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Published 23rd May 2008

Vol 49 No 11


Sudan

Battle of Omdurman

The Darfur rebel attack on the capital exposes the weaknesses of the Islamist National Congress regime

The attack on the capital by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on 10 May opened a new chapter in the stories of Darfur and of Sudan's Islamist regime. Immediately, it boosted the spirits of the people of Darfur but put exiles in Northern Sudan in danger. It alarmed the ruling National Congress (aka National Islamic Front), which broke relations with Chad. Interested governments, which focus on peace talks rather than on the causes of the conflict, rushed to support the Khartoum regime.


Who is JEM?

The Justice and Equality (initially Justice and Equity) Movement was founded in late 2002, after government-backed militias intensified their attacks in Darfur; it became operation...


Abyei devastated

Heavy fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the SPLA points to more conflict ahead

There had been no shortage of warnings about Abyei, the area on the North-South border where Khartoum has refused to implement a boundary ruling under the Comprehensive Peace Agree...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Governments in Africa's biggest economies - Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa - have during recent years weakened the independence and powers of anti-corruption agencies. In all three, the leaders of anti-corruption efforts - John Githongo, Nuhu Ribadu and Leonard McCarthy - have been removed. Githongo and McCarthy have gone overseas to new jobs - Githongo to Oxford University and McCarthy to lead the World Bank's anti-graft team - while Ribadu is on hastily-arranged study leave. Complaints mount ...
Governments in Africa's biggest economies - Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa - have during recent years weakened the independence and powers of anti-corruption agencies. In all three, the leaders of anti-corruption efforts - John Githongo, Nuhu Ribadu and Leonard McCarthy - have been removed. Githongo and McCarthy have gone overseas to new jobs - Githongo to Oxford University and McCarthy to lead the World Bank's anti-graft team - while Ribadu is on hastily-arranged study leave. Complaints mount in other countries: Ghanaians say their Human Rights and Administrative Justice Commission is under-funded and impotent; Tanzanians ask why President Kikwete took two years to act on a damning audit of Central Bank transactions and sack the Governor. Yet progress by better resourced Western anti-graft investigators is not that impressive. As reported last week, four years' work by American, British and French investigators into corrupt payments linked to Nigeria's US$10 billion gas export plant have revealed little more than that a British lawyer - yet to face trial - handled $180 mn. of 'consultancy payments'. British investigations into corrupt payments on BAE Systems contracts in Tanzania and South Africa move painfully slowly. There is a growing sense that international vested interests - political and corporate - are blocking serious efforts to prosecute the offenders.
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A targeted killing

The United States' killing of Aden Hashi Ayro weakens Al Shabaab and its mentor Sheikh Aweys

Before dawn on 1 May, two United States' AC130 gunships from Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti destroyed a house in Dusamareb, central Somalia, not far from the Ethiopian border. It was t...


Money battles

This week, Finance Minister Amos Kimunya has downplayed talk of a looming budget crisis and slumping growth rates. His determined optimism follows a statement by National Developme...


A dangerous invasion

Eritrea sent its troops into Djibouti, a small country with powerful allies

After Djibouti complained that Eritrea had invaded, President Issayas Afewerki responded on 19 May that this was 'a wild invention' with hidden foreign backing. On 4 April, Eritrea...


Judge Kriegler looks into the elections

There is little prospect that the Independent Review Commission, chaired by South African Judge Johann Kriegler, will get to the bottom of the election skulduggery that triggered m...


In the rain-forrest

Under scrutiny since 2002, the Forrest Group is in trouble with the United Nations again

Belgium has lost a diplomat and the George Forrest Group, which dominates parts of Congo-Kinshasa's mining industry, has lost a valuable senior executive. Pierre Chevalier, Belgium...



Pointers

James Lemkin

James Anthony Lemkin, who died on 12 May, was one of the founders of Africa Confidential. He set the newsletter up in 1960, along with John Vernon, Charles Janson and Charles March...


Nuclear nexus

South African officials visiting Russia on 22-23 May were in damage-control mode. In March, Eskom let it be known that the Russian nuclear reactor builder Atomstroyexport (ASE), wo...


London's laundries

British banks could face awkward questions after police in London charged Theresa Nkoyo Ibori, wife of former Delta State Governor James Ibori, with money laundering on 20 May. She...