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Rabat and Algiers cross swords over UN role

Alexander Ivanko. Pic: minurso.unmissions.org
Alexander Ivanko. Pic: minurso.unmissions.org

Western Sahara remains in limbo while the two states tussling over it step up guerrilla diplomacy

The latest skirmishes in the long-running struggle between Morocco and Algeria over Western Sahara have drawn in the UN as they exchange fire over allegations of impropriety by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the territory, Alexander Ivanko, a Russian.


Taking the fifth

Students in Nakuru, Kenya, walk past elections billboards. Pic: © James Wakibia/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire
Students in Nakuru, Kenya, walk past elections billboards. Pic: © James Wakibia/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

Both the presidential frontrunners say they are heading for victory on 9 August in an election that will be decided by turnout in key battleground regions

The presidential election on 9 August is on a knife edge as the campaigns draws to a close amid mounting concerns about the independence and efficiency of the electoral commission.

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Questions about the electoral referee

IEBC vice chairperson Juliana Cherera together with commissioners and political party officials inspect the second batch of presidential ballot papers that arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi ahead of the August 9, 2022 general elections. Pic: © John Ochieng/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire
IEBC vice chairperson Juliana Cherera together with commissioners and political party officials inspect the second batch of presidential ballot papers that arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi ahead of the August 9, 2022 general elections. Pic: © John Ochieng/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

A dysfunctional electoral commission is targeted again amid growing fears of vote manipulation and political interference

Whatever doubts existed about the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s ability to supervise next week’s general election have only deepened in the final stretch of th...


Monumental disputes

Building the National Cathedral in Accra. Pic: twitter.com/cathedral_ghana

Plans for a National Cathedral and to revamp a monument to independence leader Kwame Nkrumah are becoming a political battleground

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo described the project to build a National Cathedral in Accra as 'an opportunity to redeem a pledge I made to [God] before I became President',...


Once silenced, twice shy

Miners near the Ituri River. Pic: Global Press / Alamy Stock Photo
Miners near the Ituri River. Pic: Global Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Russia and China froze the UN Group of Experts on Congo for five months—now the group is far warier of criticising China

Russia and China, increasingly intolerant of criticism of their nationals in United Nations reports, froze the work of several UN Groups of Experts during 2021 and 2022. The two su...


The ANC is at its weakest since 1994

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC's 6th policy conference in Johannesburg on 31 July. Pic: twitter.com/MYANC
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC's 6th policy conference in Johannesburg on 31 July. Pic: twitter.com/MYANC

The President has managed, for now, to save his anti-corruption campaign from opponents who have regained control of KwaZulu-Natal province

In his closing address to the African National Congress’s 6th policy conference in Johannesburg on 31 July, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the gathering was overwhelmingly in favou...


Some light at last

Cape Town, South Africa - the national power grid controlled by state-owned Eskom. Pic: Richard van der Spuy / Alamy Stock Photo

President Ramaphosa’s plan to restore reliable electricity access is flawed but fast action is vital to rescue the ANC’s political standing

A plan to strengthen the private sector, import technical skills and remove the 100-megawatt licensing threshold for independent power producers could end crippling power cuts with...


Attacks shatter Abuja’s complacency

The scene at the site of an attack on a prison in Abuja, Nigeria. Pic: Xinhua/Alamy Live News
The scene at the site of an attack on a prison in Abuja, Nigeria. Pic: Xinhua/Alamy Live News

After breaking into a prison in the capital and killing elite security officers, Islamic State fighters claim they are now targeting President Buhari

As Islamist militants launch deadly assaults on the outskirts of Abuja and the country groans under a hydra-headed security crisis, enraged opposition senators have issued an ultim...


Egypt adds to Minusma's misery

Pic: Maxim / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Maxim / stock.adobe.com

Egypt plans to withdraw its combat convoy units from the Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations unies pour la stabilisation au Mali (Minusma) UN peacekeeping force in Mal...


Nyusi kicks to the long grass

Pic: Jelana M / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Jelana M / stock.adobe.com

President Filipe Nyusi is believed to be using delaying tactics to minimise disclosure of his role in Mozambique’s $2 billion hidden loans scheme as the ruling Frente de Libertação...


MPs with fewer benefits

Pic: Maxim / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Maxim / stock.adobe.com

Kenyan lawmakers joining Parliament and county assemblies after the 9 August general elections will receive fewer perks than their predecessors, though that will still leave them a...


BBY suffers poll backlash

Pic: niyazz / stock.adobe.om
Pic: niyazz / stock.adobe.om

Final results of elections to the 165-seat national assembly are yet to be confirmed – but the 31 July polls have delivered a major setback to the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar coalitio...


Zuma allies wound Ramaphosa at KwaZulu-Natal conference

ANC conference in Kwazulu-Natal. Pic: twitter.com/MYANC
ANC conference in Kwazulu-Natal. Pic: twitter.com/MYANC

The province with most ANC members is a stronghold for the ousted President and voted strongly against the incumbent

Anyone who thought ex-President Jacob Zuma was a spent force within the ruling African National Congress had a rude awakening at the ninth KwaZulu-Natal elective conference on 22-2...


