Jump to navigation

Published 11th July 2014

Vol 55 No 14


Kenya

A rally, not a revolt

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

The opposition is back in business but it is caught between the national security crisis and the government’s heavy-handed response

The opposition parties may have failed to pack out Nairobi's Uhuru Park at the long-awaited rally on 7 July but they set out the first credible political challenge to President Uhuru Kenyatta's government for a year. Their demands centred on the growing economic hardship, worsened by the raising of Value Added Tax to 16%, by the government's response to terrorist attacks across Kenya and by claims of ethnic favouritism in public appointments. The rally followed a weekend of armed attacks on the coast in which at least 29 people were killed.

READ FOR FREE

More states less unity

Regions are being created as part of a federal state but their prospects are poor because they don’t enjoy legitimacy

Distracted by political turmoil and terrorism in Kenya, most regional observers missed the announcement by Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed that the government w...


Toxic loan fears grow

The reported bail-out of a major bank risks destabilising the financial sector and affecting the country’s sovereign rating

A huge state guarantee to a major local bank is causing concern about corporate governance and has the potential to destabilise the economy. The state has set aside up to US$5.7 bi...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

A sense of crisis loomed over the regional summit on 10-11 July as West African leaders gathered in Accra, with security, migration and the Ebola virus high on the agenda. Insurgencies, organised crime and political rivalries are intruding on grand plans for economic development and cooperation.

Leaders were due to finalise details for launching a common currency by 2020, free movement of people and cutting constraints on cross-border trade but concerns about security implications hav...

A sense of crisis loomed over the regional summit on 10-11 July as West African leaders gathered in Accra, with security, migration and the Ebola virus high on the agenda. Insurgencies, organised crime and political rivalries are intruding on grand plans for economic development and cooperation.

Leaders were due to finalise details for launching a common currency by 2020, free movement of people and cutting constraints on cross-border trade but concerns about security implications have held back agreement. Pointing to growing worries about terrorist attacks and cross-border crime, the presidents of Cameroon, Chad and Mauritania were to join those from the 15 member-states of the Economic Community of West African States. Most pressing is the spread of the Boko Haram insurgency across Nigeria’s north-east to neighbouring countries.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in Islamist attacks over two months despite a new regional security coordination centre in Ndjamena. In Mali, Ibrahim Keïta’s government has failed to reach agreement with northern rebels, some nine months after coming to power. Presidents John Mahama and Macky Sall are under growing domestic pressure as Ghana and Senegal struggle with their own economic and political demons. West African commercial energy is not in doubt but economic development is hindered by political and bureaucratic blockages. The summit’s willingness to tackle these issues as well as the security threats will show where the region is heading.

.
Read more

Arms-for-platinum deal

The governing ZANU-PF has found a way to trade platinum rights for Russian weapons to replace those it lost in Congo

Zimbabwe is to boost its inventory of Russian strike aircraft after concluding a US$3 billion platinum-for-arms deal with Russia. The government is desperate to replenish its armam...


Intervention by consent

France sees itself as a participant in the struggle against jihadism across the Sahel and Sahara but insists it will not take sides in internal conflicts between governments and lo...


Puzzle of FDLR intentions

The notorious militia is disarming but some say that’s a blind. A complex mix of motives, alliances and regional interests is at work

Central and Southern African leaders have demanded the disarmament of the Rwandan Hutu militia, the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda. At a summit in Luand...


Famine ‘almost a certainty’

The conflict has caused a food emergency and sanctions against the rival leaders for blocking progress are now on the table

One million South Sudanese are threatened by starvation, with at least another three million at serious risk, United Nations and United States' officials say. The US Agency for Int...


Africa policy moves up the agenda

To the surprise of many, Franco-African relations have emerged as a priority of French President François Hollande’s approach to international affairs. This stems from wider reasons than the security threat posed by Islamist terrorism in the Sahara and Sahel as Paris strengthens relations and investment with key allies and expands economic opportunities

In December next year, France will host the next global climate summit, the Conference of the Global Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (U...


Regional leaders take charge

Backstage at the AU summit and increasingly worried about the state of affairs in CAR, regional leaders took some key decisions

The leaders of the Francophone Central African grouping, the Communauté économique des états de l’Afrique centrale, are demanding changes to CAR Presiden...


Shame about the politics

The players are good but big problems lie at the organisational level

It took Germany's historic 7-1 defeat of Brazil on 8 July to put the disappointing performance of African teams at the Fédération Internationale de Football Associati...


Baba Jukwa arrest rocks regime

Police have arrested a top editor suspected of being the mystery blogger who so seriously embarrassed ZANU-PF during the elections – but he denies all charges

The Baba Jukwa affair – when an anonymous blogger tweaked the tails of Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leaders during last year's election campaign – is...


Banking on big infrastructure

The spending plans of East African countries show a common enthusiasm for big projects but they are borrowing to pay for them

With a decade of high growth behind them and a resource bonanza looming, East African Community members are displaying a new appetite for large-scale infrastructure. EAC government...


More Gulf cash needed

The subsidy cuts have much to do with keeping the El Sisi regime’s benefactors on-side but Egypt's energy prices are still among the lowest in the world

As the Egyptian public digested the news on 5 July that the prices of petrol, diesel and electricity had all been sharply increased, three senior economic ministers flew to the Gul...



Pointers

Oslo cuts its losses

Norway has taken the highly unusual step of cancelling a hydropower research project in Ethiopia that would have been drowned by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD, AC Vol 5...


Ruby wedding

Montepuez Ruby Mining held its first auction last month, raising US$33.5 million at the sale in Singapore. MRM is a joint venture between Britain's Gemfields PLC and a company owne...


Macky the knife

President Macky Sall responded to his coalition’s poor showing in the 29 June local elections by sacking Prime Minister Aminata Touré and several other ministers. The ...


Bail for Baba

The case against Edmund and Phillip Kudzayi – accused of being the anonymous blogger Baba Jukwa – is teetering on the brink of farce (AC Web Feature, Baba Jukwa arrest ...