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Published 27th July 2018

Vol 59 No 15


Zimbabwe

The dollars after the votes



Investors, serious and dubious, are targeting the country, whichever party proves victorious on 30 July

For the country's 5.7 million registered voters this is the highest-stakes election since 1980, as much for its conduct as its political outcome. A credible and peaceful poll will allow a slow resolution of the country's US$10 billion debt burden, including $2 bn. of arrears to international financial institutions. More immediately, a free election would trigger substantive flows of private and foreign government finance to shore up the economy, locked down by a foreign exchange and monetary crisis. Matters of trust, security and the economy top the voters' concerns, according to the pollsters. All the more so, given the wholesale theft in diamond and other mining operations over the past two decades and the suborning of the civil service.

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The probity contest

To convince voters of his hard line on corruption, President Buhari’s prosecutors will have to win some cases at last

With primaries for the 2019 election fast approaching, President Muhammadu Buhari is under pressure to push ahead with his anti-graft campaign. The Fulani herder-farmer killings an...


A deluge of injustice

A new investigation says those responsible for the Solai dam disaster could escape prosecution

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Mohamed Haj has charged the manager and owner of the Nakuru County farm on which the Milmet Solai dam collapsed, causing dozens of dea...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

It is the conflict that gets conveniently buried, by the African Union, by its neighbour Nigeria and by the UN. Yet the deepening rebellion in western Cameroon against President Paul Biya's regime could explode his bid, announced last week, for a seventh term, and trigger regional mayhem. Since the rebellion started two years ago, more than 200 have been killed and over 100,000 driven from their homes.

National opposition could focus foreign attention on the Biya government's appallin...

It is the conflict that gets conveniently buried, by the African Union, by its neighbour Nigeria and by the UN. Yet the deepening rebellion in western Cameroon against President Paul Biya's regime could explode his bid, announced last week, for a seventh term, and trigger regional mayhem. Since the rebellion started two years ago, more than 200 have been killed and over 100,000 driven from their homes.

National opposition could focus foreign attention on the Biya government's appalling record on economic management and corruption, and now a growing sense of the country's break-up. With a co-ordinated and well-funded alliance, impressive opposition figures such as economist Antoine Ntsimi and lawyers Akere Muna and Maurice Kamto could challenge Biya's rule. But there is no sign that Biya would allow free elections. The last time that happened, in 1992, he lost to Anglophone leader John Fru-Ndi.

While the Cameroonian army is helping Nigeria fight the Boko Haram insurgents, President Muhammadu Buhari is unlikely to pressure Biya on the  crisis. Indeed, rights activists accuse Nigeria of collusion. But Cameroon's economy is stalling and Biya is struggling to pay soldiers and civil servants. That could mean ending military cooperation with Nigeria on the northern borders or opening negotiations with the rebels. Both options are risky but doing nothing – Biya's default mode – could bring his 35 years in power to a dramatic finale.

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Electoral déja-vu

The top two contenders in the 2013 elections slug it out again with incumbent IBK tipped to win

Both the incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and his main challenger in the 29 July presidential election, Soumaïla Cissé, offer the electorate security, improved basic serv...


Fiscal fails and testing talks

A deceptive lull has descended on Bangui while peace talks are mired in confusion. Meanwhile, chaotic public finances are causing alarm

Just two months ago Bangui was on the edge of the abyss as violence escalated and nobody seemed to have a grip on the situation. Now, the city is calm, but there is widespread conc...


Sanctions and splits

Mediators are talking up a five-party power-sharing deal but the leaders shirk responsibility for mass killings

Hardly a day passes without some new iteration of a South Sudan peace deal, new venues for talks, new concessions, and new demands but without much forward motion towards peace bei...


ISIS’s nemesis

Al Shabaab offers its Da’ish competitors a simple choice: recant or face execution

The early days of Da'ish in Somalia were not auspicious. The leader of Somalia's version of the pan-regional and Middle Eastern Islamist movement also known as 'Islamic State' or I...



Pointers

Question on Oromo peace

What to do about the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and how powerful the rebel faction is, are among the most important 'known unknowns' as the political landscape takes shape follow...


Uncivil action

Royal Dutch Shell and ENI claimed a minor victory on 20 July when the judge in the OPL 245 trial in Milan ruled that the natural resource lobbying groups and civil society organisa...