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Published 15th April 2005

Vol 46 No 8


Crime and no punishment

Western governments send Khartoum officials for trial one week and promise them aid the next

The bizarre spectacle of Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha glad-handing Western politicians at the International Donors' Conference in Oslo on 11-12 April highlighted the confusion among European and United States' policy makers about how to handle Khartoum's National Islamic Front regime. A week earlier, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had voted overwhelmingly in favour of referring 51 individuals, several of them said to be senior NIF officials, for prosecution on charges of crimes against humanity in Darfur at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Since early 2003, when the government launched its bloody offensive in Darfur, using its own soldiers and air force and 'Arab' militias, NIF strongman Ali Osman has directed the operation now said by a British parliamentary enquiry to have cost around 300,000 civilian lives. Amid the cheering at the Oslo meeting when Western states pledged an unexpectedly high total of US$4.5 billion, Western officials reiterated their criticism of Khartoum's operations in Darfur. A smiling Ali Osman chillingly told BBC journalists that getting Darfur 'under control' would receive his 'highest priority'.

Milton stays lost

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Former President Obote's promised return gives life to Museveni's re-election campaign

Democratic passions have been revived by ex-President Apollo Milton Obote, who announced his return to Uganda after 20 years of exile in Zambia but then said he'd changed his mind....

Who wants to tackle Museveni?

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If the G6 parties can coalesce around a single presidential candidate, they will become the most powerful opposition group. The G6 components are the Free Movement, Justice Forum (...

A new-style monarchy

M6 is relaxing his grip on politics, opening prospects for rebranded Islamists and others

Under King Mohamed VI, power in Morocco has become more fluid, leaving open prospects for an increased role for different Islamist and politically secular players. Change is in the...

Future shock

The unfree and unfair election has left both parties in disarray as new alliances are planned

Zimbabweans are reeling from the aftershock of the country's third disputed elections. Although the opposition Movement for Democratic Change MPs attended the swearing in of the ne...

Long-term agenda

The Parti de la Justice et du Développement is back in politics, with a message it intends to be acceptable to a majority of Moroccans. After the Islamist bombings in May 20...

Missing a basic law

Arguments over the new constitution are delaying the elections and infuriating the opposition<

The political rows over the constitution and the consequent delays are threatening the electoral timetable and the transitional government's stability. In theory, elections are to ...


Radio silence

The mysterious non-appearance of a promised report on the state-run Radio France Internationale on the investigation into the death of French Judge Bernard Borel has caused anger a...

No papers, no case

Equatorial Guinea has failed to obtain disclosure of documents it needs for its case against the alleged coup plotters of March 2004. British firm Penningtons, legal advisors to th...

Moscow marriages

Russian businessman and director of prestigious British banking consultancy Fleming Family & Partners (FF&P) Mark Garber is developing a reputation as a key marriage broker...


The late Pope John Paul II won many admirers in Africa and visited 42 of 53 states. The choice of his successor interests Africa in two special ways. Could one of the eleven Africa...