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Published 3rd December 2010

Vol 51 No 24


Nigeria

Atiku, Buhari and Ribadu - the great northern hopes

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Northern politicians have regrouped and are making a determined bid for the presidency in next year's election

The postponement of the presidential election until 9 April 2011 means another four months of intensive party politicking and the shelving of plans to reform the oil, gas and electricity sectors. Strategists around President Goodluck Jonathan want time for him to win over his divided party and the country at large. Delays also give northern Nigeria's political clans time to sharpen strategies and renegotiate their alliances with the south. Policy failures are undermining President Jonathan, who presented himself as the leader who would clean up the oil business and fix the power industry. The amnesty that he and his late predecessor, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, secured in the Niger Delta is coming apart; oil production and state revenues are falling (AC Vol 51 Nos 21 & 23).


All the President's militias

Jonathan must win the Delta vote and is mustering the violent gangs to ensure his victory

The fierce race for the presidency and National Assembly in next year's elections is worsening the violence in the Niger Delta and undermining last year's amnesty deal. Within th...


Ruto takes on the courts

Sacked from the cabinet and accused of involvement in the 2007 election violence, William Ruto comes out fighting

The point of William Ruto's voluntary mission to the Hague to meet investigators at the International Criminal Court on 4-6 November became clear when he returned to Nairobi. Thro...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The drama of Côte d’Ivoire’s first elections since the 2002 civil war has quickly morphed into a crisis after incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo’s Front Populaire Ivoirien refused to accept the results tabulated by the Commission Electorale Indépendante. Three days before the second round of the presidential election on 28 November, Gbagbo and his rival, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, took part in a televised debate which suggested the two leaders were ready to move beyond sectional...

The drama of Côte d’Ivoire’s first elections since the 2002 civil war has quickly morphed into a crisis after incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo’s Front Populaire Ivoirien refused to accept the results tabulated by the Commission Electorale Indépendante. Three days before the second round of the presidential election on 28 November, Gbagbo and his rival, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, took part in a televised debate which suggested the two leaders were ready to move beyond sectional rivalries to resuscitate the economy.

That spirit of constructive leadership is essential if the country is not to slip into chaos again. As in the aftermath of the 2007 Kenyan elections, Ivorians expect the arrival of the diplomatic heavy squad to concoct a face-saving deal. The prospects are not good: Gbagbo and the FPI partisans especially are highly resistant to foreign mediators, while Ouattara, a former IMF Deputy Managing Director, is seen as the French candidate.

The stage is set for a lengthy and dangerous stand-off. Election officials describe the narrow defeat of Gbagbo in the run-off as the worst kept secret in Côte d’Ivoire. Although oppositionists and independents have majority control of the Electoral Commission, Gbagbo’s appointees dominate the Constitutional Court, which must approve the results. Both leaders – Gbagbo, an academic historian, and Ouattara, a development economist – know the risks of another political explosion but outside intervention will be needed to stop it.

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Iranian guns and a king in Banjul

As he plans to install himself as monarch, President Jammeh has cut ties with Tehran over a mysterious arms shipment

None of the official explanations - from either Tehran or Banjul - of why Iran was sending arms to Gambia via Nigeria make any sense. Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh, who has run a...


The case against Kabila's army

A new report by United Nations experts implicates Congo’s soldiers in murderous criminality, leaving Kinshasa some tough choices

The findings by a United Nations' investigation that extensive criminal networks inside Congo's army are raping and killing people and stealing minerals challenge President Josep...


Mubarak's last stand

After fixing the legislative elections, the NDP prepares for a much tougher fight in next year’s presidential polls

After its claimed landslide victory in the 28 November parliamentary elections, the National Democratic Party's local and international credibility has hit an all time low. The NDP...


Oil, money and infighting

As Tripoli hosted a summit for Africa and Europe, the Libyan leader berated his European counterparts for lack of attention to Africa, although his own commitment to his country's ...


Will the UN bail out of Congo?

Another month, another United Nations' report on Congo-Kinshasa. Yet do these reports, or indeed the UN in general, help improve conditions in Congo? At around 19,000 strong, the...


The thwarted contenders

Muslim Brotherhood (MB, El Akhwan el Muslimoon): The MB remains the main opposition party despite continual crackdowns and waves of arrests by the intelligence services. It also su...


Gadaffi's Jacob and Esau

With its control of state revenue - amounting to over US$400 billion – for the past four decades, the Gadaffi family has become a sprawling, opaque and sometimes quarrelsome busine...


Modesty Blaise

Apathy and a chronically low turn out meant that President Compaoré could have won comfortably without bothering to steal votes

Of all West Africa's electoral battles, President Blaise Compaoré's fight for re-election after 23 years in power was the least in doubt. The 21 November poll saw him secu...


Abyei's protocol problems

Abyei is still waiting, while Southerners register for their own referendum

The National Congress Party (NCP) carried its brinkmanship beyond the 30 November deadline set by Abyei's Dinka Ngok leaders – and the requisite Referendum Commission had still n...



Pointers

Closing the laundries

Angola is considering retaliating against United States' companies and the US Embassy in Luanda over the Bank of America's closure of its Washington Embassy accounts, we hear. It...


The next revolt

The curious rebellion on 17 November by a score of soldiers was defused when the rebels, who had been surrounded, surrendered peacefully. No military units had joined them; eleven ...


Why Nyanda had to go

When President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet last month, he fired the powerful Communications Minister, General Siphiwe Nyanda. We can reveal that Nyanda fell out of favour f...


Cranswick and Marange

A key player in the Marange diamond fields dispute, businessman Andrew Cranswick, has been declared bankrupt in Australia after failing to pay a tax demand of Aus$1.1 million (US...