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Published 28th June 2002

Vol 43 No 13


South Africa

End of an Alliance

Squabbles and scandals are now destroying the only opposition which really mattered

The most serious opposition group, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has been gravely wounded by corruption allegations and political misjudgement. The governing African National Congress is sticking the knife in deeper with a new law allowing elected representatives to defect to other parties without losing their seats. The ANC stresses that such a law operates in most European parliaments but its clear aim is to give it control of all nine provinces and all main provincial and city councils. In the two opposition-controlled provinces, Western Cape and kwaZulu-Natal, enough opposition representatives want to cross the floor to give the ANC majority control. The ANC's advantage is mainly due to opposition incompetence; the biggest personal loser is the DA's Tony Leon (45), whose energetic and pragmatic leadership once rattled the government. The national parliament passed the Floor-Crossing Legislation on 20 June but opposition parties argue that it violates voters' rights and want the courts to stop it. The case, heard by the Cape High Court on 24 June, will probably be referred to the Constitutional Court and the bill will most likely go through. Pressure is mounting for a wider review of electoral law: a cross-party lobby wants to move away from proportional representation to a mixture of candidates' lists and single-member constituencies.


What's left of the opposition

The Pan-Africanist Congress: Since the African National Congress won power, the PAC has lacked a role or clear political identity. Its five members of parliament and one represent...


Banker versus banker

Central Bank Governor Sanusi wants to tame his former banking colleagues

Nigeria's banks are dynamic, indigenous and very profitable. Their attitude to financial regulation is another story. Some of the country's biggest financial egos are now at war wi...


Some winners and losers

Union Bank, First Bank and United Bank for Africa control over a third of the sector. Mid-level banks range from stars to the technically insolvent. Small banks often survive and e...


Disarmed but not demobbed

People grow poorer and less free but the regime stands by its guns

Despite sanctions by the European Union and other donors for bad governance, harsh treatment of political prisoners and tight controls on the press, President Issayas Aferworki sho...


The voters' friend

After a decade of democratisation, some elections are bringing change, some are not

France's electoral downs and ups over the past few months have provoked some sardonic comment in the Francophone African press ­ especially when extreme right-wing Front Nation...


Seconds out

Corruption is the issue for the ruling party's new presidential candidate

The suspense is over. Frelimo, the ruling party once known as the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, has named Armando Guebuza as its Secretary General and pr...


Inside the tent

Stability rather than electoral transparency is likely to be top priority for Pierre-André Wiltzer who, contrary to expectations in some Africanist circles, has been named F...



Pointers

Of rice and rings

An interesting footnote to tales of corruption during the reign of President Jerry Rawlings is offered by the case of Juliet Cotton, convicted on 17 June by a federal jury in Atlan...


Fame and famine

Life grows grimmer in Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe's 24 June order to 2,900 white commercial farmers to abandon their farms, in mid-growing season, gives new urgency to United...


Wage inflation

Senegal's 1-0 quarter-final defeat by Turkey this week means that an African soccer team has not yet reached a World Cup semi-final (Cameroon lost a 1990 quarter-final to England)....