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Published 4th July 1997

Vol 38 No 14


The general's labyrinth

Failures at home and abroad are bad news for General Abacha's plans to run in presidential elections

All the ingredients are there: political uncertainty (about General Sani Abacha's candidacy in next year's elections), economic collapse (fuel shortages and worse poverty than 25 years ago), armed political rivalries (Niger Delta war) and regional crisis (Sierra Leonean coup-makers who have humiliated Abacha, AC Vol 38 No 12). However, there is no effective opposition able to make political capital out of Abacha's travails; for him, the most threatening opposition still consists of serving and retired army officers. As things get worse, such officers believe, their chances of succeeding in a bid for power improve.

Going for broke

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Finance Minister Ani says the economy is booming but no one believes it any more

First, look at the figures which General Sani Abacha prefers. Inflation was at 70 per cent in late 1995 and is now at 20 per cent. Foreign exchange reserves tripled last year to ov...

Polls at a price

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Elections are managed in the Maghreb to keep out Islamists and tempt investors

Morocco's local elections on 13 June set out the conditions for co-existence by the government and political parties. This followed February's 'gentlemen's agreement' between Inter...

Constitutional counter

Opposition demands for political reforms before the elections unsettle President Moi

Delaying the elections, probably until November or December, is beginning to look like a major error by President Daniel arap Moi. Even six months ago, his ruling Kenya African Nat...

Kabila's ghosts

The AFDL's credibility is on the line as concerns over human rights mount

Veteran opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba still has huge support in the capital Kinshasa and his arrest on 26 June was for many Kinois the final stage in their...


Academic freedoms

Academic papers to be delivered to conferences in Tunisia must now be vetted by the Higher Education Ministry. The move follows a conference on financing when a foreign speaker sai...


Three Algerians have been charged in London with 'possession of articles for the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorist acts outside the UK': police found chemicals, b...