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Published 13th May 2021

Vol 62 No 10


South Africa

Magashule overplays his hand

Ace Magashule. Pic: Rogan Ward / Reuters / Alamy
Ace Magashule. Pic: Rogan Ward / Reuters / Alamy

After sidelining his main rival, President Ramaphosa has to take tough decisions on state companies, energy policy and jobs

There was no hint of triumphalism in Cyril Ramaphosa's measured speech on 10 May at the end of a dramatic three-day National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that saw his main opponent within the African National Congress, Secretary-General Ace Magashule, seal his own demise.

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Fatigue may be fatal

Cyril Ramaphosa and David Mabuza receiving South Africa's first consignment of Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Cyril Ramaphosa and David Mabuza receiving South Africa's first consignment of Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Africa's health ministers watch with alarm the disastrous fatality rate as the second wave of the virus rips across India

The Covid-19 experience in Africa has been something of a rollercoaster ride. Early predictions were calamitous, then it seemed to pass ominously mildly (unless you were in South A...


A country at war with itself

Muhammadu Buhari. Pic: Bernard Menigault / Alamy
Muhammadu Buhari. Pic: Bernard Menigault / Alamy

Political disputes between the federal and state governments are making the security crisis more intractable

Another day, another round of crisis meetings to tackle insurgents, armed criminal gangs and communal clashes. As the National Security Council of service and intelligence chiefs m...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

A small group of regional leaders flew in to see President Yoweri Museveni's inauguration for his sixth term of office on 12 May following January's disputed general elections. 

After sanctions from the United States State Department and censure from the EU over suppression of oppositionists and voter intimidation, Museveni is trying a charm offensive. He has hired BTP Advisors to portray his regime as 'a stable democracy' in which judic...

A small group of regional leaders flew in to see President Yoweri Museveni's inauguration for his sixth term of office on 12 May following January's disputed general elections. 

After sanctions from the United States State Department and censure from the EU over suppression of oppositionists and voter intimidation, Museveni is trying a charm offensive. He has hired BTP Advisors to portray his regime as 'a stable democracy' in which judicial independence is jealously guarded, but rebuilding ties with the US and Europe will be a tough call despite Uganda's security role in regional conflicts, such as South Sudan and Somalia. European Parliament lawmakers want economic sanctions as well as travel restrictions.  

Museveni's allies are straining to restore the government's authority at home and abroad but few are listening. That was underscored by security agents surrounding the homes of Kizza Besigye and Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, as a 'preventative measure' before the inauguration.  

Rights campaigners and oppositionists are demanding the release of all activists and journalists and an independent investigation into charges of mass abductions, torture and killings by state security. This follows one of the country's most violent elections ever, starting with security forces shooting dead at least 54 people in November.

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The northern nexus

As the security emergency spreads across the core northern states, insurgents and bandits are devastating an already weakened regional economy

Until recently, governors in the northern states were chary of criticising President Muhammadu Buhari's government on security policy. That is changing as the crisis intensifies an...


Emmanuel l'Africain II

With two upcoming summits, President Macron is trying once more to reset his country’s relationship with Africa

If President Emmanuel Macron needed a reminder of his country's reputation in Africa it came with the fury on the streets of Ndjamena to his ill-phrased remarks at the funeral of P...


Ofori-Atta promises a rebound

As public anger mounts about prices, jobs and graft, the Finance Minister insists the economic recovery is coming

Known for starting meetings with prayers and peppering them with Biblical quotations, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta took time off from the Christian Sabbath on 9 May to invite jo...


Edging Farmajo towards the exit

Belated foreign pressure persuaded President Mohamed 'Farmajo' to step back from the brink, now mediation and talks might help end the turmoil

Threats to cut foreign funding and local opposition pressure have finally forced President Mohamed Abdallah Mohamed 'Farmajo' to ditch a planned two-year extension to his tenure. P...


Transition under pressure

Prime Minister Hamdok is headed to Paris to negotiate a mammoth debt relief deal as economic hardship threatens stability

Struggling with one of the highest inflation rates in the world and a mountainous debt burden, Sudan saw a ray of light this week when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it...



Pointers

Total wants new terms

French oil giant Total has been forced to follow through on its recent declaration of force majeure, and begin demobilising millions of dollars' worth of equipment from its gas pro...


Sankara's ghost

As President Roch Kaboré's government argues about the treatment of exiled former president Blaise Compaoré, the military courts seem determined to throw the book at him. On...


Gertler's billions

Dan Gertler's mining deals could cause losses to Kinshasa's treasury of at least US$3.7 billion, more than double previous estimates, according to new data from a coalition of Cong...