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Published 1st September 2000

Vol 41 No 17


A losing gamble

Under renewed military pressure President Kabila's regime does not understand the strength of its opponents

President Laurent-Désiré Kabila had hoped that his opponents' quarrels would bring him a quick victory. After the Rwandan forces had defeated their former Ugandan allies at Kisangani in June, Kabila launched heavy attacks against the armed opposition in Equateur province. The result was a military and diplomatic disaster, and made a fiasco of the latest Southern African Development Community summit in Lusaka on 14-15 August. The meeting brought together the leaders of the SADC states, and of Rwanda and of Uganda, in an attempt to get the peace process back on track. Yet none of Kabila's fellow Presidents, not even his Namibian ally Sam Nujoma, could persuade him to accept Botswana's former President Ketumile Masire as official facilitator of the inter-Congolese dialogue, or to accept United Nations' peacekeepers in government-held areas.

Bemba's boys

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The Mouvement de Libération du Congo was formed between late 1998 and early 1999 around Jean-Pierre Bemba, a huge man who stands some 1.90 metres tall and weighs perhaps 120...

Calling labour's bluff

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Trades unionists argue about how hard to fight the government at a policy conference

Black union militants are planning new clashes with the African National Congress government over jobs and labour law reform. But many union leaders would prefer a compromise that ...

Copper politics

Long-delayed and undersold, the bungled mines privitisation will have consequences

Zambians' belief in the brand new Republican Party faces its first test on 26 September. By contesting seven by-elections, the party hopes to give a voice to the discontents of vot...

Under Kilimanjaro

This rushed peace accord with little political will behind it may worsen the conflict

The clearest thing about the accord signed in Arusha on 28 August is its lack of finality and substance. None of the key issues - such as the new constitution, structure of power-s...


Possible president

Is there a new president in Somalia? Not quite. But Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, who took the oath of office on August 20, is the nearest thing the country has had to a recognised pre...

John Vernon

We are saddened to announce the death of John Vernon, one of the founding directors of Africa Confidential. A liberal-minded hereditary peer, the 10th Baron Vernon died, aged 77, o...


Platonically yours

The plot reads like a cross between West African market literature and an American soap opera. Yet the 'love story' - or mere 'platonic relationship' - between presidential daughte...