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Published 5th February 2010

Vol 51 No 3


No one writes to the Colonel

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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After blocking Gadaffi’s bid for a second term as AU Chairman, the summiteers toughened their anti-coup rules and called for peacekeepers in Somalia

The reign of Libya’s Moammar el Gadaffi as Chairman of the African Union has ended in a petulant whimper rather than in a big bang for African unity as the Colonel had promised. He flounced out of the AU summit in Addis Ababa on 1 February after failing to cajole his fellow leaders into giving him a second, unconstitutional term as Chairman. Offers of oil largesse to his usual supporters and then attempts to split the votes of a rival candidate all ran into the ground. Libyan diplomats candidly admitted that the AU was no nearer to his promised union government than it was when Gadaffi took over a year ago.


Economic clouds, platinum lining

Foreign mining companies benefit more from the halting recovery as local political problems mount

Hefty political obstacles block further economic progress in Zimbabwe after last year’s impressive turnaround. Mining operations, such as those involving gold and platinum, will gr...


The President ends his holiday

As the plotting and squabbles in the ZANU-PF break into the open, the military launches a new round of farm seizures

The first anniversary of the power-sharing agreement was inauspicious, as all three parties in government argue over the pace of political reform and blame each other for holding u...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s awkwardness with journalists sparked a diplomatic furore after he was quoted at the African Union summit as saying that the UN would ‘work hard to avoid a possible secession’ in Sudan. Furious officials at the Government of South Sudan’s mission to the United States told Africa Confidential it was unacceptable for the UN to take sides ahead of next year’s referendum on independence for the South. Ban’s statement also prompted a request for  cla...
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s awkwardness with journalists sparked a diplomatic furore after he was quoted at the African Union summit as saying that the UN would ‘work hard to avoid a possible secession’ in Sudan. Furious officials at the Government of South Sudan’s mission to the United States told Africa Confidential it was unacceptable for the UN to take sides ahead of next year’s referendum on independence for the South. Ban’s statement also prompted a request for  clarification from the South’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, and local protests. Complicating matters for Secretary General Ban was that he was speaking after remarks by AU Commission President Jean Ping, who is openly pro-Khartoum, suggesting that Southern secession could prompt Sudan’s violent break-up. Some critics note that in 1950, the UN intervened with the USA’s backing in Ban’s homeland to divide the country into North Korea and South Korea. UN Spokesman Farhan Haq insisted that Ban had been misinterpreted and misreported. Another UN official told us Ban was trying to reinvigorate the final stages of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which calls for both parties to make national unity ‘attractive’. Although the UN would not go against the results of the referendum, the official said, it might seek a political deal as part of a two-track strategy; the other track would be preparations for a newly independent state.The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s awkwardness with journalists sparked a diplomatic furore after he was quoted at the African Union summit as saying that the UN would ‘work hard to avoid a possible secession’ in Sudan. Furious officials at the Government of South Sudan’s mission to the United States told Africa Confidential it was unacceptable for the UN to take sides ahead of next year’s referendum on independence for the South. Ban’s statement also prompted a request for  clarification from the South’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, and local protests. Complicating matters for Secretary General Ban was that he was speaking after remarks by AU Commission President Jean Ping, who is openly pro-Khartoum, suggesting that Southern secession could prompt Sudan’s violent break-up. Some critics note that in 1950, the UN intervened with the USA’s backing in Ban’s homeland to divide the country into North Korea and South Korea. UN Spokesman Farhan Haq insisted that Ban had been misinterpreted and misreported. Another UN official told us Ban was trying to reinvigorate the final stages of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which calls for both parties to make national unity ‘attractive’. Although the UN would not go against the results of the referendum, the official said, it might seek a political deal as part of a two-track strategy; the other track would be preparations for a newly independent state.
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More money for the military

The Pentagon is expanding the reach and role of its new Africa command after a shaky start

The United States’ military strategy in Africa, much criticised under President George W. Bush, looks much the same over a year after the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Th...


An American agreement

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Southern leaders compete for a new state

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Who’s who in Africom

Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for African Affairs, General William ‘Kip’ Ward, Commander, Africom, Anthony Holmes, Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Militar...


Warriors and diplomats

The United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, represents a remarkable shift in policy over little more than a decade. In 1995, a Defense Department memorandum concluded t...



Pointers

David Coetzee

Over a hundred of us gathered at the Friends Meeting House in Washington DC on 29 January to pay tribute to David Coetzee, a pioneering spirit in African journalism, who had died t...


It's all mine

When Mines Minister Susan Shabangu assured South African mining companies that nationalisation would not happen in her lifetime, the reaction at this year’s mining indaba in Cape T...


Third time lucky

In the run-up to the presidential election, due but not confirmed in April, political squabbles are increasing. President Dahir Riyale Kahin accused his rival, Ahmed Mohamed Silany...