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Published 19th December 2014

Vol 55 No 25


Nigeria

Political storm warning

NIGERIA: Muhammadu Buhari – Pic: Jacob Silberberg / Panos
NIGERIA: Muhammadu Buhari – Pic: Jacob Silberberg / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

The opposition is looking stronger but officials are sounding alarms about serious flaws in the election organisation

It has been a good month for the opposition All Progressives Congress. The APC's successful national convention in Lagos picked Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate on 11 December. Combined with unrelenting bad news for President Goodluck Jonathan, that is eating into his incumbent's advantage just two months before general elections. With security and economic conditions the dominant issues, the governing People's Democratic Party is coming under growing pressure from ever more murderous attacks by Boko Haram's Islamist insurgents and the effects of crashing oil prices.

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How the case was won

The government’s obstruction of the ICC and intimidation of witnesses fatally undermined the Kenyatta prosecution

Ultimately, it was a combination of failings by the International Criminal Court prosecutors and the government's non-cooperation that resulted in the dropping of the case against ...


Central bank cracks whip

Museveni is looking for ways of financing his 2016 election campaign and officials are reluctant to print money

A rift between President Yoweri Museveni and the Governor of the Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, is rapidly widening. The Governor recently revealed that during the 20...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Big economic and political changes are emerging in Africa after a decade of strong Asian demand for its resources and the highest growth levels since the 1960s. That economic strength has allowed many governments to buy off discontent in the cities without fundamental policy changes. As revenues fall and budgets tighten, shaky governments will face the wrath of the street. The mass demonstrations that forced Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaoré from office could prove a powerful warning.

Sl...

Big economic and political changes are emerging in Africa after a decade of strong Asian demand for its resources and the highest growth levels since the 1960s. That economic strength has allowed many governments to buy off discontent in the cities without fundamental policy changes. As revenues fall and budgets tighten, shaky governments will face the wrath of the street. The mass demonstrations that forced Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaoré from office could prove a powerful warning.

Slumping oil and gas prices – bad news for Algeria, Angola and Nigeria as well as East Africa’s aspiring producers – will be good for other economies on the continent. It may also force reforms, such as subsidy cuts and more accountability in state energy companies. Wider trends – including the rebalancing of China’s mammoth economy and a new buoyancy in the United States – will also push African governments to change course as mineral and crop prices continue to fall. Resource nationalism may look an increasingly attractive option but finding the investment to develop the continent's reserves will become harder still.

For the biggest economies, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, that means redoubling efforts for structural change, big investment in power and communications, and relaxing political controls on business. That is, reining in some of the most venal and short-termist crony capitalism. Smaller economies will have to speed up regional integration.

More generally, the risks and horrors of sidelining public health investment are highlighted by the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Less stark but just as significant is Africa’s deepening deficit in education and training compared to its Asian and South American counterparts.

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The opposition shows a new political will

A united front of activists, politicians and fighters against Khartoum changes the political balance

The armed and civilian oppositionists signing the unity accord known as 'Sudan Call' in Addis Ababa on 3 December quickly triggered serious reactions. Three days later, the Khartou...


Uneasy peace on the border

The volatile frontier between the two countries is far from calm. A defecting guerrilla warns of possible trouble ahead

United Nations' investigators have warned the UN Security Council that Ivorian and Liberian fighters opposed to Côte d'Ivoire's President Alassane Dramane Ouattara are likely...


Pick a power source

It is ironic that while Eskom battles to keep the lights on, planners have warned there is a risk of building too much new generating capacity. Uncertainty over South Africa's futu...


Freetown under fire on Ebola

The government’s handling of the epidemic comes in for criticism as cases rise in the Eastern Province

On 12 December, President Ernest Bai Koroma issued an edict banning all Christmas celebrations, especially the street festivals and masquerades for which Freetown is famous. On 25 ...


Gas regime is getting there

A green light for the LNG project and implementation of the Petroleum Law are just around the corner. Some wrinkles remain

The government has reached final agreement with Italy's ENI and the United States' oil company Anadarko over their liquefied natural gas projects offshore the northern province of ...


How guns colonised politics

Competition for political office, with its opportunities for patronage, can be bitter enough to end in murder. Violence is affecting the labour movement, too

Political assassinations have risen to alarming proportions since the end of apartheid and are likely to continue, especially as new trades union rivalries emerge and the 2016 muni...


Exit Mujuru, enter Mnangagwa

The Vice-President and her followers have fallen under Mugabe’s axe but her rival’s path to power is not guaranteed

It was only after the delegates had all trooped home from the ruling party's congress that President Robert Mugabe finally announced on 10 December his replacement for the purged V...


The politics of power

Eskom is torn between the twin dictates of low government tariffs for the public and industry and re-investment priorities

Blackouts returned to major cities in November as the embattled Electricity Supply Commission began load-shedding for the second time this year. It is the latest drama in a torrid ...



Pointers

Blé Goudé's bad day

On 11 December, the International Criminal Court confirmed charges of murder, rape and other inhumane acts against Charles Blé Goudé, 42, a former Ivorian militia lea...


What the ballot papers say

The London trial of three senior staff and an agent of British printers Smith & Ouzman (S&O) is causing concern in Kenya. The defendants deny paying £400,000 (US$630,...


Treading softly

Prime Minister Domingos Simões Pereira's government is consolidating power and purging politicians and officials connected to the old regime. Efforts to restore the rule of ...


Rape row

A diplomatic row has erupted over the failure of the United Nations and African Union to investigate reports that Sudanese troops and allied militia raped some 200 women and childr...