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Published 20th March 2009

Vol 50 No 6


Sudan

New battles for Darfur

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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As some SLM factions regroup, the Justice and Equality Movement tries to position itself for a new order

The political crisis in Khartoum after the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir has fostered new hopes among the opposition, not least in Darfur. Some factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army are talking to each other for the first time in years (AC Vol 50 No 5). Enter the strengthening Justice and Equality Movement, which complicates everyone's calculations about the Darfur opposition. In the United States, meanwhile, President Barack Obama has appointed Air Force Major General J. Scott Gration, who speaks Swahili, as his Special Envoy to Sudan.


An African 'war on terror'

The murder of an activist and the police reaction to a criminal conspiracy reveal another dark side of Kenyan politics

Oscar King'ara was murdered a day after he had pointed to a cabinet minister and the Kenyan police as being directly responsible for a two-year wave of extrajudicial killings and d...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

A month before South Africa’s national elections, it has emerged that the National Prosecuting Authority is considering abandoning its anti-corruption case against Jacob Zuma, the African National Congress leader. Leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance Helen Zille has suggested that Zuma may be pressuring the prosecutor's office to drop the charges in exchange for an undertaking that he would refrain from purging the office after he is elected national president. Of all the option...
A month before South Africa’s national elections, it has emerged that the National Prosecuting Authority is considering abandoning its anti-corruption case against Jacob Zuma, the African National Congress leader. Leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance Helen Zille has suggested that Zuma may be pressuring the prosecutor's office to drop the charges in exchange for an undertaking that he would refrain from purging the office after he is elected national president. Of all the options open to Zuma – appealing to the constitutional court, fighting the charges in the lower courts, passing an Italian-style immunity law or sacking the prosecutors when he is president – persuading the prosecutors to drop the charges before the election is the neatest solution for him. Without such a deal, he would face multiple corruption charges and have to pack his first cabinet with ultra-loyalists to protect him. If the deal works, he could draw his ministers from wider pool of talent. He may also feel less pressure to appoint allies such as former Limpopo Premier Ngoako Ramathlodi or Durban lawyer, Muzi Mkhize as the new director of the prosecutor’s office. However, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, no stranger to legal controversy himself, said Zuma should prove his innocence in court because of perceptions that ‘political exigencies may have overtaken the rule of law’. And for once many South Africans will agree with him.
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BEE hits the credit crunch

The transfer of wealth to black owners is slowing as the wealth fades, leaving a deep political hole behind it

The collapse of the world economy, and of demand for raw materials, has brought down the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, rocked South Africa's carefully regulated financial sector and...


'Andry TGV' takes over

After the crisis that led to 135 deaths and the resignation of President Ravalomanana, the new young chief will have to meet many aspirations

Andry Rajoelina swept into power on the shoulders of rebellious soldiers and his own rhetoric. The High Constitutional Court confirmed him as head of the Haute Autorité de la Trans...


Anti-pirate alliance

Expensive naval alliances have formed to deter the sea raiders who prey on ships off the Horn

Millions of dollars, hundreds of troops and over two dozen ships from around the world chase pirates off the Somali coast (AC Vol 49 No 24). Yet the rate of pirate attacks remains ...


Paying off grudges

Riots and old resentments bring fighting back to Freetown

The worst political violence to hit Sierra Leone since the 2007 election left dozens wounded this week, when supporters of the governing All People’s Congress and the opposition Si...


The piracy menace

Ransom payments range from US$500,000 to $3 million. The total since January 2008 is about $50-80 mn. Legal fees for a typical case are around $300,000, plus $100,000 for a ransom ...



Pointers

Ancestral spirits

The death in a freak car crash of Susan Tsvangirai, the wife of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, will have both political and religious consequences. Traditional Shona etiquette r...


Farewell, Lady Bongo

The death of First Lady Edith Lucie Bongo Ondimba née Sassou-Nguesso and her subsequent grand funeral in Libreville on 19 March has prompted a wave of sympathy and political manoeu...