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Egypt

Angry Sisi lashes judiciary



A ruling against the ceding of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia has prompted the President to sack senior judges

The latest episode in the Red Sea islands saga has seen a judge make a ruling in open defiance of President Abdel Fatah el Sisi. When El Sisi announced he was ceding sovereignty over the Gulf of Aqaba islands of Tiran and Sanafir last April, oppositionists found a cause to rally around and flood the streets of Cairo with protestors. The move came during the official visit of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, the Egyptian regime's major financial backer, and touched off a nationalist reaction which shocked and embarrassed the government. Hundreds were arrested in the first major demonstrations in downtown Cairo since the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in August 2013. A campaign to block the transfer of the uninhabited islands to Saudi Arabia – called 'Egypt is not for sale' – emerged, led by prominent lawyers including the charismatic human rights defender Khaled Ali, a major figure in the 2011 uprisings.


Political questions loom as debt deal is set for September

Zimbabwe Chart Copyright © Africa Confidential 2016

International creditors have agreed to the government's plan to repay arrears but politicians and activists voice concern

This week, the government is to finalise its agreement to repay some US$1.86 billion of arrears to multilateral financial institutions. That will trigger its re-entry into the inte...

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Battles on the judges' bench

A fight over nominating the Chief Justice could affect the credibility of next year's elections

The Supreme Court narrowly averted a succession crisis just hours before Chief Justice Willy Munywoki Mutunga, 70, hung up his robes for retirement on 16 June. That raises question...


A new deal in the East

East African Budgets Chart Copyright © Africa Confidential 2016

Industralisation efforts, protectionism and higher taxes dominate the region's budgets this year

Industrial policy is in and Western aid is out; the state is back and the market is pushed back; economic nationalism is up, as is scepticism about globalisation. That, broadly, is...


From putschist to third termer

The President trumpets his successes as he tries for a third term, but oppositionists and outsiders see things very differently

Two years into his second term as President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is promoting Mauritania as a key pillar of regional security. He enjoys warm relations with neighbouring states...


Political plots in a slow month

The latest reshuffle promises more effective economic policies but the generals keep a wary eye on the presidential clan

Amid the more relaxed atmosphere of the month of Ramadan, political soothsayers in Algiers are swinging from one forecast, such as the revived ruling clique beginning serious econo...


Bird flu ruffles feathers

The government has moved swiftly to counter an outbreak of deadly bird flu but the economic toll risks stoking political discontent

The much-loved rotisserie restaurants and cafés of Yaoundé stand dark and deserted in the otherwise bustling streets of the Cameroon capital, after the government recently declared...


Condé follows regional lead

The president hopes an appeal to 'the people' will allow him to change the constitution so he can stand for a third term

Eight months into his second term, President Alpha Condé is barely concealing his desire for a third term even if this means overturning the 2010 Constitution, which was born from...


The General's identity crisis

After a dramatic arrest in Khartoum there are doubts about whether British and Italian police have got the right man

The mystery surrounding the identity of the Eritrean 'people-smuggler' arrested in Khartoum and deported to Italy shows the difficulty of unravelling smuggling networks. Is the man...


The big rand short

The National Treasury has launched an investigation into companies suspected of trying to profit from the volatility of the rand over the past year. Business circles have been buzz...


The Delta-naira yoyo

Facing its deepest economic crisis for two decades, Nigeria has been bolstered by two modest pieces of good news this week. Firstly, officials in Abuja say they have secured a mont...


Tighter rules on war booty

European Union importers face tougher restrictions on conflict minerals after a deal was finally struck on 15 June. Due diligence checks, conducted according to Organisation for Ec...


Hacks off

Broadcasters are experiencing increasing pressure from the government to toe the line. Some are being banned from the air