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Published 18th April 2003

Vol 44 No 8

South Africa

Deeper and deeper

President Mbeki is betting his diplomatic credibility on success in brokering peace in Congo and Burundi

South Africa is about to raise the stakes by committing three battalions for peacekeeping duties in Burundi and eastern Congo, having hosted a succession of summits to persuade warring factions to disarm and demobilise. With Johannesburg mining houses greedily eyeing Congo's scandale géologique, Pretoria's interests are not wholly altruistic but its diplomatic efforts reflect President Thabo Mbeki's aim of pacifying Africa's conflict zones. Central Africa's conflict takes in six countries - Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda - before washing down into Angola and Zambia. As long as wars rage across borders and feed new conflicts, serious economic development and investment can be ruled out - a massive obstacle in the centre of the continent to Mbeki's hoped-for African Renaissance. Pretoria has been involved in Great Lakes politics since 1996, when it tried and failed to broker a settlement between Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko and his eventual successor Laurent-Desiré Kabila.

Win the war, lose the peace

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The civil war has ended but economic and political renewal have barely begun

A year after the fighting ended, war-ravaged Angola is on hold. The most pressing issues, such as resettling and rehabilitating more than three million civilians displaced by four ...

The quiet pro-American

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Mostly quiet on the Iraq war, Colonel Gadaffi wants his oil industry to be run by US companies

The normally loquacious Moammar el Gadaffi, erstwhile champion of Arab nationalism and bogeyman of United States President Ronald Reagan (and many others) in the 1980s, spent the w...

Bamako blues

The soldier-turned-president's carefully crafted consensus is threatened by a confident opposition

President Amadou Toumani Touré ('ATT') has had little chance to relax after his election in May 2002, as he struggles with domestic politics and the economic fall-out from t...

The big issues

Whoever wins will have to tackle crime, constitutional reform and a sick economy

After the multi-million dollar election cycle this month, the winners will face an array of pressing economic and political issues... Criminality and security: The police service ...

North-south divide

Nigeria's elections were pulled back from the brink of collapse on 16 April when leading opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari insisted he would not join a boycott of presidential ...


Odious debt

Forthcoming negotiations on cancelling much of Iraq's US$120-130 billion debt will have repercussions for Africa's most indebted states. Defenders of the status quo on poor country...

Licence to kill

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has given the National Islamic Front government a free hand to pursue its policy of human rights violations. By refusing to renew the ...

Faux EO?

President Laurent Gbagbo, under fire over renewed claims that his government is using mercenaries to fight rebels in the north and west, may have thought he was hiring South Africa...