Jump to navigation

Published 18th March 2011

Vol 52 No 6


Côte d'Ivoire

Guns, votes and cocoa

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

Laurent Gbagbo’s military position is weakening as business friends help him to break his rival’s ban on cocoa exports

Trade sources in Moscow and London report that business allies of Laurent Gbagbo have begun exporting cocoa out of the port of San Pedro in defiance of President-elect Alassane Dramane Ouattara’s export ban. Last month, the officially recognised President called for the ban, which he has extended to the end of March. He promised action against traders who violate the ban, which has the United Nations’ backing, and all the major buyers have complied. The European Union has forbidden any EU-flagged vessel from lifting cocoa. The export ban will carry on into April, we hear.


On to the trial

Despite a dissident judge and government lobbying, the ICC is set to try six politicians accused of mass murder and has issued summonses

Kenya’s government is still trying to dodge the International Criminal Court, whose Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) ruled on 8 March that six high-level Kenyan suspects must appear at the ...


Ambushing the revolution

Oppositionists want sweeping constitutional change; the military wants quick fixes to the old constitution, then fresh elections

Political tension is rising again over the military’s plans to hold constitutional and presidential elections within six months, a move which would benefit mainly the formerly ruli...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Future African Union summits are likely to be spared Libyan leader Moammar el Gadaffi’s lengthy monologues. The AU’s turbulent relationship with Gadaffi finally fell apart on 17 March when Nigeria and South Africa voted with eight other members on the United Nations Security Council for military action to protect Libyan civilians and establish a no-fly zone. Air forces from several Arab states will enforce the no-fly zone, along with Britain, France and the United States.

The Coun...

Future African Union summits are likely to be spared Libyan leader Moammar el Gadaffi’s lengthy monologues. The AU’s turbulent relationship with Gadaffi finally fell apart on 17 March when Nigeria and South Africa voted with eight other members on the United Nations Security Council for military action to protect Libyan civilians and establish a no-fly zone. Air forces from several Arab states will enforce the no-fly zone, along with Britain, France and the United States.

The Council’s vote was made possible after calls from the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council for a no-fly zone. Nigeria, South Africa and Gabon had voted on 26 February with the rest of the UNSC (including China and Russia) to refer the Gadaffi regime to the International Criminal Court in the Hague for mass murder and torture of civilians. However, the AU confined itself (after strong representations for Gadaffi from Mali’s President Amadou Toumani Touré) to calling for an immediate ceasefire and the despatch of an investigative mission to Tripoli. On 11 March, South Africa announced it was freezing all the Gadaffi regime’s assets there.

Now the Libyan regime faces a return to the isolation of the 1980s and 1990s, with few allies in Africa and the Middle East. Even Russia has suspended arms sales to Libya. The threat of military action could stall the eastward march of Gadaffi’s troops towards Benghazi, the capital of the east, held by the opposition forces who still control much of Libya’s oil production.

Read more

Defying the democracy wave

The ruling party dismisses attempts by oppositionists to follow their North African counterparts

The opposition’s attempts to bring the spirit of North Africa’s democracy wave failed to bring the masses on to the streets of Luanda but still worried a government surrounded by s...


Gas finds offer hope of ending power-cuts

Powerful interests stood in the way of a sound energy policy emerging but everyone wants to turn on the gas

Despite obstacles from corrupt politicians, the exploitation of gas is likely to gather pace this year with new offshore discoveries. The opening on 12 April of the fourth offshore...


Real bullets, phoney coup

Suspicions abound about the government’s account of a small but deadly attack near the President’s home

The government called it a terrorist attack but what actually happened is still not clear. The raid on one of President Joseph Kabila’s homes came in the early afternoon of 27 ...


Pushing for probity

Pressure is growing for greater accountability and transparency in oil and mining operations, especially in Africa, due to the strengthening of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the imminent application of the United States’ Dodd-Frank Act. Yet major disagreements between companies, governments and anti-corruption activists emerged at the EITI’s biennial conference in Paris on 2-3 March, its biggest ever. Large oil companies, led by Royal Dutch Shell, argue that any extension of the compulsory accountability provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act would undermine voluntary agreements such as EITI (AC Vol 51 No 19).

European and African officials backed moves at the Paris conference to toughen laws on company payment disclosures, despite strong opposition from oil and mining companies, includi...


Tanzania's gas players

Songas consortium consists of PanAfrican Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Orca Exploration, CDC Globeleq and the state-owned Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC). Songa...


The state of the forces

Congo-Kinshasa’s armed forces comprise about 150,000, including 2,500 in the Navy, 3,000 in the Air Force and 15,000 in the Republican Guard. Military observers believe that m...


Taxing problems for Zambia

Some US$66 million in tax revenue owed to the Treasury are missing, according to the mid-February report on Zambia published under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative...


Europe's new line on Gadaffi

As the regime attacks civilians, European states are tearing up their trade deals with Gadaffi and his family

The European Union’s decision to freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Libya, the Libyan Investment Authority sovereign fund and other businesses could have serious conseque...



Pointers

The Speaker's chair

Members of Parliament are due to vote for a new Speaker in a contest that could determine the next president should 87-year-old President Robert Mugabe be declared medically un...


Au revoir, la République

On 27 February, Sammy Kum Buo, Africa Director in the United Nations Secretary General’s office, helped negotiate the dissolution of Andre Mba Obame’s short-lived republic, whi...


Hello North Africa

Opposition politicians are to boycott the presidential election due on 8 April, after Interior Minister Yacin Elmi Bouh banned all demonstrations, fearing a spate of North Afri...


Questions on terror

Just as the United States was preparing to remove the Sudan regime from its State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) list, Khartoum has a hosted a conference of international Islamists...