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Published 26th June 2015

Vol 56 No 13


Mali

A peace deal, against all odds

Mali map © Africa Confidential 2015
Mali map © Africa Confidential 2015

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The much delayed signing of a new accord between north and south offers a chance to defeat the jihadists and sideline the secessionists

Three days after presiding on 20 June over the signing in Bamako of a peace agreement between northern rebels and President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Mongi Hamdi was in New York trying to drum up support at the United Nations Security Council to prolong the peacekeepers' presence. The UNSC has to decide before 30 June whether to renew the mandate for the 7,000-strong Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation au Mali (Minusma), which is headed by Tunisia's Hamdi, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Mali.

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Risks of a hasty exit

France wants to leave as quickly as possible and is risking long-term instability to make sure its short-term goals are met

France is exercising its immense political and economic influence in Central African Republic, insisting on strict adherence to what many are calling an unrealistically rapid elect...


Let my people stay

Eritrean refugees are at the heart of Europe’s migration crisis but a divided European Union is at odds about how to deal with them

Once, European countries were happy to gently chide the Asmara government for the oppression of its impoverished people, but the flotillas of its people sailing across the Mediterr...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

A turbulent few weeks for international justice. First, Sudan’s President Omer el Beshir arrived in South Africa on 13 June for the African Union summit despite his indictment by the International Criminal Court for genocide. He left barely two days later as the Pretoria High Court deliberated on the South African government’s legal obligations to arrest him.

It has emerged that foreign ministers at the AU summit had earlier called for the ICC’s charges to be dropped against bot...

A turbulent few weeks for international justice. First, Sudan’s President Omer el Beshir arrived in South Africa on 13 June for the African Union summit despite his indictment by the International Criminal Court for genocide. He left barely two days later as the Pretoria High Court deliberated on the South African government’s legal obligations to arrest him.

It has emerged that foreign ministers at the AU summit had earlier called for the ICC’s charges to be dropped against both Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and Omer el Beshir. They also called for the UN Security Council to withdraw the referral of Sudan to the ICC. Last December, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UNSC that she had 'hibernated' work on the Darfur investigation due to lack of international cooperation.

And on 20 June, British officials arrest Rwanda's spy chief General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake on a Spanish arrest warrant issued under European Union rules. Rwanda condemned his arrest on war crimes charges as outrageous, given his role in the military force that stopped the genocide.

Britain had little choice once Spain had submitted the warrant but to detain Karenzi and test the charges in court. If they are as weak as Kigali and others maintain, the court will throw them out and Karenzi will be on his way back to Kigali. If the London court finds merit in them and approves Karenzi’s extradition for trial in Spain, yet another politically charged case will be in the making.

From the start of the year, it's been clear that South Africa's local elections on 3 August would be a critical test of President Jacob Zuma's survival skills. There have been contradictory signs: it looked increasingly likely that Zuma would be pushed to resign before his second term ends in 2019. Then last month, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the governing African National Congress gave Zuma a resounding endorsement and wound up an investigation into some of his business allies.

Whether it was Zuma's charm and charisma, which shouldn't be underrated, or the ANC's instinct for self-preservation before tough elections, it seemed the activists were closing ranks. Far from it. The trouble started in Gauteng, when the NEC tried to impose its choice of Thoko Didiza, a Zuma ally and former Agriculture Minister, as the ANC's candidate for Mayor of the Tshwane municipality, which includes Pretoria, and push out the incumbent mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

Protestors clashed with police in several townships around Pretoria; two people were shot dead in Mamelodi township on 20 June. There are similar disputes between the NEC and local ANC branches about the choice of candidates in the municipalities of Johannesburg, also in Gauteng, and Nelson Mandela Bay in Eastern Cape Province. The latest Ipsos opinion poll suggests that the ANC will lose overall control of all three councils to resurgent opposition parties, led by the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters.

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Nkurunziza ploughs on

The President's insistence on persisting with the elections annoys the AU. The EU is considering sanctions

Local and parliamentary elections are still set to take place on 29 June but the presidential poll will only be held on 15 July after President Pierre Nkurunziza conceded a delay a...


Fugitive flees as courts sidelined

The main casualty of the Sudanese President's trip to the African Union summit was the rule of law

President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir has again escaped the clutches of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but his disruptive appearance at the African Union summit and his hur...


Do as I say, not as I do

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the Burundian crisis as viewed from the Rwandan capital, Kigali, is the unwelcome spotlight on third – and unconstitutional – terms of office. ...


Drawing the battle lines

Museveni is making sure of electoral victory in 2016, but more and more rivals and defectors are chipping away at his support

Speaking on YouTube on 15 June, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi declared his intention to secure the governing National Resistance Movement's presidential nomination, in place of Presid...


'Lack of focus' on Ebola

New cases of Ebola are still turning up in Port Loko and Kambia districts, over a month after the World Health Organisation declared neighbouring Liberia Ebola-free. A lack of gove...


Petrol projects trouble

PetroSA is the latest state-owned giant to suffer labour and financial problems, with managers first in the firing line

The Board of the state-owned Petroleum, Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa has suspended two senior executives three weeks after the government demanded they go on gardening l...



Pointers

An accidental arrest

Britain's arrest of Rwandan spy chief General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake on charges of crimes against humanity was either an unavoidable European treaty obligation, a massive bureaucr...


A nation in waiting

Post-election euphoria is turning to impatience as Nigeria waits for its new President to form a government and announce its policies. In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari has spent...


Save the children

New visa regulations for children travelling to South Africa have been criticised as 'economic sabotage' by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Tourism contributes ...


Facing sanctions

Momentum is building in Europe for sanctions over human rights abuses in Swaziland. European Union member states voted on 21 May for a resolution urging their leaders to reconsider...