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Published 24th November 2000

Vol 41 No 23


Ghana

A bandwagon for change

As President Rawlings prepares to bow out, the opposition parties have their best chance of winning power in a decade

One of Ghana's experienced political observers recently confided to a friend in Accra: 'For the first time in this country, I have no idea what is going to happen next.' He is not alone. The presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 7 December threaten to be even closer than in 1996. This time, the opposition parties look likely to tip the National Democratic Congress out of power. No one candidate seems capable of winning the minimum 50-plus-one per cent to get the presidency in the first round of voting. A second round, held in early January, would favour the New Patriotic Party's John Kufuor as the opposition candidate with the strongest political machine, bolstered by other opposition parties eager for change at the top. In the parliamentaries, the NPP is shaping up to be the biggest party but is unlikely to win a majority of the 200 seats. It would require support from smaller parties to form a government. Faced with the probability of an NPP-led opposition alliance winning both elections, the 'What happens next?' question is critical. Will the governing NDC and its presidential flagbearer, John Atta Mills, concede defeat? Indeed, will the outgoing President, Jerry John Rawlings, let them? For Ghana's conservative middle class and professionals, bedrock NPP supporters, there is a suspicious silence about the NDC's intentions if it loses. Rawlings and his National Security Minister, Kofi Totobi-Quakyi, have repeatedly said that the NPP leadership would die in opposition.


My country right and left

The seven presidential candidates and parties contesting the 7 December elections offer an odd mix of professed ideologies and political histories. For 50 years, Ghanaian political...


Stuck in the sand

President Blaise Compaoré has changed his government but not his problems

On 6 November, a new prime minister, Ernest Yonli, took over from the respected but hamstrung technocrat Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo. His first big difficult...


A tale of two elections

A triumph on the mainland but an enormous mess in Zanzibar

It was the best of times and the worst of times. In mainland Tanzania, peaceful, well run elections on 29 October gave a thumping majority to President Benjamin Mkapa's incumbent C...


Bonding in Brussels

A new opposition alliance is trying to start talks between government and rebels

President Laurent-Désiré Kabila rejects the idea, enshrined in the Lusaka agreement of July 1999, of all-party talks about his country's constitutional future. He is ...


Nice guy finishes first

Mainland Tanzania came out of the elections glowing. President Ben Mkapa won a convincing 71.7 per cent (compared to 61.8 per cent in 1995) and his Chama cha Mapinduzi won the Nati...


Mbeki mark two

Local elections next month will test the President's new stance on AIDS and Mugabe

President Thabo Mbeki faces his toughest battle for voters yet in local government elections on 5 December (AC Vol 41 Nos 17 & 19). A predicted low turnout of African National ...



Pointers

Open skies

Everything looked rosy in July, when Britain's Minister of State Peter Hain, in Angola, signed a memorandum on air services with Transportation Minister Luis Brando. Foreign Minist...


Conflict of interests

Prime Minister Moustapha Niasse is getting ready to resign, probably before the constitutional referendum due on 7 January.


Still resisting

Post-war reconciliation looked shakier after clashes between the opposition Resistência Nacional Moçambicana and police on 9 November. More than 40 people died and ove...


It's party time

The ruling parties of Namibia, Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique would work together to root out agents of imperialism in Southern Africa, said South West Africa People...