Basket 0 Items

View basket | Checkout

President Joseph Kabila on a visit to Goma in 2009. Teun Voeten / Panos
President Joseph Kabila on a visit to Goma in 2009. Teun Voeten / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

After the eastern rebels trounce the national army and opposition movements step up the pressure, the President is fighting for his political life

The seizure of Goma by the Mouvement du 23 mars rebels on 20 November has dangerously weakened the regime of President Joseph Kabila Kabange. Backed b...

CONGO-KINSHASA

Why Goma fell

SIERRA LEONE

Clouds over Koroma’s victory

BLUE LINES

THE INSIDE VIEW

Around 100,000 demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 27 November demanded that President Mursi withdraw the decree that granted him sweeping powers, marking a rare moment of unity for Egypt’s liberals and leftists. Many called for Mursi not just to rescind his ‘constitutional declaration’ – but to step down. Protestors attacked the party offices of his Muslim Brothers in Alexandria and Mansoura and police officers declined to intervene. Hundreds of people were injured in clashes between Brotherhood supporters and opponents in Mahalla and Port Said.

Secular leaders such as Mohamed el Baradei, ex-head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Amr Moussa, ex-Secretary General of the Arab League, lambast Mursi’s government for its narrow Islamist agenda. The Muslim Brothers promised a show of force in Cairo on 1 December.

This confrontation marks a critical point for Egypt’s and the region’s post-revolutionary regimes. At the core of the protests is the attempt by Mursi and the Brothers to write a new constitution without reference to any other viewpoints. Most non-Islamist representatives resigned from the Assembly and joined legal moves to dissolve it. Yet Mursi’s decree effectively blocks the courts from doing that. Now his supporters in the Assembly plan to release their draft constitution which Mursi could put to a referendum within weeks. With control of the state machinery, he could push through what is likely to be a strongly Islamist if deftly worded constitution.

NIGERIA

Boko Haram looks to Mali

The bombing of a church in Kaduna State on 25 November and attacks on a police station in Abuja on the following day seemed designed, at least in part, to show that the Boko Haram militia can keep up the pressure despite the army’s scorched earth policy against it. Senior Nigerian security officials insist that scores of top Boko Haram commanders have fled to Mali and Somalia since mid-September after crackdowns in northern Nigeria. Such claims of success have to be balanced against the government’s continuing lack of political strategy in dealing with the militia and it winning back some credibility in the north-east. Government soldiers and police, in many cases, are feared as much as Boko Haram.

NIGERIA

How politicians help insurgents

The federal government has played politics with the Boko Haram insurgency, using it to silence opposition from northern politicians who claim that President Goodluck Jonathan has broken the rotation of power between north and south. Many in the north feel that it is its turn to rule and that the government, led by the south, chooses not to combat the violence because the north is at the receiving end.

SUDAN | ANALYSIS

The new gold rush

Sudan’s economy is in a bad way since it lost 75% of its oil revenue in its quarrel with South Sudan. This week, it refused to implement September’s agreement to get oil flowing again. As economic conditions decline further – annualised inflation was over 45% last month – and rumours spread that President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir is fatally ill, fissures are opening up in the regime.

EGYPT | SUDAN

Egyptians return in search of gold

Last August, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Onsi Sawiris, 58, bought La Mancha Resources, owner of 40% of Sudan’s Ariab Mining Company. Naguib is a Coptic Christian and telecommunications captain of his huge Orascom empire with his younger brothers Samih (property) and Nassef (construction and fertilisers). He is not known for his mining expertise.

TANZANIA

New strains on the Union

Riots, killings and crackdowns have shaken Zanzibar for most of 2012, as Islamist forces mobilise growing support. At the same time, an agreement for Zanzibar to manage its own oil resources is encouraging separatists in the mainstream Civic United Front.

TANZANIA

Licence to secede

Zanzibar’s President Ali Mohamed Shein and national President Jakaya Kikwete reached ‘agreement in principle’ on 25 October that Zanzibar could manage its own oil and gas industry, said Mohamed Aboud Mohamed, Zanzibar’s Minister in Charge of Union Affairs.

NAMIBIA

SWAPO picks a new leader

In a three-horse race for the vice-presidency of the SWAPO party, Jerry Ekandjo, the Minister of Regional and Local Government, has emerged out of left field. The final decision in the faction-ridden, bitterly contested battle will come at the party conference on 29 November to 3 December. The winner will be SWAPO’s candidate in the November 2014 presidential election, which SWAPO is sure to win. President Hifikepunye Pohamba will remain party President – the post is not up for election at the congress – and step down as head of state at the end of his second five-year term in March 2015.

SOMALIA

Floating arsenals in legal fog

The hijacking of merchant ships off the coast of Somalia has decreased dramatically in the last year. Yet the private military security companies whose armed guards are largely credited with this turnaround still find themselves legally adrift. PMSCs are governed by the laws of the country – or its territorial waters – that they are in. Carrying arms into a country can be construed as arms smuggling, using weapons without licence, a breach of an arms embargo (especially in Somalia’s case) and other offences. Some countries that permit ships to enter port with armed guards may not allow them to leave with their weapons.

BLUE LINES

THE INSIDE VIEW

Around 100,000 demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 27 November demanded that President Mursi withdraw the decree that granted him sweeping powers, marking a rare moment of unity for Egypt’s liberals and leftists. Many called for Mursi not just to rescind his ‘constitutional declaration’ – but to step down. Protestors attacked the party offices of his Muslim Brothers in Alexandria and Mansoura and police officers declined to intervene. Hundr...

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

ICC tries more with less

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, will soon decide whether to begin a formal inquiry into human rights abuses by jihadists in the Sahel. In July, the ICC launched a preliminary inquiry into the activities of Mali’s Ansar Eddine and its allies, the Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’ouest (MUJAO).

Pointers  

SUDAN

The plot thickens

The former security boss, Lieutenant General Salah Abdullah Mohamed ‘Gosh’, a regular interlocutor with British and United States’ spies, was the best known person arrested for coup plotting on 22 November but he wasn’t the most important.

Issue archive

Search our 15-year online archive

Archive Alternatively, contact us to find out about access to more than 50 years of the world's best fortnightly newsletter on African politics.

Looking for a specific issue of Africa Confidential?

 

Patrick Smith Not yet ready to subscribe to Africa Confidential's complete information service? Then why not register for our free email alerts.

 Every two weeks you get a concise snapshot of the latest issue - courtesy of our editor, Patrick Smith - so you're made aware of which issues we cover each fortnight.

Sign up right away and you also get a free copy of 'The Editor's Choice' – 66 pages of some of the very best previous Africa Confidential articles.

'The Editor's Choice' is in PDF format. So you can download it in an instant – just as soon as you have registered with us.

Payment cards