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Published 5th August 2011

Vol 52 No 16


Zimbabwe

Hard winter in Harare

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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ZANU-PF outpoint their opponents by taking over the diamond revenue and latching on to a popular national cause

As senior allies of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe concede through gritted teeth that there can be no national elections this year, they have moved the battleground to economic policy. Their main target is outspoken Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is also Secretary General of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). President Mugabe, his allies say, clashed repeatedly with Biti at recent cabinet meetings over the payment of higher salaries to the country’s 200,000 civil servants.


Politics and posturing

People starve, aid is inadequate, relief agencies are spurned and the region’s insecurities fester

The Horn of Africa’s worst drought in six decades has prompted the United Nations to take the rare step of declaring a famine in two regions of Somalia – and probably another six r...


A vote about money

Largesse from the copper boom rather than good policies boosts the President’s chances in next month’s polls

The main challenger to President Rupiah Bwezani Banda in the elections he has called for 20 September is his arch-rival Michael Chilufya Sata: both agree that money will prove crit...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

After recovering from the shock of seeing their former President caged with his sons in the dock in a makeshift courtroom, Egyptians are divided on its implications. Sceptics insist the decision of the 19-strong Supreme Council of Armed Forces to try the President who appointed it is an expedient to win back the initiative from the streets and to wield stronger control over the transition, leading to parliamentary elections in November.

More hopeful voices say the trial will be genui...

After recovering from the shock of seeing their former President caged with his sons in the dock in a makeshift courtroom, Egyptians are divided on its implications. Sceptics insist the decision of the 19-strong Supreme Council of Armed Forces to try the President who appointed it is an expedient to win back the initiative from the streets and to wield stronger control over the transition, leading to parliamentary elections in November.

More hopeful voices say the trial will be genuine, a continuation of the military’s political mid-wifery which started with the driving of Hosni Mubarak from power on 11 February. Others say that if the military and its allies in the judiciary think they can control the process of holding leading politicians to account, they are mistaken. Mubarak’s lawyers, defending their client against charges of mass murder and grand corruption, are calling for the ruling generals, including de facto President General Mohamed Tantawi, to testify.

If it runs the distance, the trial could provide insight into the workings of an autocracy. It may also establish a useful precedent about executive culpability. Sudan’s President Omer el Beshir and Chad’s former President Hissène Habré both reject charges of responsibility for crimes against humanity. The Mubarak trial could prove far more than a bitter reversal of fortune with the gaoling of a gaoler. It could re-establish Egypt as a political beacon if it shows that national judicial institutions can organise a fair trial for a deposed leader.

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Zuma's front-line diplomats

The President's foreign policy team

Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy President: focuses on the United States, Canada, Britain and the European Union. Privately critical of South Africa’s embrace of China, Motlanthe wants to...


Strange alliances

Political parties are talking about a ‘Democratic Alliance’, combining the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) with rival groups such as Al Wafd, Al Ghad and other...


The President lashes out

After killings and detentions by security forces, oppositionists plan another demonstration to press their demands for reform

President Bingu wa Mutharika’s shift from egotistical technocrat to violent despot was not entirely surprising, given his style of government over the past six years. Few people be...


100 days of ADO

Fêted in Washington and Paris, Ouattara faces tough questions about stability and politics at home

Security jitters and financial worries have haunted President Alassane Dramane Ouattara’s first 100 days, suggesting he is yet to entrench himself in office after a bloody six-mont...


Governors on top and on trial

Presiding over billion-dollar budgets and assured of immunity in office, everything changes for state governors when they retire

The former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, does not bother with false modesty. Neither does he demur at the description of himself as patron of Nigeria’s democr...


Foreign policy flip-flops

President Zuma’s foreign policies await definition and are under fierce attack from his former allies

President Jacob Zuma’s foreign policy, his critics at home say, is just like his domestic policy: he sits on the fence hoping to please everyone and in the end, paralysis follows. ...


Many more scores to settle

The military makes history by putting one of its own on trial but cannot disguise the regime’s loss of direction

On 3 August, ousted President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak appeared in court, caged and bedridden, alongside his two sons, Alaa el Din and Gamal, to face charges of murder and grand corru...



Pointers

Running on empty

The offensives by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the brave but shambolic Transitional National Council fighters show no sign of overwhelming Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi’...