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Published 21st September 2007

Vol 48 No 19


Sierra Leone

A clean sweep, maybe

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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A peaceful transfer of power bodes well for serious reform and fresh aid for a broken country

Sierra Leone joined an African elite on Monday when its opposition party was voted into power. Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress (APC) becomes President, with 54.6% of the vote, on 8 September. His country sorely needs direction, and results. Even the outgoing President, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah (known affectionately as ‘Pa Kabbah’, for his role in restoring peace to a destroyed country after its 1991-2002 civil war) was keen to focus on the better aspects of an electoral process that allowed the people’s will to count. There were problems. It was a scramble to get the results out before the governing (and losing) Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) could slap an injunction on the National Electoral Commission (NEC), claiming there were discrepancies in the slowly released cumulative results.


Signs of movement

After a surprising political deal, reformers hope that at last the opposition’s talks with government are leading somewhere

This week’s deal in parliament between the government and the opposition parties over constitutional changes shows the desperation on all sides after five months of stagnation in t...


Turbulent priests

Just when President Robert Mugabe thought it was safe to go back to the altar, another troublesome priest has lambasted him for running an oppressive and corrupt regime. This time ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Over 20 West and East African countries have been hit by the worst flooding in 30 years, affecting over a million people, destroying food crops and spreading disease. Some of the worst floods are in those countries usually hit by drought; this points to the growing effects of global climate change on Africa’s ecosystems. Already some 300 people are reported to have died and meteorologists predict the flood waters will stay at the current level or rise until early November. Floods have driven 3...
Over 20 West and East African countries have been hit by the worst flooding in 30 years, affecting over a million people, destroying food crops and spreading disease. Some of the worst floods are in those countries usually hit by drought; this points to the growing effects of global climate change on Africa’s ecosystems. Already some 300 people are reported to have died and meteorologists predict the flood waters will stay at the current level or rise until early November. Floods have driven 300,000 people from their homes in northern Ghana alone. From Ethiopia to Senegal, crop lands have been devastated and villages swept away, leaving in their place hunger and waterborne diseases. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change suggests a new cycle is emerging in some African regions of long droughts followed by thunderous floods that wash away arable land and devastate settlements. In countries, such as Burkina Faso, Niger and Sudan, floods are followed by locusts, compounding the damage to crops and to livestock. Most African states have little capacity to manage floods, let alone forecast them. For farmers, predictability can be more valuable than precipitation. East Africa often has floods at this time of year; West Africa does not. Some argue that shows equatorial oceans are evaporating faster, sending wetter clouds inland to release the torrential rains that may return next week.
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No holds barred

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Roots of the ONLF rebellion

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Boots nearer to the ground

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The banishing of Billy

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Revolt in the desert

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The Ogaden's trickling sands

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Best election dirhams could buy

Elections will produce a functioning government but, troublingly, few Moroccans seem to care

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Pointers

Kasongo v CAMEC

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Southern warning

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Trebles all round

It was no coincidence that the sudden decision by MPs last week to support a long-prepared amendment barring Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission from investigating cases prior to Ma...