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Published 18th November 2005

Vol 46 No 23


Transition starts here

Disputed elections, the shooting of oppositionists and donor worries hasten political change

The ruling party is on the defensive. Its brutal response to opposition protests at election irregularities and the criticism which that has aroused, may mark its transformation. At May's elections, the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) lost support markedly throughout the country and totally in the capital. Since then, some 76 civilians have died in disturbances, the last 40 of them on 1-2 November. The death-toll makes it seem that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government cannot regain its lost legitimacy, either with Ethiopians or with Western governments.

Madam President

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Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has the political support and economic experience to succeed

Security, anti-corruption and political reconciliation top the agenda as Liberia prepares for its, and Africa's, first female president. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, 67, a former directo...

Off-road rage

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Members of parliament are angry because the Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, Gyude Bryant, has refused to sign a bill allowing them to keep their govern...

Tears, fears and a martyr

The arrest of the strongest opposition candidate for the presidency left everyone weeping

Diplomats coughed and wiped their eyes as they left the Chief Magistrate's Court. An ill wind had blown tear-gas past the Court, where the strongest opposition leader, Colonel (ret...

Circling the wagons

President Gbagbo tells his followers to talk peace and prepare for war

The regime in Abidjan is threatened by northern rebels and allies of the sacked army chief, General Mathias Doué. President Laurent Gbagbo has told ruling party officials an...

Birthday blues

Soaring oil prices pay for some development spending but too much cash still goes missing

Luanda's political and business elite could well afford to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Angola's Independence, on 11 November. They form one of Africa's wealthiest and most ex...

Ten years after

The Niger Delta still simmers a decade after the execution of its leading campaigner

The legacy of writer-campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa a decade after his execution is secure. Saro-Wiwa put the worsening political and environmental crisis of the Niger Delta, the country...

Vanishing votes

The fate of the national elections and who's running in them is shrouded in mystery. They were meant to be held in 2006 but no date has been confirmed by President José Edua...

Abacha's verdict

Ken Saro-Wiwa was a dangerous separatist 'who presented himself as an environmentalist and human rights activist before the international community', who was guilty of heinous crim...


Corruption poll

The government now looks likely to lose the 21 November constitutional referendum, barring a last-minute swing of voter sentiment. Some 42 per cent of Kenyans polled by the indepen...

Fear changes sides

The 15 November arrest in Senegal of Chad's ex-President Hissène Habré may lead to the first trial abroad of a dictator. 'Fear is finally changing sides', a lawyer fo...

Splitting the difference

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change is divided over whether to fight Senate elections on 26 November amid wide-ranging political realignments. Party leader Morgan Tsvangi...