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Published 6th March 1998

Vol 39 No 5

South Africa

Mbeki's new machine

The ANC's new leader sees problems ahead unless discipline can be restored to the party and grassroots enthusiasm revived

Overwhelmingly successful at the polls and certain to win next year’s national elections, and most of the provincial ones too, the African National Congress, however, has major problems. South Africans are getting bored with it; its grassroots membership is dwindling. More worrying for its leaders, a confidential survey given them last December predicts massive abstentions in next year’s general elections which have to be held between April and July. Some voters are clearly disenchanted by the slow pace of change and the equally slow delivery of houses, schools and medicare (although there have been impressive advances in provision of water, electricity and telephones). Meanwhile the keenest activists have moved up into political and administrative jobs, and the party is run by inexperienced hands. President Nelson Mandela concedes that careerism, opportunism, maladministration and corruption are rife.

The ANC's front line

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The ANC’s top policy-making body, the National Working Committee (NWC), was elected by secret ballot at the NEC’s three- day session in late February. The voting figure...

Savimbi's last stand

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A weakened UNITA defies the UN timetable and risks a government offensive

Jonas Savimbi is circling the wagons around the planalto heartland of his rebel União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola. In the last few weeks of February ...

A diplomatic coup

Nigeria's military regime is looking for more support after toppling the Freetown junta

While its ousting of Major Johnny-Paul Koroma’s junta in Freetown has strengthened the grip of General Sani Abacha’s government on West Africa in the short term, it wil...

Conflict irresolution

Support ebbs for the anti-Buyoya embargo as opposition militias go on the offensive

A hotel-keeper at Butare in southern Rwanda, asked in late January about a convoy of trucks bearing number-plates from Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, replied: ‘C’est l&r...

Patasse´'s problems

With French forces leaving in April, the Bangui conference must produce results

p class="p1">Since President Ange-Félix Patassé came to power in 1993, the Central African Republic has almost disintegrated. Another attempt to put it back together ...


Freetown fracas

The Nigerian-led ousting of Major Johnny- Paul Koroma’s Freetown junta raises awkward questions for Whitehall’s proclaimed ethical foreign policy and its ban on militar...

Lions and elephants

Abidjan provided high-level political backing to make a success of the British Week heavily branded with the title ‘Ensemble’ held on 2-8 March, which brought in a larg...