Jump to navigation

Published 26th April 2013

Vol 54 No 9


Nigeria

Opposition on all fronts

WARRI: A militant fighter. George Osodi / Panos
WARRI: A militant fighter. George Osodi / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

A new political alliance to confront President Jonathan is gathering pace as security conditions – north and south – deteriorate

The newly united opposition parties – the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) – have joined forces to condemn soldiers for what human rights groups are calling a massacre of 180 civilians at Baga, Borno State, this week. Several days of fierce fighting between troops and Boko Haram militants followed efforts by President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to negotiate an amnesty deal with the Islamist militia. Although Brigadier General Austin Edokpaye reported six civilians and 30 Boko Haram fighters killed in a firefight at Baga, in the north-east, Senator Maina Ma’aji Lawan of Borno North said 180-200 civilians had been killed. Opposition politicians blame government and army commanders for the death and destruction.


A tough one hundred days

President Mahama says his government has been denied the six-month honeymoon his predecessors enjoyed

The economic and political prospects may be bright in the medium term but on 17 April John Dramani Mahama reached his first 100 days in office without much to celebrate. Benefits f...


On live TV, a swarm of lawyers

On 16 April, the Supreme Court began hearings on the petition from the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to annul John Mahama’s victory in December’s presidential election. This...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The alacrity with which the United Nations Security Council approved the financing of a 12,600-strong peacekeeping force for Mali on 26 April shows France’s residual diplomatic clout. In mid-December, the UNSC turned down a similar request for money from the African Union. A month later, France sent some 4,000 troops to drive out jihadists from northern Mali in response to a request from Bamako. The AU rais...

The alacrity with which the United Nations Security Council approved the financing of a 12,600-strong peacekeeping force for Mali on 26 April shows France’s residual diplomatic clout. In mid-December, the UNSC turned down a similar request for money from the African Union. A month later, France sent some 4,000 troops to drive out jihadists from northern Mali in response to a request from Bamako. The AU raised nearly US$500 million for some 8,000 African soldiers to fight alongside the French.

Now Paris wants an exit strategy and the UN has provided one, with no serious opposition from the Permanent Five or the three African members, Morocco, Rwanda and Togo. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin cautioned the UN about taking more combative stances and foregoing attempts at neutrality.

The Mission intégrée des Nations unies pour la stabilisation au Mali is to start operations on 1 July: with a budget of $800 million it will be the UN’s third biggest peacekeeping force after Congo-Kinshasa and Sudan’s Darfur. However, in deference to Russia and China, the UNSC stipulated that the force should have a peacekeeping not peace enforcement or counter-terrorism role. In much of Mali’s north, there is no peace to keep. Although the jihadists have been chased out of the main towns, they have launched an insurgency against French and the African troops. That will not change soon, certainly not by July, when President Dioncounda Traoré’s government is due to hold elections.

Read more

Rise of the professionals

The appointment of non-politicians to cabinet posts, a provision of the new constitution, concentrates power in Kenyatta’s hands

After a circus of postponements, excuses and secrecy, the protracted announcement of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cabinet ministers over the week-ending 27 April was received with so...


Tactics but no strategy

Under pressure from internal divisions and fighting wars on three fronts, the ruling party is struggling to reinvent itself

Everyone welcomed the opening of the regime’s talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North in Ethiopia on 23 April. The ruling National Congress Party presents the talks...


Clean sweep slows down

President Macky Sall is under fire as he casts about for an alliance to meet the coming electoral challenges

The 65% of the vote which carried President Macky Sall to victory over Abdoulaye Wade in March last year was always about who he wasn’t, not who he was. Sall made many election pro...


Debt deal scandal revives

Campaigners press the Swiss authorities to reopen their investigation into lucrative deals over Angola’s old debts to Russia

A group of Angolan anti-corruption campaigners and other civil society activists is trying to get Angola and Switzerland to reopen an investigation into a notorious mid-1990s debt ...


Rifts in the regime

The coalition of army and security bodies controls the levers of power, with President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir at the top beside the Defence Minister, General Abdel Rahim Moham...


The Abalone list

Elísio de Figueiredo has for some years been Angola’s Ambassador ‘Without Portfolio’ to France and is widely regarded as a key presidential ally and dealmaker.


The fight for Mount Simandou

Mining houses, politicians, lawyers and lobbyists have joined the battle for control of one of the richest iron-ore mines in the world

The latest round of courtroom battles in the West and arrests in Conakry have one certain result: that the plans to invest US$10 billion to produce iron ore from the giant Simandou...


Patience snaps over IMF

Two senior Finance Ministry officials resign over the government’s continuing refusal to grasp the nettle of an IMF package

Talks with the International Monetary Fund and other financiers over a US$15 billion package of assistance and structural reform continue but the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated gover...



Pointers

Kivu talks impasse

Military movements in eastern Congo-Kinshasa are increasing while the peace talks in Kampala between the government and the rebel Mouvement du 23 mars have stalled. On 22 April, a...


Progress but...

The follow-up to the 2012 London Conference on Somalia should be ‘a substantial conference with substantial outcomes’, said a senior British diplomat of the second London gatheri...


Law suits unravel

The United States Supreme Court decided on 17 April to back a lower court’s refusal to hear a suit brought by Nigerians against Royal Dutch Shell for complicity in Nigerian gover...