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Published 24th June 2011

Vol 52 No 13


Nigeria

Boko Haram declares war

Hearing in a Sharia court - Sven Torfinn / Panos
Hearing in a Sharia court - Sven Torfinn / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Building on growing northern resentments, the Islamist sect wants to create a political and security crisis by bombing the police

Few seem convinced by President Goodluck Jonathan’s assurances that the security situation is under control following the bombing on 16 June of Louis Edet House, the national police headquarters in Abuja. It killed at least two people and wounded seven. Agents of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived to help investigate claims of international terrorist links.


Power to the people, profits to the chiefs

Community control of oil can worsen local strife, to judge by the experience of the Neconde Group, which won the bid for Shell’s 45% of Operations Management Licence (OML) 42. Shel...


Blood and oil

Khartoum has intensified its war in central Sudan to crush its Nuba opponents and keep control of oil exports before partition

After launching another war against his opponents and threatening to cut off South Sudan’s oil, President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir will meet top officials in China next week in ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

African summitry is following an Iberian theme this year. First, the African Development Bank held its annual meeting in Portugal on 10-11 June, now African Union leaders will have their summit in Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea on 23 June-1 July.

The fascist regimes of Spain and Portugal marked Africa: liberation wars in Guinea Bissau, Angola and Mozambique helped dim the legacy of Portugal’s Salazar and Caetano regimes but the ghost of General Francisco Franco st...

African summitry is following an Iberian theme this year. First, the African Development Bank held its annual meeting in Portugal on 10-11 June, now African Union leaders will have their summit in Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea on 23 June-1 July.

The fascist regimes of Spain and Portugal marked Africa: liberation wars in Guinea Bissau, Angola and Mozambique helped dim the legacy of Portugal’s Salazar and Caetano regimes but the ghost of General Francisco Franco still haunts Equatorial Guinea and Western (formerly Spanish) Sahara.

The current regime of President Teodoro Nguema Obiang would surely have met with the general’s approval for its arbitrary treatment of oppositionists. Ahead of the AU’s summit in Malabo, President Obiang has ordered the release of some 20 political prisoners, most of whom were tortured before making confessions. At the same time, police have arrested several hundred students and foreigners in Malabo and Bata in what looks like a move to pre-empt protests during the AU summit.

As Equatorial Guinea is widely ranked as one of Africa’s worst violators of human rights and also one of its most corrupt (it was thrown out of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative), the willingness of AU leaders to accept Obiang’s offer to host the summit raises questions about their commitment to the organisation’s constitutive act, which enshrines the right to protest and hold corrupt regimes to account.

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The trouble with Tobiko

Under the new constitution, the DPP should be independent of the executive but the nomination of Keriako Tobiko prompts questions from MPs

President Mwai Kibaki swore in Keriako Tobiko as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on 20 June following an acrimonious vetting last week. Members of Parliament on the Constitut...


Election express

The government’s determination to push through the heavily contested national elections by December is raising concern about their credibility

Regional antagonisms and logistical problems are overshadowing presidential and parliamentary elections due on 28 November. After much delay and after constitutional reform pushed ...


The devil you know

The European Union backs a fraudulently elected President because it fears the consequences of his fall

President François Bozizé emerged strengthened from an aid-pledging conference in Brussels on 16-17 June when European Union states promised more than 400 billion CFA francs (US$87...


Regional leaders take on the President

President Mugabe’s men misjudged the mood of the summit in South Africa: they lost yet more political ground in the negotiations

The performance of President Robert Mugabe’s team at the 11-12 June Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Sandton, Johannesburg, was little short of disastrous. T...


The rise of Team Kaberuka

Outpacing the World Bank’s operations on the continent, the African Development Bank is winning greater international attention

A year into his second term as President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka was cheering on North Africa’s revolutions at the AfDB’s annual meeting in Portugal on 9-1...


Feast ore famine

The Tonkolili iron-ore mine looks set to make a billionaire of Frank Timis but the dividend for the nation is less sure

Sierra Leone will start earning hundreds of millions of dollars from taxes when iron-ore production begins in November. At least that is what the controversial British-based mining...


The battle to succeed Kikwete

Internal divisions are deepening within the governing party over corruption and political ambition

Ructions in the Chama cha Mapinduzi over corruption and the succession to President Jakaya Kikwete are intensifying, while the party dithers over the expulsion of some senior membe...


Parallel lines

As the political stars hit the campaign trail a year early, they start a national debate about the economy

So far the election season is a three-cornered contest with a lively battle for the leadership of the governing National Democratic Congress, which has prompted the leader of the m...



Pointers

Call back

A United Nations group of experts on Congo-Kinshasa broke new ground in its twice-yearly report of 7 June by offering those it criticises the right to reply. In 2008, the group acc...


Only a miracle

President Bingu wa Mutharika is ploughing ahead with an optimistic ‘zero-deficit’ budget despite the fact that most of the aid that supports 40% of that budget is missing. Western ...


Reform dilemma

Traditional constituencies linked into the Makhzen system will probably swing the 1 July referendum in favour of King Mohammed VI’s proposed constitutional reforms. Makhzen means t...


One day, son

On 22 June, President Abdoulaye Wade – officially 84 but probably nearer 90 – was about to propose a constitutional amendment to secure a guaranteed third term in February’s electi...