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Published 3rd November 2017

Vol 58 No 22


Zambia

Hichilema pushes for Commonwealth talks

Hakainde Hichilema waves to the crowd on his release from prison in August. (Xinhua/David Kashiki)
Hakainde Hichilema waves to the crowd on his release from prison in August. (Xinhua/David Kashiki)

Negotiations on political reform between President Lungu and the opposition are due, but many doubt he will take the process seriously

Commonwealth Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari is due in Lusaka this month to mediate in talks between President Edgar Lungu's ruling Patriotic Front and opposition parties as part of a Commonwealth initiative. Gambari, a former foreign minister of Nigeria, faces a daunting task given the deepening political chasm in Zambia.


Laying down the law

Arrests of dissidents and plans to restrict political freedom show Magufuli's authoritarian intent

Tanzania's experiment with multi-party democracy may be drawing to a close after 25 years and five general elections. A draft Political Parties Act proposing significant new restri...


No let-up in southern fighting

Battles rage in the southern province of Equatoria, where a rival rebel group threatens to split the opposition

Since the collapse of South Sudan's Western-backed peace deal in July 2016, civil war has engulfed much of the three Equatorian provinces which comprise the southern third of the c...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Are democrats getting stronger or weaker in Africa? That depends on where you're sitting. In Tanzania, where President John Magufuli's government arrested Zitto Kabwe, the outspoken oppositionist, on 31 October, political freedoms are under siege. Kabwe's arrest, the second in as many months, follows a failed assassination attempt against fellow oppositionist

Are democrats getting stronger or weaker in Africa? That depends on where you're sitting. In Tanzania, where President John Magufuli's government arrested Zitto Kabwe, the outspoken oppositionist, on 31 October, political freedoms are under siege. Kabwe's arrest, the second in as many months, follows a failed assassination attempt against fellow oppositionist Tundu Lissu in Dar es Salaam on 7 September.

Similarly, Zambia's opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, in London this week for talks with the Commonwealth, faces a mountain to climb to launch serious negotiations over political reforms with President Edgar Lungu. Hichilema was detained on treason charges until the Commonwealth intervened in August, after which he was freed and the charges dropped.

Kenyan politics seemed to be opening up after the Supreme Court annulled the 8 August presidential election citing serious flaws in the tallying and transmission of results. But the re-run, held on 26 October against a backdrop of violence and threats, hasn't earned President Uhuru Kenyatta the legitimacy he sought. Instead, it has fired up opposition leader Raila Odinga to launch a people's assembly and a national resistance movement to campaign against Kenyatta. In contrast, Liberians reacted nervously to the news that their Supreme Court has halted the second round of presidential elections to hear claims that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf interfered in the first round.

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Snagged by the Guptas' global reach

Regulators failed to stop London-based banks laundering hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from South Africa

HSBC, one of Britain's biggest banks, has been accused by a British peer of complicity in a US$500 million money-laundering scheme organised by businesses controlled by the Gupta f...


Party debts hold back Nyusi

The president has a better grip on power now but still has much to do before confidence in him improves

President Filipe Nyusi needs to build on his recent assertion of control over party and state, analysts are saying. He is still hamstrung when it comes to the economy and relations...


Both sides double down

The government is launching a new offensive, with US military backing, against Al Shabaab's strongholds in the wake of last weekend's truck bomb in the capital

The first response to the government's declaration of a 'state of war' against Al Shabaab on 21 October was a roadside bomb killing seven people, mostly women, in a minibus at Dani...


A question of legitimacy

President Uhuru Kenyatta starts his second term facing street protests, legal challenges to his election, and deep divisions in the electoral commission

Neither side in the over-heated election row looks ready to talk, let alone negotiate. Taking a shot at his opponents for representing the 'politics of darkness' and accusing them ...

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Oromia on the edge

The unrest is threatening to get out of control and the State of Emergency only put problems on pause

The latest round of violence in Oromia demonstrates the increasingly complex, and dangerous, nature of Ethiopia's protracted political crisis. It also reinforces the impression tha...


What the landslide buried

Nobody got what they wanted from the election re-run. Kenyatta got a weaker mandate and the opposition's tactics misfired

Surely no president can look on a 98% majority with as much dismay as President Uhuru Kenyatta. The boycott of the 26 October poll by his main rival, Raila Odinga, gave him a massi...


Weah walks up to the spot

The odds favour the soccer star turned politician against the Vice-President  but there is all to play for ahead of the run-off vote

Although he is ten points ahead after the first round of the elections, George Weah has given few indications of what kind of government he would run, besides making plenty of popu...



Pointers