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Published 17th April 1998

Vol 39 No 8

South Africa

New sparring partners

Political alliances - with and against the dominant ANC - are reshaping the landscape ahead of next year's elections

Already the parties are taking off their gloves ahead of the general elections scheduled for mid-1999. It's likely to be a bruising contest. Racial abuse is back in political fashion, having edged out much of the reconciliation rhetoric of the 1994 Uhuru election. In national terms, the opposition parties are shadow boxing; they can do little to dent the African National Congress' political dominance. But there are a number of important side-issues to play for. Will Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party ally itself with the ANC in return for a promised deputy presidency? If so, will Inkatha militants accept the probable loss of control of the kwaZulu-Natal provincial government? Will Tony Leon's abrasive leadership of the Democratic Party succeed in politically annihilating the beleaguered National Party? Will Bantu Holomisa's United Democratic Movement provide the basis for a radical black challenge to the dominant ANC?

Polling problems

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Next year's elections must be held within 90 days of 27 April, the date of the 1994 elections. Time is running against Justice Johan Kriegler, Chairman of the Independent Electoral...

Living dangerously

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Alarms are sounding about General Abacha's plans to follow President Suharto's example

What have Indonesia and Nigeria got in common? On the face of it, almost everything - deepening economic crises, embattled military leaders, a web of corruption and nepotism at the...

Fighting over peace

The faction leaders are getting more weapons but seem to be losing authority

The leaders of Mogadishu's three main factions are still trying to avoid a real peace settlement. Nearly three months after the Cairo agreement that was meant to bring peace, Ali M...

Children of '68

Like many of their counterparts elsewhere, the rebels of '68 have joined the system

Senegal's energetic media have been painting the general elections of 24 May as a rendez-vous with history. It's the thirtieth anniversary of May '68, when Senegalese students and ...


Secrets and splits

The main armed opposition, the Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie, has split. On 22 March, its Conseil de Guerre Général Populaire (Popular General War Council) unde...

Bamako sparks

Amid deadlock between government and opposition, preparations are starting for local elections. Business and donors are more worried about the electricity crisis. Donors have again...


The likeliest beneficiary of Zambia's copper privatisation fiasco is the company the Zambians were anxious to keep out - Anglo American, the South African mining giant. After years...