Jump to navigation

Published 30th March 2012

Vol 53 No 7


Nigeria

The President tightens up

Olusegun Obasanjo
Portrait of Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, former Army general and former President of Nigeria. Dieter Telemans / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Jonathan is getting a grip on his party and perhaps preparing to run again, despite his northern rivals

On the eve of the national convention of the governing People’s Democratic Party on 24 March, former President Olusegun Obasanjo deplored the lack of discipline in the PDP. Loyalists were squabbling over positions and pursuing personal vendettas, he observed in a conciliatory tone. When he was President, in 1999-2007, Obasanjo did things differently, sending in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and security agencies to shove the dissidents into line.


Sata stumbles

The promise of a clean sweep of corruption is unfulfilled and the commitment to open politics undermined

Six months after their sweeping election victory, President Michael Chilufya Sata and his Patriotic Front (PF) are struggling to live up to their promises. They are in danger of lo...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Is it worth Africa challenging the United States for the Presidency of the World Bank? There has been a remarkable show of continental solidarity with Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. If Asia and Latin America back Africa’s candidate, they will stand a chance of shaming the Bank’s Executive Board into ending the stitch-up that has guaranteed Western l...

Is it worth Africa challenging the United States for the Presidency of the World Bank? There has been a remarkable show of continental solidarity with Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. If Asia and Latin America back Africa’s candidate, they will stand a chance of shaming the Bank’s Executive Board into ending the stitch-up that has guaranteed Western leadership of the world’s two biggest financial institutions for sixty years. After backing from South Africa and Angola, the African Union also declared for her.

Together with the international acclaim in the US press, it was good-news day for Goodluck Jonathan’s besieged government. The numbers are against Okonjo-Iweala beating the US nominee, Jim Yong Kim, but many development specialists attest to her inside knowledge of the Bank, its shareholders and clients. However, it would take more than her talents to break the post-war US-European deal. Even Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s ignominious departure as head of the International Monetary Fund could not break the mould. Washington backed Christine Lagarde to head the IMF so long as the US right to have an American run the World Bank remained.

With the USA and European shareholders controlling 60% of the votes, it could hardly be otherwise. President Obama’s inspired choice of a South Korean-born US citizen and seasoned development health specialist in place of the usual middle-aged, East Coast, white male is likely to win the day.

Read more

Rebels and putschists

Behind the coup in Bamako lies deep discontent at impunity as well as the mishandling of the Tuareg revolt

The protests in Bamako started out with disgruntled soldiers, angry at how politicians had allowed their comrades to be overrun by Tuareg rebels. This then snowballed into a more g...


Uganda's profits of war

Uganda’s political and military elite is content with a long conflict in Somalia, while its Ethiopian and Kenyan allies prefer as short an involvement as possible.


Keeping an eye on oil

The watchdogs have been pushed out of Parliament and another resource rampage looms

Congo-Kinshasa is on its way to becoming a significant oil-producer, providing more opportunities for corruption and other enrichment to the government and its friends. The Nationa...


Where’s the indigenous cash?

Impala Platinum will let 51% of Zimplats go to public ownership but it looks as though the government has not got the cash

Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s campaign to compel foreign-owned companies to sell majority stakes to Zimbabweans has stalled amid questions abo...


Senegal ousts Wade

Dakar’s streets were just as joyful as those of Bamako at the fall of their long-term leader, although Senegalese were relieved that the agent of change was electoral and peaceful....


Sassou for ever

The President remains confident his people and his donors will accept autocracy as a small price to pay for peace

With little support outside his ethnic power base in the north, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso does not count on democratic legitimacy to justify his rule.


Militia hides behind civilians

The Eastern Province is ripe for a clash between disgruntled rebels and returning national army units. The Forces de résistance patriotiques en Ituri under ‘Cobra’ Matata Banaloki ...


Al Shabaab’s waiting game

Regardless of the recent defeats of Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen, senior African Union Mission in Somalia commanders privately admit that the next phase of military operations is fraught with potential difficulties. Since forcing Al Shabaab out of Mogadishu in August, five years after Amisom first came to Somalia, the Ugandan People’s Defence Force’s 5,500-strong contingent is slowly moving out to assume control of new territory beyond the capital. Any bolder moves to occupy territory further afield, however, depend on leaving currently-occupied zones to Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers and police, whose competence and reliability are in some doubt. Amisom commanders also worry because communications are scant and coordination absent with the Ethiopian forces to the south. Now that the Kenyan forces have been re-hatted as Amisom, links with them should improve.

Lack of trust in the TFG forces who have to take over the Ugandan and Burundian positions when Amisom moves out of Mogadishu is making Amisom tread cautiously. The TFG forces are ...


Condé looks East and West

Rivalries among conglomerates – Western and Chinese – intensify as the President looks for development funds

Multinational corporations and anti-corruption activists are jockeying for influence in Conakry as President Alpha Condé talks to the China Development Bank about finance for a US$...



Pointers

Habre hangs on

Macky Sall’s election as President of Senegal has caused many to wonder if Chad’s ex-President Hissène Habré will still be welcome.


Office politics

If he is not careful, President Joseph Kabila could see fights breaking out in his anteroom. He has struck forestry deals with a Lebanese businessman whose company is under United ...


Taking bribes seriously

The outgoing head of Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, Richard Alderman, has spoken out about the shortcomings of the British criminal justice system in relation to corporate crime...