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Published 20th February 2009

Vol 50 No 4


Zimbabwe

A mixture, not a coalition

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The new government, with no money and little power, is stronger on hopes than on expectations

Welshman Ncube, the long-time oppositionist who chairs the monitoring body for the new power-sharing government, is distributing leaflets which read: 'Zimbabwe is our Zimbabwe. It is not Mugabe's Zimbabwe. It is not Tsvangirai's Zimbabwe. It is our Zimbabwe. We, the people of Zimbabwe, hold the power. It is up to us to make sure we create a new Zimbabwe.' This, perhaps, sums up the popular mood, which holds that the country has turned a corner with the formation of the coalition (AC Vol 50 Nos 1 & 3).



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Africa’s putschists are having a good financial crisis. Governments, preoccupied with the slowdown, have little enthusiasm for moral campaigns against would-be military rulers. Harder economic times are likely to prompt more unrest among workers and soldiers. Until now, the growth of criminal rackets such as drug trafficking and the trading of stolen oil has bought off some of the dissent. That is no longer working. Despite stern reprimands and its refusal to share a conference table with put...
Africa’s putschists are having a good financial crisis. Governments, preoccupied with the slowdown, have little enthusiasm for moral campaigns against would-be military rulers. Harder economic times are likely to prompt more unrest among workers and soldiers. Until now, the growth of criminal rackets such as drug trafficking and the trading of stolen oil has bought off some of the dissent. That is no longer working. Despite stern reprimands and its refusal to share a conference table with putschists, the African Union has little influence on the trend. The two successful juntas – under General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in Mauritania and Captain Moussa Dadis Camara in Guinea – are ignoring the AU’s censure. Both talk about elections but are not keen to tie themselves to a date. The latest troubles – coup attempts in São Tomé and Equatorial Guinea, and a street uprising in Madagascar – further wrongfooted the AU. In the Gulf of Guinea, there are signs of regional involvement in the plots. A senior Gabonese official predicts a bad endgame for Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema (their countries are disputing maritime boundaries) but blames other governments for sponsoring the attack. Everyone else, including the Nigerian government, finds it more convenient to blame a rogue force from the Niger Delta. If a band of seaborne militants thinks it can get into the business of toppling governments, the region’s security may be even shakier than it looks.
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