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Published 10th August 2018

Vol 59 No 16


Zimbabwe

The great observer gamble

Map Copyright © Africa Confidential 2018
Map Copyright © Africa Confidential 2018

After an eight-month charm offensive wooing bankers and diplomats, the government is failing the legitimacy test

Politicians and activists share scepticism about international election observers, suspected of naïveté and bias but lacking political knowledge. For once, international observers mattered. On their verdict on Zimbabwe's elections on 30 July hung the possibility of infusions of billions of dollars that could pull the country out of the economic mire.

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Kabila names his dauphin

Map Copyright © Africa Confidential 2018

The President finally named a successor at the eleventh hour and ended the third-term controversy. Storms still lie ahead

The drama over who will be allowed to run in the presidential elections due in December has dragged the political system to the brink as growing armed conflict increase instability...


Backers and attackers

While Kabila steps down, his successor will have to cope with neighbours with agendas, and the myriad militias they support

Congo-Kinshasa's most important neighbours lie to the east: Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, all of whom have played key roles in the country's ructions over the past three de...



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THE INSIDE VIEW

Emmerson Mnangagwa is sending out invitations to his inauguration on 12 August. That shows how much confidence he has that the judges of the Constitutional Court will throw out a challenge to the results which gave him 50.8% of the votes, avoiding a run-off election by just over 30,000 votes.

On 8 August, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change announced it would challenge the results declared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. It has to submit its arguments and supporting ev...

Emmerson Mnangagwa is sending out invitations to his inauguration on 12 August. That shows how much confidence he has that the judges of the Constitutional Court will throw out a challenge to the results which gave him 50.8% of the votes, avoiding a run-off election by just over 30,000 votes.

On 8 August, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change announced it would challenge the results declared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. It has to submit its arguments and supporting evidence by 10 August. The Constitutional Court has 14 days to consider and adjudicate on the petition. Regardless of the eminence of the Court's judges it would be quite a stretch for them to seriously consider a petition covering 11,000 polling stations and 5.7 million voters in just a day before the inauguration.

This, together with repeated raids on the opposition's offices, the seizure of computers and documents, and beating and abduction of opposition supporters, are not the actions of a ruling party and candidate confident that their declared victory could withstand detailed scrutiny.

Indeed, when the United States-led observers requested the polling station returns, ZEC said these would take several more days to compile. This information would be critical to any independent assessment of the election's credibility. Should Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF disregard these concerns and press ahead with the inauguration, it will almost guarantee that the election fails the legitimacy test.

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A flood of rumours

The death of the great dam’s chief engineer sees an outpouring of grief as regional reactions to Abiy’s radical initiatives gather speed

For many Ethiopians, dam engineer Simegnew Bekele was the embodiment of their aspirations for a better future, which explains the widespread shock when he was discovered shot dead ...


Politics of patronage

Long-delayed legislation promises to free the oil industry from state control – but will the government want to surrender this trump card?

Nigeria's governments come and go but its oil and gas governance legislation keeps rolling on. The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was conceived during Olusegun Obasanjo's first elec...


Raila rebounds

The veteran opposition leader is gaining enough from his historic compromise with Uhuru to worry Vice-President Ruto

Five months after the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga and its promise to build bridges between Kenya's hostile ethnic groups, Odinga s...


A disputed crown for the crocodile

The opposition rejects the declaration of Mnangagwa's victory in the presidential vote as Western observers question the elections' credibility

A pall of doubt hangs over the presidential election results which gave President Emmerson Mnangagwa 50.8% of the vote when the final figures were announced by the Zimbabwe Elector...


Barbarians at the gate

A wave of defections to the main opposition party have President Buhari looking anxiously over his shoulder as elections approach

The All Progressives' Congress, whose leader President Muhammadu Buhari is taking a holiday in London, has been under political siege for weeks while its senior members contemplate...



Pointers

Deal or no deal?

'Very much a starting point' was the verdict of United Nations Special Representative David Shearer on the latest agreement by the main political actors of South Sudan on 5 August ...


Court in the act

Despite a calamitous first five years in office, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK) sailed through the first round of the presidential election with 42% of the vote amid a flur...


Gas contract claims minister

The sacking of Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko on 6 August for supposedly mishandling renegotiations with the Dubai-based Ameri group on a power supply contract has triggered a cris...