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Published 23rd August 2013

Vol 54 No 17


Egypt

After the crisis, the crackdown

EGYPT: Protesters unfurl a huge Egyptian flag during a demonstration in Tahrir Square. Adam Hinton / Panos
EGYPT: Protesters unfurl a huge Egyptian flag during a demonstration in Tahrir Square. Adam Hinton / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

General El Sisi and his military securocrats are trying to crush the Muslim Brotherhood. The attack on Islamism will reverberate through the region

Egypt’s new rulers have set about stamping their authority on the country in the most brutal fashion, albeit with widespread domestic political and popular backing. The generals have calculated that this support will allow them to remove the Muslim Brotherhood, in its present incarnation, from political contention and deal with whatever sanctions the West might apply. Six weeks after President Mohamed Mursi was removed from office by his army commander, General Abdel Fatah Khalil el Sisi, and taken away to an undisclosed place of detention, more than 1,000 people have been killed, mainly by forces under the command of the Ministry of the Interior (AC Vol 54 No 14, The agony and the ecstasy & Vol 54 No 15, Rebels with many causes). Muslim Brothers may have killed around a tenth of those.

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Inside ZANU-PF's electoral coup

It was a tactical masterclass from Robert Mugabe and his high command. The MDC floundered, hit by trickery, bad planning and split votes

Harare has been eerily quiet since the elections, in shock at the Movement for Democratic Change's disastrous electoral performance. Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's trium...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Party loyalists packed the grandiose inauguration ceremony for Robert Mugabe in Harare on 22 August, his second coronation this week.At the summit hosted by Malawi’s President Joyce Banda in Lilongwe on 18 August, the Southern African Development Community leaders chose Mugabe as deputy chairman. They also agreed that next year's summit would be held in Harare, when Mugabe would be appointed Chairman. Prior to that, SADC leaders had unequivocally endorsed Zimbabwe's 'free and peaceful' elect...

Party loyalists packed the grandiose inauguration ceremony for Robert Mugabe in Harare on 22 August, his second coronation this week.At the summit hosted by Malawi’s President Joyce Banda in Lilongwe on 18 August, the Southern African Development Community leaders chose Mugabe as deputy chairman. They also agreed that next year's summit would be held in Harare, when Mugabe would be appointed Chairman. Prior to that, SADC leaders had unequivocally endorsed Zimbabwe's 'free and peaceful' elections without waiting for their observer mission's final report.

The failure of SADC's reform efforts in Zimbabwe started slowly but has hurtled to its finale this month. After the 2008 elections, when some 200 opposition activists were killed by militias linked to the ruling Zimbabwe African National Congress-Patriotic Front, an agreement was hammered out that included a temporary governing coalition and a road map for political reform. South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma appointed the independent-minded Lindiwe Zulu as his international relations advisor. It was her clear-headed critique of the electoral preparations and lack of progress on media and security reform that prompted Mugabe to abuse her publicly.

The lack of political support for Zulu, not least from Zuma, signalled SADC's failure. A lack of imagination from Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change, made it easier still. Some SADC officials say they had advised the MDC to stay out of the elections until the obvious flaws in the electoral register and election management had been resolved. A month ago, Mugabe had dismissed SADC as irrelevant and threatened to withdraw if it 'interfered' with Zimbabwe's elections. That, he now explains, along with an apology to Zulu, was all in the cause of campaigning.

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Test for Mugabenomics

ZANU-PF may now relish ruling on its own but it will have to dig very deep for answers to a deteriorating economy

President Robert Mugabe’s victory in the 31 July elections has not settled the uncertainties surrounding Zimbabwe’s political and economic future. It may even have heig...


The diaspora strikes back

Asmara’s diplomatic isolation, rising opposition confidence in the diaspora and a continuing hard line from the UN put the regime under stress

Cracks in the revolutionary façade of the ever-secretive People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) may be appearing, after January’s failed coup and concer...


Powers of separation

The struggle continues for a new state as old comrades fall out

When Parliament turned down President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s choice of Justice Minister on 13 August, it was greeted as a victory for democracy in the face of an increasingly ...


How to grow crops and influence voters

The World Bank and others are backing a farm subsidy scheme that keeps the governing party in power and boosts big commodity traders

The donor-funded subsidy programme for smallholder agriculture is coming under increasing criticism for being poorly targeted, discriminating against the private sector and being u...


Asmara and the Islamists

Eritrea may be loosening relations with Al Shabaab

A July report by the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea claimed that the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice has resumed support to the Somali...


Koroma helps warlord escape trial

The President's secret deportation of an ex-warlord and ally of Charles Taylor blatantly snubs the United States government and human rights campaigners

Ibrahim Bah, the warlord and arms dealer who was living in Freetown in breach of United Nations sanctions (AC Vol 54 No 10, Impunity in Freetown), has gone into hiding after the Si...


Renamo ramps up the pressure

Disgruntled Renamo rebels are using force and threats of economic disruption to get their demands on the table

The violent stand-off between President Armando Guebuza's government and the former Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo) rebels, now entering its sixth month, loo...


Jammeh tightens the screw

The President clamps down on the media, sacks officials and raises tension with Senegal but his US backing may be weakening

President Yahya Jammeh likes to be seen to be in charge, active and striking everywhere. This month alone he has sacked three ministers, while the former Chief Justice, Joseph Wowo...


Rajoelina fends off sanctions with new election law

Announcing a restructuring of the electoral court and allowing newspapers to hint that he may opt out of the presidential race, Rajoelina has outwitted his rivals and international monitors

The drums were rolling ahead of 31 July, the deadline set by international organisations for Andry Rajoelina, President of the Haute Autorité de la Transition, to organise c...



Pointers

Sexual congress

The suspension of Congress of South African Trade Unions Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi on 14 August, after he admitted to sexual misconduct with a Cosatu employee in his office...