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Published 20th October 2017

Vol 58 No 21


Liberia

Weah sprints towards an open goal

George Weah at the 2002 African Cup of Nations. Pic: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport
George Weah at the 2002 African Cup of Nations. Pic: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

A comfortable lead for the soccer hero in the first round of elections leaves the old elite floundering for a response

Such is the commanding lead built up by George Weah, the star footballer turned politician, in the first round of presidential elections on 10 October that his nearest rival, Vice-President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, will struggle to bring together enough votes from the other candidates to win in the second round.

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A commission under siege

The sudden resignation of an electoral commissioner raises further doubts about the schedule for the rerun election

The sudden resignation of Roselyn Akombe, one of the eight commissioners on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), has cast fresh uncertainty over the planned ...


Mabuza changes the race

Mpumalanga Province becomes the most united voting block ahead of the ANC elections as President Zuma reshuffles his cabinet

Taking a high-stakes gamble ahead of the leadership elections in December, President Jacob Zuma has broken with the African National Congress's traditional allies in the Communist ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

In terms of its economic impact and geo-political weight, the Congress of China's Communist Party this week matters more for Africa than a presidential election in the United States. Already regarded as the most powerful Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping, President Xi Jinping wants to preside over the next stage of the country...

In terms of its economic impact and geo-political weight, the Congress of China's Communist Party this week matters more for Africa than a presidential election in the United States. Already regarded as the most powerful Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping, President Xi Jinping wants to preside over the next stage of the country's economic transformation, in which he sees the government playing a leading role, making state enterprises 'bigger and stronger'.  But he is far less enthusiastic about 'market forces' than his recent predecessors, partly because of rising inequality in the Western mould, insiders say.

Beijing's promise to boost consumer spending and innovation will be keenly watched in Africa. More resources will go into the 'One Belt, One Road' project, a branch of which cuts through East Africa en route to the Middle East and Europe. Alongside that project, Xi envisions a sharp expansion of China's global role as a 'major and responsible country' in the 21st century. That includes a growing role in the UN and other international organisations as well as consolidating its leadership role in Asia.

Africa's authoritarian leaders will pay particular attention to Xi's views on the need to strengthen national security and control the internet, 'to oppose and resist erroneous viewpoints'. On that front at least, regimes in Egypt, Togo, and Cameroon – who are fond of shutting down the web – are keeping pace with Beijing.

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Rifts in the regions

The latest spate of Oromia protests suggests a weakening of central government power but many worry about the consequences

With the Ethiopian government already reeling from the destabilising violence stemming from territorial disputes between Oromo and Somali communities and the regional governments, ...


Afro optimism loses momentum

With some exceptions in Ghana and East Africa, economies are not keeping pace with population growth

Hopes that the African Development Bank (AfDB) might maintain its recent 'Afro-optimism' were temporarily subdued on 12 October when the bank reduced its 2017 growth forecast for A...


Crisis? What crisis?

Our correspondents answer the most critical questions about the country's increasingly heated political contest

Is there a political crisis in Kenya? Would the involvement of foreign mediators help solve it?On this issue there is stark disagreement between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposi...

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When oil chiefs fall out

President Buhari holds fire as his two most senior petroleum officials trade allegations of corruption and dishonesty

It was a very Nigerian leak, appearing to serve the interests of none of the protagonists but to damage the reputations of players, institutions, the government and country.


Team Nyusi wins a point

The ruling party's new politburo boosts the President's authority, but the two billion dollar debt scandal still casts a shadow

It has not been an easy journey for President Filipe Nyusi, who does not inspire the same personal loyalty as his predecessor, the redoubtable Armando Guebuza. The first Mozambican...


Mystery of the missing mine profits

High politics, spies and opaque business interests are suspected in the sharp decline in the country's diamond wealth

On paper, the parastatal Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation is effectively bust. Ever since the Auditor General, Mildred Chiri, reported in June that ZMDC's liabilities exceed...


The seven ages of Museveni

The President's campaign to change the law to stay in office, yet again, is stirring revolt and causing him to dig deep to keep his loyalists in line

President Yoweri Museveni's deployment of soldiers in parliament on 27 September is but a small part of his multi-pronged effort to extend his presidency. Embarrassingly for him, s...


Signals of change

President Lourenço talks to parliament about pro-growth reforms, some of which will chip away at the Dos Santos business empire

Pledging to take on monopolies that short-change consumers and to open discussions with critical civic activists, President João Lourenço used a speech at the opening of parliament...


Balancing the good cop with the bad

The Reserve Bank is easing the pressure on KPMG. It worries about scaring investors while it tries to make companies more accountable

The government is in disarray over how to handle the deepening crisis unleashed by the auditing firm KPMG’s involvement in the affairs of the Guptas and the 'state capture' p...



Pointers

Guns, gas and nukes

Guns, gas and nuclear cooperation were among the goodies offered by Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev in a 72-hour tour of Algiers and Rabat between 9 and 11 October.


M6's apprentices

The appointment of Nizar Baraka to head Istiqlal (Independence), after months of angry wrangling among the historic nationalist party's political bosses, reflects a wider move back...


Terminal EPA delay

The interminable delay in ratifying the EU-East African Community (EAC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has become an increasing source of frustration in Brussels and Nairobi....


Risorgimento Africano

Forced to focus on its southern flank by Libya's collapse and the Mediterranean migrant crisis, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni's government is getting ever more involved in African...