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Published 7th November 2019

Vol 60 No 22


Ethiopia

Prize fight

The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Pic: Lise Aserud/TT News Agency/PA Images
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Pic: Lise Aserud/TT News Agency/PA Images

Selected as a Nobel Peace Laureate, the Prime Minister faces mayhem in his home region

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is pushing to merge all the ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front's regional member organisations, as well as affiliated ruling parties from other federal states, into a single unit, dissolving their particular national, or ethnic, identities. The structure under formation, whose working name is believed to be the Ethiopian Prosperity Party, would then discard the EPRDF's Leninist cladding and instead follow Abiy's Medemer ('synergy') theory, a personal philosophy he has enshrined in a book which he offers as a road-map to Ethiopia's political future. Critics have called Medemer an ideological mish-mash coated in self-help evangelism.

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Two-track talks on the grand dam

Trump meets Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia FMs over GERD. Pic:  Shealah Craighead/DPA/PA Images
Trump meets Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia FMs over GERD. Pic: Shealah Craighead/DPA/PA Images

Sisi wants Trump's help to break the impasse with Ethiopia over the Nile dam. They meet in Washington but Addis insists nothing will change

Two negotiating tracks are emerging over the potential flashpoint between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the flow of the Nile....

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Where's the plan?

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2019

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After the government's brutally honest budget statement, unions and business are pushing rival policies to boost jobs and growth

The sense of a return to the Mandela spirit in the wake of South Africa's 32-12 victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final on 2 November has quickly come up against economic...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Multilateralism might get another lease of life if some of Africa's top bureaucrats have their way. One of the few advantages of Africa's balkanisation into 54 states is the voting power that this gives the continent in such organisations as the UN General Assembly and the World Trade Organisation. It also gives Africa heft – as the region with the largest number of member states – in outfits such as the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and the Commonw...

Multilateralism might get another lease of life if some of Africa's top bureaucrats have their way. One of the few advantages of Africa's balkanisation into 54 states is the voting power that this gives the continent in such organisations as the UN General Assembly and the World Trade Organisation. It also gives Africa heft – as the region with the largest number of member states – in outfits such as the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and the Commonwealth. 

African states have had a strong influence in both organisations.

Later this month, OIF Secretary-General Louise Mushikiwabo, former Foreign Minister of Rwanda, and Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, former Attorney General in the United Kingdom, are to join forces on a mission to promote dialogue and rapprochement in the worsening crisis in Cameroon. Approved by President Paul Biya, the mission will meet with opposition figures and, for now, has modest aims of bridge-building between the anglophones and francophones.

The linguistic bases of the OIF and Commonwealth may allow them a role in resolving the crisis that has been closed to others. Despite the deepening conflict, President Biya has so far insulated his regime from any serious pressure from multilateral organisations such as the African Union and the United Nations. With a low-key approach, and the widest possible base of collaborators, this new initiative might break the log-jam. The alternative is a quickening pace of national breakdown.

 

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Fighting within the ranks

The EFF leadership is facing challenges from within amid allegations of corruption at the top of the party

Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters has always prided itself on being a cohesive unit speaking with one voice but with a month to go before the party's elective conference, c...


Coalition of the unwilling

Saïed's first challenge as president is forming a government from a parliament split among 21 parties

Parliamentary and presidential run-off elections in October have taken Tunisia into the unknown. Public disillusionment with the post-2011 political establishment resulted in very ...


Fury over ambassador's exit

Critics blame 'neo-colonial' pressures on the African Union for the sacking of its ambassador to the US but its Addis HQ insists they are parting on good terms

A furore has broken out over the dismissal of the African Union's ambassador to the United States, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, by AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat. The A...

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Command economics on trial

As Africa’s biggest economy slows down with dangerous political consequences, policy-makers are looking for radical solutions

With economic growth failing to keep pace with population growth, and the country far too dependent on oil and gas exports, President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to deal with critic...


Dancing the third-term tango

Condé appears prepared to crush massive opposition in order to secure a third term of office, regardless of the dangers to society

The idea that President Alpha Condé would get the required two-thirds parliamentary majority to change the constitution to allow him to seek a third term has always been far-fetche...


Two visions lock horns

The military is digging in and it will take more than weekly demos to dislodge the autocrats

The activists of El Hirak ('the movement'), who have been pitting thousands of protestors against the sclerotic ruling class every Friday for nine months, had high hopes of forcing...


BDP ends Khama's fightback

The ruling party’s decisive election victory has ended ex-President Ian Khama's campaign to unseat President Mokgweetsi Masisi

The Botswana Democratic Party won a new five-year mandate by a larger margin than expected on 23 October, taking 38 of the 57 seats in parliament, one more than in 2014, while the ...



Pointers

Addis calling

The race is on to snap up the two new telecom licences Ethiopia plans to award by the end of March. Kenyan SafariCom is teaming up with parent group Vodacom, while other multinatio...


Islamic state onslaught

The death of at least 49 Malian soldiers in an attack on their base at Indélimane on 1 November confirms the continued potency of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) ...


Delta pollution damned

'Environmental genocide' was the label the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, hung on the decades of multinational oil company operations in Nigeria's Niger Delta at the 1 November ...

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Water cannon fodder

The assault on leading oppositionist Kizza Besigye by police on his way to a Forum for Democratic Change meeting on 4 November was the latest in a series of violent crackdowns on t...


Ruto-Raila (round one)

The by-election campaigns for Kibra (previously Kibera), Kenya's largest slum, near downtown Nairobi, turned into a full-dress rehearsal of the political contest between Deputy Pre...