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Published 21st March 2014

Vol 55 No 6


Kenya

A year of living precariously

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The ICC’s case against President Kenyatta is in disarray but so are his own political forces and the managers of his grandiose public spending plans

At the presidential inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta last April, few would have predicted the chaotic current state of the Jubilee Alliance government. Then, almost his sole preoccupation was to avoid trial at the International Criminal Court. The government has since expended so much energy on the ICC case that the business of running the country has suffered.

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Unsuccessful successions

The leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties have something in common: an increasingly noisy campaign to persuade them to go

Managing successions in any political system is tricky while the incumbent is still alive: in traditional Shona culture it has been well nigh impossible. In different ways, Preside...


Nkandla report hurts Zuma

The damning conclusions of the Public Protector on the financing of the President’s homestead will upset the balance of power within the ANC

The findings of an official investigation that President Jacob Zuma personally benefited from the multi-million dollar refurbishment of his Nkandla homestead will weaken his positi...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The advice of the anti-colonial activist Amilcar Cabral, some 41 years after his assassination in Conakry, ‘to claim no easy victories’ may ring true for Africa’s anti-corruption campaigners. Yet this year some of the more civic-minded auditors, lawyers and even economists are catching up with the system. Identifying the holes and the rogues is just part of the victory: building the institutions to deter and punish the looting is the tougher batt...

The advice of the anti-colonial activist Amilcar Cabral, some 41 years after his assassination in Conakry, ‘to claim no easy victories’ may ring true for Africa’s anti-corruption campaigners. Yet this year some of the more civic-minded auditors, lawyers and even economists are catching up with the system. Identifying the holes and the rogues is just part of the victory: building the institutions to deter and punish the looting is the tougher battle.

There are signs that this is happening in some of Africa’s biggest economies. South Africa’s Public Protector has resisted political pressure and produced a thoroughgoing critique of President Jacob Zuma’s use of state funds for a refurbishment of his homestead and ordered him to repay some of the cost overruns.

The row over claims that Nigeria’s state oil company failed to transfer tens of billions of dollars to the Central Bank prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to suspend the bank’s governor, Lamido Sanusi, the author of the claims. But it has also triggered probes on oil revenue theft by the National Assembly and the Treasury. The issue is now centre stage with a year to go to elections.

There is also in the Ecobank saga, a victory for regulators in the fight against corporate misgovernance. After nine months of directorial combat, regulators insisted on the reinstatement of a whistle-blower and the sacking of the chief executive she accused of malfeasance.

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The ANC’s top hundred

The ANC has drawn up a candidates list that is a messy compromise of effective campaigners and die-hard presidential loyalists

The rows over state spending on Nkandla and recurring protests at the lack of public services prompted the governing African National Congress leadership to look very carefully at ...


Gas and hot air

Progress, albeit hesitant, is being made on the vaunted gas economy and on the assembly that will oversee the new constitution

With two months remaining of the current offshore licensing round, Tanzania is making slow progress in defining the shape of its new 'gas economy'. The challenge is to reach agreem...


State corruption complicates succession battles

Each of the factions vying to succeed Mugabe is accusing the other of cover-up and grand corruption as reports emerge of multimillion dollar pay-offs

President Robert Mugabe's frequent trips to Singapore are for nothing more serious than treatment for cataracts, according Rugare Gumbo, the Spokesman for the ruling Zimbabwe Afric...


Statoil on the spot

Norway’s biggest parastatal comes under scrutiny over business partners whose reputation for probity is far from the Scandinavian image

The bearer of Norway's reputation for high principles in international business, Statoil, is now on the defensive after revelations in the local media about the shady backgrounds o...


Talks or treason trials

President Salva Kiir is hardening Juba’s line as Western governments threaten sanctions against those blocking peace talks

Any parties in South Sudan – government or otherwise – trying to undermine the peace talks would face some form of sanction, the special envoys from the United States, ...


Talking Timbuktu

Deepening divisions among the armed groups – and the heavy hand of IBK – undermine the chances for talks on peace in the north

Swept to power on a nationalist platform in elections last September, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta intends to make peace on his own terms or not at all. That was the clear...


Huge rise in illegal logging

A Maputo university study has gathered hard figures on illegal timber and revealed a massive and unexpected increase

A study by Maputo's Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) has uncovered an 88% increase in illegal logging since 2007. Funded by the European Union, the report shows that enforcement...


Testing the offshore limits

Sahrawi officials are again trying to get the UN to intervene with oil companies drilling in disputed offshore areas

A legal battle may be brewing between the Polisario Front, which since 1973 has aspired to rule Western Sahara, and Norwegian oil services company Aker Solutions over offshore expl...


Tanoh goes as Ecobank cleans house

Ecobank dismisses Chief Executive Thierry Tanoh and reinstates the sacked whistle-blowing Finance Director

In what regional financial experts describe as striking a blow for good governance, on 11 March the board of Ecobank pushed out its Chief Executive Officer Thierry Tanoh, the Ivori...



Pointers

Sanogo case falters

Procedural errors in the arrest and prosecution of Malian coup leader General Amadou Haya Sanogo may be enough to see his trial collapse, legal sources in Bamako have told Africa C...


The last straw

Any escalation of the tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats after the 4 March attack on the Pretoria home of the exiled Rwandan General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa now looks improbable....


Ecobank's next act

Albert Essien, the new Chief Executive of Ecobank, told delegates at the Africa CEO Forum in Geneva on 18 March that the bank would relentlessly focus on the future after its recen...