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Published 1st December 2017

Vol 58 No 24


Zimbabwe

Hopes and fears for the new old guard

Pastor Evan Mawarire. Pic: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images
Pastor Evan Mawarire. Pic: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

After deftly organising Mugabe's exit and Mnangagwa's accession, the ruling party sees no reason to make concessions to its opponents

When Pastor Evan Mawarire, founder of the #ThisFlag movement, walked free from the Harare High Court on 29 November having been acquitted on charges of trying to overthrow President Robert Mugabe, there was both cheering and laughter. The latest political dramas have not robbed Zimbabweans of their legendary sense of humour. Mawarire won mass support through a social media campaign to make his compatriots proud of their national flag again despite the years of political and economic turmoil.

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Destruction in his wake

The new regime's biggest job is to revive the disastrous economy. Job creation and debt relief head a long list of urgent tasks

It was new President Emmerson Mnangagwa's promise of 'jobs, jobs and jobs' that raised the loudest cheers on 22 November at the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Fro...


Fraud claims fail to convince

The establishment parties want an election re-run to stop George Weah, but it's putting them at odds with President Johnson Sirleaf

Liberia's Supreme Court has acceded to claims by four major political parties – including the governing Unity Party – that there was fraud during the first round of the...



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THE INSIDE VIEW

African and Western ambivalence about military interventions in politics were drawn into sharp focus this week by arguments over whether Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe had been ousted by a coup and a revival of claims that France had backed a coup against Thomas Sankara, the popular leader of Burkina F...

African and Western ambivalence about military interventions in politics were drawn into sharp focus this week by arguments over whether Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe had been ousted by a coup and a revival of claims that France had backed a coup against Thomas Sankara, the popular leader of Burkina Faso, in 1987.

The Mugabe military conundrum has immediate resonance as his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, tries to convince international finance agencies and their Western shareholders that he came to power constitutionally, despite outward appearances. Alpha Condé, Guinea's President and current chair of the African Union, asked some awkward questions, which could have proved disastrous for Mnangagwa and his allies. If the AU had classified Mugabe's exit as a coup, that would have triggered Zimbabwe's suspension from the organisation, perhaps even sanctions. But far from rushing to label the Mnangagwa succession as a coup, Asian and European governments, including Britain, have endorsed the new government's rise to power as innovative political management, even down to the organisation of mass protests against Mugabe.

France's President Emmanuel Macron was reminded of the complexities of coup politics when he chose to make a speech in Ouagadougou 30 years after Blaise Compaoré overthrew Sankara's government. He offered to open his government's secret files on the case. That could set a powerful precedent.

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Banda’s Faustian pact

Ex-President Banda has offered to pull President Mutharika's political chestnuts from the fire in return for immunity from prosecution

Facing myriad corruption charges from her time as head of state, ex-President Joyce Banda has held out an olive branch to her bitter rival, President Peter Mutharika, from her self...


Dos Santos clan targeted

The President is dismantling the power of the former first family but there is a thirst for the clean-up to go further

It took less than two months in office for President João Lourenço to take a direct swipe at Isabel dos Santos, Africa's richest woman and the daughter of his predecessor, José Ed...


The countdown begins

Campaigning for the ANC presidential nomination is reaching its peak as lobbies for the main rivals release early tallies

With barely two weeks to go before the crucial African National Congress elective conference on 16-20 December in Johannesburg, supporters of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma claim they are ...


A homemade disaster

Toothless state agencies, illegal quarrying and government inaction sowed the seeds of August's deadly mudslide

The government now acknowledges that more than 1,000 people were killed in Freetown when a massive chunk of Mount Sugar Loaf, long degraded by illegal construction and blasting, sl...


Slippage, not suffrage

A fresh election timetable should signal President Kabila's impending exit – but could end up as just the latest in a series of delays

The electoral commission (Commission électorale nationale indépendante – CENI) has finally published a calendar fixing polls for the presidency, the national and state parlia...


Grenades against peace

A murderous attack in Bangui could trigger a return to mass violence as President Touadéra fails on reconciliation

When men on motorcycles threw grenades into a peace and reconciliation concert in Bangui on 11 November, they picked one of the quartiers that had seen the worst communal clashes w...



Pointers

Bibi goes vote shopping

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems determined to revive his planned Africa-Israel Summit. The event, due to take place in Togo in September, had to be abandoned in th...


Honeypot on wings

While Mozambique's poor struggle with austerity and inflation, President Filipe Nyusi will be soaring comfortably over them in his Canadair Challenger 850 private jet, acquired las...