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Published 18th December 2009

Vol 50 No 25


South Africa

Ready or not, here they come

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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President Zuma’s government is confident about the 2010 World Cup preparations, despite professional fouls in the organising committee

Sepp Blatter, President of football’s ruling Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) looked relieved at the 11 December draw in Cape Town for next year’s World Cup. Standing next to South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on the podium, Blatter grabbed Zuma’s hand and raised it aloft in triumph, proclaiming: ‘We did it!’ The much-lambasted Blatter likes to trumpet his achievements and the evidence on display in Cape Town suggested that this time he might be right.


Prospering yet parlous

The economy is looking up but scandals and regional tensions upset the governing party’s election hopes

With copper revenue rising, poverty falling and farms thriving, the fortunes of President Rupiah Banda’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) government should be on the up, wit...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Alice in Wonderland syndrome refers to the heroine’s ability to believe three impossible things before breakfast. Yet sometimes, impossibly bizarre news items turn out to be true: on 17 December in Nigeria, the Asaba High Court threw out 170 charges of corruption against former Governor of Delta State James Ibori. In 2007, a British court froze assets, linked to him, worth US$35 million. His annual salary at the time was under $25,000. A month earlier, President José Eduardo dos Santos announc...
Alice in Wonderland syndrome refers to the heroine’s ability to believe three impossible things before breakfast. Yet sometimes, impossibly bizarre news items turn out to be true: on 17 December in Nigeria, the Asaba High Court threw out 170 charges of corruption against former Governor of Delta State James Ibori. In 2007, a British court froze assets, linked to him, worth US$35 million. His annual salary at the time was under $25,000. A month earlier, President José Eduardo dos Santos announced that Angola’s oil wealth had been squandered: ‘Irresponsible people have taken advantage of this circumstance to squander resources and to carry out illicit and fraudulent acts of management.’ Earlier still, Germany’s Siemens, charged with grand corruption in Nigeria, declared itself ready to work with the World Bank ‘to eliminate fraud and corruption’ and to pay $100 mn. towards the work of anti-corruption activists. Sounds impossible? Then think of law firm Carter-Ruck’s rearguard action against a campaign to reform Britain’s 19th century defamation laws. Without such laws, Carter-Ruck say it would be impossible to defend people’s rights against a ‘vicious’ and ‘aggressive’ press. Carter-Ruck’s clients have included Zimbabwean businessman John Bredenkamp, the late Saudi billionaire Khaled bin Mahfouz and oil-trading company Trafigura, which has just won a defamation case in the London High Court against the BBC.
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North and South protest against the NCP election plan

Demonstrators demand political reforms before the 2010 elections

Anti-regime demonstrators from both North and South Sudan first joined forces on the streets of Khartoum on 7 December to demand sweeping reforms before the elections scheduled for...


Rough ride

New constitutional proposals would take powers from the presidency and give more to the regions but would not end the arguments

A draft constitution bill has at last been published by a committee of experts chaired by Nzamba Kitonga. Its main aims are to limit the power of Kenya’s presidency and to decentra...


A new regional peace effort

Amid formidable diplomatic obstacles in a troubled region, East African armies are building a new intervention force

In early December, 1,087 soldiers from eleven east African countries convened in Djibouti for a test run of the region’s first rapid reaction military force. The East African Stand...


Tarnished halo

This once-favoured destination for aid and investment is now struggling with financial scandals and budget shortfalls

The sheen is wearing off Tanzania's image as the friendliest East African country for investors and foreign aid agencies. Politics in the lead up to next year's legislative and pre...


Operation Atalanta in Pirate Alley

Just a year ago, the European Union launched its first-ever patrol mission in foreign seas to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden (AC Vol 50 No 21). Operation Atalanta contributes up...


A storm in the fish ponds

What seemed to start as a local quarrel has turned into a new challenge to the beleaguered Congolese state

Small rows can end in great slaughter and the Congolese government is powerless to limit it. A humanitarian catastrophe and a political uprising started around some fish ponds in E...


Banking on it

The credibility of the Tanzanian government's reform drive depends mostly on the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, Benno Ndulu. The country is suffering both from a financial meltd...



Pointers

The oil obstacles

The politically charged battle over Kosmos Energy's attempts to sell its stake in the Jubilee field casts a shadow over Ghana's graduation as a serious oil producer next year. Kosm...


Toumba on the run

More military infighting looms following a shoot-out on 3 December in which junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was hit in the head and then flown to Morocco for medical treat...


SWAPO's victory challenged

Nine opposition parties have launched a joint legal challenge to the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) election victory on 27-28 November. This may force a recount (...