Jump to navigation

Published 25th May 2012

Vol 53 No 11


South Africa

The leadership race opens up

Johannesburg skyline at dusk. Dieter Telemans / Panos
Johannesburg skyline at dusk. Dieter Telemans / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

The contest for the presidential nomination is stirring up a lot of mud, and harming the governing party and the entire country

The battle for succession in the African National Congress is getting nastier as its outcome looks more uncertain. Supporters of the main protagonists fight their battles, firstly within the ANC structures, then in the security services, the courts and the state broadcasting service. For months, the main contest was between national President Jacob Zuma, who seeks re-election as ANC President, and the party’s Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe. Now, the field is opening up, with Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa emerging as serious contenders. Even long-term backers of Zuma now concede that he might not be able to finish a second presidency but argue that he is needed to steer the party through the next few troubled years.


Police and thieves

President Jacob Zuma’s allies are trying to arrange the state security and financial apparatus to protect him from future prosecution. They also want security officials to pursue h...


Muscling out Mugabe

Politics in general as well as the race to succeed Mugabe are deepening in complexity and rancour

Politics are fast becoming a heady mix of military muscle-flexing, metaphysics and Machiavellianism, especially the politicking of those who would succeed President Robert Mugabe. ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

New battle lines are being drawn in the campaign against grand corruption in Africa’s mining and oil industries. Two scandals involving losses to the state treasury of billions of dollars in Nigeria and Congo-Kinshasa are testing the limits of people’s tolerance of revenue and assets theft. These issues are on the agenda because of information technology, forensic accounting and the insistent lobbying of anti-corruption groups. The Kinshasa and Abuja governments are feeling the heat i...

New battle lines are being drawn in the campaign against grand corruption in Africa’s mining and oil industries. Two scandals involving losses to the state treasury of billions of dollars in Nigeria and Congo-Kinshasa are testing the limits of people’s tolerance of revenue and assets theft. These issues are on the agenda because of information technology, forensic accounting and the insistent lobbying of anti-corruption groups. The Kinshasa and Abuja governments are feeling the heat in different ways.

Nigerians protested in January against the removal of the fuel subsidy by President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, forcing him to backpedal. The National Assembly launched a probe into the illicit beneficaries of the subsidy. Unless Jonathan’s government acts decisively against those accused of complicity in the thefts, activists threaten to return to the streets and trades unionists are ready to strike.

This week, Professor Willy Vangu from Congo’s opposition Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social told British MPs how his country had lost over US$5 billion of assets in deliberately under-priced mining deals by British-based businessmen using shell companies registered in Crown dependencies. It made no sense for those companies to benefit from such deals while UK taxpayers were financing a $790 million aid programme to Congo, Vangu said. His calls have already energised some MPs to press the World Bank to take more seriously its strictures against grand corruption in Congo’s mining industry.

Read more

Sanctions threat drives talks

Juba scrambles to regain the diplomatic initiative ahead of a new round of talks on oil and security with Khartoum

Economic and diplomatic pressures will probably push the governments of Juba and Khartoum back to negotiations on oil and border issues before the end of May. This follows the Unit...


Bouncing the Spring

The Islamist electoral challenge petered out but a low turnout and spoiled ballots dented the credibility of the polls

The Alliance d’Algérie verte (Green Alliance) of ‘moderate Islamist’ parties was severely disappointed by its poor showing in the 10 May elections. The parties had not been alone i...


A government of few talents

Kabila’s new economic programme sets high targets but sceptics doubt the new cabinet can see it through

The new government of Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon has presented a five-year plan promising double-digit economic growth. That would make Congo-Kinshasa a middle-inco...


Rockets and meetings

Khartoum blames Israel for bombing Port Sudan again while the opposition gets on with some planning

The airstrike that killed the driver of a four-by-four vehicle in a Port Sudan suburb just before 8 a.m. on 22 May added to the pressure on the ruling National Congress Party regim...


Wars of the succession

Parliament becomes an arena for the increasingly tense contest for the presidential succession

A third leadership hopeful, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, has joined Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, the governing National Resistance Movement Secretary General...


Tuaregs talk government

The MNLA and the jihadists try to form a government for ‘Azawad’

While demonstrators stormed the presidential palace in Bamako and assaulted interim President Dioncounda Traoré, the leaders of the Tuareg revolt were hammering out a provisional g...


Fuel fraud fans public anger

Jonathan has to choose between penalising his friends and the final collapse of his government’s credibility over the fuel subsidy racket

The belated announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan on 22 May that he wants the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to act on the US$6.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud has fai...


Rwanda looms larger in Kivu

The fighting in North Kivu looks set to trigger the eclipse of Bosco Ntaganda and puts pressure on Kigali

The fighting between Congo-Kinshasa’s army and its former comrades in the Tutsi Congrès national pour la défense du peuple is growing more intense and more complex. Protesting at t...



Pointers

Devil of a mess

‘I detect a Satanic hand at work,’ said the excommunicated Anglican Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front apologist was talking about the ...


An imported ally

Joseph Stiglitz, a United States Nobel prize-winning economist, has become an unlikely guru of the left wing of the governing African National Congress in its battle with the cent...


The founder's fury

The National Democratic Congress government is reeling from a fusillade of abuse by the party’s founder, ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, who describes the people around President...


Entente absente

Efforts to negotiate a compromise between Gabon and South Africa over the contest for the presidency of the African Union Commission are faltering. This is unlikely to be resolved...