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Published 4th March 2016

Vol 57 No 5


Ghana

A disputed state of the nation

President John Dramani Mahama. Pic: Francois Mori / AP/Press Association Images
President John Dramani Mahama. Pic: Francois Mori / AP/Press Association Images

The two leading contenders for the presidency opened their campaigns with sharply differing assessments of the country's health

It was a foretaste of what is set to be the country's most fiercely contested election against a backdrop of the worst austerity since the 1980s. On 25 February, a smiling President John Dramani Mahama strolled into Parliament in Accra sporting a well-tailored red, blue and white dashiki shirt, to deliver a three hour State of the Nation Address. Expertly scripted and orchestrated, with citizens from the public gallery brought in as witnesses, the Address turned into the audio-visual version of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto.

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It’s the contract election

Both the main parties have form when it comes to spending sprees and big contracts ahead of elections

Come commodity crash or boom, if it's election year, it's contract time. That's when incumbents hand out largesse and stock up the political war-chest. In Ghana, election year cont...

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Spender takes all

The use of unregulated money in Uganda's elections is increasing. Last week's poll saw more voter-bribery than ever 

A wounded man lies outstretched on the dusty ground in Hoima District, surrounded by curious onlookers. In tears, James Munyakyongole recounts the agony of his rotting leg to indep...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Zimbabwe's political scene has opened up this week as former Vice-President Joice Mujuru launched her new party, Zimbabwe People First. ZANU-PF is riven by factionalism as the race to succeed President Mugabe intensifies. Mujuru's new party is the most important new contender since Morgan Tsvangirai launched the MDC in 2000, a ...

Zimbabwe's political scene has opened up this week as former Vice-President Joice Mujuru launched her new party, Zimbabwe People First. ZANU-PF is riven by factionalism as the race to succeed President Mugabe intensifies. Mujuru's new party is the most important new contender since Morgan Tsvangirai launched the MDC in 2000, a party which has all but fallen apart from internal divisions. She could bring across strong support from the beleaguered ZANU-PF.

But what, her enemies still in ZANU-PF ask, can Mujuru can offer that she could not over the last 35 years of working under Mugabe? Courage is one answer. She has broken with Mugabe, and then shrugged off bizarre accusations of plotting against him. Her ZANU-PF supporters have long outnumbered those of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Already, a group of youngish Turks around Grace Mugabe has launched its own plot to scupper Mnangagwa's ambitions to succeed Mugabe. Now Mnangagwa could be caught between Grace and Joice.

Mujuru is the first ZANU-PF insider with clout and liberation-war credibility to break ranks and offer an alternative to Mugabe. Indeed, Mnangagwa may find that the casting out of Mujuru from ZANU-PF could have been the end, not the beginning, of his chances of succeeding Mugabe. The sight of four former ZANU-PF ministers, and ambassadors from Western countries, on the podium at Mujuru's launch event cannot have encouraged him.

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Trial of strength at the top

The President asserts himself over Gordhan but the Finance Minister pushes back. An epic contest is shaping the country's future

Beleaguered President Jacob Zuma has just lost another round in his battle with a growing coalition of forces seeking his early exit. He is under attack from within and without the...


Death on the beach

Security concerns are growing after the death of an opponent of the President and the coming withdrawal of UN peacekeepers

The death of influential politician and businessman Harry Greaves, whose body was found washed up on a Monrovia beach on 31 January, has thrown up questions in Liberia about securi...


Lungu schemes to survive

In an unpredictable political landscape, the President is pulling out the stops to win the next elections

Elected by a narrow margin in January 2015 and presiding over an economy in free fall, President Edgar Lungu is trying to strengthen his position through constitutional amendments ...


Back to Ogoniland

Federal troops are back in the heartland of the former Delta rebellion as politicians use militants and gangsters to expand their reach

The return of the army to Ogoniland after an 18-year absence has deep political resonance. All the more so because there is now a fierce contest for political control of the Niger ...


New leader's old problems

The dry, technocratic former premier has won the election but choosing his own premier and forming a government will be no easy task  

Faustin Archange Touadéra's victory in the presidential election is a small step towards national reconstruction after a year of intercommunal warfare and two more of chaotic and c...


Cash in a cold climate

Industrialised countries aim to raise $100 billion a year in climate finance but developing countries feel left out

Morocco and South Africa are among the few African countries to take the lead on climate change policy. However, developing countries that live on the 'front line' of climate chang...


Amisom struggles

A funding gap and a string of defeats head a long list of problems for the African alliance fighting Islamist militants

The health of the African Union Mission in Somalia is still in question after the leaders of the troop-contributing countries ended a crucial summit on its financing and its future...


Protest grows over Museveni win

The incumbent's win was widely foretold but it could prompt mass unrest. And the ruling party suffered in the parliamentary polls

Now that President Yoweri Museveni has secured his re-election with his customary mixture of patronage and intimidation, opposition leader Kizza Besigye and his Forum for Democrati...



Pointers

Guelleh's court shame

Two months ahead of national elections, President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh has experienced what must rank as one of most spectacular drubbings of a foreign head of state on British soi...


Knock-out in two

President Mahamadou Issoufou approaches the 20 March second round of the presidential election all but certain of a victorious outcome. He fell short of his loudly proclaimed inten...


Guptas 'to leave SA'

The Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, are in the process of moving to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, say sources in the governing African National Congress. Several of the famil...


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