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Published 15th May 2009

Vol 50 No 10


Ethiopia

A change is going to come

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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After 18 years in power, serious moves are afoot to renew the leadership of the ruling EPRDF

Change is coming to Ethiopia, says Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. It was time the country's political old guard stepped down, he told Africa Confidential in an interview on 3 May. Meles has submitted his resignation and the ruling party discussed it in February - but that does not make it inevitable. If there is a change, it would be more of personnel than policy, he suggested. The issue was not that the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front had ruled for 18 years but that 'the same people have been in positions of leadership throughout the period'. He included himself in 'the old leadership which was leading the EPRDF during the armed struggle and up to now'. When asked if he was expecting 'a collective transition', Meles replied, 'Yes, I think that the next crucial step needs to be taken,' implying that the older generation faced retirement.


The challengers

While no names have yet been put forward, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's proposals for change have prompted much discussion behind the scenes. Africa Confidential lists the potentia...


Until the stout lady sings

All the party leaders are struggling to keep a grip on their undisciplined comrades

The battle for supremacy within the power-sharing government is taking second place to wrangling for power within the three main parties (AC Vol 50 Nos 8 & 9). At stake is the ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

On 4 May, Niger’s President Mamadou Tandja laid the first brick in what will become Africa’s largest uranium mine at Imouraren in Niger. He was joined by Anne Lauvergeon, President of French nuclear conglomerate Areva, and Alain Joyardet, French Cooperation Minister. This followed President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Niamey on 27 March. Neither side will publish the financial terms of the deal, said to be highly disadvantageous to Niger. Environmental groups say that Areva’s previous operations ...
On 4 May, Niger’s President Mamadou Tandja laid the first brick in what will become Africa’s largest uranium mine at Imouraren in Niger. He was joined by Anne Lauvergeon, President of French nuclear conglomerate Areva, and Alain Joyardet, French Cooperation Minister. This followed President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Niamey on 27 March. Neither side will publish the financial terms of the deal, said to be highly disadvantageous to Niger. Environmental groups say that Areva’s previous operations in the area poisoned the water supply. On the same day as the Areva inauguration, Tandja announced a national referendum allowing him to change the constitution and run for a third five-year presidential term, apparently with Sarkozy’s approval. The day before, the government had signed a ceasefire with the mainly Tuareg rebels in the north. The rebels have been fighting for a greater share of mining revenue since February 2007 in a conflict that has killed at least 300 rebels and 80 government soldiers. Tandja met representatives from the three main rebel groups: the Mouvement des Nigériens pour la Justice, the Front des Forces de Redressement and the Front Patriotique Nigérien in Agadez. No timetable for disarmament has yet been set but mediation by Libyan leader Moammar el Gadaffi and French diplomatic pressure have yielded results in the short-term. So, we hear, have payments to rebel groups by Areva to protect their staff: some French diplomats have drawn a comparison with oil companies in the Niger Delta and say the payments could ‘set a dangerous precedent in the long term’.
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Crime and amnesty

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Votes that don't add up

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Welome back, Chief Tony

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The security brigade

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Buoyed up by aid and trade, the party in power is sure that it will sweep the coming elections

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Don't blame me!

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Pointers

Tactical defeat

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Open sesame

In diplomatic bartering this week, Khartoum offered limited access in Darfur to some affiliates of the 13 Western aid agencies it expelled on 4 March. Yet, at the same time, it has...


Wade dynasty

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Franc Afrique

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