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Published 3rd August 2012

Vol 53 No 16


Politicking after the mourning

John Evans Atta Mills
John Evans Atta Mills

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

A wave of national sympathy for the late President Mills is forcing politicians to reassess their election strategies

For Ghanaians, funerals assume a special role in the social order. Multiply that a hundredfold for the funeral of a sitting head of state. While their compatriots were still stunned by the news of the death of President John Evans Atta Mills on 24 July, the elders of the governing National Democratic Congress orchestrated an impressively smooth transition.

Obsequies and summitry

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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With Accra shrouded in funereal red and black cloth and world leaders sending their condolences, Ghana's old political guard has been busy.

The officers’ mess

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After his own bitter experience, Ouattara wants stern action against coups in the region

After seven regional summits on the Mali and Guinea-Bissau crises in just five months, President Alassane Dramane Ouattara is determined to reinforce West Africa's defences against...


Security and democracy dominated United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s valedictory tour of Africa this week. ‘Partnership, not patronage’ is the offer from Barack Obama’s administration, which raised high hopes in Africa in 2008. Reality – weakening western economies, a booming China and the growth of jihadist move...

Security and democracy dominated United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s valedictory tour of Africa this week. ‘Partnership, not patronage’ is the offer from Barack Obama’s administration, which raised high hopes in Africa in 2008. Reality – weakening western economies, a booming China and the growth of jihadist movements – turned out differently.

Clinton began in Senegal, where new President Macky Sall has cut his term from seven to five years and agreed to try former Chadian leader Hissène Habré for war crimes. But Senegal sits dangerously near a narco-state and another state threatened by determined jihadists and junior officers turned putschists.

Though Clinton promotes political pluralism, the bulk of the USA’s resources in Africa are being directed to trade and security – that is, the Commerce Department and the Pentagon. The US military has more than 65 officers and contractors in Burkina Faso building a special air base. In nearby Mauritania, the US has spent $22.6 million to buy surveillance aircraft for the local armed forces. The combination of drones and special-force deployment across Africa points to the growing security threats and militarist response.

Leaders such as South Africa’s Jacob Zuma blame the current crisis in Mali on the Western-led intervention in Libya last year. Certainly the crisis obeys the laws of unintended consequences. Sadly, few of the intended solutions look credible or sustainable.

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