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Published 25th June 2010

Vol 51 No 13


Kenya

The battle for the basic law

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Campaigning for next month’s constitutional referendum is a mixture of ideology, religion and personal ambition – and now the thugs have moved in

The main open disagreements in the lead up to Kenya’s constitutional referendum on 4 August are about abortion, Muslim kadhi courts and land. The battle between the green Yeses and the red Noes is heating up, since William Ruto, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Minister of Higher Education, hitched on to the coat-tails of Christian clerics and his own Rift Valley majimboists to block the Yes campaign. Majimboism is a type of super-federalism that many link to the state-orchestrated ethnic clashes under Daniel arap Moi’s Presidency in the 1990s. At the same time, his party leader, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has declared himself a Yes vote with President Mwai Kibaki, as part of Odinga’s relentless pursuit of the presidency in 2012. The issues and the political manoeuvres are enmeshed.


Yes, No and in between

A few weeks ago, Prime Minister Raila Odinga declared that securing a new constitution was a government project, which therefore deserved state funding while the campaign against t...


Bombing the campaign

Police and politicians are struggling to work out who hoped to gain from the grenade attack which killed six people at an evangelical Christian rally in Uhuru Park on 13 June. Most...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Politicians, investors or activists looking for a pattern to the myriad natural resource disputes in Africa are liable to be disappointed. The common theme is the growing acceptance, articulated by the OECD and the African Development Bank, that African governments have the right if not a duty to renegotiate chronically disadvantageous mining and oil contracts. This week Africa Confidential reports on the bitter dispute between Congo-Kinshasa and Canada’s First Quantum Mining. Although...
Politicians, investors or activists looking for a pattern to the myriad natural resource disputes in Africa are liable to be disappointed. The common theme is the growing acceptance, articulated by the OECD and the African Development Bank, that African governments have the right if not a duty to renegotiate chronically disadvantageous mining and oil contracts. This week Africa Confidential reports on the bitter dispute between Congo-Kinshasa and Canada’s First Quantum Mining. Although it has gone to arbitration in Paris, Canada wants the Kinshasa government sanctioned by the World Bank and the IMF for trying to appropriate an investor’s asset. Also in Congo, Ireland’s Tullow Oil is at odds with Kinshasa, which has stripped it of two exploration blocks and handed them to Aurora Empowerment Systems, whose Chairman is a nephew of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma. In Uganda, Tullow put together a groundbreaking deal with France’s Total and China’s CNOOC to produce oil from the Lake Albert basin and build a pipeline to Kenya’s coast. There, Tullow bought out Britain’s Heritage Oil for over US$1.3 bn. but Kampala insists Heritage pay $360 mn. in capital gains tax on its hyper-profits. Heritage is protesting and international bankers are siding with Kampala. Likewise in Ghana, the USA’s Kosmos Energy seems to be losing its long war of attrition against the government, which opposes its attempts to negotiate a $4 bn. exit sale without consulting the state oil company.
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Diplomacy by other means

Harare’s foreign policy is splitting at the seams – and so is the awkward ZANU-PF-MDC coalition

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is beginning to tire of the political impasse in Harare. We hear that Zuma’s office has just sent a stern note to the three principals of 2008’s...


Crisis cabinets

The new teams in Khartoum and Juba will face a tense six months before the referendum – and the threat of a war that some want and many expect

The message from the new government in Khartoum is that the National Congress Party is in full control and intends to stay there. The message from the new Government of Southern Su...


Single party rules again

Democracy has not been established despite international encouragement and the presidential election is a one-horse race

The one-party state is back. President Pierre Nkurunziza will be the only candidate in the 28 June presidential elections. The opposition’s right to hold meetings has been suspende...


Newsdays and the old days

The new Media Commission is finally operational and is issuing licences to publish newspapers. After a year’s foot-dragging, during which the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patrio...


Obiang’s prize turnip

A rebranding exercise for the Malabo government backfires as UNESCO belatedly rejects Obiang’s kind offer of a US$3 mn. prize for science

After much internal agonising and diplomatic arm-twisting, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation backed down on 15 June and rejected an offer from Eq...


The international agenda

The most dramatic military-security appointment is of Ali Ahmed Kurti as full Foreign Affairs Minister (he was previously State Minister). He is best known for establishing the Pop...


Ottawa confronts Africa at the G-20 summit

Canadian officials will raise a mining dispute with the Kinshasa government when they host the grand summit this weekend

Canada, which hosts the Group of Eight and Group of Twenty summits on 26-27 June, is to call for action against what it claims is an attempt by Congo-Kinshasa to expropriate a copp...


See you in court in Beirut

The fortunes of one of Black Beach gaol’s most celebrated inmates, the convicted coup plotter Simon Mann, have improved since his release ‘on compassionate grounds’ by President Te...


High-stakes election

Over $10 billion of mining investment ride on the outcome of this election – and its military organisers are determined to maintain their influence

Eighteen months after the coup led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, the military Conseil National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (CNDD) is keeping its promise of a president...



Pointers

In a spin

The governing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) faces a serious threat after its Barata-Phati (‘those who love the party’) faction walked out and launched the Botswana Movement for D...


Bankrupt asylum policy

Asylum-seekers in Britain will find it still harder to win their cases following the closure of the biggest advice charity, Refugee and Migrant Justice, which ran out of money this...


Mine not yours

Ahead of the 27 June elections (see Feature), the military regime has warned Rio Tinto to accept formally that it has lost two blocks of the giant Simandou iron ore concession – or...