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Published 20th July 2007

Vol 48 No 15


Ghana

Everyone's in the race

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Would-be presidential candidates crop up everywhere, with pots of money and hopes of oil

The race for Ghana's presidency is heating up at last after eight ministers and presidential hopefuls walked out of President John Agyekum Kufuor's government on 6 July. They will campaign for the presidential nomination in the run-up to the National Congress of the governing New Patriotic Party, due in December this year. The stakes in the race rose sharply after the announcement of Ghana's first commercial offshore oil find, estimated at over 600 million barrels of premium crude.


Justice at a price

The court that is trying Sierra Leone's war-crimes is costly and, so far, not very effective

The Special Court for Sierra Leone is well past its sell-by date. Intended to last only three years, until 2005, the SCSL now aims to wind up at the end of 2009. Having spent US$90...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

After months of infighting over Paul Wolfowitz’s Presidency amid recurring charges of political cronyism and soft-pedalling on awkward corruption cases, the World Bank was in a poor position to release a report on the state of governance among its member states last week. However, the report contains surprises as well as curious omissions. Tanzania, Liberia, Rwanda, Ghana and Sierra Leone are praised by the Bank for ‘extraordinary progress’ in fighting corruption over the past decade – an acc...
After months of infighting over Paul Wolfowitz’s Presidency amid recurring charges of political cronyism and soft-pedalling on awkward corruption cases, the World Bank was in a poor position to release a report on the state of governance among its member states last week. However, the report contains surprises as well as curious omissions. Tanzania, Liberia, Rwanda, Ghana and Sierra Leone are praised by the Bank for ‘extraordinary progress’ in fighting corruption over the past decade – an accolade not entirely shared by the citizens of those countries. One of the authors, Daniel Kaufmann, said the Bank’s research undermined notions of ‘Afro-pessimism’ and challenged ‘…long held popular notions that the rich world has reached nirvana in governance’. About US$1,000 billion of transactions each year are tainted by corruption, Kauffman added. His findings showed that the ratings of the United States and Italy on corruption had significantly worsened over the past decade. The sharp increase in global corruption that Kaufmann describes depends critically on a network of offshore finance, tax havens and pricing frauds. Yet the report doesn’t join up the dots and the Bank still doesn’t regard tackling such mechanisms facilitating corruption as a priority.
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Judging the judges

By local standards, the 13 judges serving on the Sierra Leone Special Court are well paid. Critics say this explains why the trials are dragging on.


A Communist manifestation - the return of the left

Leftist critics of President Thabo Mbeki have regrouped in the South African Communist Party, hoping to take control of the African National Congress

It was a great revivalist meeting for South Africa's resurgent left-wing activists. Some 1,300 SACP delegates gathered in Port Elizabeth on 11-14 July to hear speaker after speaker...


Election failure

The first round of Congo-Brazzaville's legislative elections, on 22 June, displayed haste, corruption and ineptitude. There was a stark lack of voting materials and at some polling...


Salva's shuffle

The Juba government is preparing a more militant response to Khartoum's political and economic obstructionism

Southern President Salva Kiir Mayardit wants to get a stronger grip on his government as dissatisfaction grows and tensions mount with the Khartoum government. Salva has effective...


Unity on a smaller scale

The newly enlarged East African Community contains just under Nigeria's population, with only half of its GDP.

The East African Community has formally welcomed Burundi and Rwanda, which signed the accession treaty on 18 June. Yet the entry of two small, poor, landlocked, Francophone countri...


Can't pay, won't pay

Bad old debts reveal the gap between what Congo owes and what its leaders hide

The pursuit of repayments from the poorest economies has made the debt-collection agencies known as 'vulture funds' a target for antipoverty campaigners. These firms buy up debts a...



Pointers

Jacques et le juge

Police raids on the house of ex-President Jacques Chirac's Africa advisor Michel de Bonnecourse on 9 and 10 July raise the stakes in the investigation into claims by a former Djibo...


Tower of power

The Kigali government's plan to provide air traffic control systems across the whole of central Africa, where airspace is mostly unmonitored, could earn Rwanda as much as US$156 mi...


Mugging Miala

The detention of sacked intelligence chief General Fernando Garcia Miala on 13 July points to deepening rivalries within Angola's security services. Miala was sacked in February 20...


Post-presidential

The bids are out for Thabo Mbeki's services when his term as national president expires in mid-2009, regardless of who runs the governing African National Congress.