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Published 20th February 2004

Vol 45 No 4


And now the world

Held back by political and economic crises, Africa's football talent shines through

President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's restrained applause after the national soccer team's victory in the African Cup of Nations on 14 February was, like many things in Tunisia, heavily controlled. Yet the Carthage Eagles had just defeated Morocco's Atlas Lions 2-1. In fact, it was just the latest piece of good news for Ben Ali ­ he's standing again this year for yet another four-year term, with little visible protest, and he was due to fly to Washington on 16 February. There, he would meet President George W. Bush and successfully play the role of a key United States' ally in the 'war on terror'. Ben Ali translates this locally into a generalised right to crush and control his Islamist opponents without Western censure. None of the Islamist cells or groups operating in the region managed to break through Tunisia's security cordon to launch an embarrassing attack on an African Cup match. Security and terrorism are critical issues for North African football when four states with armed Islamist opponents ­ Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia ­ are bidding to host the 2010 World Cup. The African Cup delighted Ben Ali and was a personal success for the Chairman of the African Cup organising committee, Slim Chiboub. After a contretemps with Tunisia's first family, Chiboub (who is also Ben Ali's son-in-law) is now back in favour. He is a keen soccer promoter: Chairman again of the leading Tunis club, Espérance Sportive, he is on the Executive Committee of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and close to its President, Sepp Blatter.


Fading Rainbow

The row over the constitution is splitting the government and blocking reform

'The one certainty is that this won't last', insist Nairobi's political veterans. Few believe the governing National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) can survive much past the middle of th...


Inquiries, no answers

This week, another former senior civil servant, Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Wilfred Koinange, accused ex-President Daniel arap Moi of ordering an illegal transfer of US$76...


Foregone conclusion

The ANC will win the Easter elections but it needs to get its voters out

Few bother to ask who will win the general elections on 14 April. One cartoon last week portrayed President Thabo Mbeki astride an enormous African National Congress horse, firing ...


Deadly anniversary

The regime prepares to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the genocide

Six months after his Front Patriotique Rwandais swept the board at last year's presidential and parliamentary elections, President Paul Kagame is still putting his regime in order ...


Friends wanted

The military threat from abroad is at last diminishing. Tension with Uganda is subsiding in the wake of the most recent meeting between President Paul Kagame and President Yoweri K...



Pointers

Bombed out

The death of ex-special forces officer Frans Strydom in a bomb explosion in Baghdad in early February is focusing attention on South African mercenaries doing security work in Iraq...


Desert shadows

Reports of an ambush at the end of January somewhere between 'north of Tamanrasset' in southern Algeria and northern Mali point to the complex and lethal war games under way across...


Judging Jerry

In 1982, a few months after Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings successfully staged a coup, three High Court judges and an army officer were brutally murdered and their bodies in...


Sins of omission

Irish Africa campaigner and rock musician Sir Bob Geldof has persuaded British Prime Minister Tony Blair to set up a commission on Africa to coincide with Britain's chairing of the...