Food crisis deepens as world looks to Ukraine

Kabasa camp for displaced people, Dullow, Somalia. Pic: Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Alamy
Kabasa camp for displaced people, Dullow, Somalia. Pic: Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Alamy

New President Hassan Sheikh has to respond to the imminent deaths of tens of thousands from starvation – a calamity which his foes, local and foreign, will try to exploit

The worsening drought and food crisis in Somalia – where someone is likely to die every 48 seconds from acute hunger linked to conflict according to British aid agencies &nda...

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Hassan Sheikh seeks new foreign allies

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Ankara, Turkey, 6 July 2022. Pic: Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua/Alamy
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Ankara, Turkey, 6 July 2022. Pic: Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua/Alamy

The new president has been touring the region, gauging his support among the neighbours and geopolitical heavyweights as tensions build

With funding and diplomatic attention diverted to Ukraine, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his fellow leaders in the Horn of Africa are trying to manage the region's security c...


Economic cooperation falters as growth set to fall again

IMF HQ, Washington DC. Pic: Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel (CC BY 2.0)
IMF HQ, Washington DC. Pic: Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel (CC BY 2.0)

Hit by the pandemic and war, the most plausible forecasts for the global economy are bad or even worse, says the IMF

Two over-arching challenges dominate the global economy: how to cut inflation without triggering recession and cooperating on restructuring debt in emerging and developing economie...


Washington in summit race with Moscow

Felix Tshisekedi and Joe Biden, Rome, October 2021. Pic: Adam Schultz/White House Photo/Alamy
Felix Tshisekedi and Joe Biden, Rome, October 2021. Pic: Adam Schultz/White House Photo/Alamy

President Biden organises his African leaders' meeting for mid-December while President Putin delays his grand conference until mid-2023

As geopolitical tensions rise, the tally of Africa summits is mounting – with grand conferences with the continent's leaders being organised this year by the European Union, ...


Dubaiba woos UAE and Haftar with about-turn on oil

Farhat Bengdara, Tripoli, July 2022. Pic: Hazem Ahmed / Reuters / Alamy
Farhat Bengdara, Tripoli, July 2022. Pic: Hazem Ahmed / Reuters / Alamy

Dubaiba tries to end embargo and undercut his eastern-based rival Bashagha by naming Bengdara as the new state oil chief

The latest arena of conflict between the country's two opposing governments is the crucial position of head of the National Oil Company (NOC). A complex political game between the ...


When the political descends to the personal

Azimio Coalition running mate Martha Karua smiles during a campaign rally in Nakuru, June 2022. Pic: James Wakibia/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Alamy
Azimio Coalition running mate Martha Karua smiles during a campaign rally in Nakuru, June 2022. Pic: James Wakibia/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Alamy

An election campaign focused more on insults than policy is doing little to calm fears about disputed results

Ahead of the 9 August presidential elections, former prime minister Raila Odinga has eked out a narrow opinion poll lead over Deputy President William Ruto in recent weeks, but nei...


Akufo-Addo faces the costs of an IMF deal

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2022
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2022

The government's U-turn on a bailout boosts the opposition in the short term but raises bigger questions about the economy's structure

On 13 July, after six days of talks with the government, the International Monetary Fund referred to Ghana's 'challenging economic and social situation' – code for the multip...

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Ofori-Atta's team plans more cuts

Pic: Ahmed / stock.adobe.com
Pic: Ahmed / stock.adobe.com

Accra's return to the IMF has been praised by the ratings agencies and could trigger cheaper loans – but at the cost of wide-ranging budget reviews

The latest official budget data, for the first quarter, suggests Ghana was already overshooting this year's budget deficit targets before a second quarter when the full impact of R...


Peter Obi shakes up the political class

The depth of the country's crises is forcing voters to rethink their choices – to the great benefit of the former governor of Anambra state

Millionaire bankers make improbable revolutionaries, especially in Nigeria. But Peter Obi, the geeky former governor of Anambra state, is upending the political establishment's com...


Heat of war shifts to the centre

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2022
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2022

Tensions may be easing between Addis and Tigray, but in Oromia the bitterness of ethno-nationalist conflict remains strong

The intensity of violence between Oromo and Amhara communities is militating against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's attempts to co-opt moderates on both sides, as fresh atrocities mul...


Parties divided on sharing power

Khartoum protests 2/19 Pic: Anas Badr/AP/dpa/Alamy
Khartoum protests 2/19 Pic: Anas Badr/AP/dpa/Alamy

The junta's declaration of a new way to rule the country leaves the opposition unable to decide on what to do. But Burhan is also out of options


Compaoré's return baffles nation

Crystalrose Web Prod, YouTube
Crystalrose Web Prod, YouTube

The junta invited the ousted dictator back to the capital, defying court verdicts and enraging the public. But some of the elite still have time for him


Sofa cash saga levels the ethical scores

Cyril Ramaphosa poses with his Ankole cattle. Pic: Daniel Naude
Cyril Ramaphosa poses with his Ankole cattle. Pic: Daniel Naude

The President looks beleaguered as his rivals claim the Farmgate affair makes him little better than the corrupt officials he wants to purge


Dos Santos haunts Lourenço's campaign

José Eduardo dos Santos. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)
José Eduardo dos Santos. Pic: GCIS (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The death of the former President has triggered a wave of nostalgia and dissatisfaction that threatens the electoral prospects of his successor