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Somalia

Al Shabaab wins on TV but loses in the field

Pic: channel4.com
Pic: channel4.com

The Islamist militia let the cameras in to demonstrate its durability as a force but then suffered a major defeat to a Sufi militia

The normally secretive Al Shabaab shed its shyness on London's Channel 4 News on 15 June in a filmed report from training grounds in Somalia, featuring one of its top leaders, Abdirahman Mahamed Warsame, (aka 'Mahad Karate'). But two days after the broadcast, its fighters suffered a heavy defeat against a Sufi militia in Galmudug.


Tinubu summons the ghosts of Abacha's kleptocracy

Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari Pic: @NGRPresident
Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari Pic: @NGRPresident

The ruling party's flagbearer brings together democracy campaigners and beneficiaries of the country's most venal dictatorship

This year's Democracy Day celebrations on 12 June were muted, overshadowed by the expensive shenanigans of the national election campaign mixed with a pervasive disenchantment with...


The man behind the sofa story

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

Former securocrat Arthur Fraser, who revealed the 2020 burglary at the President's farm, may have ulterior motives

Once a key associate of President Jacob Zuma in the state security and intelligence apparatus, Arthur Fraser has leapt onto the front pages with his claims about the burglary at Pr...


'Farmgate' rocks Ramaphosa

Union Buildings, Pretoria. Pic: flowcomm (CC BY 2.0)
Union Buildings, Pretoria. Pic: flowcomm (CC BY 2.0)

The 'cash-in-the-couch' scandal has damaged the President. It is being exploited to the full by his enemies, but it doesn't look enough to unseat him

On a wintry day on 13 June in Johannesburg Carl Niehaus, the chief spokesperson of the African National Congress's so-called Radical Economic Transformation (RET) faction, led a de...


KwaZulu-Natal braces for a showdown

A KZN Department of Transport representative speaks about the truck blockades. Pic: @KZNTransport
A KZN Department of Transport representative speaks about the truck blockades. Pic: @KZNTransport

Next month the ruling ANC will elect a new leadership in the province pitting President Ramaphosa's supporters against those of his predecessor

Once the powerhouse of the African National Congress (ANC) under former President Jacob Zuma, his home province of KwaZulu-Natal has become a seething hotbed of economic sabotage, ...


How manganese pipeline helps the ANC

Viktor Vekselberg. Pic: Igor Russak/ZUMA Press/Alamy
Viktor Vekselberg. Pic: Igor Russak/ZUMA Press/Alamy

The ruling party's ambivalence on Ukraine reflects its parlous finances as well as its internal feuding and ideological posturing

A transparency law on political party funding has embarrassed the ruling African National Congress by revealing its links to Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch under global sanc...


Plan mooted to settle east-west split

Fathi Bashagha. Pic: Khaled Nasraoui/dpa/Alamy
Fathi Bashagha. Pic: Khaled Nasraoui/dpa/Alamy

The country is back to rule by two governments – but support is growing for devolution instead of the stalled international push for national elections

Libya looks more divided than at any time since the 2011 revolution. It boasts one government in Tripoli ruling the west, and another in Sirte which is recognised in the east &ndas...


Bamako refuses to look to France

Assimi Goïta. Pic: Francis Kokoroko/Reuters/Alamy
Assimi Goïta. Pic: Francis Kokoroko/Reuters/Alamy

With French and European troops leaving, the junta turns its ire on UN peacekeepers and seeks new foreign allies

Malian military ruler Colonel Assimi Goïta is determined to show that his forces can tackle a growing Islamist onslaught, despite the withdrawal of French and European troops,...


Plans for urban forest raise hackles

Pic: @youth4greengh_
Pic: @youth4greengh_

Many suspect a scheme to turn a protected forest into Accra's answer to Central Park are ecologically dangerous and a cover for corruption

A decision by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's government to reclassify a large part of the Achimota Forest reserve in Accra – the only urban forest in the country &nd...


Spiralling prices dominate budgets

Pic: weltreisendertj / stock.adobe.com
Pic: weltreisendertj / stock.adobe.com

Uganda’s and Tanzania's oil and gas plans offer little short-term help amid ballooning state deficits and public debts

As East Africa's economies began to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the effects of the war in Ukraine on food supply and inflation have been a hammer blow to economic prospects ...

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Civilians stand firm as crisis talks falter

Riot police officers hold position against protesters near the Parliament buildings, Khartoum, June 2020. Pic: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters / Alamy
Riot police officers hold position against protesters near the Parliament buildings, Khartoum, June 2020. Pic: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters / Alamy

General Burhan's alliance with Islamist forces is blocking progress on talks to restart the transition and end Khartoum's isolation

A week of false starts and crisis talks to reinstate the transition to elections and constitutional rule made clear there is no prospect of progress without the participation of th...


Chakwera sacks and attacks

Pic: @LAZARUSCHAKWERA
Pic: @LAZARUSCHAKWERA

President Lazarus Chakwera has reacted to the Anti-Corruption Bureau report that he demanded to be produced within three weeks by sacking key officials, but also by attacking the A...


