Prime Minister Hage Geingob is pushing through wide-ranging constitutional changes which will increase his power when he becomes Namibia's next President. Geingob, who is also Vice-President of SWAPO (formerly the South West African People's Organisation), is virtually assured of an overwhelming victory in this year's presidential election. Late last month, Presidential Affairs Minister and Attorney General Albert Kawana tabled the amendments in the National Assembly as the Third Bill of 2014. The Assembly was scheduled to go into recess from early July until late September but remained sitting due to what government sources said at the time was the need to approve outstanding bills. Now it would seem the real reason was to enable the constitutional amendments to be tabled, although it was not clear when the NA would debate them.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza's surprise choice of Mahamat Kamoun as the new Prime Minister, along with a cabinet of 31, has dismayed Central African Republic's international supporters. They believe that Samba-Panza's appointees include a number of officials who do not have the country's best interests at heart, but fear to act because they are afraid of accusations of bullying. In addition, money given to the government has gone missing and the International Monetary Fund is so alarmed that it has suspended IMF operations in Bangui. Many believe that Samba-Panza has been allowed to act in the interests of her own friends, relations and allies – at the expense of a distressed nation. They also think that a bolder approach by foreign parties could have helped prevent the current drift in policy.
Africa's largest trades union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, celebrates its 30th anniversary and its twelfth congress next year. Yet many believe Cosatu is at its weakest since its birth at the height of apartheid in 1985. Tensions within the African National Congress have played themselves out amongst leaders within the member unions of the two-million-strong Cosatu which, together with the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP), form the governing Tripartite Alliance.
During May's general elections, Cosatu's largest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, withdrew its support for the ANC on the grounds that it had abandoned its pro-worker principles and failed to tackle official corruption. Its 220,000 members show no sign of coming back into the fold and NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim and his Cosatu counterpart Zwelinzima Vavi are rumoured to be considering setting up a left-wing grouping which would see Cosatu split from the Alliance and form a 'workers' party' to contest the 2019 elections (AC Vol 55 No 8).
The new leadership of the African National Congress Youth League, which is standing for election on 24-26 September in Gauteng, will have the blessing of President Jacob Zuma and won't be challenging the governing party's policies at any time soon, say young critics. It will once again be a powerful lobby group for the ANC presidential leadership race, now due in 2019, they say. The former Treasurer of the disbanded League, Pule Mabe, is favourite to win the presidency of a reconstituted ANCYL.
After Tripoli International Airport fell to Islamist-led forces from Misurata on 23 August, the victors were quick to announce that they would resuscitate the country's former Parliament, the disbanded General National Congress, in the capital. The Misuratans, coordinated by former GNC member Salah Badi, already rejected as head of military intelligence, capitalised on poor planning by the body that replaced the GNC, the House of Representatives. After relocating to Benghazi, the HoR soon found the city too dangerous and was forced even further east to Tobruk.