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Published 3rd April 2009

Vol 50 No 7


Kenya

A reform deadline for the rivals

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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A year after the power-sharing accord, political change is faltering and the police are shooting human rights activists

Politicians gathering in Nairobi and Geneva this week candidly admit that time is fast running out for the Grand Coalition to implement its promised reforms, without which Kenya will face more chaos at the next elections due in 2012. Such an analysis, although shared across party lines, does little to galvanise action among the political class. For most, the dominant issues revolve around the mooted candidacies and alliances for the 2012 elections. The fact that politicians are putting themselves forward as presidential candidates presupposes there will be no substantive changes in the constitution - such as cutting the president's executive powers - before the next election.


Inside the sealed envelope

A sealed envelope with the names of ten people judged by Justice Philip Waki's Commission to be the most important financiers and organisers of last year's post-election violence (...


In office, but not in power

Raila Odinga’s office is not running smoothly: his small staff are at odds and are holding up the reforms

The 14th Floor of the Treasury Building that Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his modest staff occupy has been the office of Kenya's finance minister since the 1980s and has seen so...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

As host of the the 2 April G-20 summit British Prime Minister Gordon Brown celebrated the US$1 trillion fiscal stimulus deal to tackle the financial crisis, but the nearly 30-page communiqué hardly mentioned Africa. The summit’s pledge to ‘provide $50 billion to support social protection, boost trade and safeguard development in low income countries’ was the 25th commitment of 29. Analysts and activists differ on how much Africa needs to weather the crisis. The World Bank’s Africa Economist Sh...
As host of the the 2 April G-20 summit British Prime Minister Gordon Brown celebrated the US$1 trillion fiscal stimulus deal to tackle the financial crisis, but the nearly 30-page communiqué hardly mentioned Africa. The summit’s pledge to ‘provide $50 billion to support social protection, boost trade and safeguard development in low income countries’ was the 25th commitment of 29. Analysts and activists differ on how much Africa needs to weather the crisis. The World Bank’s Africa Economist Shanta Devarajan put the figure at $20 bn., which he says would cover the continent’s balance of payment needs; $20 bn. is also the gap between the rich countries’ aid commitments made at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 and what they have paid so far. Aid agencies have bigger wish lists: an Oxfam representative claims that Africa would require a $580 bn. package. Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin suggests emerging and developing countries would need as much as $2 trn. Both the Bank and aid agencies raise the alarm about falling trade levels: 17 out of the G-20 countries have brought in protectionist measures in response to the crisis. The IMF and Bank negotiated new finance and relevance at the summit amidst the financial fall-out. IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn secured a $500 bn. boost to the Fund’s resources and a $250 bn. ‘overdraft facility’. And the Bank and the African Development Bank will share a $100 bn. credit line for the poorest countries.
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Inevitable victory

As the challenges to the governing ANC fizzle out, people are asking what Jacob Zuma wants to do with power

There remains one main unanswered question about the elections due on 22 April : the size of the African National Congress’s vote. Most estimates put it at 55-65% and predict the A...


Words like freedom

Telling the public the truth is getting more dangerous and expensive, as rulers and militias resist the development of a free press. The rate of targeted killings of journalists in Africa is rising fast. Governments and corrupt businesses are resorting to launching defamation cases or backing draconian media laws to crack down on independent journalism.

On the first day of 2009, Hassan Mayow, a journalist working for Somalia's Radio Shabelle, was shot dead by government troops in Afgoye, 30 kilometres outside the capital. The sold...


Libya and its African brothers

The row in Africa over migration weakens progress towards the African Union's aims of the free movement of people, goods and services across the continent, says Albert Ouédraogo, C...


Sanctions and finance

South Africa's Trevor Manuel and the AfDB's Donald Kaberuka call for a substantial finance package to support Harare's new government

In London for the G-20 summit on 2 April, African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka told Africa Confidential that Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti was making headwa...


Don't forget your SIM card

Sub-Saharan Africa is not famous for technological innovation but a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that mobile telephone use has grown twice as qui...


Air strikes and silence

Why was Khartoum so reluctant to admit that its arms transhipments had been hit by Israeli air strikes?

Khartoum said nothing about Israel's air strikes on north-east Sudan in January and February until the news leaked out through an Egyptian newspaper last week. It then blamed them ...


The battle in the provinces

COPE focuses on just three provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape, leaving KwaZulu-Natal to the ANC and Inkatha

Western Cape: The opposition parties – probably in a coalition of the Democratic Alliance, Independent Democrats and Congress of the People – will win. Northern Cape: This is th...


Aller-retour

Huge numbers of West Africans hope to make a living abroad but find barriers in neighbouring countries and the rich West

The loss of more than 200 lives on 30 March, when a ship carrying African migrants to Europe sank off the coast of Libya, prompted calls for rich countries to ease their strictures...


Homemade toxic assets

After some stellar years of expansion, the financial sector faces a deepening crisis

The uncertainty about the future of Central Bank Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo reflects the drift in Nigeria’s policy over the past 18 months. Soludu, who was appointed in May 2...



Pointers

Security in disguise

Khartoum’s expulsion of 13 international non-governmental organisations has provided an opportunity for asset stripping (AC Vol 50 No 6). Instead of handing over premises, equipmen...


Then there were two

The Malawi Electoral Commission’s barring of former President Bakili Muluzi from May’s presidential election has sparked a crisis after the dissolution of Parliament and the start ...