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Published 13th April 2007

Vol 48 No 8


Nigeria

Yar'Adua prepares for power

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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If the PDP juggernaut trounces the opposition, the new government will have the shortest of breaks before the pressure starts mounting

Failing a cataclysmic reversal in the next week, President Olusegun Obasanjo's governing People's Democratic Party is likely to chalk up another victory at the state and federal elections due on 14 and 21 April, respectively. This is as much due to the weaknesses of the opposition as to the strengths and popularity of the PDP. Without doubt, the PDP has run the best financed, most tactically acute and aggressive campaign. It has also used its control of state and federal government structures ruthlessly to marginalise and disqualify opposition candidates.


Too many parties spoil the polls

Opposition to the governing People's Democratic Party (PDP) is split between 24 different parties, most of which cannot even dream of winning a governorship, much less the Presiden...


Table

Key states in Nigeria's gubernatorial and presidential elections

We examine the main contestants and predict the probable winners of the elections



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Intrigue is in the Washington air after the World Bank’s Staff Association wrote to President Paul Wolfowitz to complain about two promotions and pay rises awarded to his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, a Bank employee who was seconded to the US State Department. After the accompanying pay rises from the Bank, Riza’s salary was a tax free US$193,000. Wolfowitz has promised bank staff full access to the facts of the case. Staff say that the Riza affair doesn’t fit with Wolfowitz’s strictures on corrupt...
Intrigue is in the Washington air after the World Bank’s Staff Association wrote to President Paul Wolfowitz to complain about two promotions and pay rises awarded to his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, a Bank employee who was seconded to the US State Department. After the accompanying pay rises from the Bank, Riza’s salary was a tax free US$193,000. Wolfowitz has promised bank staff full access to the facts of the case. Staff say that the Riza affair doesn’t fit with Wolfowitz’s strictures on corruption; neither does a report by Greenpeace this week, claiming the World Bank endorsed the sales of 21 million hectares of Congo-Kinshasa’s rainforest to loggers for a few thousand dollars. Bankwatchers also want to know the results of an internal probe into the illegal sale of Congo’s mineral assets. Celebrity economist Jeffrey Sachs told an OECD meeting last week that philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are now a more important source of aid for poor countries than the World Bank. Sachs said the Bank’s role was shrinking to a narrow anti-corruption focus. Despite strongly backing the G8 plan to double aid to Africa, Bank lending to Africa in the last 9 months is down $1 bn. compared to the previous year.
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Aid and votes

Proper politics begins again, as the country lurches towards elections and a referendum

The key political issue at stake is how well President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah has managed the post-war transition. He pledged to bring political stability and economic recovery and he ...


The bashing of Bemba

The opposition leader may be forced into exile but President Kabila has plenty of battles on the economic front

The bloody shoot-out in Kinshasa on 22-23 March confirmed President Joseph Kabila's grip on the country. His troops decisively defeated the guard of Jean-Pierre Bemba, who had lost...


Under new management

President Lansana Conté clings on, but with a new government and his power diluted

The appointment of Lansana Kouyaté as Prime Minister could be a turning point in Guinea's long crisis, or an attempt to shore up a crumbling dyke. Kouyaté's nominatio...


Analysis

After Africa's wars - politics comes first

New conflicts are brewing in the Horn and in West Africa. Old ones are reheating in Congo-Kinshasa and Sudan, dashing hopes for positive change as the peacemakers and economists mi...


Economy

Consolidation and growth

As Africa posts its strongest economic growth for two decades on the back of buoyant commodity prices, the continent's banks are also thriving. Recent financial reforms have shaken...



Pointers

Going nuclear

A curious article published by the state-owned daily Jornal de Angola in February seems to have escaped attention: a declaration by Science and Technology Minister João Bapt...


Areva in hot water

The war of words between two non-governmental agencies and French nuclear energy company AREVA escalated last week, with public accusations of malpractice in the extraction of uran...


Chukka, not pukka

Rich South Africans enjoy polo on the grounds at Plettenberg Bay. It now emerges that all the 13 fields are illegal and that two of their main sponsors are under investigation for ...


Rendition confusion

The United States' War on Terror is catching many innocent people in its crossfire and hundreds of these are held incommunicado by the Ethiopian and Kenyan authorities on suspicion...