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Published 4th November 2011

Vol 52 No 22


South Africa

Malema and Zuma mass their armies

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Presidential friends and foes are keenly purging their factions and reaching for every weapon at hand

Fierce purges are under way in the governing African National Congress and its affiliates, paralysing the government and the organisations themselves. The clean-outs are reciprocal, among both opponents and supporters of President Jacob Zuma’s bid for a second term as ANC leader and as President (AC Vol 52 No 18, Disrespect for the President & AC Vol 52 No 19, The fight of the century). The bitterness is greater because he appears to be trying to sideline former allies who supported him in ousting ex-President Thabo Mbeki but have turned against the second-term bid which Zuma had promised not to make.


The struggle for the centre

The new government will have to balance regional and ideological interests and try to mop up a flood of weapons

The election of Abdel Rahim el Keib as Prime Minister, with 26 of 51 votes on the National Transitional Council (NTC) on 31 October, mystified both activists and militia fighters. ...


Dos Santos calls elections

Now the longest-serving President in Africa, Dos Santos tries to face down a wave of young protestors

Both politicians and electors are distinctly sceptical about President José Eduardo dos Santos’s announcement that the next elections will take place in the third quarter of 2012. ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

This week, Nigeria turned a 50-year celebration of its Security and Exchange Commission into a headlong bid for inward investment. Presiding were the SEC’s new Director General, Arunma Oteh, and the government team of economic reformers: Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi, Power Minister Barth Nnaji, Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina and Trade and Investment Minister Segun Oganga. Local entrepreneurs and bankers and foreign executives heard a powerful case for government reform efforts t...

This week, Nigeria turned a 50-year celebration of its Security and Exchange Commission into a headlong bid for inward investment. Presiding were the SEC’s new Director General, Arunma Oteh, and the government team of economic reformers: Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi, Power Minister Barth Nnaji, Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina and Trade and Investment Minister Segun Oganga. Local entrepreneurs and bankers and foreign executives heard a powerful case for government reform efforts to be taken seriously.

After ten years of growth averaging over 6% and with a potential market of over 160 million people, Abuja expects a good response. But in these hard times, when there seems to be more coup talk in Greece than West Africa, the world’s money men will make their judgments on performance, not policy-makers’ academic credentials. They already want to know why it has taken three years to get petroleum reforms through the National Assembly and much longer to outwit the vested interests that are holding back reform of the electricity industry.

Most urgently, they are watching as the government tries to secure support for its deregulation of the retail oil sector, which will mean ending the fuel subsidies Nigerians have enjoyed for four decades. The aim of all these reforms is to modernise and to pull in billions of investment dollars but the money is unlikely to appear until the government reconciles its own people to this radical restructuring.

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Confused war aims cause alarm

Kenya’s military incursion into Somalia is less than a month old but is already the subject of contradictory statements by the government and its Western allies. Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen is under threat from the Kenya Armed Forces and their allies’ Special Forces and air power but the invasion also offers opportunities. Al Shabaab may be able to recoup some recent losses if Lower and Middle Juba end up controlled by Kenyan surrogate forces that alienate local people. The offensive shows, however, that the United States and its allies have faith in a military solution to the Somali problem. Kenyan forces are pushing towards Kismayo in a land assault that will combine with attacks by French and US forces from the sea to spell possible defeat for Al Shabaab in the key port. Yet with no political solution on offer, Al Shabaab could revive.

Kenya’s intervention in Somalia was first announced on 15 October by Minister of Internal Security George Kinuthia Saitoti and Minister of Defence Mohamed Yusuf Haji, and it was o...


Fears grow of poll delay

Electoral officials are trying to make the polls happen on time but the obstacles are many

The pre-election atmosphere is deteriorating. The government claims that the opposition is preparing an uprising and the government of neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville has accused Pr...


Kenya’s Somali proxies

Kenya’s confusion over its war aims proceeds in part from deep divisions within the elites and the fact that key actors support different Somali forces who have nothing in common e...


Political violence worsens

A hardline faction in the government and the bitter disappointment of the former rebels threaten the country’s hard-won peace

The 26 October arrest of opposition politician William Munyembabazi by the powerful security service, the Service national de renseignement (SNR), has deepened the mistrust in Buju...


Brinkmanship at the ballot

Tubman’s conditions for standing in the second round of the presidential caused alarm

Threats by Wilson A. Tubman and his Congress for Democratic Change to boycott the second round of the presidential election on 8 November were unresolved as Africa Confidential wen...


Storm over SA mercenaries in Libya

Ex-soldiers and police officers recruited in Cape Town helped some of Gadaffi’s family escape to Algeria but another team was less successful

Two teams of South African mercenaries are believed to have helped members of the Gadaffi family to escape from Libya and may have tried to save the late Libyan leader, Moammar el ...



Pointers

Biya’s last hurrah

President Paul Biya’s sixth – and surely final – election on 9 October was marked by a dearth of congratulatory messages from fellow heads of government. Neighbour President Ali Be...


Plot device

The repressive climate in Malawi took a bizarre turn when a journalist’s e-mail account was hacked and a forged message sent from it alleging a plot to overthrow the government. Th...


Cyber attack

Even Harare’s shell-shocked business community was rocked by the arrest, charging and weekend incarceration of Farai Rwodzi, nascent billionaire and one of its youngest and brighte...