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Published 10th May 2013

Vol 54 No 10


Kenya

Diplomatic diversions

KENYA: Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally for the 2013 general elections. Sven Torfin / Panos
KENYA: Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally for the 2013 general elections. Sven Torfin / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

After President Kenyatta’s brief encounter with British Premier Cameron, both are preparing for more trouble over the International Criminal Court cases

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day visit to London and meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron this week mark a considerable diplomatic victory for his new government. Previously, Whitehall had insisted that official relations with Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto would be limited to ‘essential contacts’: both face charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. British officials say the invitation to Kenyatta to attend the Somalia Conference in London on 7 May and meet Cameron and other officials to discuss regional security are in the ‘essential’ category. Kenyan and international human rights groups disagree.


Limits to corruption campaign

A new conflict of interest law forces some politicians to resign but Frelimo still dominates the economy

A series of high-profile resignations has followed the introduction of laws governing conflicts of interest and corruption but there is considerable uncertainty about how much furt...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

After celebrating the finalisation of Glencore’s US$65 billion takeover of Xstrata on 2 May, the new company’s executives had to concentrate their minds on matters Congolese. Earlier that week, Ivan Glasenberg, head of Glenstrata, had railed against African governments which change their investment rules. He seemed to be referring to Congo-Kinshasa, which has announced plans to require mining companies to p...

After celebrating the finalisation of Glencore’s US$65 billion takeover of Xstrata on 2 May, the new company’s executives had to concentrate their minds on matters Congolese. Earlier that week, Ivan Glasenberg, head of Glenstrata, had railed against African governments which change their investment rules. He seemed to be referring to Congo-Kinshasa, which has announced plans to require mining companies to process at least 50% of their ore in the country before export. Share prices in Glencore and the Eurasian National Resources Corporation (ENRC) tumbled shortly after the announcement.

The second Congo problem for Glenstrata is a detailed report this week on its operations by the respected Africa Progress Panel. The APP calculates that Congo lost some $1.36 billion through the underpricing of state mining assets sold in 2010-12. It spotlights five secretive deals which should be independently audited: Glencore’s stake in the Kansuki and Mutanda mines (two of Congo’s richest deposits of copper and cobalt) and ENRC’s stakes in Kabolela, Kipese and Kolwezi. All involve Israeli tycoon Dan Gertler, a close advisor to President Joseph Kabila. Yet some in Kinshasa say that relationship is changing, as evidenced by the proposed mining laws. As the APP was finalising its report, London’s Serious Fraud Office announced an investigation into ENRC’s Congo operations and its links to Gertler. That will put all deals linked to Gertler under the legal spotlight again – in London and Kinshasa.

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