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Published 6th August 2010

Vol 51 No 16


Nigeria

Goodluck with the numbers

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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President Jonathan is slowly winning over the governors and party barons - but time is short

The arithmetic is not right yet but Goodluck Jonathan is making steady progress in his bid for the candidacy of his party in next year's presidential elections. Last week the leaders of the six states in the 'South-South' - Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers - vowed support for his campaign for the presidency. It was not a forgone conclusion given the prickly relations between Jonathan and the six governors from his region.


Political spills

A new burst of militancy is haunting the Niger Delta less than a year after the amnesty deal delivered an uneasy peace

Delays over cash payments, the coming national elections and rising concern over oil pollution are behind the latest wave of protests and attacks in the Delta. Scores are being set...


Father Kukah, Professor Jega and the vote

In the Nigerian tradition of irrepressible optimism periodically suffused with brutal realism, Father Matthew Hassan Kukah argues that the last decade's attempts at democracy in Ni...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Limelight was the only light shining in The Hague this week. After three years of ignoring the trial of a man charged with 11 counts of war crimes, international news networks fought for the best angle on supermodel Naomi Campbell’s gripping display of disinterest in the court and its work. Charles Taylor’s trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone started in June 2007. On 5 August, prosecutors reopened their case, having subpoenaed Campbell. They had wanted to show the she had been courte...
Limelight was the only light shining in The Hague this week. After three years of ignoring the trial of a man charged with 11 counts of war crimes, international news networks fought for the best angle on supermodel Naomi Campbell’s gripping display of disinterest in the court and its work. Charles Taylor’s trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone started in June 2007. On 5 August, prosecutors reopened their case, having subpoenaed Campbell. They had wanted to show the she had been courted with the blood diamonds by Liberia’s warlord-turned-president following a party hosted by Nelson Mandela. She testified that after an event for Mandela’s Children’s Fund in 1997, she had been given a parcel of ‘two or three’ – or six, by her former agent’s testimony – ‘small, dirty-looking stones’ by two men who tapped on her hotel room door in the small hours. These, she supposed, were from Taylor, whom she had talked to at dinner. Unimpressed, the brusque British beauty claims she gave the stones to Jeremy Ratcliffe, then head of Mandela’s charity. The fund denies receiving them. Ratcliffe, for now, is silent. This brief international interest in the trial failed to show how the revelations advance the war crimes case against Taylor. Or even why he would send henchmen to deliver uncut diamonds to Campbell. Possession of rough diamonds in South Africa is a crime but the prosecution failed to link Taylor conclusively to them and his operations as an arms trader.
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New pressure on the war-minerals link

Congo's 'clean' minerals are more politically toxic than buyers would like

Rebels are taking over more mines throughout the east, while control of minerals by corrupt government forces continues, making even Congo's 'clean' state-sourced minerals more pol...


An uneasy ruling alliance

The ANC needs stronger leadership to referee the intensifying internal debates ahead of the policy-making conference in September

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The numbers are looking up

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This time a peaceful vote

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Contract clashes

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Taking sides in the big debate

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The Afghan effect

African leaders ask why the West prefers to help the Kabul regime but not the even shakier one in Mogadishu

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Rumbles in the Rift

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8 ways to clean up minerals

Several schemes and approaches aim to limit the flow of Congo-Kinshasa's conflict minerals, not all of them as well coordinated as they should be. Here is our rundown.


Roaring to go

As demand soars for Africa's oil, gas and minerals, its governments must find ways to strengthen their bargaining power

Optimism about Africa's economies is in fashion, as commodity prices stay high thanks to demand from Asia and Western investors seek outlets for capital that they find no profitabl...


Mogadishu's ministry of truth

Somalia's new Information Minister, Abdirahman Omar Osman, wants African Union troops to defend more aggressively the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its 'moderate' Islam...



Pointers

Bullfighting

The Politburo of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front has always regarded the award of hero status as within its sole gift, something hotly contested by the Movement...


Opposition nuptials

Activists in the opposition coalition Medrek met on 31 July to form a single party after their disastrous performance in the May elections (AC Vol 51 No 11). Although the oppositio...


Dog days in Lilongwe

When five dogs belonging to a white Zimbabwean couple, Dean and Helen van Schalhwal, savaged their 72-year-old watchman, Samson Chimdima, in Lilongwe last month, the incident escal...


Under no circumstances

When Awad Ahmed el Jaz told a National Congress Party youth meeting on 1 August that the separation of the South 'cannot be allowed under any circumstances', it was no slip of the ...