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Published 18th March 2005

Vol 46 No 6


Zimbabwe

Matebeleland moves on

In this month's parliamentary elections, the big upset could come in the south-west as anti-Mugabe sentiment grows

President Robert Mugabe's current term lasts until 2008 and the parliamentary elections due on 31 March are critical to his next moves. He may get his biggest shock in the south-west if Matebeleland rejects the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) en masse, as its voters are being urged by oppositionists and ruling party dissidents. ZANU-PF hopes for a two-thirds majority, enough to change the constitution, but pre-election abuses and irregularities will give the poll little credibility, especially as few if any international monitors will be allowed and the all-important local monitors are constantly harassed and obstructed. The most obvious flaw in the polls now - an outdated and gerrymandered voters' list - has escaped serious attention so far. Fixing it would mean delaying the elections which the government has ruled out.


They also ran

Five parties are contesting the elections, but only the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Movement for Democratic Change have candidates in all 120 seats. The...


For the greater Good

By trying to expel an academic critic, the government is risking its reputation

A 72-year-old Australian academic is resisting a deportation order and calling into question Botswana's much-valued reputation as Africa's leading democracy. On 18 February Preside...


Mea culpa

How will the Blair Commission change British policy?

At the launch of the Commission for Africa report on 11 March, a week after Africa Confidential published an exclusive report on its main findings, British Prime Minister Tony Blai...


Abdelaziz of Arabia

President Bouteflika wants the Arab summit to underline his domination of regional politics

On 22-23 March, Algiers hosts the League of Arab States summit and will consummate its return to the top table of Arab politics, or so President Abdelaziz Bouteflika believes. The ...


Olympic heights

It will be a struggle to introduce democracy after three decades of family rule

The Gnassingbé clan will do all it can to win Togo's presidential election, scheduled for 24 April. Some think heir-apparent Faure Gnassingbé, son of the deceased dic...



Pointers

Cold murder trail

Efforts to find out who murdered Deyda Hydara, Editor of The Point newspaper, on 16 December become more bizarre by the day. Gambian police arrested Wally Hakim Mahmoud, described ...


Moral choice

Ethically-inclined capitalists faced a tough choice in London on 17 March. Is it to be the Corporate Social Responsibility event at Chatham House backed by the Foreign and Commonwe...


Who's in charge?

The ruling South West African People's Organisation is riven by quarrels, as President Sam Nujoma gets ready to hand over to Hifikepunye Pohamba on 21 March. Pohamba's difficulties...


Joining the club

Madagascar intends to join the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in August, according to its Foreign Minister, Jaya Krishna Cuttaree (who is also a candidate for Direct...