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Published 23rd January 2015

Vol 56 No 2


Nigeria

Elections face new risks

Muhammadu Buhari. Credit: Jacob Silberberg / Panos
Muhammadu Buhari. Credit: Jacob Silberberg / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

With three weeks to go until voting day, almost half the electorate still lack voters’ cards and could be disenfranchised

New doubts about the timing of the presidential and governorship elections, currently due on 14 and 28 February respectively, will complicate national security. Because some 30 million out of the 68 million registered voters are yet to receive their biometric Permanent Voting Cards, there is a compelling case to postpone the elections, according to National Security Advisor Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

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Ouattara looks at second term

The President faces greater danger from his allies than from a demoralised opposition that is stubbornly loyal to his predecessor

The main opposition Front populaire ivoirien appears unable to accept that it must replace its leader, ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, to contest the elections in October. The Interna...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa came as a bolt from the blue, an apparently natural disaster. And yet, as we approach the anniversary of the first diagnoses deep in the bush of Guinea, new facts are emerging about how opportunistic politics and bad governance – locally and internationally – made the crisis far worse. This is particularly true in Sierra Leone.

The once narrow gap between Monrovia’s handling of the crisis and Freetown’s is now a chasm. Liberia’s new cases are dwi...

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa came as a bolt from the blue, an apparently natural disaster. And yet, as we approach the anniversary of the first diagnoses deep in the bush of Guinea, new facts are emerging about how opportunistic politics and bad governance – locally and internationally – made the crisis far worse. This is particularly true in Sierra Leone.

The once narrow gap between Monrovia’s handling of the crisis and Freetown’s is now a chasm. Liberia’s new cases are dwindling into single figures, while Sierra Leone’s continue at an alarming rate. Many more now link the persistence of Ebola to Freetown’s disorganisation, lack of capacity and corruption. As our Feature,  The politics of Ebola, makes clear, the evidence cannot be ignored. The health ministry is one of the most corrupt: ghost-workers stalk its corridors and ambulance crews and nurses have to strike to get paid. More of Sierra Leone’s brave health-workers have died than in any other affected country.

The government presents statistics that underestimate the crisis. Public education about the disease, even in the worst affected areas, is appalling. But politicians have received millions to help them sensitise their constituents. When Liberia accepted that cremation of the dead was vital, Sierra Leone demurred. The main Freetown cemetery is now unable to cope and turning into a health hazard.

Both Liberia and Sierra Leone’s recent past has been marked by rebellions, civil war and chronic underdevelopment. So that does not explain why Sierra Leone’s situation is so dire.

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