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Published 24th September 2010

Vol 51 No 19


Nigeria

A false start

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Doubts about the election timetable, dissension in the President’s party and some surprise new candidates are changing everyone’s calculations

The tight election timetable announced at the beginning of the month is now being questioned again by election officials, civil activists and most of the contesting candidates (AC Vol 51 No 18). The speculation about changing the date of the election was serious enough to persuade President Goodluck Jonathan to delay his departure for the United Nations’ development summit in New York on 21-22 September.


The field gets more crowded

There is no shortage of candidates or political parties contesting the presidential election due early next year; the exact timetable (AC Vol 51 No 18) is under review after the Ch...


Critics, crooks and credibility

The opposition girds itself to challenge President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the international darling, in next year’s elections

The enthusiastic reception accorded to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the United Nations summit this week must come as a welcome relief from the political roughhouse in Monrovi...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

At the greatest diplomatic show on earth, leaders from more than 190 states, the chiefs of the international civil services and their corporate cheerleaders all assembled in New York this week. Some hoped to see signs of an emerging new order, in which governments and corporations are held to account, but the United Nations Millennium Development Goals summit had much narrower, more modest aims for its global report card.

There were grandiose pledges – US$40 bn. for a mother-and-chi...

At the greatest diplomatic show on earth, leaders from more than 190 states, the chiefs of the international civil services and their corporate cheerleaders all assembled in New York this week. Some hoped to see signs of an emerging new order, in which governments and corporations are held to account, but the United Nations Millennium Development Goals summit had much narrower, more modest aims for its global report card.

There were grandiose pledges – US$40 bn. for a mother-and-child protection programme launched by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as part of his global health strategy – and also signs of success in the fight against malaria and HIV/AIDS. Civic activists long sceptical about such pledges wonder from where the money will come and to whom it will go.

Spain’s President Zapatero persuaded France (but not Germany or Britain) to back his call for a tax on all financial transactions to contribute to development aid. Since the 2008 financial crisis helped send more than 40 mn. people into hunger and destitution, according to the World Bank, a modest tax on entrepreneurs hardly seems too onerous. US President Obama outlined a strategy to compel oil and mining companies to reveal the payments they make to governments. He also attempted to mount pressure on the tax evaders and tax havens that are cutting into development funds. As summits go, it was not spectacular but it hosted many important but embryonic ideas.

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Less debt, more deals

Buoyed by debt deals and new investors, Liberia’s economy is strengthening. It won debt relief of US$4.6 billion under the World Bank’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries scheme on 29...


A new strategy for Darfur

With all eyes on the South and preparations for January’s referendum, Khartoum has stepped up its attacks in Darfur

As attention from Juba to New York focuses on January’s referenda in Abyei and the South, Khartoum is trying to build a new reality in Darfur, away from the spotlight. The National...


The bonus culture

Payments by oil and mineral companies to ensure that governments sign on the dotted line are not always what they seem

New or renewed deals to explore for or produce minerals must be licensed by governments. When deals are signed, companies expect to hand over a bonus or other upfront payment to sh...


A poll that perplexes

The coming elections are immense, will cost US$715 million and are quite possibly illegal

The grumbles are growing fast, although there is still a year to go before the votes are cast. Several Congolese non-government organisations are casting doubt on the legality of t...


Mixed minerals

The job of Congo’s Centre d’Evaluation, d’Expertise et de Certification (CEEC) and its director, Léonide Mupepele, is to certify the value of metals produced, and so to ensure that...


Postponing the policies

After fighting back against his detractors at the party summit, Zuma has won himself a few more months to remake his shaky presidency

It was a rare victory for President Jacob Zuma. By persuading the governing party’s National General Council (NGC) in Durban on 20-24 September to delay all substantive decisions o...


Storms in the sand

The EU is building a strategy to fight terrorism and crime on the fringes of the Sahara

The kidnapping of five French people on 16 September is a wake-up call to the European Union about crime in the Sahel belt – terrorism; the trade in drugs, arms and people; banditr...


Runners and frontrunners

Only three candidates have so far declared that they will stand for president at the election whose first round is due on 27 November 2011. Oscar Kashala Lukumuenda, 56, Chairman o...



Pointers

Election delays and doubts

The sudden postponement of the 19 September second round of the presidential election raises fresh doubts about the military’s commitment to handing over power and the prospect of ...


Four and not out

President Yoweri Museveni will run for a fourth term after the ruling National Resistance Movement elected him as its candidate – unopposed – on 12 September. The NRM primaries hel...


The missing election fund

A chipper-looking President Robert Mugabe arrived in New York for the United Nations summit this week despite the strike by Air Zimbabwe’s pilots. Defying reports of his imminent (...