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Published 2nd April 2010

Vol 51 No 7


Kenya

A blow against impunity

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The International Criminal Court is to probe election violence and may put some leading politicians and business people on trial for crimes against humanity

The 31 March decision by the judges of the International Criminal Court to approve an investigation into the 2007 election violence follows two years of obfuscation and ambivalence by the Kenyan government (AC Vol 51 No 1). The Court's Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, who recommended the investigation, has a list of 20 key suspects and says he plans to focus the probe on about six individuals. The cases may come to trial within 18 months. Many of the country's senior politicians oppose the ICC's intervention and fear that they or their political allies could be implicated in the probe - although few have been prepared to say so publicly.


A dangerous compromise

The politicians' failure to agree on serious reform of the government risks a repeat of the 2007 election crisis

The 20-year quest for a new constitution looks set to end in a dangerous compromise. At the end of March, when Parliament debated the Harmonised Draft Constitution, it was clear th...


Jonathan and the securocrats

With a new cabinet in place, the acting President wants to push through some economic and political reforms

The next stage of the political plan mapped out by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan and his advisors is taking shape, following the Senate's confirmation of the list of 38 minist...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

A report explaining how Africa has lost more than US$850 billion between 1970 and 2008 in illicit financial flows – mainly through corporate tax evasion, trade mispricing and overpriced supply contracts – suggests that long-standing debates over the merits of foreign aid are wrongly directed. Illicit outflows from Africa, orchestrated by international companies and corrupt officials, have run at well over double the levels of foreign aid sent to Africa from rich countries, according to the repor...
A report explaining how Africa has lost more than US$850 billion between 1970 and 2008 in illicit financial flows – mainly through corporate tax evasion, trade mispricing and overpriced supply contracts – suggests that long-standing debates over the merits of foreign aid are wrongly directed. Illicit outflows from Africa, orchestrated by international companies and corrupt officials, have run at well over double the levels of foreign aid sent to Africa from rich countries, according to the report from Washington-based Global Financial Integrity. The authors, including former IMF economist Dev Kar, suggest Africa’s illicit outflows from 1970 to 2008 could total as much as $1.8 trillion if transfer pricing schemes and mispricing of the trade in services with Africa are taken into account. Africa’s biggest economies were worst hit: Nigeria was reckoned to have lost $89.5 bn., Egypt $70 bn., Algeria $25.7 bn., Morocco $25 bn. and South Africa $24.9 bn. Private businesses organise most of the outflow but government agencies fail to staunch it. The proceeds of commercial tax evasion account for about 65% of the losses, drug trafficking and counterfeiting for about 30%, and bribery and theft involving state officials for about 3%. The report raises policy questions for the World Bank, which launched its own detailed study (financed by Norway) into capital flight. Only South Africa has made a serious effort to stop trade mispricing and corporate tax evasion.
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The diamond mine drama

A politically charged dispute over ownership of diamond fields in Chiadzwa could turn into an international lawsuit

Hot Springs, some 100 kilometres south of Mutare, once aspired to be a spa resort but the gouty planters in its colonial-style hotel have been replaced by Lebanese dealers from Wes...


As elections arrive, the opposition shuns Omer

Sudan is set to become the first country to elect an indicted war criminal as president. Yet the elections are deemed so unlikely to be free and fair that, as AC went to press, the focus was on the extent and effects of the opposition boycott. Oppositionists argued there was little to be gained by participating and lending credence to the elections as the regime had rigged a victory with a manipulated census and elector registration, gerrymandered constituency boundaries and used state funds to buy loyalty.

In the face of blatant preparations for election rigging, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement decided on 31 March to boycott the national presidential election and all elections...


A united opposition protest

The President fears he may not be re-elected in June; his opponents fear they may be eliminated

Twelve worried opposition parties got together on 24 March to issue a joint communiqué denouncing a 'macabre plan' by President Pierre Nkurunziza's government, in the lead-u...


Altered image

Blatant corruption could jeopardise substantial aid funds for Tanzania's government. About a third of its 2009/10 budget of 9.51 trillion Tanzanian shillings (US$7.29 billion) come...


The most complex elections

The combination of one of the most elaborate and time-consuming electoral systems and mass illiteracy across most of the country virtually guarantees chaos in Sudan's elections on ...


A vote about corruption

Amid corruption concerns, a power struggle is growing within the governing party

It is an overwhelming certainty that the governing Chama cha Mapinduzi will win elections on the mainland again in seven months' time. Yet behind the scenes, there is a battle for ...



Pointers

Oil spill

No end is in sight to the row between the government and the United States' Kosmos Energy over Kosmos's efforts to sell its equity stake in Ghana's Jubilee oil field to ExxonMobil ...


Kiplagat's truth

The mounting pressure on Bethuel Kiplagat, the Chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, after the resignation of its deputy head Betty Murungi on 29 March, rai...


The rise and rise of son of Sam

The prospect of a Nujoma dynasty looms with the promotion of Utoni Nujoma, the eldest son of founding President Sam Nujoma, to the senior cabinet position of Minister of Foreign Af...