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Published 4th March 2011

Vol 52 No 5


Libya

Gadaffi's fight to the death

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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After seizing the east of the country and the oil installations, the opposition steels itself for a long campaign

As Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi fights back hard against his opponents, the prospect of his early overthrow has given way to concern about widespread instability in a deeply fractured country. The former combination of a well funded secret police apparatus presiding over a chaotic state bureaucracy pitting administrators against revolutionary committees could give way to a long and multisided civil war.


ZANU-PF cries treason

President Mugabe and his allies take stern action against the growing interest in North Africa’s revolutions

After they chose the week of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s 87th birthday (21 February) to express solidarity with the democracy movement in North Africa, 45 participants ...


Power at a price

Museveni’s victory was the result of astute tactics, state funding and a divided and despondent opposition

Uganda faces a harsh economic hangover because so many state resources were used to win a decisive victory for President Yoweri Museveni, 67, in 18 February’s elections. Museve...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Questioned in Parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe’s Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, refused to be drawn on whether the government had sent troops to help Libyan leader Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi suppress his opponents. Although President Robert Mugabe seems to have a better grip on his country’s national army than his Libyan counterpart, his loyalists arefloundering as they try to adapt their political line to the spreading revolts in North Africa.

Caesar Zvayi, the Deputy Edit...

Questioned in Parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe’s Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, refused to be drawn on whether the government had sent troops to help Libyan leader Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi suppress his opponents. Although President Robert Mugabe seems to have a better grip on his country’s national army than his Libyan counterpart, his loyalists arefloundering as they try to adapt their political line to the spreading revolts in North Africa.

Caesar Zvayi, the Deputy Editor of the state-owned Harare daily The Herald, initially saw the overthrow of Tunisia’s President Ben Ali as due to the West’s predilection for regime change. He decided that Italy had paid for the mobs in Tunis. As events unfolded in Egypt, another Herald columnist argued that a populist movement was trying to overthrow puppet regimes propped up by Western imperialists.

Yet because of Mugabe’s historic links to Gadaffi, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front loyalists greeted the revolt in Libya with both fear and disbelief. Gadaffi has remained a major financier of ZANU-PF and must be supported despite the fickle attitude shown by neighbouring South Africa. So ZANU-PF spin master Jonathan Moyo has developed a new analysis to fit the Gadaffi script: Western agents have insinuated themselves into Libya’s popular democracy and are leading a counter-revolution. The notion that after three decades, North Africans are tiring of ageing autocrats, grand corruption and stolen elections does not feature.

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Democracy heads south

Political tactics or public relations? The announcement of President Omer’s exit points to jitters in the ruling National Congress Party

The prospect of President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir stepping down reflects the ruling National Congress Party’s dilemma over how to tackle growing domestic and regional call...


A port with no ships

The presidential dream of a navigable trade route to the sea will need more than a grand opening ceremony to make it a reality

Although it opened with much fanfare four months ago, the Nsanje World Inland Port is yet to attract a single ship. President Bingu wa Mutharika hosted the opening ceremony and...


So where did the money go?

Obscure accounts uncover a black hole in state finances as politicians hit the campaign trail promising to end corruption

Opposition parties claim that over US$27 billion is missing from state accounts, managed by the People’s Democratic Party government under President Goodluck Jonathan and his ...


Peering into the abyss

Armed supporters of Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of 2010’s election, take on forces and militia loyal to Laurent Gbagbo

The United Nations, which supervised and certified last year’s vote, now warns of a return to civil war. After its consultations failed to make progress, the African Union is e...


It's all about jobs

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan stakes everything on the government’s attack on unemployment

Job creation and social services would be government’s top political measures, said Finance Minister Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan in his budget speech on 24 February. He warned t...


Gold rush

Issayas used to be suspicious of foreigners, but that was before a mineral wealth bonanza looked possible

The Eritrean President and leader of the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, Issayas Afewerki, has long sought to retain a closed economy and prevent non-Eritrean ...


The King's budget

Swaziland is suffering a severe economic crisis and the monarchy looks ill-equipped to survive it

While rebellion has spread only within North Africa and the Middle East so far, monarchies all over the world fear the worst and Swaziland’s has more reasons than most to fear ...



Pointers

The revolution continues

The resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, 77, on 3 March is another victory for protestors. Former Transport Minister Essam Sharaf succeeds him and is forming the next c...


Oil state on the record

On 24 February in Luanda, Manuel Vicente, head of the highly secretive state-owned oil company Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola and a possible successor to Presiden...