Soldiers and born-again democrats have been promising fair elections. This year Africans test their claims
Africa needs some boredom, according to a senior official in West Africa. By that, he meant he wants fewer coups, conflicts or spectacular economic collapses. But Africa's Cassandras have already been busy this year. Two weeks into the new year, Africa has had its first coup (see Pointers: Sierra Leone) and peace accords in Angola and Liberia are looking shakier. Burundi, now regarded as the worst conflict on the continent, teeters on the brink of total collapse. Sudan's civil war is in a new period of ferocity, exacerbated by regional hostility to its Islamist government. Somalia's and Zaïre's futures are equally problematic and concern is mounting about the ability of Nigeria’s military to hold the country's fractious components together much longer.
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