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Published 31st October 2008

Vol 49 No 22


Kenya

Calling politicians to account

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The Waki report on post-election violence names names, tells tales and could help clear up the nation's politics

Kenyans feared another whitewash when Justice Philip Waki was appointed to head the Commission to Investigate the Post-Election Violence. Yet he has confounded the sceptics and produced a lengthy and powerful report which could spur on further investigations and prompt the prosecution of several powerful politicians. Previous commissions and government probes into corruption and murder have allowed named officials to wriggle off the hook. That will be harder this time, both because of public outrage at the findings and because other countries are involved in the process.


The Waki report

Justice Philip Waki produces a devastating critique of Kenya's political class and business elite

The mandate of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) was to 'investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the violence, the conduct of state security...


Corruption countdown

At last President Kikwete is pushing miscreants to return monies stolen from the central bank ­ some might even be prosecuted

Judgement day is coming for those individuals and companies who benefited from a 133 billion Tanzania shilling (US$117 million) fraud at the Bank of Tanzania (Central Bank), insis...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Devastating tragedies loom in Congo-Kinshasa and Sudan. Ill-resourced United Nations peacekeepers are supposed to police both. Onlookers might be persuaded by the numbers – 17,000 troops in Congo and a projected 30,000 in Sudan – that they will be able to hold the line. In fact, the UN risks failing woefully in both countries because of what its peacekeepers lack: aerial surveillance and airlift capacity, effective intelligence and reconnaissance, and above all the political will of the cou...
Devastating tragedies loom in Congo-Kinshasa and Sudan. Ill-resourced United Nations peacekeepers are supposed to police both. Onlookers might be persuaded by the numbers – 17,000 troops in Congo and a projected 30,000 in Sudan – that they will be able to hold the line. In fact, the UN risks failing woefully in both countries because of what its peacekeepers lack: aerial surveillance and airlift capacity, effective intelligence and reconnaissance, and above all the political will of the countries that vote to send in the troops but then deny them the tools to do the job. It is no surprise that the battle-hardened Spanish General Vicente Diaz de Villegas resigned from his post as UN military commander in Congo within days of taking up the job: he says Monuc is set up to fail. UN failure in Congo and Sudan will cost tens of thousands of lives, destroy Ban Ki-moon’s reputation as UN Secretary General and signal the end of UN peacekeeping in its present form. Sudanese and Congolese civilians often protest at UN bases after peacekeepers have failed to protect them from raids by government or rebel forces. Yet the badly-equipped peacekeepers are often there as a palliative for diplomatic errors made far away. Perhaps these coming failures may finally encourage serious reform in the international system – but the price is already too high.
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Islamic alliance

The government proposes membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference and splits national opinion

Foreign Minister Bernard Membe's announcement that the government was considering joining the Organisation of Islamic Conference has reopened a national controversy. A decade ago, ...


Two brutal stalemates

Somali politicians negotiate in Nairobi; and a gulf remains between Eritrea and Ethiopia

On 29 October, suicide bombers launched coordinated attacks on civilians in Puntland and in Somaliland, killing up to 40 people and injuring many more. This looked timed to undermi...


Nigeria's banks: double or quits

Nigerian visitors to London’s Heathrow Airport are pleasantly surprised to see billboards publicising one or another of their country’s biggest banks. Many of the taxis operating o...


Squaring the circle

Would-be president Jacob Zuma has to please his left-wing backers but lacks the money to pay for the promises

Mid-October was not a good time to visit Washington. As banks collapsed and great industrial firms were threatened with closure, Jacob Zuma, the African National Congress President...


Minority politics

President Yayi lacks a parliamentary majority and the skills to win over new supporters

In another desperate attempt to win over some opposition supporters to his ineffectual coalition, President Thomas Boni Yayi announced a ministerial reshuffle on 22 October. Yet th...


The Left's alternative economics

Cosatu and the SACP want to abandon inflation-targeting and spend the money 'released' on job creation, poverty and income support

The Congress of South African Trade Unions and South African Communist Party are enraged by African National Congress President Jacob Zuma's statements on economic policy continuit...


Forever delayed

Postponing polls has become a habit, but the parties are still focused on winning power whenever the election comes

Politicians all agree that the latest election deadline of 30 November cannot be met and expect the polls to be held in March next year at the earliest. The postponements have drag...


Economy: Trouble in the markets

Watching oil prices fall from US$147 a barrel to $57 over the past month and listening to endless media speculation about his health must have been disconcerting for President Umar...



Pointers

Kony's new front

As the crisis around Goma intensifies, conditions further north are deteriorating, opening up the possibility of more regional intervention. In the mineral-rich Orientale, Ugandan...


Pirates and tanks

The news that the arms onboard the hijacked MV Faina were destined for the Government of Southern Sudan – via Kenyan end-user certificates and covert transport – has damaged Nairo...