Jump to navigation

Published 23rd September 2011

Vol 52 No 19


Congo-Kinshasa

A rocky electoral road

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Nyabibwe, South Kivu, DRC. A miner holds samples of minerals in Nyabibwe where many tons of coltan are being excavated. Sven Torfinn / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Polling looks almost certain to be postponed but President Kabila’s opponents may try to test their support on the street

The 25 November presidential and parliamentary elections were always going to be difficult but the violence has already begun. On 5 September, a crowd of supporters of President Joseph Kabila’s Parti du peuple pour la reconstruction et le développement pelted about 1,000 supporters of Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba, outside their party headquarters. Veteran oppositionist Tshisekedi is presidential candidate for his Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social. UDPS militants retaliated by setting fire to the PPRD building and burning seven cars.


Party postpones post-mortem

The governing party is papering over the divisions that appeared during the presidential election

The schism in the Partido Africano de Independência de Cabo Verde (PAICV) resulting from the presidential election remains unresolved. It probably won’t be addressed until local el...


No springtime in Algiers

The ageing elite which supported Gadaffi to keep revolutions at bay now faces much bigger challenges at home

There is no prospect of Algeria’s rulers voluntarily ceding power to a new generation. The Libyan crisis has galvanised them. Much as Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi has been a chronic ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Will the BRICS bail out the PIGS? That is the geopolitical question of the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington on 23-25 September. Translated, it asks whether the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (which now generate more than 50% of global growth) will be able to counter-balance Europe’s sickest economies: Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

A rescue mission was mooted when BRICS finance ministers gathered in DC t...

Will the BRICS bail out the PIGS? That is the geopolitical question of the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington on 23-25 September. Translated, it asks whether the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (which now generate more than 50% of global growth) will be able to counter-balance Europe’s sickest economies: Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

A rescue mission was mooted when BRICS finance ministers gathered in DC to discuss a common approach to the West’s economic storms. Other hot topics were Nigeria’s decision to invest at least 10% of its US$35 billion foreign reserves in China’s renimbi and reduce its dollar and euro holdings, and Mozambique’s and Tanzania’s multi-billion dollar investments in gas export facilities along the Indian Ocean, targeted at Asian markets.

The BRICS’ share of global growth will rise, as some European economies teeter on default. Among developing country finance ministers used to lectures about ‘irresponsible fiscal policies’ from Western economists, there is understandable schadenfreude. Yet African governments have to speed efforts to diversify their economies and markets, insists Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, adding that weakening Western demand is a disaster in the short term. She says that Nigeria sells 38% of its oil to the United States, 23% to Europe and just 10% to India. Those trade patterns will take many more years to change.

Read more

Too little, too late

The President’s promise to fight corruption after the elections seems to have convinced neither diplomats nor voters

While publicly condemning corruption, President Rupiah Bwezani Banda gave United States diplomats various explanations of why he could do little about it, according to US State Dep...


Rajoelina agrees a deal

Andry ‘TGV’ Rajoelina was prepared to compromise once he thought Ravalomanana no longer represented an electoral threat

No sooner had interim leader Andry Rajoelina agreed to terms that included the return of the exiled Marc Ravalomanana, than senior figures in the governing Haute Autorité de la Tra...


The fight of the century

Zuma and Malema are marshalling their forces for a showdown. Even a probe into ‘the arms deal’ is involved

President Jacob Zuma’s mid-September decision to form a commission of inquiry into the controversial arms deal of the late 1990s is being widely seen as an attempt to forestall the...


US sources run for cover

The unredacted WikiLeaks release of US cables from Harare exposes senior politicians and soldiers to witch-hunts

The Zimbabwean media gave blanket coverage to the WikiLeaks cables from the United States Embassy in Harare, released last month. Nearly 3,000 dispatches cover the last decade and ...


International concerns

The new settlement, unratified, uncertain and flawed though it is, will find strong support from international organisations anxious to deal with a worsening humanitarian situation...


Are the politicians high?

Gossip in Accra produced entertaining US diplomatic cables but raises serious questions about rising political tensions

Politicians in Accra have been exploiting sensational material in the latest batch of leaked United States diplomatic cables. The gossip, insights and purportedly inside informatio...


General alarm

Two of those most exposed to any possible Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front retribution for sharing their opinions and information with United States diplomats are ar...



Pointers

Recognised but risky

Transitional National Council leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil had a hero’s welcome at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 20 September but Africa was deeply divided over ...


Terrorist listing

One leaked United States cable must have pleased a Khartoum regime eager toescape the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list. A ‘confidential’ note from the Khartoum Embassy of 26 Dec...


By-election business

The resignation of three Frente de Libertação de Moçambique mayors is raising strong political interest, as well as the hopes of opposition parties, in the by-elections set for 7 D...


No EITI for UK

Britain is refusing to follow United States President Barack Obama in joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Asked why Britain would not take part, even though ...