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Published 23rd October 2015

Vol 56 No 21


Angola

Hunger strike stirs dissent

Luaty da Silva Beirão is on hunger strike in prison
Luaty da Silva Beirão is on hunger strike in prison

As the oil price crash weakens the economy, protests against corruption and repression are gathering strength

President José Eduardo dos Santos's government has remained unmoved as the popular rapper and civil rights activist Luaty da Silva Beirão's health deteriorates sharply after almost a month on hunger strike in prison. Another of the 15 men detained four months ago, Albano Bingo-Bingo, is also in failing health after two weeks without food. Amnesty International says that Beirão, known as Ikonoklasta, is now being fed through an intravenous tube.

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Uhuru's frequent flyer card

The President has been trying to balance the country's domestic economic woes with some intense diplomatic glad-handing

When Pope Francis lands in Nairobi on his first visit to Africa on 25-30 November, it will doubtless be heralded as yet another foreign policy triumph for President Uhuru Kenyatta....


ANC looks in the mirror

Losing over a third of its members under Jacob Zuma's presidency, the ANC is getting nervous about next year's local elections

It may have ended with a stirring rendition of the liberation struggle song Mhla Sibuyayo (The Day We Return) led by President Jacob Zuma but the governing African National Congres...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW


Britain's Africa relations have been peppered in recent years with near misses, faux pas and a general lack of policy, but this may be changing with major conferences on migration, next month in Malta, and on climate change, in Paris in December. British diplomats are trying hard to get agreements in advance with African delegations. Britain has extracted itself...

Britain's Africa relations have been peppered in recent years with near misses, faux pas and a general lack of policy, but this may be changing with major conferences on migration, next month in Malta, and on climate change, in Paris in December. British diplomats are trying hard to get agreements in advance with African delegations. Britain has extracted itself from its declaration of 2013 that it would have 'only essential contacts' with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, then under indictment by the International Criminal Court. This reversal was due to some nimble diplomacy by Christian Turner, Britain’s High Commissioner in Nairobi. Now British Prime Minister David Cameron is due in Kenya on a state visit next year.

Nigerian voters brought to an end the difficult relations between Britain and President Goodluck Jonathan, who had held an awkward meeting with Cameron a year ago. We understand that UK officials are now planning a meeting between Cameron and Muhammadu Buhari, Jonathan’s well regarded successor. President Buhari has already been feted in Washington and Paris.

British-South Africa relations are still problematic: President Jacob Zuma failed to turn up at a scheduled meeting with Cameron last year, citing a calendar clash. However, this week Britain has welcomed to London Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairwoman of the African Union Commission. She also happens to be the leading contender to succeed her former husband, Jacob Zuma, in the presidency.
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Wing and a prayer economics

Battered by rising debt and deficits as copper mines close, the government searches desperately for alternatives

Despite looming elections, a sliding copper price, critical power shortages, the world's worst performing currency and record borrowing costs, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda ...


Dialogue of empty chairs

The government was again talking to itself at its National Dialogue and even Thabo Mbeki boycotted the proceedings

Only one opposition delegation – two Darfur former rebels whose security was guaranteed by Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno – were at the opening of the government's vaunted Nati...


CCM faces close vote

Demands for change resonate widely ahead of the elections but history and organisation favour the incumbents

In the presidential, parliamentary and local elections on 25 October, the governing Chama cha Mapinduzi party faces its toughest political challenge since Independence in 1961. Thi...


How Dhlakama and the peace talks were ambushed

Insiders detect the hand of former President Guebuza in a spate of attacks against the Renamo leader

Last month's attacks on Afonso Dhlakama and his stand-off with government forces are threatening the latest bid to broker a political and military settlement. People close to the n...


New maps, no peace

With little progress on the transitional government, redrawing state boundaries looks like a luxury

The government’s decision to convert South Sudan’s ten states into 28 may entrench ethnic divisions and is extravagant for a bankrupt country. Although many South Sudan...



Pointers

Uhuru bans bad bills

Parliament's attempts to crack down on journalists are on hold since 14 October, when President Uhuru Kenyatta intervened behind the scenes to excise two of the most heinous clause...


Condé's surprising knockout

'One Strike – Knockout!' That was the message from those who engineered President Alpha Condé's first round victory in the 11 October presidential election, with 57.9% of the...