his qualifications and lacked a school leaving certificate, let alone a university degree, and that he had nearly doubled his own salary as acting COO in one year, from 1.5 million rand (US$140,000) to R2.4 mn., Public Protector Thuli Madonsela last year launched an inquiry. It concluded that the SABC should take disciplinary action against Motsoeneng for lying and that he should be removed from his position.
AFRICA | FRANCE
Following President François Hollande's brief African tour this month came questions about France's development aid policy. After all, critics say, it is economic development and poverty reduction that offer the best prospect of keeping young people away from the radical activism which ends up being the target of defence budget spending. Paris's answer is to keep Africa as the priority recipient of its bilateral aid.
This has now been codified in the country's first development policy law (Politique de développement et de solidarité internationale), which the Senate passed on 7 July. However, the recently approved 2014 budget cuts this year's total aid by 2.5% to 8.3 billion euros (US$11.2 bn.), a hefty chunk of which is allocated to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and European Development Fund (EDF). That leaves bilateral aid for basic development in poor countries at a mere 200 mn. euros, critics complain.
Attempts by opposition leader Raila Amolo Odinga to put himself back on the political map are failing to spark the public imagination. The former Prime Minister's re-launch following his lengthy sojourn in the United States culminated in a protest rally at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on 7 July, after a whistle-stop tour across the country. So far, the opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) has scored few points against President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Alliance government and its lack of direction. Despite his troubles, Kenyatta has shored up the power of the presidency, now stronger than at any time since the heyday of ex-President Daniel arap Moi.
Islamist militias aligned with Libya's Muslim Brotherhood have mounted their most serious counter-offensive yet against forces loyal to General Khalifa Belqasim Haftar in a series of attacks in Tripoli and Benghazi. Clashes at Tripoli International Airport saw 47 people killed and 20 aircraft badly damaged. Later, a suicide bomb exploded at a Haftar position in Benghazi. Haftar, a retired General and Armed Forces Chief of Staff under Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi, has been waging a campaign against Islamist forces in Benghazi and planning to attack Islamists all over the country.