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Published 10th October 2003

Vol 44 No 20


Le grand retour

President Kabila is thriving in the new coalition but many fear it will be the last chance to reunite the country

Warlords, veteran politicians, technocrats and business people are crowding into Kinshasa, either to shape the future or to make some money. Not since the ill-fated Conférence Nationale Souveraine of the early 1990s has the capital seen so many operators of different persuasions. Diplomats, donors, United Nations officials and many Congolese see this as an opportunity to focus attention on the country's national dilemmas, which are legion, and away from the regional dynamic of the last five years of conflict. Many believe the new power-sharing government (AC Vol 44 No 16) is the last chance to keep the country together, as long as the reassembled multitudes keep swimming in the same direction. For the first time in its history, Congo has a National Assembly with constitutional powers to restrain the executive. But can its 600 members, and the Senators, count on being paid? So far they have received just US$600 for setting-up costs. Many senators and deputies, especially former exiles and those from the provinces, are literally going without food. Hungry senators are easy to manipulate. In Kinshasa, where families take turns to miss meals, the new term for hunger is delestage (load-shedding).

Spies pop out of the past

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Allegations that the official chief prosecutor was once a spy have split the leadership

South Africa's ruling African National Congress risks sinking deeper into a quagmire of spy-naming and mutual suspicion amidst suspected corruption in a multimillion pound arms dea...

An awkward embrace

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The ovation given to Deputy President Jacob Zuma at last month's national conference of the Congress of South African Trade Unions points again to the very odd nature of the Tripar...

Warriors and marabouts

Nouakchott cracks down on Islamists and Arab nationalists ahead of November's elections

President Maaouiya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya has cracked down on his critics, particularly targeting Arab nationalists and Islamists as he seeks to improve ties with his new friends in I...

Missing the goals

Rich countries are reneging on promises to finance education for the poorest children

Governments of poor countries and the World Bank fear that they will not get the funds to meet the Millennium Development Goals. A new Bank study says that world-wide aid flows nee...

Going Dutch

The generous Netherlands' foreign aid programme is being overhauled to concentrate on a reduced list of 36 countries, with defined priorities. African countries will get just over ...


Media attrition

After the government's closure of the Daily News, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo is turning his attention to the two remaining independent weeklies, the Sunday Standard and Zim...

Bedding down

President Paul Kagame claimed more than 95 per cent of the presidential poll in July, so it was hardly surprising that the coalition led by his Front Patriotique Rwandais (FPR) swe...