Jump to navigation

Published 4th July 2008

Vol 49 No 14


Zimbabwe

Deaths and deals

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

The government sets tough terms for a power-sharing deal that might end the crisis

The election on 27 June was Zimbabwe's worst. The opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had formally withdrawn but his name was still on the ballot paper (AC Vol 49 No 13). Few people bothered to vote. Even so, in some constituencies in Matebeleland, the combined number of spoiled ballots and votes for Tsvangirai outnumbered those for the unopposed President, Robert Mugabe.


Where the government gets its money

Foreign mining investors still drop cash into Zimbabwe's empty bucket. Anglo American hit the spotlight in June with its US$400 million Unki platinum project, to be run by its Joha...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The African Union’s endorsement of ‘deal democracy’ this week may help resolve the Zimbabwean tragedy, but it reinforces the precedent set by regional mediators after Kenya’s election crisis in January. The message to an unpopular incumbent is clear: you can steal an election, hammer the opposition, then sit tight and shrug off the opprobrium. Finally, you can offer a power-sharing deal and stay on the throne – complete with international recognition and legal immunity. Too big, messy and e...
The African Union’s endorsement of ‘deal democracy’ this week may help resolve the Zimbabwean tragedy, but it reinforces the precedent set by regional mediators after Kenya’s election crisis in January. The message to an unpopular incumbent is clear: you can steal an election, hammer the opposition, then sit tight and shrug off the opprobrium. Finally, you can offer a power-sharing deal and stay on the throne – complete with international recognition and legal immunity. Too big, messy and expensive, power-sharing governments are tolerated by voters if they appear to be the last barrier against mass violence. The AU refused to sanction Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe as demanded by a younger generation of leaders in Botswana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Kenya. Instead, they called on Zimbabwe’s leaders to seize the momentum offered by the latest turn of events. Translated, that means accepting South African President Thabo Mbeki’s formula for a government of national unity. That, Mugabe says, is what he was calling for in his hurried inauguration speech two days after his farcical re-election. For Morgan Tsvangirai and the opposition, that is a deal too far. They would accept a transitional government to promote reconciliation, oversee reforms and hold credible elections – but no free pass for Mugabe’s securocrats. If Zimbabweans can halt ‘deal democracy’ in its tracks, Africa will owe them a big favour.
Read more

The Russians are coming

Looking for big projects and with plenty of cash, three Russian companies are ready to invest in Zambia's mines

Three Russian companies plan to inject over US$2 billion into Zambia's mining sector. If this project is successful, it will be the country's single biggest foreign direct investme...


Friends old and new

Angola's coming general elections are followed far beyond its borders. While the country was enmeshed in civil war, oil companies and their governments were the only outsiders who ...


Democratic deficit

Leaders send out mixed signals on whether elections will take place this year

President Laurent Gbagbo assured representatives of the United Nations Security Council - on a flying visit to Abidjan on 9 June - that the November election deadline would hold. T...


Slow turnaround

Slow progress on the economy and against corruption is rubbing the sheen off last year's free elections

On election, President Ernest Bai Koroma gave himself three years to turn Sierra Leone around, but the first year has been unimpressive, and the smart performance of President Elle...


One party rule

The ruling party looks set to win again at the parliamentary elections which are due to be held in September. Strikingly, nearly one in five Angolans belongs to the governing party, the MPLA. Nevertheless, voters will expect it to explain why the general public has not benefited from the vast wealth that is arriving as Angola takes over from Nigeria as Africa's leading oil producer.

In power since 1992, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola is at least sure of its ability to deliver peaceful polls. Even the main opposition party (the MPLA...


A slightly cracked coalition

The power-sharing government is shaken by scandals and tales of mass murder but nobody sees an alternative

Three months after the painful formation of a grand coalition government (AC Vol 49 No 11), there is talk of a 'grand opposition'. Two developments encourage this. First comes the...


Skimming a bad system

Côte d'Ivoire's Public Prosecutor, Raymond Tchimou, is leading a crackdown on corruption in the cocoa industry, which accounts for 40% of world supply. On 13 June, Tchimou an...


Kony causes trouble again

The rebel chief Kony's refusal to make peace causes trouble between Uganda and South Sudan

On 30 June, Southern Sudan's Vice-President Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon ordered the Ugandan People's Defence Forces out of the country, accusing the UPDF of kidnapping and killing a S...


The competition heats up

As oil exploration continues apace on Lake Albert, Uganda and Congo threaten to make business difficult for foreign companies

Companies drilling on the Ugandan side of Lake Albert, which straddles the border with Congo-Kinshasa, had a rude shock in mid-June when President Yoweri Museveni announced that Ug...



Pointers

No case, no answer

On 26 June, Malabo quietly dropped a three-year campaign to pursue some of the alleged architects of the 2004 mercenary coup plot for civil damages in England (AC Vol 49 No 13). Th...


Industrial revolution

Ghana seeks partners following its 19 June purchase of Alcoa's 10% stake in the 200,000 tonne/year Volta Aluminum Company (Valco) smelter, mothballed since March 2007. The statal V...