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Published 13th June 2014

Vol 55 No 12


Nigeria

Jonathan faces the north

Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London Ministerial meeting on security in Northern Nigeria, 12 June 2014
Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London Ministerial meeting on security in Northern Nigeria, 12 June 2014

Pic: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

After two months in the global spotlight, the insurgency in northern Nigeria is fast turning into a national political crisis

The deepening security crisis in northern Nigeria and along the borders with Cameroon and Niger has galvanised more attention internationally than in Abuja. This week, it was Britain's turn to hold a security conference on northern Nigeria. It invited an impressive group of diplomats and security experts. Many also attended the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, a Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

It’s official: it started with a pain in the neck at the National Executive Committee meeting of the African National Congress. That is Jacob Zuma’s neck and the pain was severe enough for his fellow NEC members to send him to hospital. ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe insists that President Zuma was merely tired and will deliver the state of the nation address on 17 June. By then,

It’s official: it started with a pain in the neck at the National Executive Committee meeting of the African National Congress. That is Jacob Zuma’s neck and the pain was severe enough for his fellow NEC members to send him to hospital. ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe insists that President Zuma was merely tired and will deliver the state of the nation address on 17 June. By then, Cyril Ramaphosa will have chalked up some appearances on Zuma’s behalf. This week he chaired the cabinet lekgotla (big meeting) which is meant to map out the government’s plans.

Ramaphosa will also be leader of government business in Parliament and we hear he will chair the National Planning Commission after the departure of Trevor Manuel. With Zuma resting up before he faces renewed questioning over state spending on his Nkandla homestead and the latest probe into the US$6 billion arms deal, this looks strikingly like power seeping across to Deputy Ramaphosa. If so, it will be a tough initiation, even for this veteran union leader. Although there was meant to be consensus about the pro-market policies in the National Development Plan, companies were puzzled to hear the ANC announce last week that its election victory was a mandate for radical economic transformation. That sounds scary to business, especially when growth is slowing and the platinum mine workers are still striking. Comrade Cyril can expect more calls from his old friends in the corporate world.

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