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Published 26th August 2016

Vol 57 No 17


Ethiopia

The centre holds on

Members of the Ethiopian army patrol the streets of Addis Ababa after clashes with protesters. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, 10/06/05)
Members of the Ethiopian army patrol the streets of Addis Ababa after clashes with protesters. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo, 10/06/05)

Cooperation between Amhara and Oromo oppositionists presents the government with one of its most serious challenges in 20 years

The latest major jolt to Ethiopia's security and its ruling elites has come in the form of a protest in the north-western city of Bahir Dar, the seat of the Amhara regional government and a destination popular with tourists visiting Lake Tana's ancient island monasteries. After a large demonstration that passed peacefully the previous week in the historic town of Gondar around 110 kilometres to the north, large crowds gathered to protest in Bahir Dar on 7 August. Grievances included claims that the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) dominates an authoritarian government, the arrest of opposition-aligned politicians and journalists, and complaints that Tigray State annexed Wolkait district in the 1990s.

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Zuma carries on regardless

The fall in the ANC's vote to less than 50% leaves no single party in charge of some vital councils and the promise of much turmoil

One of the most fiercely contested elections in post-apartheid South Africa has left the African National Congress in shock, the Democratic Alliance energised and the Economic Free...


Pax Salvatica

The balance shifts as Washington acknowledges Taban as Vice-President and Riek flees to Khartoum

International plans for an expanded peacekeeping force of 4,000 African troops are at odds with the aims of South Sudan's rejigged Transitional Government of National Unity. Juba o...



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THE INSIDE VIEW

Predictions that President Jacob Zuma will redouble efforts to regain control over policy and patronage after the African National Congress's losses in the municipal elections (see Feature, Zuma carries on regardless) are fast proving accurate. On 22 August, Zuma loyalists said they had expected him to announce a ministerial reshuffle, well ahead of the ANC's special conference to pick its presidential candidate for 2019. Finance Minister

Predictions that President Jacob Zuma will redouble efforts to regain control over policy and patronage after the African National Congress's losses in the municipal elections (see Feature, Zuma carries on regardless) are fast proving accurate. On 22 August, Zuma loyalists said they had expected him to announce a ministerial reshuffle, well ahead of the ANC's special conference to pick its presidential candidate for 2019. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande were said to be in danger. Both have clashed with Zuma.

Zuma's allies expect him to use a special committee to reassert executive control over the management and budgets of state-owned companies. This would allow him to overrule Gordhan's opposition to a financing deal for South African Airways proposed by Dudu Myeni, a Zuma ally who chairs the airline's Board.

There are bigger projects at stake in this contest, such as Zuma's support for multi-billion dollar contracts with Russian contractors to build nuclear power stations. However improbable it looked in the wake of the ANC election losses, Zuma and allies are pressing ahead. The Hawks, the police investigative unit close to Zuma, summoned Gordhan on 25 August and told journalists they were about to arrest him for setting up an illegal surveillance unit when he ran the tax authority. As news spread, the rand nosedived and talk of a financial ratings downgrade revived. Duelling with Gordhan could prove Zuma's biggest gamble.

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Patriotism, politics and position

The patriotic pastor is in exile but opposition parties are regrouping to keep up the anti-ZANU-PF momentum

The euphoria created by the #ThisFlag campaign, which mobilises tens of thousands of supporters and is spearheaded by the now-exiled evangelical Pastor Evan Mawarire, is likely to ...


Lungu's victory under fire

The opposition legal challenge to the President's narrow win seems unlikely to succeed but there are major holes in his defence

Most pundits think that the opposition petition submitted to the Constitutional Court challenging President Edgar Lungu's much criticised election victory has only a slim chance of...


One-party stasis

Dos Santos increases his grip on the MPLA as a few new faces are admitted to the inner sanctum of power and wealth 

The only surprise from the seventh ordinary Congress of the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), which ended on 20 August, was the complete absence of surprise. Althou...


Ministry of muddle

Caught between Frelimo and the exasperation of international donors, the Finance Ministry is a confusing place to be

New horror stories about public finances are continually emerging from the Finance Ministry as the confusion over who borrowed what and from whom beleaguers civil servants and poli...


Bongo's sure bet

The presence of 13 opposition candidates does little to blunt the certainty that the President will be re-elected

Two oppositionists may have rallied to presidential candidate Jean Ping at the last minute on 16 August but that won't be enough to stop President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba from walkin...



Pointers

A dollar emergency

Just as investment companies began advising clients to return to the Nigerian market to take advantage of the sharp depreciation of the naira currency over the past two months, rep...


No compromise, no bail

General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko's appeal for bail over a charge of 'endangering the internal security of the state' was rejected by a Brazzaville court on 18 August. Mokoko was Pr...


Feds grab middleman

The arrest of Samuel Mebiame by the US Department of Justice on 16 August is causing sleepless nights in Guinea, Chad and Niger. Son of the former Gabonese premiere Léon Meb...


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