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Published 28th April 2006

Vol 47 No 9

South Africa

All eyes on Phumzile

As the rape and corruption trials of Jacob Zuma rumble on, the presidential candidacy is wide open again

The many misfortunes of Jacob Zuma, self-inflicted or otherwise, have elevated Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (AC Vol 47 No 6). Almost without effort, she has replaced Zuma as front-runner for the presidency in the 2009 elections. That may not last. Many twists and turns will come before then, many of them at the ruling African National Congress's national conference in 2007, when it will choose its candidate. Mlambo-Ngcuka is President Thabo Mbeki's choice. He would prefer a female successor and has already passed several key responsibilities to her. She now coordinates and takes political responsibility for initiatives such as the economic growth strategy and the new industrial policy. She chairs most cabinet meetings and many meetings of the ANC leadership. The relationship between Mbeki and the then Deputy President Zuma had soured before the 2004 elections but ANC Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe advised Mbeki to retain Zuma, to avoid a pre-election split in the party. As Mbeki began his second term, Zuma responded by launching a barely concealed bid for the presidency.

Jacob Zuma's money

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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In the middle of a politically damaging rape trial and facing another on corruption charges in July, Jacob Zuma finds his finances under heavy pressure. His total legal costs are r...

Monster party

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A new party of old-style politicians opposes a third term for President Obasanjo

Northern Nigeria's political elite flocked to Abuja on 20 April to launch the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), which aims to block a constitutional change allowing President O...

Veteran rebels

The top managers of the new Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) are Lawal Kaita (former Kaduna State Governor under President Shehu Shagari); Ghali Na'abba (Speaker of the House o...

Where sick men rule

Mwanawasa's apparent recovery does not resolve worries about elections - and prosecutions

The return of President Levy Mwanawasa on 21 April, three weeks after his departure for emergency medical treatment in Britain, was a big relief for his supporters. His stroke, it ...

Déby hangs on

France and the USA belatedly worry about the rebellion - Khartoum helps foment it

The crisis in Chad has escalated from a parochial dispute about whether a civilianised military politician can extend his tenure into a full-blown regional crisis, also drawing in ...

Foreign fingers

Since 2003, Paris has both backed President Idriss Déby and tried to prevent its allies discussing Chad. This has weakened Chad's unarmed opposition, which has anyway been m...


Oddest bedfellows

We hear that at high-level diplomatic meetings in London, Paris and Washington in December 2005, intelligence officers from Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, the United States...

Sick note

Luanda gossip says President José Eduardo dos Santos, 64, is gravely ill after a heart attack in Brazil. The presidential spokesman, Victor Carvalho, said Dos Santos was fit...

Air heads

Widespread scepticism has greeted denials by Chief of Staff and Presidential Affairs Minister Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani that he had no hand in the dismissal of four top executives at Gh...