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Published 5th May 1999

Vol 40 No 5


Soldier go, soldier come

President-elect Obasanjo's greatest challenge will be his plans to reform the military and end the putschist mentality

The Nigerian conundrum - ‘it takes a soldier to end army rule’ - is to be tested again. General Olusegun Obasanjo, the choice of most army officers and the Western powers, was dubbed PDP (Pre-Determined President) - the acronym of his People’s Democratic Party. The 27 February presidential election indeed had a pre-determined feel to it (see Box). But that’s not entirely surprising when Obasanjo faced an improbable coalition of erstwhile supporters of 1993 poll winner Moshood Abiola in the Alliance for Democracy and the All People’s Party (dubbed the Abacha People’s Party because so many of the late dictator’s acolytes had joined it). Within hours of his victory, Obasanjo started choosing the transition committee which is to handle policy and appointments up to the formal handover to civilian rule on 29 May. His hotel suite in Abuja has been overflowing with well-wishers and office-seekers.

Virtual voters

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Election monitors coined a phrase for General Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidential victory on 27 February: the result was not ‘free and fair’ but ‘generally reflects the will of the pe...

Transatlantic tryst

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Clinton's White House and Mandela's Tuynhuys have a special relationship

Washington now has closer relations with the African National Congress government than with any other in Africa, including the governments of Egypt and Morocco. The institutionali...

Up with Biwott

The ruling party's factions fight for the purse strings

The government reshuffle of 18 February was, as usual in President Daniel arap Moi’s Kenya, announced by radio during the lunch hour, catching unaware the ministers and top civil s...


Cyril and the suits

The ousting of former African National Congress Secretary General Cyril Ramaphosa as a deputy chairperson of NAIL (New Africa Investments Limited) on 22 February raises questions a...

Conference calls

Amsterdam and Geneva have become favoured cities for conference organisers seeking highranking African delegates. An impressive array of ministers and power company managers is on ...

Francophone fronts

Luanda is sharpening up its diplomatic tactics after a string of military successes by the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola in the north-west. Key t...

Banned, still deadly

The campaign against anti-personnel mines (APM) has grown fast. The Ottawa Convention banning them came into force on 1 March, when 134 governments had signed and 65 ratified it. T...