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Published 11th January 2002

Vol 43 No 1


Leaders who retire, leaders who don't

As President Mugabe tightens his grip on power, other African heads of state announce they intend to retire gracefully

Zimbabwe nyderopa! The Chimurenga song title means 'Zimbabwe was won through bloodshed'. The presidential election due on 10 March looks set to follow the pattern. In late 2001, six members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change were murdered in as many weeks by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. Mugabe turns 78 in February and his health is deteriorating. He is favourite to win, mixing violence and poll rigging. 'Mugabe will lose the election and win the count,' said one Harare analyst. Skullduggery may not be enough. Even in ZANU-PF strongholds including rural constituencies in the north and north-east there are reports that the poor will turn against Mugabe on polling day. Elsewhere, ZANU just wants to stop people from voting. In Matebeleland, Mugabe has no chance; in Masvingo and Manicaland, he will battle to get half of the vote. In the towns, trades unionist and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai will sweep the board. He would win if the election were free. Mugabe cannot afford to lose. If Tsvangirai wins, Mugabe, many cabinet ministers, senior police officers, soldiers, party officials and civil servants risk being held responsible for offences ranging from murder to corruption. Perhaps thousands in the police, public service and state media would lose their jobs. Some beneficiaries of the land handouts would lose their farms.


Conflicting agendas

US military threats send some running for cover and others for diplomatic gain

The summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, comprising Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda took place this week. The fact that its host...


New Year hopes

Two peace deals and a crowded reform agenda point to a way out of the chaos

Could 2002 be the year that Congo-Kinshasa ends the foreign-backed war engulfing it and starts rebuilding its economy? Optimistic officials in Belgium and France believe so; Congol...


Busy Presidents

Canvassing for investors, fighting elections, the region's leaders face a testing 2002

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's agenda this year will be crowded with primaries and positioning for the 2003 elections. Although there is no doubt that he wants to stand for...



Pointers

A not-so-fresh start

The fragmented opposition had underestimated the Movement for Multi-party Democracy, which bounced back to power with less than 30 per cent of the vote. New President Levy Mwanawas...


Doing the splits

The main opposition party, the Botswana National Front, has a new leader but remains divided. At its national congress Otsweletso Moupo, a lawyer from Selebi Phikwe, beat Peter Wot...


Raelity

The Raelian Movement claims 55,000 members worldwide and is campaigning to increase its African membership. In mid-December Rael, its leader, was visiting Congo-Brazzaville, by in...


Murdering sleep

The murder of Attorney General and veteran politician Chief Bola Ige on 23 December raises new doubts about the prospect of free elections in 2003. He was murdered at his home in I...