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Published 23rd July 2010

Vol 51 No 15


Ghana

Storm in an oil barrel

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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A commercial dispute between the government and a US oil company has become diplomatically damaging – so President Mills is looking for a way out

The grand launch of Ghana’s commercial oil production this year has begun inauspiciously with a bruising battle between the government and the state oil company on one hand and American oil company Kosmos Energy on the other. Kosmos had announced last September that it wanted to sell its stake in the country’s Jubilee oil field to the giant ExxonMobil corporation in an exclusive deal for US$4.2 billion.


The 3.8 billion dollar question

Aside from the party political rivalries, geopolitics and diplomatic jousting involved in the Kosmos Energy debacle in Ghana, there is a central concern: that the government stands...


More gluttony

An attempt by MPs to vote themselves a fat pay rise comes unstuck – the Treasury is running out of money

Last month’s vote by Kenyan members of parliament to augment their already handsome salaries is hitting political and financial roadblocks. Treasury officials say it is not afforda...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

In Africa, respect for the elders lives on. This week the African airwaves buzzed with accolades to two sons of Africa, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and with homages to an adopted son, Basil Davidson.

The celebration of Madiba’s 92nd birthday on 18 July was especially poignant in the wake of his granddaughter’s death in a car crash a month ago and the spectacular success of South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup, for which Mandela had campaigned.

To widesp...
In Africa, respect for the elders lives on. This week the African airwaves buzzed with accolades to two sons of Africa, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and with homages to an adopted son, Basil Davidson.

The celebration of Madiba’s 92nd birthday on 18 July was especially poignant in the wake of his granddaughter’s death in a car crash a month ago and the spectacular success of South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup, for which Mandela had campaigned.

To widespread regret, Archbishop Tutu, 79, has announced that he is to retire from public engagements. He was a leading public critic of apartheid in South Africa while Mandela was serving a 27-year gaol sentence. The link between the two men will continue as Tutu will work one day a week with The Elders, a group established by Mandela to help address international crises.

The 10 July death of British historian and journalist Basil Davidson at the age of 95 has prompted a flurry of tributes from readers of his pioneering contributions to African history.

After leaving school at 16, Davidson was a journalist in Paris before joining the British secret service to work with anti-fascists in Eastern Europe during the Second World War. His critique of apartheid made him a ‘prohibited immigrant’ to South Africa; he was best-known for his prolific documentation – in some 30 books – of pre-colonial African history.
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Zuma’s first-term casualties

With dissenting ministers and departing civil servants, President Jacob Zuma faces a tough return to workaday politics

Someone in President Jacob Zuma’s office has read a management textbook and reproduced chunks of it as government policy. Ahead of his post-World Cup cabinet ‘lekgotla’ (big meetin...


Secretive Shabaab

Al Shabaab’s political tactics and internal dynamics are deliberately, systematically opaque, on the classic Islamist model. It is both nationalist and avowedly part of the global ...


Restless spirits

The Ndebele can't agree on a living leader and many still take their inspiration from the late Joshua Nkomo

Sibangilizwe Nkomo, the sole surviving son of Joshua Nkomo (1917-99), is campaigning to exhume his father's remains from the 'foreign' soil of Heroes' Acre in Harare and transfer t...


Forgotten promises

In 2007, a just-elected President Sarkozy promised to remake France’s Africa policies but strategic political and economic interests still prevail

On 14 July, troops from 13 African countries marched down the Champs-Elysées in the annual Bastille Day parade, while elderly sub- Saharan veterans of the French colonial army saw ...


Katanga makes a comeback

The secessionist movement that almost split the country 50 years ago is again on the march

In the main square of Lubumbashi on 11 July, more than 20 people were arrested while demonstrating for the independence of Katanga. A month earlier, the Place de la Poste had been ...


Fighting on a new front

The United States’ containment policy has failed and, with its regional ambitions strengthened, Al Shabaab is back on the front foot

President Yoweri Museveni welcomes African Union leaders to Kampala on 25 July playing a role he has made his own: military leader and regional policeman. Ugandan opposition politi...


He’s old but he’s running

President Wade is set to take the presidency again but his favourite son is not sure to follow

At 84 and still looking chipper, President Abdoulaye Wade plans to run for the presidency again in 2012. His advisors insist he is full of ideas and enthusiasm and he has begun to ...


What mattered was the football

World Cup fever overshadowed both a spectacular political row and preparations for a new constitution

Robert Mugabe has earned a reputation as one of the globe's leading gatecrashers but his poise, self-confidence and chutzpah have not rubbed off on his travelling entourage. Offici...



Pointers

Secret talks

Egypt has quietly accepted that Southern Sudanese may choose independence in January's referendum in return for assurances that the Juba government will not abandon the 1959 Nile W...


Coups and cocaine

The enforced celebration of 'Freedom Day' on 22 July, the 16th anniversary of President Yahya Jammeh's coup, prompted protests by exiles and human rights groups, who say the regime...