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Published 19th March 2010

Vol 51 No 6


Zimbabwe

Reluctantly to the election

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The political stalemate in the coalition is blocking reforms and economic recovery and may force a snap election – if South Africa can’t forge a deal

President Jacob Zuma’s suggestion that fresh elections might offer a way out of the current impasse has sparked off a complex game of ‘call my bluff’ amongst the parties to the power-sharing government. It seems clear that Zuma and his advisors would prefer some form of power-sharing to continue in Zimbabwe, even after polls.


The next revolution

The crisis at Telecel Zimbabwe points to the political and economic problems with the new indigenisation laws, which many see as yet another form of patronage for the Zimbabwe Afri...


FPR dissidents break cover

Some former allies of President Kagame lead a campaign against him as grenades explode in Kigali and dissidents are accused of terrorism

The ruling party faces a challenge from within. On 19 February, as people were on their way home from work, three grenades exploded in Kigali, killing three people and injuring abo...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The combination of militia attacks in the Middle Belt, killing over 200 people, and bombs in the Niger Delta has given Acting President Goodluck Jonathan the pretext to assert his authority – despite his questionable constitutional position and the opposition of most of the 36 state governors. The sacking on 17 March of all the ministers appointed by ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua means the balance of power swings back in Jonathan’s direction. He started the process by removing the much ex...
The combination of militia attacks in the Middle Belt, killing over 200 people, and bombs in the Niger Delta has given Acting President Goodluck Jonathan the pretext to assert his authority – despite his questionable constitutional position and the opposition of most of the 36 state governors. The sacking on 17 March of all the ministers appointed by ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua means the balance of power swings back in Jonathan’s direction. He started the process by removing the much excoriated Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa, then sacked National Security Advisor Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar and is now reshaping the regime, helped by three veteran soldiers: Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma, who chairs Jonathan’s Advisory Council, the new National Security Advisor, Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, and former Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Owoye Andrew Azazi. The mass ministerial sacking may be a ploy to purge Yar’Adua’s placemen but reappoint committed reformers, such as Oil Minister Rilwanu Lukman and his Deputy, Odein Ajumogobia, and Finance Minister Mansur Mukhtar. It may also prompt another clash with the governors who have sided with Yar’Adua’s camp in recent weeks. It may be a risk worth taking, given the outbreak of political violence around the country. After clinging to Yar’Adua’s baba riga for months, the more ambitious politicians may now press for early elections, while they block attempts to reform the present corrupt system.
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The north makes its stand

The prospect of the opposition uniting behind a single candidate against President Museveni in next year’s election is diminishing

A year ago, opposition politicians agreed to form a national alliance, the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue, to defeat incumbent President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, now in his 2...


Military money

In budget-cutting Washington DC, European cooperation is welcome even if European budgets are a fraction of United States’ funds. The US government has cut its Africom budget to US...


The men at the centre

* Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, 44, won a second five-year term, on a platform of economic development and reform, with few details. He will be sworn in on 3 May, after the Constitut...


More troops for Mogadishu

The government has new allies against Al Shabaab but the facts on the ground remain much the same

The Transitional Federal Government has a new component. On 15 March in Addis Ababa, the TFG signed an agreement with Ahlu Sunna wal Jama’a, the council (and militia) that administ...


Aid strike in Maputo

Relations between President Guebuza’s government and the West are deteriorating fast – that will mean less aid

Diplomats and foreign aid organisations are due to meet in Maputo on 19 March to decide whether to call off what amounts to an aid strike against President Armando Guebuza’s govern...


Confusion after the coup

The new military rulers promise an anti-corruption purge and elections but are thin on detail

The 18 February coup was almost surgical and was popular with the many people who wanted President Mamadou Tandja ousted, but the follow-up appears more improvised and chaotic (AC ...


Whitehall strengthens Sharif

No one was left in any doubt about the purpose of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s four-day trip to Britain last week. He wanted, he told a 9 March audience at the Karimia Institute...


US military calls up Europe

Washington wants the European Union to work with its African military missions, which may be more complicated than it seems

The United States Africa Command (Africom) wants help with its task of promoting stability and fighting terrorism on the continent and hopes to get it from the European Union. On 4...


Tarnished triumph

As President Faure’s regime cracks down on protest against his election fraud, the opposition dithers

Opposition politicians say the results of the 6 March elections were fraudulent but show little stomach for confronting the heavily militarised regime in Lomé or elsewhere. France ...



Pointers

Death of a Sudanese activist

British police are investigating whether the murder of Sudanese human rights activist Abdel Salam Hassan Abdel Salam in south London on the night of 12-13 March was political or pu...


Kabba on trial

The energetic Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Abdul Tejan-Cole, is scoring some success, with the suspension of the third minister in President Ernest Bai Koroma’s gove...


Sonangol gulps

Sonangol, Angola’s state-owned oil company, could take a controlling stake in Portugal’s Galp oil company as part of its ambitious overseas acquisition strategy. In late February, ...


The next oil scramble

A new battle for oil blocks has started in the troubled north-east after France’s Total announced that it was seeking acreage in the Lake Albert basin, in alliance with Ireland’s f...