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Published 27th April 2012

Vol 53 No 9


Sudan

All or nothing

Two men discuss the new shape of their country in front of a map displayed in the lobby of the National Museum in Khartoum. Sven Torfinn / Panos
Two men discuss the new shape of their country in front of a map displayed in the lobby of the National Museum in Khartoum. Sven Torfinn / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Khartoum is fighting on three fronts: a determined Southern army, confident armed oppositionists and a hostile population

When President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir told the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), ‘Either we end up in Juba and take everything or you end up in Khartoum and take everything,’ he was acknowledging that the stakes could hardly be higher. What he didn’t say, in his 19 April speech at the National Congress Party headquarters, was that the Southern armed forces have proved a match for those of the ruling NCP. The 10 April takeover of Heglig by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) – and withdrawal under international pressure – were a significant show of power.


A political and military test

Church peacemakers and SPLA troops try to end a complex conflict

Conflict on the border with Sudan may have calmed things in Jonglei, where South Sudan’s worst fighting had long been under way. Phase One of the government’s Disarmament, Demobili...


Prophecies and fantasies

Religion and rumour dim the prospects for the presidential succession while the mining rows continue

A prophet has aroused some unchristian comment in Zimbabwe’s media, official and independent alike. Temitope Balogun Joshua, a popular Nigerian televangelist, had foretold the immi...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Claims in a parliamentary report on 24 April that Nigeria has lost over US$6.8 billion, due to corruption in its fuel subsidy scheme in 2009-11, are shaking the political system. Already National Assembly members are calling for the prosecution of senior officials in the state oil company and customs department. Fraud and the cost of the subsidy scheme rocketed to 2.6 trillion naira ($16.6 bn.) last year, ten times its cost in 2006.

However, the parliamentary report by House Ad ...

Claims in a parliamentary report on 24 April that Nigeria has lost over US$6.8 billion, due to corruption in its fuel subsidy scheme in 2009-11, are shaking the political system. Already National Assembly members are calling for the prosecution of senior officials in the state oil company and customs department. Fraud and the cost of the subsidy scheme rocketed to 2.6 trillion naira ($16.6 bn.) last year, ten times its cost in 2006.

However, the parliamentary report by House Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Farouk Lawan had its roots in the mass protests against the government’s efforts to abolish the fuel subsidy in January. There is great support in Nigeria for the principle that this oil-producing country should provide its people with cheap fuel – and mounting public anger about a scheme that enriches senior government figures and their corporate allies.

Lawan is an ally of President Goodluck Jonathan and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The original idea of his report was to expose the massive waste of resources involved in the subsidy scheme. This and reports by the fuel subsidy committee led by Christopher Kolade and the oil revenue probe chaired by Nuhu Ribadu are adding, whether the government likes it or not, to growing pressure for accountability in the oil industry and state finances. Together with police investigations and independent auditors’ reports by KPMG and others, these probes are lifting the veil on Nigeria’s oil-fuelled political patronage system.

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From the Stasi to State House

The Independence Day theme was ‘Indigenisation and Empowerment’. The Movement for Democratic Change objects that this will probably be the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic...


Energy bonanza promises real financial independence

Mozambique is on the threshold of a multi-billion dollar energy boom destined to transform a country that, less than 20 years ago, was counted by the World Bank as the world’s poorest, with per capita gross domestic product of US$80. It is still a weak state that lacks capacity to manage such a large range of investment projects and there is concern that resource wealth will facilitate corruption and poor governance. State revenue from these riches promises eventually to deliver something else – revenue independence. This would be a big change for a country highly dependent on foreign aid: grants and concessional loans currently contribute 41% of the national budget

Energy resources lie at the heart of foreign direct investment commitments worth $28 billion. This is more than double 2011’s total gross domestic product of $12 bn. and could rise...


Wanted – the Terminator

A general has become a rebel again and the patchwork of militias integrated into the army is unravelling and endangering security

General Jean-Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity during the 1998-2003 civil war, has taken to the bush in command of an in...


The youth rebellion heads east

Tanzania’s peaceful reputation could suffer as politicians mobilise unemployed young people in their campaigns

A pattern of slowly mounting civil unrest is emerging as a major theme in Tanzania’s political landscape as an increasingly restive young generation ponders its limited opportuniti...


Stakes and taxes

The government has announced that it will tax mergers and acquisitions in the resource sector. The first is Royal Dutch Shell’s proposed purchase of Britain’s Cove Energy, holder o...


Star-struck James Ibori

Delta State’s most famous son is now in prison, while accomplices and other governors walk free

Ex-Governor of Delta State James Ibori could be back in Nigeria as early as late 2016. He was sentenced to 13 years in gaol for $50 million worth of money-laundering and fraud on 1...


Police fail public order test

The Tanzania Police Force’s effectiveness in dealing with civil unrest is questionable. It is not properly equipped or trained for public order and the focus of commanders is distr...


Return of the narco-state

The coup appears to be the work of the same officers who were involved in previous seizures of power and drug smuggling

The military coup of 12 April was the culmination of a steady rise in tension and political instability over several weeks. An alliance, possibly temporary, of ex-President Kumba Y...


A question of security

After a year of Alassane Ouattara holding power, neither government nor peacekeepers have made the country safe

Those leading Côte d’Ivoire’s return to normality repeat time and again that security is improving. The government of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, hoping to tempt foreign i...



Pointers

Koroma’s UN fear

The atmosphere is warming up, even though elections are still over six months away. Worries are growing that President Ernest Bai Koroma’s All People’s Congress (APC) is ramping up...


Corrupt but open

The parliamentary caucus of the governing Chama cha Mapinduzi is demanding that eight cabinet ministers resign after the Controller and Auditor General issued a damning report on ...


Half-truths on subsidies

The report on the US$6.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud by the Chairman of the National Assembly Ad Hoc Committee, Farouk Lawan, was tabled on 24 April. The 210-page opus concentrate...