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Published 23rd June 2006

Vol 47 No 13


The vote that nobody wins

Hugely expensive, massively complex, extremely dangerous, the polls will go ahead anyway

The first votes in Congo's long awaited election process are to be cast on 30 July. The polls, costing some US$500 million, are unlikely to bring the stability hoped for, since the losers may reject the results and the army, still unpaid, will have little incentive to remain disciplined. Many of these risks could have been reduced had the election schedule and structure been better designed and had the foreign funders - the European Union, United States and United Nations - not been so keen to rush for the door.

Drying up growth

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Drought is slowing down the region's economies, forcing some harsh policy changes

To promote integration and regional planning, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda announce their annual budgets on the same day. In their statements for 2006/07 on 15 June, all three financ...

Candidates wanted

Sickness and death have taken the front-runners, leaving politics leaderless as elections loom

Zambia's economy is looking up, as the recent boom in copper prices helps drive growth in gross domestic product up to more than 6 per cent this year, with inflation down to single...

Islamist takeover

Clans switch sides to overthrow the warlords but will they stay loyal to the Islamic Courts

The lightning take over by the Islamic Courts Union on 14 June surprised almost everyone, not least the United States CIA. The warlords crumbled almost overnight and with them, the...

The Armenian connection

Guns, police, parties - mysterious businessmen claim links with powerful politicians

Mary Wambui, President Mwai Kibaki's second wife, has been repeatedly embarrassed by reports of her links to two men with Armenian names, after a security breach at Jomo Kenyatta a...


Dutch probe

Dutch police are investigating Mittal Steel's US$900 million deal to mine iron ore in Liberia following a slew of allegations by politicians and trades unionists about the contract...

Starting guns

The new government has started by shooting school children. On 12 June, five died in Conakry, two in Nzérékoré, some 970 kilometres south-east of the capital, ...

Ndebele intrigue

When Themba Ncube, leader of Bulawayo's 'war veterans', was assaulted in his office on 30 May, the media wrongly reported it as a battle for control of the local veterans' chapter....