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Published 30th August 2002

Vol 43 No 17


Cameroon

Winning Biya mile

The government is set free by an election landslide and an opposition collapse

President Paul Biya is now likely to exploit June's electoral triumph by bringing the presidential poll forward a year to late 2003. His Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais won more convincingly than in the stolen vote of 1992 and 1997. Biya has moved key ally Marafa Hamidou Yaya to the Territorial Administration Ministry, which controls the electoral machinery. With 133 of the National Assembly's 180 seats, the RDPC landslide postpones the pressure to tackle corruption. Biya has three alternatives. He can run for re-election, win, and serve a full seven-year term; pick a successor from the RDPC and stand down; or stand, win but not serve the full term. The third choice looks most probable. The legislative elections were a test for potential successors, making them demonstrate the RDPC's support in their home areas. Premier Peter Mafany Musonge, Speaker of the National Assembly Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, RDPC Secretary General Joseph Charles Doumba, and Marafa all passed with flying colours; Marafa, the least overtly ambitious, did best. Like other long-time leaders, Biya needs safety from potential prosecution for human rights abuses and the corruption of his administration. For now the RDPC focuses on holding power through its network of ethnic constituencies: individuals or factions who question Biya's leadership are quickly dismissed or sidelined. To maintain that hold over the party, the Biya succession will be kept opaque.


President, people, parties

President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982, and the 1997 constitution allows him two more seven-year terms. He will almost certainly be the presidential candidate of the Ras...


Digging a hole

The World Bank appears to be struggling to create transparency but at least it's trying

Digging a trench is easier than establishing accountable institutions. Yet the World Bank is supposed to be financing the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project precisely to set up these k...


Congress gets scratchy

The development summit gives Mbeki less trouble than his own party

The World Summit on Sustainable Development, which overruns Johannesburg this week, is riven by competing interests and chaired by President Thabo Mbeki. It is also punctuated by s...


Post Sam, more Sam

The veteran President wants to pick his successor but can't quite fix it

The longer leaders stay in office, the more they think themselves indispensable. Safiishuna Sam Nujoma helped found the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) in 1960, as ...


Local, global or both

A coalition calling itself the Social Movement Indaba is organising mass demonstrations around the World Summit on Sustainable Development. President Thabo Mbeki and his African Na...


Old guard, new guard

After five transitional years, the former President has a new mandate – of sorts

President Denis Sassou Nguesso chose a significant date to end the long transition that began with his forces' defeat of Pascal Lissouba in October 1997. The Fête Nationale o...



Pointers

Looking for clues

Zambia's under-paid detectives are no match for the sophisticated networks built up by ex-President Frederick Chiluba. The taskforce on allegations of plunder by him (AC Vol 43 No ...


Not forgotten

The anniversary of the 11 September attacks has brought a surprise for the National Islamic Front government: the demand by over 600 victims' relatives for more than US$1 trillion ...


Poets and presidents

Momentum is gathering behind Senegal's ex-President Abdou Diouf to become next Secretary General of La Francophonie as Congo-Brazzaville tries to invigorate the campaign of its nom...


Boom boom

It was a 'boom' speech, so called because it suggests the guns will boom again and return him to power. Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings has form: he led two coups d'état in 1...