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Published 7th June 2013

Vol 54 No 12


Kenya

Bringing it all back home

KENYA Kitale: William Ruto, surrounded by his security guards, speaks to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally for the 2013 general elections. Sven Torfin / Panos
KENYA Kitale: William Ruto, surrounded by his security guards, speaks to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally for the 2013 general elections. Sven Torfin / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

The International Criminal Court’s offer to hold the trial of William Ruto in East Africa could be an astute compromise

The announcement by the International Criminal Court on 3 June that it could try William Ruto, Kenya’s Deputy President, in East Africa rather than at the Hague appears to be a response to an African Union resolution calling for ICC cases to be brought back to Africa. Ruto’s defence team had also requested his trial be brought closer to home ‘in the interests of justice’. For the Court, an ICC trial in Africa would be vastly preferable to transferring the case to the Kenyan judiciary, which it believes would come under irresistible political pressure. Already more than ten witnesses have recanted their testimony.


Paying – and fighting – for unity

Nigeria’s ex-President Obasanjo proposes taxing hotels and airlines to make the AU independent of foreign governments

The African Union took some tentative steps at its 50th anniversary summit on 25-26 May to end what South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma called the organisation’s ‘unsustainable’ ...


The new battle for the Bank

Bank officials advise African economies to seek new sources of funding

‘Is it Africa’s time?’ asked Ghanaian journalist Komla Dumor at a seminar at the African Development Bank’s annual meeting in Marrakech on 29 May. His panelists – AfDB President Do...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Britain’s belated compensation this week to Kenyans tortured by colonial forces during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s holds some lessons for the new Kenyan government. The efforts of top politicians to derail their international trials for the post-poll violence in 2007 could rebound.

Between 1958 and 1963, the British colonial authorities destroyed 3.5 tonnes of documents recording the b...

Britain’s belated compensation this week to Kenyans tortured by colonial forces during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s holds some lessons for the new Kenyan government. The efforts of top politicians to derail their international trials for the post-poll violence in 2007 could rebound.

Between 1958 and 1963, the British colonial authorities destroyed 3.5 tonnes of documents recording the brutal treatment meted out to Kenyans. Some of the surviving victims launched a case for compensation against Britain. Asked by the London High Court to produce hundreds of thousands more documents on the torture, Whitehall officials insisted they had misplaced them. Then a determined Foreign and Commonwealth Office official, Edward Inglett, tracked down the documents, which occupied 30 metres of shelf space in a ministry archive. The pay out to 5,000 of the now elderly victims works out at about £3,000 each but its political significance goes far beyond that.

Already torture victims caught in anti-colonial struggles in Algeria and Malaysia are preparing compensation cases. In Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007, over 1,200 people were killed and 300,000 chased from their homes but only one person has been charged and less than 5% of the displaced people have been able to return home. That’s why efforts to return the cases against President Kenyatta and his Deputy Ruto to Kenya’s jurisdiction are greeted with so much scepticism.

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Timber rackets, gas booms

As the gas industry opens up the north, generals and politicians are smuggling hundreds of tonnes of timber and ivory to China

As the booming trade in smuggled ivory and timber devastates northern Mozambique’s environment, Attorney General Augusto Paulino has launched an investigation into the claimed invo...


CCM circles the wagons

The governing party worries about the next elections and some old hands, once out in the cold, are back on the scene

Once shunned for their association with notorious corruption episodes, two of Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s wealthiest grandees are making their way back into the political spotlight. One ...


Riches on the yellowcake road

The Husab uranium mine project moves forward as the Chinese partners agree to new rules on employment

Development of the Husab uranium mine, the largest under construction globally, seems to be proceeding. The site, 60 kilometres inland from Swakopmund and 15 km. south of Rio Tinto...


Protests fuel political crisis

Clashes over the lack of local benefits from the booming gas industry challenge President Kikwete’s government

Two days of clashes in Mtwara following the general strike on 22 May have turned into one of the most serious political crises since Independence in 1961. At heart, this concerns t...


The hill Banda must climb

If economic conditions don’t improve, the President’s prospects for next year’s elections look poor

President Joyce Banda opened Parliament in May and announced a strong budget in an attempt to regain ground lost to an opposition that is already in election mode. While donors and...


Justice may have to wait

The government claims it treats both sides’ atrocities in the recent fighting even-handedly – it may prefer to let the reconciliation process slide

Militia leader Amadé Ouérémi has handed himself in for trial for the worst massacre of the 2010-11 post-election crisis, the slaughter of 3,000 people at Duékoué in March 2011. His...


The licensing run-around

Despite the lack of the long-awaited natural gas policy, the licensing round will now start in late October

Tanzania has announced that the continually postponed Fourth Offshore Licensing Round will finally start on 25 October. It will also include one onshore block, North Lake Tanganyik...


Economy thrives, BEE slows

Policies favouring foreign investment are set to prevail over those who want more of the benefits of growth to flow to black citizens

Unreconciled opponents of Prime Minister Hage Geingob, the expected heir to the presidency, resent their marginalisation within the ever-governing SWAPO party. The critics, many of...


After Mali, Niger

Bombings at Arlit and Agadez and a gaol break expose security problems

The aftermath of the suicide attacks on a French company and a military barracks on 23 May will test Niger’s security forces. With almost half of its military either in Mali or on ...



Pointers

Countdown in Addis

The actual 50th anniversary day of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity – the African Union’s previous name – turned into an embarrassment for the organisers. As Brazi...


Gaffes on the Nile

Such is the level of distrust around President Mohamed Mursi’s beleaguered government that some insiders are convinced his officials deliberately misled opposition politicians abo...


A change of register

By seven to two, the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court ruled on 31 May that elections must take place before 31 July, a month after Parliament expires under the old constitution. Now, ...