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Published 1st March 2013

Vol 54 No 5


Kenya

Jubilee aims to win it in one

KENYA: Magadi, Rift Valley. A group of men walk near the Magadi soda lake area. Frederic Courbet / Panos
KENYA: Magadi, Rift Valley. A group of men walk near the Magadi soda lake area. Frederic Courbet / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

The Kenyatta and Ruto team is gathering support and pulling out all the stops to win the presidency in the first round

A tense campaign, full of skulduggery and intimidation, is gripping the country and challenging the electoral system. Politicians trade accusations of electoral malpractice, raising tension while damaging the credibility of the electoral process. Some candidates resort to strategies which brought Kenya to the brink of political breakdown in 2007-08. Strong statements from interested parties such as the United States, Britain and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan have failed to calm passions and only deepened the divide between the two main coalitions, whose candidates are pretty evenly balanced.


Swing counties hold the key

A second presidential round is likely to focus attention on counties where the vote could go either way

Neither the Jubilee Coalition’s Uhuru Kenyatta nor Prime Minister Raila Odinga of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) has been able to make inroads into the other’s elect...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The biffing party is having a good year. France’s improbable war leader and socialist President François Hollande has been converted to the interventionist cause after a spate of successes against jihadists in northern Mali.

Hollande’s style, as self-effacing as his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s was grandil...

The biffing party is having a good year. France’s improbable war leader and socialist President François Hollande has been converted to the interventionist cause after a spate of successes against jihadists in northern Mali.

Hollande’s style, as self-effacing as his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s was grandiloquent, doubtless helps. Now the United States, initially lukewarm about France’s Malian adventure – there was an unseemly row about who buys fuel for the US transport planes – is sending at least 100 troops to neighbouring Niger. Their job, President Barack Obama told Congress, will be to send drones to survey the Sahel and Sahara. Six months ago, the US like France insisted that it would not send troops to the region. US defence sources say the troop count at the Niger base could quickly climb to 300. For now, the drones are just for spying but officials don’t rule out using attack drones in future.

Sceptics about the move include former US Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell. He argues that ‘the decision associates the US directly with regional governments that are weak and alienated in many cases from the people they ostensibly govern.’ The questions underlying the escalation are twofold: how strong and coordinated are the jihadist forces in northern Mali? And what are the prospects for political reform and development to tackle the socio-economic crisis? As the biffing intensifies, the agenda for serious change in Bamako and beyond will be sidelined.

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Girding up for the vote

President Robert Mugabe has placed allies in key positions as the draft constitution finally heads for a referendum

A referendum on Zimbabwe’s new constitution has been set for 16 March. Despite a challenge by the National Constitutional Assembly, a pro-democracy group, which was dismissed by Ju...


Militants target Katanga

Brutal armed gangs roam across Katanga and threaten the Copperbelt where the country’s mineral wealth lies

On 17 February, a gang of Mai-Mai militia fighters arrived at Kinsevere village, some 40 kilometres from the Katangese capital, Lubumbashi. They slaughtered three officials and dro...


Guns, jobs and strikes

With the police and judiciary under international scrutiny, President Zuma has told officials to crack down hard on protests that turn violent

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Why are they waiting?

Neither the governing party nor its opponents seem in a hurry to resolve the complex case in the Supreme Court on last year’s elections

The leaders of the main opposition New Patriotic Party are stepping up their campaign to delegitimise December’s presidential election, in which John Dramani Mahama was declared wi...


No visible means of support

Oppositionists unite and governing party dissidents plot against him but the President is fighting back, armed with state and business patronage

It doesn’t look good for President Goodluck Jonathan as he prepares his campaign for a second term in the 2015 elections. His close advisors concede that he could have a real battl...


The Mai-Mai and their commanders

• The best-known of Katanga’s Mai-Mai leaders is Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga, a warlord who presided over a reign of terror between 2003 and 2006. He was condemned to death by a military...


The left-right clash on economics

The National Development Plan is ‘a road map to a South Africa where all will have water, electricity, sanitation, jobs, housing, public transport, adequate nutrition, education, s...


Splits prolong crisis

Long before opposition leader Chokri Belaïd was assassinated, the political crisis was in full flow. No end is in sight

An already serious political crisis was exacerbated when gunmen killed Chokri Belaïd on 6 February and Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, from the ruling Hizb Ennahda (Renaissance Party...


Eko Atlantic arises from the sea bed

A lavish launch on 21 February for Eko Atlantic City brought the political and business elite into an awkward communion. On reclaimed land adjacent to the upmarket Victoria Island ...



Pointers

BRICS tug-of-war

At its Mangaung conference in December, the African National Congress resolved to put economic diplomacy at the heart of the South Africa’s foreign policy. Now a bitter battle is r...


Democracy demos

Democracy supporters demonstrated in Djibouti City after the first contested elections since 2003. President Ismail Omar Guelleh and his Union pour la majorité présidentielle had ...


Piecemeal deal

The deal designed to bring peace to Congo-Kinshasa’s troubled east is finally done. Doubts may abound but none were visible in Addis Ababa as South African President Jacob Zuma a...


Trust question

Concern is growing in the Niger Delta over the fate of the charitable trust set up with US$5 million of the 2009 $15.5 mn. settlement that Shell made with the relatives of the l...