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Published 18th February 2005

Vol 46 No 4

South Africa

Welcome back to the state

The Mbeki government tilts towards the ANC's roots after a decade of market economics

Jazz bands, street theatre groups and coquettish members of parliament jostled for space at a blisteringly hot opening of parliament in Cape Town on 11 February. Both the African National Congress government and Capetonians were in festive mood. No sooner had the politicians wound up the 'ten years of democracy' celebrations at the city's Athlone Stadium, they launched another celebration: 50 years of the ANC's socialist manifesto, the 'Freedom Charter'. Many contributors to the Freedom Charter - with its talk of the state controlling the commanding heights of the economy - would not recognise the ANC government's studiously pro-market economic policy and generally gentle relationship with private capital, which was seen by the party in 1955 as the driving force behind apartheid repression. Yet the ideas of the government's ideological forebears crop up in almost every ministerial speech. Economic neo-liberalism is being rolled back, at least rhetorically. Ideas of the 'developmental state' and an activist government managing the economy are back in fashion. Privatisation of the remaining state-owned corporations has been pushed back to the horizon; now the line is for state corporations to reach commercial viability before they can be even considered for sale.

Friends fall out

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A former business ally of the Mugabe government accuses it of corruption and hypocrisy

The last shreds of credibility of President Robert Mugabe's government are at stake in a war of words between businessman Mutumwa Mawere and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono. The ...

Spies and counter-spies

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South African President Thabo Mbeki's position on Zimbabwe has toughened considerably since the arrest of a South African counterintelligence officer in December 2004 (AC Vol 46 No...

East of the border

SLA fighters try to overthrow their leader while the NMRD demonstrates its affinity with Chad

The Sudan Liberation Army appears to have a new leader. SLA members say that 'democratic consultations' are under way but the money is on the Chief of Staff, Jeddu Shagoor, who ear...

Dynastic dictatorship

Faure Gnassingbé, Togo's new leader, is not as wily as his late father

Togo's succession was never going to be an easy matter. When he died on 5 February, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma had been in power for 38 years, resisting pressure fo...

Who's who on Darfur?

The United Nations International Commission of Inquiry's report into the atrocities in Darfur names 51 individuals it recommends for prosecution at the International Criminal Court...

Not a good start

After years of affording President Gnassingbé Eyadéma the respect due to Africa's longest serving head of state, the international community has come down hard on the...

Every single day

As the killings continue, at last the UN considers sanctions, peacekeepers and prosecutions

January's United Nations International Commission of Inquiry report on Darfur may not have concluded genocide was taking place but still may have shamed world decision-makers into ...

Authoritarian instincts

The government finds political dialogue easier when its critics are locked up

Having embarked on an unprecedented political dialogue with the opposition, the government has imprisoned the leader of a new opposition party and stopped it publishing its newspap...


It's my party

By resigning from the United Democratic Front, which carried him to the presidency last year, President Bingu wa Mutharika has triggered political confusion (AC Vol 46 No 2). Polit...

How can they vote?

At last, Burundi's constitutional referendum is set for 28 February, or so says Paul Ngarambe, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). The big political o...