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Published 15th December 2006

Vol 47 No 25


Kenya

Knocking out the lion's teeth

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The opposition claims the youth vote but 75 year-old President Kibaki remains the favourite in next year's polls

Kenya's radically differing political styles were on show this week as respective presidential campaigns were launched. The opposition Orange Democratic Movement held an exuberant end-of-year rally on 9 December, mocking President Mwai Kibaki's government and its new allies. 'What he (Kibaki) has brought is not a lion,' ODM leader Raila Amolo Odinga shouted, referring to Kibaki's new alliance with former President Daniel arap Moi. 'We had knocked out the lion's teeth. That one is now toothless.' An opposition member for decades, Odinga is particularly proud that it was his strategy that defeated former President Moi's Kenya African National Union (KANU) in the 2002 elections.


The Southern front reopens

Fighting between Khartoum's soldiers and the Juba government presages a new crisis in the South

For three days at the end of November, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (now the armed forces of the Government of South Sudan) and Khartoum's Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) fought one...


Penalty shoot-out

The opposition NDC will choose its flagbearer next week and the wrong choice could be fatal

Having lost two successive elections to President John Kufuor, former Vice-President John Evans Atta Mills is tipped to win the presidential nomination for the opposition National ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

On 1 January Ghana’s Kofi Annan will be replaced by South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon as United Nations’ Secretary General. Almost inevitably the UN’s focus on Africa will diminish under the new leadership. An African has held the post since Egypt’s Boutros Boutros Ghali started his term in 1992; Annan took over in 1996. There will be critical gaps during the transition in January as Ban Ki-moon appoints his new team. Most of Annan’s top officials such as Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Aff...
On 1 January Ghana’s Kofi Annan will be replaced by South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon as United Nations’ Secretary General. Almost inevitably the UN’s focus on Africa will diminish under the new leadership. An African has held the post since Egypt’s Boutros Boutros Ghali started his term in 1992; Annan took over in 1996. There will be critical gaps during the transition in January as Ban Ki-moon appoints his new team. Most of Annan’s top officials such as Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland will leave with him. As his term ends, Annan has became increasingly undiplomatic. Last week he lambasted the Sudan government for blocking the deployment of UN peacekeepers to Darfur and the failure of the Security Council to act more decisively there. Finally he admonished the reformed Human Rights Council for failing to criticise Khartoum. At the same time, President Bush announced he would support a no-fly zone over Darfur and tougher measures if Khartoum continued to block UN peacekeepers. For all their differences, Annan and the Bush administration have a common concern – that they will be judged to have failed to prevent another genocide. Tougher resolutions and actions earlier might have averted the spreading regional nightmare.
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Militias and the South

Successive regimes in Khartoum have sought local allies against the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), especially since the National Islamic Front seized power in 1989. The NIF...


Economy up, politics down

The post-war economy is easier to manage than Monrovia's politicians

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's economic record is widely praised, as she gets ready for her first anniversary on 16 January. Yet she does not control the flow of finance from th...


Joining the big league

As its oil output surges, Angola announces that it is to join OPEC

The announcement on 29 November that Angola is to join the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries in March came as a surprise - not at the decision but at its timing. The ne...


Khartoum's proxies

Like the Khartoum government's sponsorship of the Janjaweed in Darfur, its use of militias in the South has a political purpose: it wants instability in the South to block the hold...


Testing Mittal's steel

In its last days, Charles Gyude Bryant’s National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) signed a US$900 million, 25-year deal with the world’s largest steel company, British-re...


An economic fairy tale

Goverment data on the economy reads like fiction

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa's 4.3 trillion Zimbabwe dollar (officially US$17.2 million) budget for 2007 passed through Parliament on 7 December with no debate about its untena...


Peace and security

The African Union faces a double test – in Sudan and now in Somalia

On paper, the AU has the right - even the duty - to intervene in the crises of its members. The worst problems are now in north-east Africa: in Sudan, where civilians need protecti...


Washington shuffle

The new Democratic Congress will press the Bush administration harder on Africa

The Democratic takeover of Congress in early January will see a reshuffle in the key foreign relations committees and growing pressure on the George W. Bush administration's policy...



Pointers

Annual Conference

Special reports from the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's annual conference, 14-17 December 2006. This article is free to all users in Special Reports.


Law wars

The ruling party's barons are getting ready for the national conference this week - by suing each other. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's National Chairman Joh...


Crossed lines

Britain's Vodafone PLC and the Kenyan government face awkward questions about the establishment of Kenya's largest mobile phone company, Safaricom, following the discovery that a h...


Trade-off

Growing tensions between Khartoum and the Government of Southern Sudan in Juba (see feature) may be linked to a new accommodation on the management of oil. Sudan is pumping over 50...


Hotel Mogadishu

The arrest of three Italian journalists by the Supreme Islamic Courts Council on 2 December in Mogadishu points to growing sensitivity to the SICC's jihadist reputation and to repo...


Crossing the river

Since March, fighting has raged between rebels and troops in Senegal's southern Casamance province, driving more than 10,000 refugees across the border. Rebel fighters crossed too:...