Jump to navigation

Published 25th April 2008

Vol 49 No 9


Nigeria

Open season on Obasanjo

Allegations of corruption under the last government are dividing the ruling parties and raising questions about the new order’s durability

The humiliation of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is forging ahead, less than a year after he left office. In the past few months, parliamentary committees have exposed allegations of government corruption during his eight-year tenure that sit uneasily with his image as a reformer. A decade after he won international sympathy during his imprisonment by the then military leader, General Sani Abacha, Obasanjo’s reputation is sadly diminished. There has been a deafening silence from Western friends such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. Nigeria’s press runs lurid tales of family scandals. Investigators have charged his daughter, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, with complicity in a scam to defraud the health ministry.


Oddly normal

Spies and diplomats are secretly negotiating the lifting of all US sanctions on Khartoum

Khartoum’s National Congress (NC, aka National Islamic Front) regime is negotiating a ‘normalisation’ of relations with the United States, according to documents obtained by Africa...


In the fog of peace

A new, overstuffed government brings back familiar faces but offers few hopes of reconstruction

Kenyans seem relieved to have a government but baffled at the brazenness of their politicians. The deal between President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga was better than a return to t...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

As Zimbabwe’s political agony drags on, newspapers and TV networks have started asking whether the story is worth the top news slots it occupies. Some papers are inclined to dismiss it as a story in the dying embers of the British empire; several US newsrooms take a similar view despite President Bush’s decision to put Mugabe on his revised ‘axis of evil’, along with Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, which is seen as a badge of honour at Harare’s State House. It is true that Zimbabwe’s pol...
As Zimbabwe’s political agony drags on, newspapers and TV networks have started asking whether the story is worth the top news slots it occupies. Some papers are inclined to dismiss it as a story in the dying embers of the British empire; several US newsrooms take a similar view despite President Bush’s decision to put Mugabe on his revised ‘axis of evil’, along with Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, which is seen as a badge of honour at Harare’s State House. It is true that Zimbabwe’s politics are viewed through the distorting lenses of domestic politics in Britain and South Africa but that does not diminish the story’s significance. Political parties in London and Pretoria have postured instead of producing credible policies. We reporters should have been less indulgent towards those hollow professions of concern for Zimbabwe’s 13 million people. Now they are being visited again by organised political violence on top of an imploding economy. The nub of the story is that conditions in a country can continue to deteriorate as the hand wringing continues, showing up the impotence of the regional and international organisations. Meanwhile, a less headline-grabbing story is emerging from underneath the rubble: how to rebuild a free Zimbabwe 30 years after the first attempt. Let’s hope it attracts as much capital as the politics have prompted headlines.
Read more

Gluttons for punishment

The new ministerial team is Kenya’s most expensive ever: 42 ministers and 52 assistant ministers out of 222 members of parliament – 42% of all MPs. President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of...


Can the opposition fight and can it rule?

New questions are raised about the leadership opposition's leadership

This week as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s diplomatic efforts appeared to be paying off with growing condemnation in Africa of President Robert Mugabe and the dis...


The peace deal that wasn't

The Lord’s Resistance Army resists the peacemakers’ efforts and carries on killing

In the bush camp on the border between Sudan and Congo-Kinshasa, the Lord’s Resistance Army negotiators, led by Alfred James Obita, were swigging away on a bottle of cognac and fea...


The opposition line-up

The division of the opposition into three rival components hampers its response to the government’s crackdown and its ability to mobilise against electoral fraud. Activists believe...


It's not over yet

Postponed elections and continuing violence cast a long shadow over hopes for peace

The elections that were due in January are now scheduled for 30 November, but the old bugbears that caused the delay have still not been laid to rest, a year after the Ouagadougou ...


Oceanic turnaround

The thwarted voyage of the An Yue Jiang – a Chinese freighter with a cargo of ammunition, mortars, mines and artillery bound for President Robert Mugabe’s government – marks a turn...


Reforms, but not radical

Africa’s economic growth will continue to outstrip the world’s average economic growth despite the effects of the slowdown in Western economies, according to the IMF

The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook downgrades global growth to 3.7% real GDP growth in 2008, while Africa is forecast to grow at 6.5%, pulled up by oil...



Pointers

Vicious voting

Coup plot claims, a lucrative oil deal and a plane crash are enlivening the desultory campaigning ahead of parliamentary and municipal elections in Equatorial Guinea due on 4 May. ...


Number crunching

The two-week national census, which began on 22 April, will not provide accurate information on the size of the population but it will strengthen the regime’s grip on that populati...


Politique a l'Americaine

The election season has started with the usual components of fraud, corruption and attempts by the government to co-opt any credible opposition candidates. A review of the national...


Cash call

The resignation of former Trade Minister and unsuccessful presidential candidate Alan Kyerematen from the ruling New Patriotic Party on 17 April has shocked Ghana’s political class...