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Published 4th August 2017

Vol 58 No 16


Kenya

Murder most foul

Pic: Andrew Matthews/EMPICS
Pic: Andrew Matthews/EMPICS

A horrifying assassination has set the country on edge just days before an already tense general election

It was a political killing in the country's worst tradition. Musalia Mudavadi, a joint leader of the opposition, called it 'a dagger into the heart of Kenyan democracy' and President Uhuru Kenyatta urged people not to speculate about the killers and their motives. Yet the brutal murder on the night of 29 July of a senior information technology official at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Christopher Chege Msando, has heightened anxiety that next week's general elections will prompt violent clashes.

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Battle of the opinion polls

Two leading voter surveys disagree over the winner of the presidential election and a climate of fear is spreading

More than most electorates, Kenyans take opinion polls seriously. That might have been a bigger problem if there were a consensus among pollsters about the winner. Opinion polls ca...


Trading places and faces

A web of commodity, oil and property companies face growing scrutiny as Nigerian and British investigators collaborate

As Britain's long-running investigations into Nigerian former Oil Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke move towards a finale in October, they have now snagged a clutch of ambitious Nig...



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THE INSIDE VIEW

As Americans and Europeans prepare for their holidays, tens of millions of Africans prepare for elections this month while hundreds of millions more watch closely. Without prejudging the outcomes, democrats and civil rights activists are coming under heavier fire.

 The Senegalese voted in parliamentary elections on 30 July, in polls that were distinguished by a leading opposition figure, the Mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, running his party's campaign from his gaol cell. Sall has b...

As Americans and Europeans prepare for their holidays, tens of millions of Africans prepare for elections this month while hundreds of millions more watch closely. Without prejudging the outcomes, democrats and civil rights activists are coming under heavier fire.

 The Senegalese voted in parliamentary elections on 30 July, in polls that were distinguished by a leading opposition figure, the Mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, running his party's campaign from his gaol cell. Sall has been held without charge for six months. Senegal's stellar record for political pluralism, akin to Ghana's, is now in the balance.

 Next up on 4 August is Rwanda's presidential election where Paul Kagame is assured of victory after another eerily quiet campaign. After last year's constitutional referendum, Kagame could stay in power, punctuated by sporadic elections, until 2034.

 Angola's elections on 23 August, also fall into the category of a victory foretold: this time for the MPLA's presidential candidate João Lourenço, the armed service chiefs, and the family of outgoing President José Eduardo dos Santos, who will retain a grip over some most lucrative commercial operations in the land.

 But for most political observers, Kenya's elections on 8 August are the most portentous. A clear margin of victory for either party in a contest generally judged free and fair would give progressive forces a huge boost. But as our reports suggest, that is increasingly unlikely.

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Letting a crisis go to waste

President Buhari's supporters insist he's about to take back the reins of office and all bets are off for the 2019 election

Politicians from Chicago to China insist that lurking behind every crisis is an opportunity. Nigeria has been putting that adage to the test, first with the crashing oil prices and...


ANC dilemma deepens

The ruling party is under growing pressure to decide between its leader and its future

As South Africa's political crisis deepens ahead of the no-confidence motion vote aimed at ousting President Jacob Zuma on 8 August, a broad front of civil society organisations is...


Donors risk funding a fix

The ruling party is laying the groundwork for using biometric technology to help it rig the result of the next election

High hopes for biometric electoral registration, which should be in place before the 2018 elections, may well be misplaced, Africa Confidential can reveal. Leaders of the Zimbabwe ...


After Ellen

Presidential hopefuls are finding it difficult to get their message heard in a crowded field of twenty candidates

Officially, campaigning for the seat shortly to be vacated by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first female President and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, began on 31 July. Y...


Court in the cross-fire

The country's most senior judges are under assault from commentators who suspect them of siding with the government

The Constitutional Court faces harsh criticism for a perceived bias towards President Edgar Lungu and for reversing its decisions after he and members of the governing Patriotic Fr...


Luanda uneasy as poll approaches

Whether or not the rumours about the President’s ill health are true, the signs that his era is ending are already showing

The state of health of President José Eduardo dos Santos has long been one of Angola's best-kept secrets. So it has remained for the three months since he was rushed to a Luanda h...



Pointers

Who loves ya, BBY?

Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne declared on 1 August that the presidential coalition Benno Bokk Yakaar, which he managed, had swept the electoral board, taking 42 of S...


No licence to drill

African Petroleum Corporation Limited, founded by Vasile 'Frank' Timis, risks losing its foothold in Gambia's growing oil and gas sector after failing to renew the exploration lice...


Seek asylum elsewhere

A Rwandan former general exiled in South Africa, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, has lost his official status as a refugee. Pretoria is using a May court ruling to improve its poor relat...


Military justice

Juba has reacted angrily to Amnesty International's latest report, Do Not Remain Silent: Survivors of Sexual Violence in South Sudan Call for Justice and Reparations. The report co...