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Default hits election plan

Pic: johan10 / stock.adobe.com
Pic: johan10 / stock.adobe.com

The de facto default on Eurobond payments is getting in the way of a plan by the ruling party to create a slush fund for its next election campaign

The government's request on 22 September to holders of its US$3 billion of Eurobonds for a six-month suspension of repayments will have political repercussions as well as the financial ones that are exercising the markets. While state technocrats juggle with the figures, the ruling party fears that this sovereign default will hinder its plans to create a war chest for its August 2021 general election campaign. It hopes to fatten up a farm subsidy programme and skim from it to finance its political spending, Africa Confidential has learned.


Surge of the insurgents

SADC summit, Harare, 20 May 2020. (L-R) Filipe Nyusi, Edgar Lungu, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mokgweetsi Masisi meet to discuss deteriorating security situation in parts of Mozambique hit by Islamic insurgency. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
SADC summit, Harare, 20 May 2020. (L-R) Filipe Nyusi, Edgar Lungu, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mokgweetsi Masisi meet to discuss deteriorating security situation in parts of Mozambique hit by Islamic insurgency. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The government has done nothing to dislodge Islamist guerrillas who have held a coastal district capital for over five weeks

After attacking Mocímboa da Praia several times this year, the Islamist insurgents of northern Cabo Delgado took control of the coastal town, which is a port and the district capit...


For sale: one used war machine

"File:Denel Rooivalk flying 2006.jpg" by Danie van der Merwe is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0
"File:Denel Rooivalk flying 2006.jpg" by Danie van der Merwe is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Local and international buyers are circling the debt-crippled and state-owned Denel as it is forced to sell its assets to stay afloat

Denel, the remnant of the arms manufacturing and trading colossus Armscor that once propped up apartheid, is probably the least-known of South Africa's beleaguered state-owned ente...


Buhari goes to the market

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

The pandemic has forced the government to end subsidies and move towards cost-reflective electricity pricing – and risk the fallout

Shrinking oil revenues and the wider economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic are putting pressure on policymakers to limit the damage. In the short term that will mean higher ...


Edo's not so merry-go-round

Benin City, Nigeria, 20 September 2020. Pic: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/PA Images
Benin City, Nigeria, 20 September 2020. Pic: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/PA Images

The opposition PDP claims its success in a fiercely contested governorship poll will relaunch it for the next national elections

The contest for Edo State governor on 19 September was set to be bitter and partisan with a heady mix of local and personal rivalries, just as the two main political parties began ...


Keeping up with the Kenyattas

"Y1A0811 Nairobi, Kenya" by Ninara is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
"Y1A0811 Nairobi, Kenya" by Ninara is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As they take the field, the battle between the President and his deputy is testing the limits of ethnic politics

'You should go and insult your mother, not mine' said President Uhuru Kenyatta on 10 September to a small crowd just outside Nairobi. He was referring to two Kalenjin politicians &...


Heavy Russian metal

Platinum mine in Zimbabwe. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
Platinum mine in Zimbabwe. Pic: Shaun Jusa/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

A platinum mine that could be Zimbabwe's biggest is yet again raising the hopes of the leaders of the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) although it lo...


Juba shops for new image

"South Sudan flag at independence" by sidelife is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
"South Sudan flag at independence" by sidelife is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The leaders of South Sudan, notorious for its civil war, inconclusive peace deals and corruption, have found $280,500 to hire a lobbyist to try to persuade the United States govern...


Junta names front-man

Pic: Ahmet / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Ahmet / stock.adobe.com

The junta has named the 70-year-old former defence minister and retired officer Bah N'Daw as transitional president, thus testing to the limit the absolute insistence of the Econom...


Summit catches a cold

Cyril Ramaphosa. Pic: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Pic: GCIS

A European Union/African Union summit planned for October is the latest casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although European Commission officials conceded privately during the summ...


Strife hampers Bio's reforms

Julius Maada Bio. Pic: Dmitry Feoktistov/Tass/PA Images
Julius Maada Bio. Pic: Dmitry Feoktistov/Tass/PA Images

The government's reforming zeal on education and administration is far from healing wider social divisions

Rowdy partisan battles and a pandemic-weakened economy are slowing the government's efforts to create jobs and invest in education and public health. Promoting national reconciliat...


