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Published 15th December 2017

Vol 58 No 25

South Africa

A fight to the photo-finish

Pic: Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images
Pic: Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images

Contenders for the ANC presidency are scrapping for every single delegate vote with all the means at their disposal

The epic struggle between Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for the leadership – some say the soul – of the governing African National Congress will be decided between 16 and 20 December in the Nasrec stadium outside Soweto. Sporting analogies cannot capture the ferocity of the contest, as both sides attract charges of using bribery and threats to sway the 5,240 delegates to their side. The numbers stubbornly refuse to show any clear favourite.


A martial mind-set

The military-assisted transition, as the government likes to call it, is far from over as new money trickles in

New President Emmerson Mnangagwa has to placate his restive allies in the military and ruling party while presenting a semblance of reform to woo the investors and diplomats needed...

Power to the president's elbow

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his ministers talk of economic transformation and a life beyond aid as business grumbles

It was a sea of white linen and handkerchiefs at a thanksgiving service in Accra on 8 December to mark the first anniversary of the 2016 election victory by Ghana's New Patriotic P...


After this year’s cliff-hangers in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe, some may have expected a brief respite from political drama in 2018. No chance. At least eight countries are due to hold national elections next year.

The most strongly contested elections will be in Madagascar, Sierra Le...
After this year’s cliff-hangers in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe, some may have expected a brief respite from political drama in 2018. No chance. At least eight countries are due to hold national elections next year.

The most strongly contested elections will be in Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. Of the three, Sierra Leone is the least predictable: Samura Kamara, presidential candidate for the governing All People’s Congress Party, will struggle to defend his party’s record. His main opponent is former military leader Julius Maada Bio, standing on the Sierra Leone People’s Party ticket, and the impressive ex-United Nations official Kandeh Yumkella. In Madagascar, two veteran political gladiators – yoghurt king Marc Ravalomanana and former DJ Andry Rajoelina – will face off against the incumbent Hery Rajaonarimampianina.

Civic activists and oppositionists are hoping for freer and fairer elections in Zimbabwe after President Robert Mugabe’s forced exit last month. Successor Emmerson Mnangagwa is sending mixed signals: after promising a new democratic era, he is bringing his military allies centre-stage. However, the opposition is betting that the ruling party is less likely to bludgeon its foes out of the election. Even the old methods of vote fixing should prove more difficult under the new electoral rules.

Elsewhere, elections in Cameroon, Egypt, Mali, South Sudan all look set to return the incumbent to power.
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Separatists on the march

Marginalised people seek answers in secession. It threatens stability in Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia

In November, Kenyan opposition leaders on the Coast launched a bill proposing that Mombasa become a state in its own right in response to what they see as prolonged economic and po...

Fear in the franc zone

Many of the six members of the French-supported economic area are in dire straits. IMF concern is growing

While the multimillionaire leaders of some of Africa's most wasteful regimes plead poverty following the drop in commodity prices, especially oil, the International Monetary Fund i...

Stumbling into a debt crisis

A mountain of loans for expensive infrastructure and equipment is rapidly growing along with other loans that many fear are unsustainable

Amid growing concerns over the scale and urgency of Zambia's impending debt crisis, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have joined those who believe the country is ...

Farm-downs and cash-cows

Despite a massive oil find over ten years ago, inter-company disputes, and wrangles over taxation and a refinery are still slowing progress

Late last year, President Yoweri Museveni directed his technocrats and the oil companies to start production in two years. It's going to take more than State House decrees to get t...

Courtship and crackdowns

Many Moroccans are proud to see their king bestriding the global stage but are less keen on the autocratic side of royalty

Moroccans are now used to King Mohammed VI (M6) leading the kingdom's drive to become a political and economic heavyweight in Africa. For decades North African leaders tended to lo...

Migrants rock the summit boat

The African-European summit was meant to be all about youth opportunity, but the migration crisis refused to move down the agenda

The official theme of the fifth European Union-African Union joint summit in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, which ended yesterday (30 November), was 'Investing in Youth'. Instead, footag...


Allowance alliance

Members of parliament of the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) have boycotted the National Assembly since August's controversial elections, bringing legislative business to...

Pepper spray

Three editors from the Ugandan satirical tabloid Red Pepper have been charged with libel and 'offensive communication' over a story alleging that Uganda's security services were pl...

UN raid's complex causes

The United Nations and the world media were quick to blame the Ugandan rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) for a raid on 7 December on a UN military base near the Semliki Br...

Probing the gold

The African Gold Refinery, launched by President Yoweri Museveni in February, is being investigated by a United Nations panel of experts and two Ugandan anti-corruption agencies. T...