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Published 3rd August 2007

Vol 48 No 16


Zimbabwe

Death of a general

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The military is losing out in its power struggle with the intelligence services, and President Mugabe is the beneficiary

More than 15 senior officers have been purged from the Zimbabwe Defence Force following investigations into plots to oust President Robert Mugabe, a group of military officers told Africa Confidential this week. Some of the officers have been court-martialled, others are under arrest and yet others have 'disappeared'. Other military sources link the latest purge to what they describe as the most serious coup attempt against Mugabe since 1998 and suggest that more than 40 officers are being targeted for surveillance and arrest (AC Vol 48 No 14). As power struggles intensify and the pace of economic disintegration accelerates, officers believe the mainstream military is losing out to the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) under its Director General, Happyton Bonyongwe.


More blood, more cash

The market principle of ‘'buy when there’s blood on the streets’ has drawn new investors to Zimbabwe

Africa Confidential reported early this year on highly lucrative British banking operations in Harare and the Botswana-based Imara Capital's recovery fund (AC Vol 48 Nos 2 & 6). So...


The Millennium deal

Political compromises could mark the start of a new style for both government and opposition

To satisfy both domestic expediency and international pressure, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has commuted the life sentences passed on 35 of his opponents. That was expected and it ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Sudan has prompted a reverse Fashoda incident, 109 years after the first African encounter. This time it was the pioneering and close diplomatic cooperation between the new leaders in Britain and France – Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Nicolas Sarkozy – that lay behind success in pushing through a United Nations Security Council resolution mandating the deployment of a 26,000-strong military and police force to protect civilians in Darfur. Brown argued rich countries should back an...
Sudan has prompted a reverse Fashoda incident, 109 years after the first African encounter. This time it was the pioneering and close diplomatic cooperation between the new leaders in Britain and France – Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Nicolas Sarkozy – that lay behind success in pushing through a United Nations Security Council resolution mandating the deployment of a 26,000-strong military and police force to protect civilians in Darfur. Brown argued rich countries should back and pay for a UN force to protect Dafuris against attacks from Khartoum. And Sarkozy saw France’s strategic need to stop Chad splintering into more chaotic factions as the Khartoum regime tried to export ethnic cleansing eastwards. Meeting in Paris on 20 July, Brown and Sarkozy coordinated their campaign. It was China’s decision to back the Chapter VII provisions (allowing armed force) of the UN resolution that proved decisive, just hours before the vote on 31 July. This was after a week in which Brown and Sarkozy had solicited Prime Minister Wen Jibao’s support in personal phone calls, and the Beijing government had hosted a group of distinguished Africanists to advise it on its public stance on Sudan.
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The first-round fight

The governing party may be on its way out and the campaign seems to be turning nasty

Solomon Berewa wants a first-round victory on 11 August. As more than 2.6 million Sierra Leoneans prepare to elect a new president and 112 members of parliament, the grip of his go...


Making haste slowly

President Yar'Adua shows he is prepared to make sweeping changes – even if the pace of decision-making remains slow

Essentially, the new presidency started last week. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua appointed his cabinet on 26 July and followed this four days later with a sweeping shake-up of the ...


Electoral arithmetic

The Islamist PJD is not exactly in freefall but unexpectedly close elections in September could trigger difficult decisions for King Mohammed

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Personal not proportional

In these elections, the proportional representation system is replaced by voting in first-past-the-post constituencies. This makes personalities more important and increases the sw...


Rumours and plots

President Johnson-Sirleaf's enemies have come out in the open with a raft of allegations and threats of military action

Murky reports of coup plots and corruption are tarnishing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s government. Local political scheming undermines her high international credibility and t...


Parties turn to the young guards

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No contest

Everyone thinks the government fixed the elections but that wasn't really necessary

After its landslide win in fraudulent parliamentary and local elections on 22 July, President Paul Biya promised that his ruling Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais (R...


Back-biting

President Bingu lacks patience for the stand-off with his parliamentary opponents

The shrill voices of government officials dominate the airwaves, as political paralysis gives way to feuding. 'You think I don't bite? I have teeth which bite and I will start biti...



Pointers

Going wrong again

The rebel Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL) were supposed to negotiate a cease-fire with the government. On 21 July their chief, Jean-Berchmans Ndayishimiye, walked out, follow...


Sam the lifer

Namibia’s founding President, Sam Nujoma, will almost certainly be elected to the new post of national chairman (probably for life) of the governing South West African People's Org...


Rapture not rupture

President Nicolas Sarkozy is billed as France's first post-colonial head of state but his first state visit to Africa did not presage a rupture with the Françafrique system. In Sen...


Winning ways

French and Qatari commercial interests are the clear winners from Presidential wife Cécilia Sarkozy's success in persuading Libyan leader Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi to release five...


Boiling point

Eritrea and Ethiopia, whose leaders detest each other, are clashing on three regional issues. Moreover, hawks in Addis believe – rightly or wrongly – that Ethiopia's support for th...