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Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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After chasing kidnappers across the border, the Kenyan army is digging in for the longer term in Somalia

As the Kenyan army ventured deeper into Somalia, in its first cross-border campaign in 44 years, a regional grand strategy to deal with Al Haraka al S...

TUNISIA

New rules for a new order

TUNISIA

Contenders for the Assembly

BLUE LINES

THE INSIDE VIEW

The demise of Libyan leader Moammar el Gadaffi on 20 October will quicken the rush for contracts with the new regime from those who backed the revolution. The contract race was summed up by a Korea Herald headline: ‘Korean builders brace for post-Gadaffi boom’. China, which had remained loyal to Gadaffi until the fall of Tripoli, may lose out to its neighbour because of political misjudgment.

The prize is more than US$160 billion in foreign holdings, which the National Transitional Council says it will use for reconstruction. Much of it was frozen in Western institutions during the fight against Gadaffi. We hear that French and other officials are offering guaranteed credits, using the blocked funds as collateral, for contracts with their national companies.

The United States provided much of the military backbone for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s campaign but lagged behind European companies until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Tripoli on 18 October.

Qatar will prove a problematic winner. It backed NATO and air-freighted weapons to the Libyan opposition, favouring the Islamist militias under Tripoli’s military commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj. The officially funded Al Jazeera television network supported the revolutionaries since they took to the streets in February. For those efforts, it expects political and commercial favours from the NTC as it prepares elections to form a constituent assembly and form a more representative government.

EGYPT

Generals stall the revolution

The generals who rule in Cairo are well positioned to shape the new political landscape and hold on to their huge financial interests. As economic pressures grow on the post-revolution regime, the generals have secured financial backing from Saudi Arabia and other regional allies. After pushing out President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak in January, they promised to return to barracks after overseeing the writing of a new constitution and free elections. Now, many say the army seems in no hurry to upset the status quo (AC Vol 52 No 16).

EGYPT

Coffers empty, power for sale

The revolution has run low on funds as tourists have stayed away and businesses closed after President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak fell in February. Flaunting its nationalism, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in June rejected a US$3 billion International Monetary Fund standby loan (seen as the softest the Fund had ever offered) and stalled other finance, saying only a permanent government could agree big deals. One activist said darkly that by starving the transitional government of funds, the SCAF was trying to strangle the revolution.

SUDAN

Opposition on the march

A new military-political alliance of northern oppositionists is determinedly confronting the Khartoum regime, just three months after South Sudan formally seceded. The two developments are closely tied: the Independence of the South has weakened the National Congress Party (NCP) politically, economically and militarily. Indeed, the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, where Khartoum is prosecuting its latest war, are increasingly known by the opposition as the ‘New South’. The group strongly leading the fight against Khartoum in those areas, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N), is also the effective head of Northern Sudan’s new opposition alliance – an alliance so new it has not yet got a name.

SUDAN

Military momentum

The impetus for the opposition’s new determination comes from the military success of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The SPLA-N says it holds most of South Kordofan and four of Blue Nile’s six counties. It claims to have shot down four of the government’s Antonov bombers. This military success seems have surprised Khartoum.

UGANDA

Oil in troubled waters

Documents purporting to show that Ireland’s Tullow Oil made corrupt payments of 16.5 million euros (US$22.59 mn.) to Uganda’s Foreign Minister, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, and other state officials are forgeries, say British police. Yet the documents were tabled in Parliament after two foreign police forces had dismissed them as fakes.Following a request from its Ugandan colleagues, the anti-corruption unit in Britain’s Metropolitan Police Service questioned claims that the ‘EFG’ bank had acted as a conduit for payments to East Africa Development Limited in Kenya, via Malta and Dubai. British police also questioned the authenticity of a ‘power of attorney’ document alleged to be from Tullow’s Chief Executive, Aidan Heavey.

WEST AFRICA | PIRACY

From Delta militias to piracy

Governments and oil companies were sufficiently alarmed by the spate of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to call for help from the United Nations Security Council (AC Vol 52 No 20). The first sign of international action came on 19 October when the UNSC held a debate on the growing crisis. It did so at the prompting of Nigeria, which chairs the Council this month as a non-permanent member.

ZAMBIA

The President starts purging

During his presidential campaign, Michael Chilufya Sata told electors: ‘I am allergic to corruption.’ After he won, he quickly set about trying to prove it. Anti-corruption rhetoric is always good politics in opposition but few governments meet the expectations they raise. Sata argues that the government led by his predecessor, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, was irredeemably corrupt and a clean-out was needed (AC Vol 52 20).

ZAMBIA

A Scott in office

Most onlookers perceive Michael Sata as the Patriotic Front and the PF as Sata. Most also acknowledge the pivotal role Guy Scott has played in Sata’s rise to power. He is the intellectual force behind the new President and, before his promotion to the party vice-presidency just before the 2006 polls, was the PF’s longest-serving Secretary General. While neighbouring Zimbabwe carries on fighting the British, Zambia has made history by appointing a citizen of Scottish descent as Vice-President, the second highest office in the land.

BLUE LINES

THE INSIDE VIEW

The demise of Libyan leader Moammar el Gadaffi on 20 October will quicken the rush for contracts with the new regime from those who backed the revolution. The contract race was summed up by a Korea Herald headline: ‘Korean builders brace for post-Gadaffi boom’. China, which had remained loyal to Gadaffi until the fall of Tripoli, may lose out to its neighbour because of political misjudgment.

The prize is more than US$160 billion in foreign holdings, which the National Trans...

ZAMBIA

How Banda got bounced

Ex-President Rupiah Banda seemed to have everything on his side before the 20 September elections. The economy was strong, buoyed by record copper and cobalt export prices, and his campaign was rich with vans, musicians, comedians, and lollipops proclaiming ‘A President for All Zambians’. Yet all was not well inside the campaign team, led by a former Minister, Boniface Kawimbe, and his deputy, Martin Mtonga, a little-known computer specialist with no campaign experience. The President’s third son, Henry Banda, de facto head of his campaign, also had no experience. Western-educated, he hardly speaks any local languages so grassroots members of the then governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) believed he could not understand them.

Pointers  

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Teodorin’s week

On 19 October, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo nominated his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue (‘Teodorín’) as his new deputy envoy to the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. This followed UNESCO’s decisio...

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