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Published 22nd July 2011

Vol 52 No 15


Kenya

Succession not reform

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Bold plans to address political conflict and vote-rigging have been sidelined as the battle to succeed President Kibaki heats up

The groundbreaking programme for political reform set out in the new constitution is at risk as members of parliament and party activists position themselves for the presidential succession after next year’s elections. Political, personal and party loyalties are in flux in the run-up to the elections, when President Mwai Kibaki is due to step down, and they will be haunted by the violent aftermath of the 2007 polls.


Nairobi needs its fix

Politicians and police show no signs of investigating two people named as ‘drugs kingpins’ by the US government

Although the United States named John Harun Mwau and Naima Mohamed Nyakiniywa ‘drugs kingpins’ and froze their assets in the USA on 1 June, Mwau is conducting a vigorous campaign t...


Spinning out of control

Four spin doctors vie for coverage on behalf of President Mugabe and his party as the battle over the next elections heats up

The official line from President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and the highest policy-making body of his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, the Politburo, is that elections m...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Political exploitation of aid and a devastating drought threatening over 10 million people with starvation in the Horn of Africa should galvanise a serious international effort to help stabilise Somalia after two decades of war and chaos. For once, the reason could be the welfare of Somalis themselves.

Most recent foreign interventions in Somalia have focused on security: the operations of pirates along Somalia’s coast against tankers and the recruitment of youth into the Islamist ...

Political exploitation of aid and a devastating drought threatening over 10 million people with starvation in the Horn of Africa should galvanise a serious international effort to help stabilise Somalia after two decades of war and chaos. For once, the reason could be the welfare of Somalis themselves.

Most recent foreign interventions in Somalia have focused on security: the operations of pirates along Somalia’s coast against tankers and the recruitment of youth into the Islamist Al Shabaab militias, with links to Al Qaida and regional terrorist operations.

Yet the pirates have circumvented the confused effort to police the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, and the United States drone attacks on Al Shabaab have done little to disrupt its fighting prowess or its links with Al Qaida units in Yemen. Now Western aid agencies and the United Nations are doing business with Al Shabaab, which controls access to Somali regions worst-hit by the drought.

UN aid coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden announced a deal this week to deliver aid to camps run by Al Shabaab committees. The militia expelled all foreign aid workers two years ago, but lifted the ban recently when thousands of hungry Somalis started fleeing areas under its control.

In a dramatic policy change on 21 July, the USA said it would send aid to famine-hit areas controlled by Al Shabaab, but only if the militia guaranteed that it would not interfere with distribution. If international agencies can suspend disbelief when they cut deals with Al Shabaab in the hope of saving lives, they should be able to muster support for a fresh campaign to rebuild Somalia run by its resilient and resourceful people.

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How the South moves north

As Ethiopian peacekeepers deploy in the contested Abyei Area, Khartoum’s strategy to keep it in the North grows starker. Northern opposition to the ruling National Congress Party i...


A Mills bomb for Rawlings

Having secured the presidential nomination for the incumbent, the top NDC officials cannot afford to ignore his challenger

Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, wife of ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, the National Democratic Congress founder, timed her bid badly. A special congress of Ghana’s governing NDC o...


Maiduguri's terror crisis

Styling themselves defenders of President Jonathan, Niger Delta militants are threatening to take on Boko Haram

Thousands are fleeing Maiduguri, Borno State, where attacks by the Islamist militia Boko Haram and clashes with the army’s Joint Task Force have left scores of people dead (AC Vol ...


Bad fences, bad neighbours

Disputes over politics, oil and diamonds are dividing the two neighbouring governments

Relations between Luanda and Kinshasa could deteriorate sharply after a series of disputes. Angolan border police expelled about 15,000 Congolese in April and May after rounding th...


The radar scandal is back

After Westminster MPs lambast BAE over the radar saga, questions about the accountability of Tanzanian officials remain

Hearings in the British parliament over the £29.5 million (US$47 mn.) BAE Systems must pay Tanzania over the radar affair have revived questions about whether any Tanzanians, espec...


From autonomy to sovereignty

South Sudanese have made history; now they have to make a future

Tens of thousands of jubilant and weeping people cheered South Sudan’s new flag at the John Garang Mausoleum in Juba on Independence Day, 9 July. Then, instead of presenting the lo...


Honesty – not the easiest policy

As elections near, politicians in the President’s party are undermining her efforts to clean up government

More than any previous leader in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has worked to break the grip of corruption on business and politics. She has pressed multinational mining ...



Pointers

Media makeover

Luanda’s secretive government has set up a task force to overhaul its communications strategy before next year’s parliamentary elections. The grandly titled Grupo de Revitalização ...


Don't call us

Rioting over power cuts and bids to change the constitution had already hurt President Abdoulaye Wade and his son Karim politically and now they seem also to have lost the confiden...


Presidential guard fall out

The two armed attacks on President Alpha Condé that claimed three lives on the night of 19 July are part of the struggle between old and new members of the Presidential Guard for c...


David meets Jacob

Accusations of corruption against police chiefs, plans for state interference with the media and innuendo about politicians compromised by business associates – British Prime Minis...