Jump to navigation

Published 9th November 2001

Vol 42 No 22


Old habits die hard

A damning new UN report accuses Charles Taylor's regime of keeping ties with the RUF and busting sanctions

Against all tradition, President Charles Taylor has turned taciturn. He and his advisors have made almost no denial of or other reaction to a long list of serious and well-documented allegations in the United Nations Panel of Experts' Report on Liberia, published on 26 October(1). The Report revealed that the government was still getting weapons, that it had not expelled Sierra Leone's rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF, AC Vol 42 No 16) and that some of its officials had violated the UN travel ban. It also showed some progress on cleaning up abuse of the Liberian aviation registry and suggested that the ban on diamond exports might be lifted if Monrovia introduced a 'credible and verifiable' system of certificates of origin. Taylor's Spokesman Reginald Goodridge restricted himself to a searing condemnation of a Washington Post article linking Taylor and the RUF's diamond mining operations in rebel-held Sierra Leone to Al Qaida. Apart from being a 'preposterous' tale, the Post article was a crude attempt to swing the UN sanctions debate against Liberia, Goodridge insisted. Foreign Minister Moni Captan has kept public comment to a minimum through his sanctions task force, which includes Defence Minister Daniel Chea, Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy Jenkins Dunbar and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mohamed Selebi. Only the emotional Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Benoni Urey, has broken ranks.

Short-pants to no pants

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

The former apartheid party negotiates its way to obscurity

The New National Party, heir to the old Afrikaner-apartheid tradition, hitched up in June 2000 to the Democratic Party, whose members claim to inherit South Africa's liberal tradit...

Don't confront, co-opt

The African National Congress often deals with its opponents by co-opting them, offering jobs and a hearing in exchange for an end to opposition. Co-option began with the Governmen...

Desert fox

President Déby wants oil, needs friends and fears prosecution

President Idriss Déby's arbitrary rule worries regional allies and foreign investors. There is growing anxiety in the consortium, led by ExxonMobil of the United States, whi...

Unknown soldiers

A massacre of more than 200 Tiv causes ructions in the military and the federation

When Nigerian soldiers slaughtered more than 200 civilians in Benue State, they called into question the moral basis of President Olusegun Obasanjo's government. The Obasanjo regim...

It's better abroad

Moi's foreign policies are a handy diversion from the race to succeed him

The heat is off. Skillfully turning the American calamity of 11 September to diplomatic advantage, President Daniel arap Moi was among the first African leaders to sign up to the '...


Usama's allies

Somalia is moving up the agenda: the United States believes Al Qaida may have used Al Itahaad's bases there as operational staging posts. In particular, that Al Itahaad operatives ...

Nujoma – the movie

The 'cult of Sam' is reaching new heights: you've seen the President, now watch the film. Local businesses have pledged 90,000 Namibian dollars(US$11,000) towards the N$20 million ...

Pressing Patassé

President Ange-Félix Patassé seems to be suffering from the presidential paranoia where successful protégés become political threats; the prophecy may y...

Doing the business

The third US-Africa Business Summit, in Philadelphia on 30 October – 2 November was larger and more successful than the previous ones in Washington (1999) and Houston (2000) – desp...