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Published 19th November 2010

Vol 51 No 23


Guinea

Over the new rainbow

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Election winner Alpha Condé’s promise of national reconciliation is put to the test as his opponents’ supporters take their disputes to the street

The first test started within hours of the announcement on 15 November of the victory of Alpha Condé in the second round of the presidential election with 52.5%, when supporters of the losing candidate, Cellou Dalein Diallo, rejected the result and took to the streets. Despite Condé’s offer of a ‘brotherly hand’ to Diallo ‘to build a united and prosperous Guinea’, neither leader has been able to restrain their supporters. By 17 November, local human rights groups were reporting that ten people had died in street battles and 200 had been injured.


Condé’s hard won victory

It has taken Alpha Condé three attempts, a long battle with military regimes and incarceration and torture by one of them to win his country’s presidency. Condé was born in 1938 in...


A multi-faceted business

Intrigue over the ownership and profits from the rich Marange diamond fields is causing dissension in State House

The growing political crisis over the management of the rich Marange diamond fields shows how important this huge new revenue source is for President Robert Mugabe, politically and...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The Nigerian government’s seizure of a clandestine shipment of arms from Iran in Lagos port has disrupted Tehran’s carefully orchestrated wooing of Africa. On 12 November, Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia launched an investigation into the intercepted consignment, which contained rockets and explosives, and demanded that the Iranian Embassy hand over two men it was sheltering. Nigerian security operatives said the two were members of the elite Al Quds unit of the Revolutionar...

The Nigerian government’s seizure of a clandestine shipment of arms from Iran in Lagos port has disrupted Tehran’s carefully orchestrated wooing of Africa. On 12 November, Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia launched an investigation into the intercepted consignment, which contained rockets and explosives, and demanded that the Iranian Embassy hand over two men it was sheltering. Nigerian security operatives said the two were members of the elite Al Quds unit of the Revolutionary Guards, specialising in foreign operations.

Tehran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki broke off from a tour of West Africa to discuss Nigeria’s concerns with Ajumogobia and the possible reporting of Iran to the UN Security Council for breaking its arms embargo. Mottaki then handed over one of the Iranians butclaimed diplomatic immunity for the other. The encounter shed little public light on the intended recipients of the arms.

Some suggested they might have been bound for Gambia, whose volatile President Yahya Jammeh is an enthusiastic supporter of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and has a penchant for backing regional insurrections and drug lords. Israel accused Iran of trying to smuggle the arms into Gaza for Hamas but most of the documentation found with the arms suggests that Nigeria was the final destination. Local officials are concerned the shipments were intended for radical Shia groups in northern Nigeria, which Iran was already known to be financing.

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Old crocodile, younger croc

Grace Mugabe, widely known as the country’s First Shopper, has, like Marie-Antoinette, a penchant for diamonds and playing at milkmaids. Her model farm, Gushongo Dairy, is so named...


Taking on the journalists

President Rupiah Banda and his Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) are struggling to control the mass media before next year’s general elections. The private media, especially ...


Musical chairs in Monrovia

Some presidential friends are taken aback to discover they have lost their jobs in a sweeping pre-election reshuffle

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s decision to send all but one of her cabinet on ‘administrative leave’ was heavily influenced by her son Robert A. Sirleaf, say Monrovia insiders. ...


Holding their breath

Both contenders will have to ensure the results of the coming elections are accepted by all, if they are to mark an end to the civil war

The most critical point about the second round of the presidential election on 21 November, said a veteran Ivorian politician, is not who wins but getting everyone to accept the re...


Abyei waits

Khartoum fights its corner over the Abyei referendum and outflanks the SPLM and the United States

The devastated foundations of former buildings and burnt out lorries dot the town of Abyei, a haunting reminder to residents of the May 2008 attack which razed it to the ground (AC...


Bye-bye Mr Speaker

The election puts corruption centre-stage

Only 42% of eligible voters went to the polls. Many are taking it as a sign that the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi government needs to tackle corruption or face defeat in 2015. Voters...


Mining for votes

Firebrand politician Michael Sata’s anti-Chinese rhetoric is helping the opposition’s campaign ahead of next year’s elections

Opposition politicians and trades unionists have gone on the offensive since Chinese managers at the Collum coal mine shot protesting Zambian workers on 21 October. The charge is l...


Jonathan’s Delta blues

Despite the President’s political base in the oil-rich Niger Delta, militant groups are on the march again and abandoning the amnesty deal

A new coalition of fighters in the Niger Delta has emerged to oppose President Goodluck Jonathan’s amnesty and has launched a new round of violence. A younger generation – operatin...


Oil to play for

More than a billion barrels of oil under Lake Albert may help transform the country’s economy but will not determine outcome of the 2011 elections

The tussle between the government and the oil companies wanting to exploit Lake Albert’s oil fields has hit deadlock over US$404 million which the government says is owed in capita...



Pointers

Approaching the summit

The first big question for the European Union-Africa summit in Tripoli on 29-30 November is who will be there. By convention, the Libyan hosts choose their guests. The EU had hoped...


Thank you for smoking

African producers could be penalised in talks this week on the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on proposals to ban additives in tobacco (...


Culpable contracts

Oil-trader Glencore International fears Namibia may wish to review its lengthy 2007 contract to provide half of refined petroleum imports until 2014. Namibia’s dollar is tied to th...