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Published 2nd February 2007

Vol 48 No 3


Nigeria

Party pieces

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Feuding factions in the governing PDP jostle for jobs, and no prosecutions, before the elections

Voters are less worried about the upcoming elections than the would-be candidates, now battling for territory before the campaign proper starts later this month. On 29 January, the government gave workers the day off to register; the final deadline for registration was extended to 2 February. Before that, the electoral registers had still numbered 10 million people below the estimated 60 million electorate. Partly this is because of apathy, partly because the computerised registration system has turned away many hopeful electors. New registration machines producing sealed cards with photographs and fingerprints are intended to stop fraud. Stories circulate of a politician who is said to have installed six of the machines in his house.



Buhari's election headlines

Another former military ruler dons a baba riga to run for the presidency and campaign for more accountability

As he elegantly stretches out in a rented Mayfair apartment and insists on discussing 'policy issues not personalities', it is easy to forget that General Muhamadu Buhari headed th...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

As the African Union summiteers sat down in Addis Ababa this week, China’s President Hu Jintao was setting off on a ten day trip to Africa, his third in as many years. The AU and Chinese diplomats inhabit parallel worlds. The AU is passing the hat around for US$50 million to fund a peacekeeping mission to Somalia that just might prevent the country slipping back into warlordism. President Hu left Beijing with a $5 billion fund for African investments and promises of a $10 bn. aid package. He is ...
As the African Union summiteers sat down in Addis Ababa this week, China’s President Hu Jintao was setting off on a ten day trip to Africa, his third in as many years. The AU and Chinese diplomats inhabit parallel worlds. The AU is passing the hat around for US$50 million to fund a peacekeeping mission to Somalia that just might prevent the country slipping back into warlordism. President Hu left Beijing with a $5 billion fund for African investments and promises of a $10 bn. aid package. He is accompanied by Commerce Minister Bo Xilai and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, who was in Africa at the beginning of January. Wisely, the Beijing delegation did not stop over at the AU summit in Addis, where their Sudanese ally was barred from the AU chairmanship. Beijing’s Communist government is not much interested in collective bargaining with Africa, it prefers strengthening bilateral relations. No Western leader– George Bush, Tony Blair or even Jacques Chirac – can match Hu’s African air miles. China is winning on trade and starting on aid but what about diplomacy? Hu will be trying to placate critics in South Africa and Zambia, and has promised to pressure President Omer to stop blocking the UN peacekeeping mission to Darfur. Perhaps Hu will leave Khartoum airport waving a little piece of paper in his hand.
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The strike that shook Conté

As tensions rise, both the President and his civilian opponents will lose if the military launches a coup d'état

Union strikers and opposition demonstrators have secured a tactical victory against President Lansana Conté's regime after three weeks of protests, during which, in January,...


How crooks still exploit the system

Gems from war zones are part of a wider illegal diamond trade

Blood diamonds, the fruit of wars, are fashionable both in Hollywood and among documentary film-makers, with productions such as 'Blood Diamond' and 'Blood on the Stone'. This worr...


Upwards and onwards

For years, outside interest in African equities markets has been restricted to specialist investment fund managers and a few eccentric but astute individuals. Now that it changing,...


Two peas in a pod

El Hadj Mamadou Sylla, a businessman, and Fodé Soumah, formerly Deputy Governor of Guinea's Central Bank, vigorously protest their innocence of the corruption charges pendin...


The snubbing of Sudan

Delegates bar President Omer from the AU Chairmanship but fail to step up pressure for UN peacekeepers in Darfur

As a majority of African states faced down the efforts of Sudan, Egypt and the Arab League to win the African Union Chairmanship for Sudan's President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir, ...


The Addis to Mogadishu axis

AU summiteers have offered half the number of troops required for the peacekeeping force

At the end of the AU summit in Addis Ababa on 30 January, its new Chairman, Ghana's President John Kufuor, announced that four countries had pledged troops: Uganda (1,500); Nigeria...


Ghana's gain

The election of President John Kufuor to the Chairmanship of the African Union was a personal victory for his Foreign Minister and presidential aspirant, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Add...



Pointers

Guebuza and governance

As the World Bank proclaims its 'leadership role in the fight against fraud and corruption', it has emerged that it has breached its own good governance rules by facilitating and e...


Snowe white-out

Edwin Melvin Snowe's battle to keep his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives is becoming an embarrassing cause célèbre as he claims the plot against hi...


Bond breakthrough

Some might consider it risky for a Nigerian bank to issue a US$300 million Eurobond on the international capital markets for the first time - just three months before the country h...


No deal for Seck

After weeks of negotiations, many expected President Abdoulaye Wade to announce the return of former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck to the governing Parti Démocratique Sé...