Watering down the wine

Bobi Wine. Pic: Sally Hayden / SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images
Bobi Wine. Pic: Sally Hayden / SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

The failure of oppositionists Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye to agree an alliance boosts President Museveni's electoral chances

The country's opposition parties are divided over tactics and local rivalries ahead of national elections next year. The hopes that the political sensation Robert Kyagulanyi, aka B...

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A government walkover

CCM supporters, September 2020. Pic: CCM Tanzania
CCM supporters, September 2020. Pic: CCM Tanzania

Years of restrictions and violence against the opposition makes President Magufuli a shoo-in for re-election in October

Tanzania is set for six weeks of phoney election campaigning before, as is widely expected, President John Pombe Magufuli secures a second five-year term on 28 October at the gener...


Exile flies into a trap

Paul Rusesabagina. Pic: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga/PA Images
Paul Rusesabagina. Pic: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga/PA Images

The celebrated hotel manager turned regime opponent was flown to arrest in Kigali by the President's favourite charter jet company

Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life character behind the 2004 Hollywood movie Hotel Rwanda, ended up on show in Kigali in handcuffs on 4 September raising myriad questions of internat...


Regions take on the centre

Oromo community protest, London, 3 July 2020. Pic: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images
Oromo community protest, London, 3 July 2020. Pic: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

With mass protests and unofficial elections, oppositionists in Oromia and Tigray are demanding the federal system be redrawn

Although Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government says it is trying to unite a divided Ethiopia, its opponents argue it is dismantling the multinational federation and replacing it w...

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Building back bigger

"File: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Buhari.png" by NarenderShimla is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
"File: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Buhari.png" by NarenderShimla is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Planning to spend over 20 billion dollars on grand projects, the Buhari government is raising tariffs and tolls as well as taking on more debt

Many Nigerians are disappointed that, as President Muhammadu Buhari is a year into his second term, he has not done more to halt the scourge of corrupt trading deals and build up n...


How to defend the indefensible

Ace Magashule. Pic: GCIS
Ace Magashule. Pic: GCIS

If ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule isn’t caught up in a prosecution, the President’s clean-up could be stopped in its tracks

Leading South Africa's delegation for crisis talks in Zimbabwe on 8 September – no matter how tortuous – must have been a welcome break for Ace Magashule, away from the...


Cyril wins a battle over graft

Cyril Ramaphosa. Pic: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Pic: GCIS

With backing from ANC leaders and vast evidence, the President can make good on his pledge to prosecute rogue officials

It may prove to be the most decisive two days in Cyril Ramaphosa's presidency. He went into the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress on 29 August facing a ...


First the good news…

Cape Town, South Africa, July 2020. Pic: RealTime Images/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images
Cape Town, South Africa, July 2020. Pic: RealTime Images/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

Although Africa may escape the worst of the health emergency, concern is mounting about its effects on economies and public services

As Africa cautiously welcomes the positive news that it looks like it will escape the worst ravages of Covid-19 infections, it is also having to deal with the fallout of several re...


A shaky start for the new broom

Pic: Visual Content / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Visual Content / stock.adobe.com

President Chakwera's fight against corruption is popular but concerns are growing about nepotism and schisms in his coalition

The first sixty days of office have not been kind to President Lazarus Chakwera. Swept into office on a wave of campaign promises of clean government and the creation of a million ...


Parties campaign as jihadists advance

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. Pic: Pacific Press/SIPA USA/PA Images
Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. Pic: Pacific Press/SIPA USA/PA Images

The election contest is a lively affair between elite rivals but none of them has a clear plan to defeat the armed insurgents that have cut across the country

Burkina Faso is holding presidential and parliamentary elections on 22 November, although many parts of the country are unlikely to participate because the safety of polling booths...


Listing reputations

Pic: johan10 / stock.adobe.com
Pic: johan10 / stock.adobe.com

The listing of Botswana in February on the European Union's list of countries deemed not to be cooperating in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing came as a s...


Sins of the commission

"File:Zitto Kabwe 2011.jpg" by Pernille Bærendtsen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
"File:Zitto Kabwe 2011.jpg" by Pernille Bærendtsen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The opposition claims President John Magufuli is pulling out all the stops to prevent its candidates being registered for the October general election, although it is unlikely to m...


Africans in the lead

DG Selection Process 2020: Press conference - Ms Amina C. Mohamed, Kenya by World Trade Organization is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
DG Selection Process 2020: Press conference - Ms Amina C. Mohamed, Kenya by World Trade Organization is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By the end of this year, two of the most important international organisations, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corp...