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Published 13th April 2012

Vol 53 No 8


Sudan

UN clash over Beijing bullets claim

Chinese-manufactured anti-aircraft gun near the Chadian-Sudanese border. China has denied supplying arms to Sudan for use in Darfur, in breach of a UN arms embargo. Teun Voeten / Panos
Chinese-manufactured anti-aircraft gun near the Chadian-Sudanese border. China has denied supplying arms to Sudan for use in Darfur, in breach of a UN arms embargo. Teun Voeten / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

UN experts’ reports differ over Darfur arms violations

A seismic diplomatic row is rumbling at United Nations headquarters in New York over the circulation of a damning report by former UN experts pointing to the supply of Chinese-made ammunition to the Sudan government for use against civilians in Darfur. The row exposes fresh divisions on Sudan at the UN Security Council and disarray in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s office. It may also unpick Beijing’s careful diplomacy as it seeks to realign its relations between Sudan and South Sudan.


The LRA is down but not out

Small bands of the Lord’s Resistance Army are going into eastern Congo and employing new methods to terrorise local people

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters have left Central African Republic for Garamba, in Orientale Province in north-eastern Congo-Kinshasa. They are now concentrating on theft and...


Kibaki nervous over ICC

Threats, rivalries and renewed ethnic tensions befoul the air as the international court’s suspects try to close down the case

The two declared presidential candidates facing charges of crimes against humanity at the Hague are determined to ward them off. An unexpected cabinet reshuffle at the end of March...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

It was the hottest ticket in Lagos this year. The queue stretched back through the opulent streets of Victoria Island. It looked like a presidential inauguration but in fact was the 60th birthday party of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the godfather of Lagos politics and one of the country’s most acute strategists.

Tinubu astutely promoted his career as an oil industry deal-maker while burnishing his credentials as exiled democracy campaign...

It was the hottest ticket in Lagos this year. The queue stretched back through the opulent streets of Victoria Island. It looked like a presidential inauguration but in fact was the 60th birthday party of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the godfather of Lagos politics and one of the country’s most acute strategists.

Tinubu astutely promoted his career as an oil industry deal-maker while burnishing his credentials as exiled democracy campaigner against the depredations of General Sani Abacha’s junta in the 1990s. That prepared him well for the rigour of civilian politics in Nigeria, where he fought off pressure from President Olusegun Obasanjo and the People’s Democratic Party to hold power as Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.

Today, Tinubu is regarded as the power behind Governor Babatunde Fashola: he does the politics while Fashola runs the administration, some say. Certainly, Fashola and the other youngish Turks of the Action Congress of Nigeria owe much of the party’s resilience to Tinubu. It controls all but one state in the south-west and is parliament’s biggest opposition party. Its record of effective government in the south-west raises the question whether Tinubu and his governors can pose a national challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP in the 2015 elections. When Africa Confidential asked guests at Tinubu’s birthday party about the ACN’s chances, we were assured ‘A change is gonna come’ to the strains of the late Sam Cooke from the public address system.

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Keeping it in the family

The President rejects charges of nepotism after appointing her eldest son to head the state oil company

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has unleashed a storm of controversy by appointing three of her sons and a nephew to important jobs in government. Most attention centred on her eldest Robert...


War drums sound as the South takes Heglig

Khartoum mobilises against South Sudan and breaks off all negotiations

The seizure of the oil town of Heglig by South Sudan’s armed forces on 10 April ratchets up Juba’s confrontation with Khartoum’s National Congress Party (NCP) regime, which also fa...


Hope of peace for Cabinda

The threat of armed rebellion may fade after rebels offer to talk

After four decades of the struggle for independence in the oil-rich Cabinda enclave, the last fighting faction has launched an offer of peace talks. The octogenarian, exiled leader...


Issoufou under siege

As if food shortages and the collapse of Mali and Libya were not enough, a corruption scandal looms

Niger won much praise for the smoothness of the 2011 presidential poll, which returned the country to democracy after a year under the military junta that had deposed President Mam...


New leader, new broom

Africa’s second female president faces a fickle parliament and a desperate economy

Joyce Banda, accepting promotion from Vice-President to President on the death of Bingu wa Mutharika, inaugurated her rule on 9 April by sacking the police chief, Peter Mukhito. It...


Differences sharpen in presidential poll

The battle lines and electoral calculations are becoming clearer

The Muslim Brotherhood’s nomination of its deputy leader, Khairat el Shater, as presidential candidate on 5 April reflects the MB’s sharply deteriorating relations with the ruling ...


The north and south of it

Tensions in Bamako ease as Sanogo withdraws but increase in the north as the rebels fall out

After regional leaders called his bluff with financial sanctions and threats of military action, putsch leader Captain Amadou Sanogo beat as dignified a retreat from power as he co...


The men who would be Rais

Khairat el Shater: A successful businessman, El Shater spent twelve years in prison under President Hosni Mubarak. From his cell, he still took a leading role in the Muslim Broth...



Pointers

Opposition poll boycott

After President Yahya Jammeh’s victory in November’s presidential poll surprised nobody, the parliamentary elections of 29 March were similarly predictable. Anticipating fraud, th...


Turkish aid

Turkey is underscoring its engagement in Somalia through development projects in Somaliland and Puntland. It sees the projects as proving to the United States and European Union th...


And a food crisis too

With Islamists, putschists and nationalists claiming all the attention in Mali, the growing food crisis in the Sahel is in danger of slipping under the radar. There were poor rains...