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Published 2nd August 2013

Vol 54 No 16


Zimbabwe

Fury follows calm elections

ZIMBABWE: Heavy cloud looms above a road. Robin Hammond / Panos
ZIMBABWE: Heavy cloud looms above a road. Robin Hammond / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

Prime Minister Tsvangirai rejects reports of a ZANU-PF victory in the elections, claiming the party had engineered a ‘monumental fraud’

The stage is set for days, perhaps weeks, of confrontation following claims by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and local monitoring groups of extensive rigging in the 31 July elections. The worsening dispute will put great pressure on the Southern African Development Community to broker a resolution. Neither of the two main parties looks prepared to accept a power-sharing deal, which was SADC’s remedy for the political crisis after the disputed and violent elections of 2008. This will give the key role to South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma who – beset by political ructions at home – has shown little energy or interest in urging the Zimbabwean parties to follow the electoral rules set out in the 2008 SADC agreement.


Gono on the spot over oil deals

An investigation by Africa Confidential, The Telegraph and Global Witness has revealed suspicious payments to central bank governor Gideon Gono’s children

The business affairs of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono, are back in the headlines since evidence emerged that three of his children had received US...


Elections judged a success

The turnout was the highest ever. Shortcomings should not prevent the new leader from restoring some credibility to government

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK) had always looked the man to beat in the Malian presidential race and as Africa Confidential went to press, it was clear that he had made a big im...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Amid a relentless election season – Mali, Togo and Zimbabwe this week alone – Africa’s determined voters deserve recognition. Not only did they patiently queue from the early hours this week, facing high security risks in northern Mali and rural Zimbabwe, they are showing increasing ingenuity in making their votes count. That means everything from reporting electoral ...

Amid a relentless election season – Mali, Togo and Zimbabwe this week alone – Africa’s determined voters deserve recognition. Not only did they patiently queue from the early hours this week, facing high security risks in northern Mali and rural Zimbabwe, they are showing increasing ingenuity in making their votes count. That means everything from reporting electoral malfeasance to journalists and independent observers to using mobile phones and social media to get their messages out.

This doesn’t guarantee free or fair elections but it is gradually reducing the room for manoeuvre of determined election-riggers. Political will is the key ingredient for credible elections but technology, institutions and activist pressure can also help. Yet little effort was made to use modern technology in the Malian and Zimbabwean elections. Both countries deemed biometric electoral registration and an online, universally accessible register too expensive.

As Kenya’s experience showed in March, biometric registration and digital transmission are not flawless but they can reduce error and manipulation and make life more difficult for those trying to fix the result from the inside. The production of credible electoral registers was critically important in both Mali and Zimbabwe but the authorities could not or would not provide them. The extra costs of such technology are easily justified: they add vital credibility to elections that are already costing tens of millions of dollars.

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Row over exiles

Claims that Ivorian secret agents are targeting pro-Laurent Gbagbo exiles in Ghana raise tensions again between Accra and Abidjan

President Alassane Dramane Ouattara’s government is sending undercover agents to Ghana to abduct or assassinate supporters of former President Laurent Ggabo there, according ...


Tilting at the ANC

The EFF seeks to appeal to leftists disappointed by the ANC. Its main impact for now will be on the ANC’s internal politics

The deposed leader of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has staked a claim to political space well to the left of the governing party. Julius Malema aims to bring ...


The crucial M-Pesa and call logs

An anonymous blogger from the high-tech communications sector in Kenya has stepped in with highly credible-looking information on the latest court action in the International Crimi...


Shadowy third-term plan for Koroma

The constitution restricts presidents to two five-year terms. Confident of their political dominance, top officials in the All People’s Congress are scheming to abolish the term limits. President Koroma's denials are perfunctory and unconvincing

Freetown is full of talk that President Ernest Bai Koroma's closest allies are plotting to amend the constitution to scrap presidential term limits. Along with concerns about rampa...


Mission impossible

The UN Security Council renews its peacekeepers’ mandate in Darfur but UN operations in Sudan have failed to protect civilians or prevent war

The worsening political crises in Juba and Khartoum are fuelling hostilities between the two capitals. When South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit sacked his cabinet on ...


Amaechi takes on Jonathan

The battle for control of wealthy Rivers State is a personal struggle for power in the Niger Delta but has the makings of a national crisis

For many of those listening to Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s address to the Chatham House think-tank in London on 24 July, the speaker may have appeared just another ambitious an...


M23 takes a hit

The army turns the tables on the rebels and Rwanda may find it problematic to continue its support for M23

Two weeks of sometimes brutal fighting between the Mouvement du 23 mars and the national army have ramped up the pressure on Kinshasa and Kigali to negotiate a settlement. The Rwan...


A power struggle, not a coup

President Salva has opened the leadership contest by sacking his deputy and all his ministers – and has strengthened his position in the process

When President Salva Kiir Mayardit sacked his Vice-President, all his ministers, the governing party’s Secretary General and several senior police officers on 23 July, the wo...


Secret suit aims at ICC evidence

President Kenyatta is suing Safaricom in the High Court in camera

In perhaps the strongest signal that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s defence team is now preparing for a full-blown trial at The Hague in November, his lead International Criminal...


Crisis grows as presidential elections delayed again

Coup leader Rajoelina's insistence that he must be a candidate has thrown preparations for the presidential elections into chaos

Political tensions and street clashes have been increasing ahead of the 31 July deadline set by the Groupe internationale de contact sur Madagascar (GIC-M), which has set key condi...



Pointers

See, they were out to get me

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s argument that the Spanish government under Prime Minister José María Aznar may have supported the 2004 ‘wonga co...


Knowledge is power

Canadian entrepreneur Duane Parnham has partnered with a well connected Namibian, Knowledge Katti, to make a bid for Navachab gold mine, which AngloGold Ashanti is selling as part ...


The Dar leader

Washington and Seoul are discreetly putting pressure on Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to end military cooperation with Pyongyang. Around 18 North Korean military technicians a...


Couldn’t save it

No one seriously expects opposition complaints about electoral fraud to succeed. The opposition Collectif sauvons le Togo (CST) is challenging the victory of President Faure Gnassi...