On 9 February, after weeks of bickering among politicians, Somalis were given a new government. In some respects, it's not very different from the old one; some ministers from the much criticised previous regime stay on, often with different portfolios. There are new faces too, many of them members of parliament. What is causing concern is that most of the new ministers got their jobs as repayments of political debts, not because of their competence.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC | CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE
It's been a bad year for Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. He is official mediator in the Central African Republic conflict for the Communauté économique des états de l'Afrique centrale. Sassou was already under fire for wanting a third term as elected President to add to his 13 years as unelected head of state (AC Vol 55 No 19). Now, he is shunned by former allies in the West and admonished by the United Nations for the failures of the CEEAC-sponsored peace talks in Nairobi between CAR's Séléka and Anti-Balaka militias.
Despite fist fights and forcible expulsions from the chamber of the National Assembly, African National Congress officials insisted President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address on 12 February was a triumph. Many others saw only a lacklustre collection of vague assurances but it was its reception that made the headlines. Democratic Alliance members of parliament, dressed in black, staged a walkout in a mock funeral of democracy during the speech. Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) barracked Zuma, shouting 'When is the President going to pay back the money?', a reference to the public funds used to upgrade Zuma's Nkandla homestead.