Jump to navigation

Published 5th April 2019

Vol 60 No 7


Algeria

Protests flush out the old guard

Algerians celebrate Bouteflika's resignation. Pic: Ammi Louiza/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images
Algerians celebrate Bouteflika's resignation. Pic: Ammi Louiza/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

Popular anger has finally unravelled the Bouteflika power network. Cronies are under arrest and there are doubts the deep state can survive

Over the 20 years before President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on 2 April, Algeria-watchers took to comparing the political outlook to making mayonnaise. Resistance to poor services, graft, maladministration and crony capitalism drove thousands of demonstrations every year, but a mass movement that could sweep away le pouvoir ('the powers that be') had never gelled since the civil war with radical Islamists ended.

READ FOR FREE

Nuts to the market

President Magufuli’s bold move to bypass the cashew middleman by bringing in the army is likely to have disastrous results

Last November, President John Pombe Magufuli ordered the army to take over the transport and processing of Tanzania's entire cashew harvest of more than 200,000 tonnes. Now, with t...


The real post-election fight

Although the ANC is set to win over 50% in the election, that won’t settle the factional rivalries over economic interests and policies

The African National Congress is in far worse shape than it should be as it heads for victory in the 8 May elections. President Cyril Ramaphosa is still struggling to overcome the ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

A wise head in Algiers advised a young activist to curb his enthusiasm for the forced resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika: 'Don't call this a revolution. At best it's a revolt… we don't even know if the flight of Ben Ali from Tunisia was a revolution yet.' Indeed, many think that the ruling Front de Liberation Nationale will find ways to turn the seven weeks of street protests and Bouteflika's ousting to their advantage. Standing against them is an ineffectual opposi...

A wise head in Algiers advised a young activist to curb his enthusiasm for the forced resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika: 'Don't call this a revolution. At best it's a revolt… we don't even know if the flight of Ben Ali from Tunisia was a revolution yet.' Indeed, many think that the ruling Front de Liberation Nationale will find ways to turn the seven weeks of street protests and Bouteflika's ousting to their advantage. Standing against them is an ineffectual opposition and a broader but more youthful coalition of activists. The protest season shows no sign of ending.

Liberation parties that took power a generation or more ago have struggled to renew themselves. The revolutionaries-turned-elite members in Zimbabwe, Angola or Mozambique, have lost support. Cyril Ramaphosa is working hard to hold onto the African National Congress's support base while reforming it at the same time. None of those political systems are as opaque as Algeria's.

Yet Algeria has one of the liveliest and most independent-minded presses in Africa. The protest movement against Bouteflika and for free elections mobilised over 10 million people in a matter of weeks. It does not agree on its aims – although many speak of a national conference to redraw the constitution and its political system – but it is clear what it rejects. There is absolute opposition to Algeria following Egypt's trajectory: the army removing one autocrat only to replace him with a still more repressive military man.

Read more

A storm in a port

Yet another Chinese loan-backed infrastructure project may be heading for cancellation as warnings of unsustainable debt grow

Although President Julius Maada Bio was an enthusiast for Chinese investment in infrastructure at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation last September, the government has cooled on...

READ FOR FREE

Electoral arithmetic

Players jostle for position after Soro’s resignation as Speaker and Gbagbo’s ICC acquittal throw presidential race wide open

Members of Côte d'Ivoire's National Assembly have been in session this week for the first time under the new Parliamentary Speaker, Amadou Soumahoro, installed by the ruling Rassem...


Koroma’s record on trial

Live broadcasts of inquiries into corruption under the last president have the people gripped. But can any crimes be prosecuted?

The revelations pouring out of three judicial commissions of inquiry into public corruption under former President Ernest Bai Koroma have the country agog. Live on national radio a...


Clean-up or cover-up?

Links between Big Oil and politicians are blocking a multimillion-dollar environmental rescue plan for the Delta

The UN-mandated clean-up of oil-polluted Ogoniland is becoming mired in allegations of pay-outs to politicians to rig elections in Rivers State. Violence and vote-rigging over two ...



Pointers

Donors' aid parade

Official Development Assistance, the UN says, should be around 0.7% of gross national income, but many nations want to include within it items not normally considered 'aid' at all,...


Assoumani's way

Comoros's tenuous democracy appears under continuing threat as the confrontation between opposition and government after the contentious 24 March re-election victory of President A...


Birthday blues

This year the East African Community marks its 20th birthday and tries to defend its reputation as the continent's most effective regional economic grouping. This role is all the m...