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Published 14th November 2008

Vol 49 No 23


Nigeria

The waiting game

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Presidential contenders, ministerial hopefuls and errant state governors are all caught up in the capital's political paralysis

Three groups of ambitious politicians stalk Abuja's corridors of power, hoping for events to unfold in their favour. There are the men who would be king: former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, former military head of state General Ibrahim Babangida, former Chief of Military Intelligence, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and former Secretary to the Federation Babagana Kingibe. All stand ready to make their bid should President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua relinquish power before 2011, as many of the capital's pundits confidently predict.


Among the survivors

After months of speculation, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has sacked half his cabinet but retained several of his old associates and surprisingly kept on a few of the worst-perfor...


Changes ahead for UN forces

Africa's crises may prompt radical reform of the mandates and structures of peacekeeping operations

United Nations' peacekeeping faces its biggest crisis since it started some 60 years ago in Palestine. This month, over a million lives are at risk in Congo-Kinshasa as rival facti...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Nelson Mandela has been pulled out of retirement twice since his 90th birthday, both within the last week. First, to congratulate United States President-elect Barack Obama on his election victory: 'Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,' wrote Mandela. It does not get much better for a serious politician than to be called an inspiration by Nelson Mandela.

The more reserved expre...

Nelson Mandela has been pulled out of retirement twice since his 90th birthday, both within the last week. First, to congratulate United States President-elect Barack Obama on his election victory: 'Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,' wrote Mandela. It does not get much better for a serious politician than to be called an inspiration by Nelson Mandela.

The more reserved expressions of support for Obama by other senior members of the ruling ANC were consistent with the poor state of US-South African relations. Improving them will be a priority for Obama's Africa policy.

Mandela's other mission this week was the sad one of paying tribute to Mama Afrika. Zenzile Miriam Makeba died of a heart attack, aged 76, on 10 November. 'Her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us,' Mandela said. After a 1954 tour with the Manhattan Brothers helped her leave South Africa, Makeba became a cultural force against apartheid and a star, singing with Harry Belafonte and then at President John F. Kennedy's birthday party in 1962 alongside Marilyn Monroe.

Some Americans were less happy with her marriage to black power leader Stokely Carmichael and her sojourn in Guinea under Sékou Touré. But Makeba campaigned to the end: hours before she died she was singing at a concert near Naples, organised to fight racism and the mafia.

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Banda, the successor

The new President Banda will have to tackle rising inflation and falling export revenue

Zambia's new President, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, 71, will rule for only three years. The next election is already scheduled for 2011. In that brief period, he must convince Zambians t...


The man who says no

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A kidnapped colonel

Who kidnapped a presidential nephew in Yaounde; and why the neighbours disagree so often

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Banda boxes clever

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How smuggling pays for killing

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The Gono hot air balloon

The Reserve Bank Governor has declared war on the currency with disastrous results

Wresting the Finance Ministry from Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) may prove a Pyrrhic victory for Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for ...


Nujoma's grasp

The ex-President's loyalists obstruct and may destroy his successor's gentler government

The intolerance is wider, as indicated by calls to oust suspected RDP members from their jobs, in or outside the public sector. During the recent election campaign for the new Omut...


Bringing in the harvest

An African food-production triumph raises questions about the purpose and value of Western aid

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A mysterious US$100 million

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Pointers

Anonymous commerce

Suspicion hangs over Norway's oil major Statoil Hydro after an internal audit published last month flagged as suspicious a joint venture with a mystery Angolan company, signed in S...


Espion embarrassant

The leaked diaries of former French intelligence chief Yves Bertrand have enraged and amused the political establishment in Paris, which is already intrigued by the accusations of ...


Mutual aid

President Robert Mugabe initially responded to the world's financial crisis with more than a touch of Schadenfreude. This has given way to panic as the implications become clear. F...


Towards Mali

Last week's discovery of a consignment of weapons in a car en route to Mali raises yet more questions about corruption and divisions within Guinea's security forces. A team of gend...