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Published 19th April 2002

Vol 43 No 8


Decision time in Dar

The government faces a crisis of confidence amid mounting allegations of corruption, gem smuggling and covert operations

Suddenly alarm bells are ringing about Tanzania. The fast-growing model pupil of International Monetary Fund economic theology and recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars of mining house investment, with its impressive liberal President, is worrying some neighbours and officials in Washington and London. Yet Tanzania's covert role in the Congo-Kinshasa war, rampant corruption, rising Islamist unrest on both the mainland and Zanzibar (see Box) and fast growing gem smuggling are damaging its political credibility. They are costing President Benjamin Mkapa's government aid and investment, too. When President Robert Mugabe won his dubious election last month (AC Vol 43 No 7), Mkapa effusively extended 'Our warmest congratulations on the deserved presidential mandate the people of Zimbabwe have given you'. He commended Mugabe's defence of 'free, democratic and sovereign governance'. Unlike the Commonwealth, Tanzanian observers had declared the poll free and fair. Mkapa's government depends heavily on foreign aid and investment but he likes to be seen resisting foreign interference in Africa's internal affairs. The opposition Civic United Front (CUF) pointed to similarities between Zimbabwe's and Zanzibar's 2000 elections ­ intimidation, doubtful electoral registers, unfair rules and badly managed polling stations.

Wanaharakati and kuffar

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Slowly and with some success, Muslim extremists are trying to seize control of Dar es Salaam region's 487 mosques. Islamists claim to have taken over more than 30 of the region's m...


Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Rebel and government delegations are regrouping – not reuniting their country

The Inter-Congolese Dialogue, which began on 25 February in Sun City, South Africa, has missed its deadline. The government of Joseph Kabila, the rebels, the unarmed opposition and...

Who killed Laurent?

The death penalty hangs over the accused but the trial is alternately tedious and entertaining. At Kinshasa's central prison on 15 March, a military court began trying some 125 sus...

An edited peace

Quick moves to a ceasefire; much slower ones on political and economic reforms

There are three reasons why the rebels of the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola will not go to war again against the Movimento Popular de Liberta&cce...

Purging again

President Obiang's latest coup plot looks like a pre-succession purge

Mass arrests, allegations of torture and public denunciations of dissidents mark President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's latest purge. For five years, he has told the world that ...

Murder in Yendi

The beheading of a traditional ruler has a sour political background

The Ya-Na, overlord of the northern people of Dagbon, is said to have been abducted from his palace by men in military fatigues on 26 March and murdered (AC Vol 43 No 7). This chie...


Anti-Kagame alliance

President Paul Kagame's Front Patriotique Rwandais faces its first broad opposition since seizing power in July 1994 (AC Vol 42 No 25). Launched in Brussels on 5 April, the Allianc...

Missing Badme

As promised, both countries have accepted the (carefully crafted) ruling by the Eritrea-Ethiopian Boundary Commission, published last weekend. Both sides want peace but the propaga...

Asian interests

India's state-owned ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and Indian Oil Corporation are in talks to buy Talisman Energy's Sudan operations. Canada's Talisman is under pressure because of the Nat...

UN manoeuvres

Morocco, the Polisario Front and their allies are lobbying hard before the United Nations Security Council's 30 April vote on the future of its Western Sahara mission (AC Vol 43 No...