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Published 5th March 2010

Vol 51 No 5


Nigeria

Yar'Adua goes into extra time

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The reappearance of the President has worsened the political paralysis – and the splits in the PDP government

On 3 March, the state governors decided to block a vote that could have set in motion President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s enforced resignation on medical grounds. This has won his supporters in Abuja more time but does nothing to resolve the crisis caused by the power vacuum at the centre of government. Three days earlier, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan had tried to address the crisis by appointing a 26-member Presidential Advisory Council to speed up the implementation of government policy on key issues: the amnesty in the Niger Delta, rehabilitation of the electric power grid, electoral reform and stronger anti-corruption measures.


On her Majesty's Secret Service

Wits in Abuja have taken to referring to First Lady Turai Yar’Adua as ‘Her Majesty’ and her coterie of apparatchiks as the ‘Secret Service’. She organised the clandestine return to...


Tightening the welfare belt

A centrist budget annoys the people who got the President elected and leaves some economic questions unanswered

South Africa is now the biggest welfare state in the developing world and the implications for public finances are frightening. As the recession tapers off, the rising public debt ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

South African President Jacob Zuma has been accused of kowtowing to President Robert Mugabe in his attempts on 4 March to persuade British Premier Gordon Brown to lobby for the lifting of European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe. In fact, Zuma is searching for leverage with Mugabe, suggesting that sanctions could be quickly reimposed if pledges are not kept. Zuma’s team of advisors on Zimbabwe – foreign policy specialist Lindiwe Zulu, ANC veteran Mac Maharaj and former Home Affairs Minister Char...
South African President Jacob Zuma has been accused of kowtowing to President Robert Mugabe in his attempts on 4 March to persuade British Premier Gordon Brown to lobby for the lifting of European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe. In fact, Zuma is searching for leverage with Mugabe, suggesting that sanctions could be quickly reimposed if pledges are not kept. Zuma’s team of advisors on Zimbabwe – foreign policy specialist Lindiwe Zulu, ANC veteran Mac Maharaj and former Home Affairs Minister Charles Nqaqula – have made some headway in negotiations on political and security issues despite reports of hardline ZANU-PF elements stepping up attacks. Many sanctions on Zimbabwe are, though, under review: its voting rights at the IMF have been restored. The IMF and the World Bank are working on a plan to tackle its arrears and speed up disbursement for the short term recovery programme – despite the United States’ and Britain’s veto on loans. That too may change after some diplomatic clodhopping. Last year, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that it was up to the MDC to decide when sanctions were lifted. Since then, Premier Morgan Tsvangirai has written to EU leaders calling for a general review of sanctions and Finance Minister Tendai Biti has asked the EU to lift sanctions on eight specific companies; it quickly complied. However, the last set of sanctions – the targeting of ZANU-PF officials and their business friends – is likely to stand for many months yet.
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Small print, big figures

Monetary and exchange-rate policy

In October, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan hinted at big economic changes. The South African Reserve Bank’s inflation strategy would be amended, the 3-6% target range for official...


Sassou's reforms on trial

The IMF and World Bank have given Sassou-Nguesso a clean bill of health but anti-corruption lobbyists diasgree

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s determination to tackle corruption in Congo-Brazzaville will be tested on 9 March. EITI directors will meet to consider upgradi...


Another temporary fix

No government, no electoral commission, no firm date for elections – the President has got what he wanted

Once again, President Laurent Gbagbo has driven democratisation off the rails. On 12 February, he used Article 48 of the Constitution, which allows him to take exceptional measures...


A coup to stop a coup

The officers who threw out President Tandja must quickly prove they’re serious about constitutional rule

So far, Niamey’s new military leaders have played by the new-model putschists’ book. They ousted controversial President Mamadou Tandja on 18 February, then promised a rapid restor...


Oil and optimism

The President’s grand development plans contrast sharply with partisan manoeuvres in Parliament and beyond

In a year’s time Ghana should be producing 150,000 barrels of oil a day and its economy should be growing at well over 10% a year (AC Vol 50 No 25 & Vol 51 No 1). Its party pol...


Kabila's new slim-look cabinet

A cabinet reshuffle brings in a few new faces but fails to find the promised seats for the CNDP

It was supposed to be a reshuffle for austerity, in preparation for next year’s elections, and the government’s heavyweights hold on to their jobs, notably Alexis Thambwé Mwamba (F...


Target Asmara

UN experts identify Asmara’s troublemaking in Somalia but the Security Council may not do much about it

A new United Nations investigation, still under wraps but seen by Africa Confidential, will lead to further quarrels in the UN Security Council over what to do about Eritrea’s trou...


Who's who in the Nigerien coup

Salou Djibou, commander of the main armoured unit in Niamey, led the assault on the Presidency which culminated in the capture of President Mamadou Tandja and his ministers on 18 F...


Burning passions

A bizarre series of fires at government buildings has led to a whispering campaign reminiscent of the spate of brutal murders before the 2000 election campaign, which Flight Lieut...


Hush hush money

Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito would like to hush up a report from the Economic and Financial Commission (Ecofin) of the National Assembly, which urges the government to manage Cong...


Doubts over Darfur

Foreign governments welcome claims of a peace deal in Darfur but many Sudanese see it as another pre-election trick by Khartoum

The latest Darfur peace deal announced on 23 February meets the strategic aims of the ruling National Congress Party (aka National Islamic Front, NIF): to consolidate a fragmented ...


Uranium battleground

The race to develop new uranium mines in the central Namib Desert is led by France’s nuclear giant Areva, pursued by smaller Australian and Canadian exploration companies. Areva pl...



Pointers

BAE Systems refunds fraud

BAE Systems could face another round of legal problems on its arms contracts in Africa, Eastern Europe and Saudi Arabia following an injunction obtained by British lobbyists Corner...


Truth and Kiplagat

The position of Bethuel Kiplagat, Chairman of Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, is under serious threat since the calls for his resignation by South African Arc...