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Published 9th May 1997

Vol 38 No 10


New fingers on Zaïre's trigger

Ending Mobutuism has divided Africa and its allies; the new government will need broad-based support to move ahead

The shape of Africa resembles a revolver, wrote Algeria's Franz Fanon, 'and Zaïre is the trigger'. Over 30 years after Fanon's assessment, new fingers are on the trigger but the analogy holds true. The future of Zaïre is the most important question for Africa since the end of apartheid in South Africa. With nine neighbours and more than twice the size of France and Germany combined, Zaïre is Africa's third largest state. An effective government in Kinshasa accepting the devolution of power to Zaïre's regions could help rebuild the national and regional economy. It is also key to resolving conflicts in Rwanda, Burundi and Angola and, if it brings trade and investment, could help stabilise the shaky governments across Africa's midriff. Conversely, continuing economic decay and dictatorship would open the region's frail state system to more conflict and instability, fanning the flames of rebellion across the Zaïre River through Congo-Brazzaville up to West Africa.

Delta wars

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Ethnic rivalries and government blunders are fuelling clashes over oil money

The fighting between Ijaws and Itsekiris in Warri, the oil city of Delta State in South-Western Nigeria, threatens to halt oil production in Nigeria's most lucrative fields. The ci...

Fixing the finance

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Winning this year's elections is more important for KANU than obeying the IMF

Within eight weeks Finance Minister Musalia Mudavadi must produce a budget. The International Monetary Fund expects Kenya to meet its fiscal guidelines and speed up privatisation. ...

Trumpeting the Horn

Meles' alliance with Eritrea and Uganda is changing the balance of power in the region

Ethiopia is once more a force to be reckoned with, as Prime Minister Meles Zenawi emerges from the shadow of his 'elder brother' President Issayas Aferworki of Eritrea. Both are ex...

Buyoya alone

Repression is not working; the Bujumbura regime is making new enemies

Major Pierre Buyoya has made a few gains. The triumph of Laurent-Désiré Kabila's forces in Zaïre has cut off from its usual bases the main armed opposition to hi...


Labour intensive

The election of the Labour government on 1 May, after 18 years in opposition, comes at a time of growing Anglophone influence in Africa (AC Vol 38 No 10, New fingers on Zaïre'...

Body of evidence

An opposition attack on government forces at a little known mountain called Togan, about 100 kilometres north of Kassala, has produced sheaves of documents detailing the National I...

Pas si joli

It is turning out worse than they had feared in Paris. President Omar Bongo's government in Gabon has cut out his old ally, France's Elf Aquitaine, in favour of a deal with Energy ...