Poll ban fans the flames

Pic: @SonkoOfficiel
Pic: @SonkoOfficiel

Ousmane Sonko, co-leader of the opposition Yewwi Askan Wi electoral alliance, promises major protests on 29 June in protest at the killing of protestors by security forces on 17 Ju...


Raila's old clothes

Pic: @RailaOdinga
Pic: @RailaOdinga

Of all the promises made on the campaign trail, Kenyan presidential contender Raila Odinga's plans to curb the import of second-hand clothes, known as mitumba, has caused the bigge...


Gaps in Glencore's guilty plea

Glencore Baar Head Office. Pic: glencore.com
Glencore Baar Head Office. Pic: glencore.com

By pleading guilty in Britain and the United States to grand corruption and paying out some US$1.5 billion in penalties, commodity giant Glencore has been trying to draw a line und...


Rival parties set up a battle of the oligarchs

Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari, Abuja February 2015. Pic:  Afolabi Sotunde / REUTERS / Alamy
Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari, Abuja February 2015. Pic: Afolabi Sotunde / REUTERS / Alamy

By picking Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar as their flagbearers, the two main parties risk alienating younger voters and extending the political stasis

The ease with which Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar defeated their rivals to win their parties' presidential nominations for next February's elections highlights their similar...

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Now the numbers favour Raila Odinga

Pic: @RailaOdinga
Pic: @RailaOdinga

Psephology not ideology informs the rival candidates' campaigns as the election race tightens

With few substantive policies in dispute, the presidential election on 9 August between front runners William Ruto and Raila Odinga is testing their capacity to stitch together the...


Net closes around the Guptas

Jacob Zuma and Atul Gupta in 2012. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Jacob Zuma and Atul Gupta in 2012. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The symbols of the corruption of Jacob Zuma's regime, two of the Gupta brothers face extradition to South Africa

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa have been negotiating the extradition of Atul and Rajesh Gupta since their arrest on 6 June by Dubai police on an Interpol ...


Zuma's securocrats rattle Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Cyril Ramaphosa. Pic: GovernmentZA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A wounded Ramaphosa is consolidating support for a second five-year term but prospects are bleak for the ANC winning outright victory in 2024

Arthur Fraser, the former head of the country's State Security Agency, has called for a criminal investigation against Cyril Ramaphosa, which will badly damage the ruling African N...


Hassan Sheikh takes Mogadishu by storm

Uhuru Kenyatta and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Pic: Meng Chenguang/Xinhua/Alamy
Uhuru Kenyatta and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Pic: Meng Chenguang/Xinhua/Alamy

The new president sets a new agenda, with new foreign friends and ideas to tackle the Al Shabaab insurgents – all amid a devastating drought

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's presidency is off to an energetic start with a major reorientation of Somalia's regional alliances, a return to federalist and devolutionary polic...


Government to ram through gold scheme

Nana Akufo-Addo. Pic: Mike Hutchings / REUTERS / Alamy
Nana Akufo-Addo. Pic: Mike Hutchings / REUTERS / Alamy

The Agyapa gold plan appears to be going ahead in the face of complaints that it is corrupt, opaque and undervalues a key national resource

President Nana Akufo-Addo's government is pushing forward with the Agyapa gold plan, under which a state company would register in the British tax haven of Jersey and sell 49% of i...


Abiy risks Amhara backlash

Debretsion Gebremichael. Pic: Montesano Casillas / ITU Pictures (CC BY 2.0)
Debretsion Gebremichael. Pic: Montesano Casillas / ITU Pictures (CC BY 2.0)

Abiy seems to be mulling peace with Tigray, but this could pit him against his former allies and deepen other conflicts

While humanitarian aid deliveries to Ethiopia's war-torn northern Tigray region have increased since a truce was announced in March, they have been nowhere near enough to resolve a...


Sall cuts deal on food crisis

Pic: @Macky_Sall
Pic: @Macky_Sall

Their visit to Russia causes frustration in Brussels, but AU leaders are winning arguments over the damage caused by Moscow's war on Ukraine

At last week's European Union summit in Brussels, Senegal's President Macky Sall, who also chairs the African Union (AU), appeared to have secured public support from the EU for a ...


Why UNITA could cause an upset in August

Pic: @AdalbertoCostaJ
Pic: @AdalbertoCostaJ

The party's new leader Adalberto Costa Júnior has overhauled the opposition and is capitalising on discontent with the ruling MPLA

With general elections now set for 24 August, President João Lourenço will face an uphill battle to fend off an opposition candidate widely popular among a younger ge...


Mali deals hammer blow to G5 Sahel

Pic: @G5_Sahel_SE

Bamako’s withdrawal from the regional bloc came as a shock, and desperate diplomacy will struggle to bring it back to the fold


Bribery accusations engulf government

Martha Chizuma. Pic: www.africanshapers.com
Martha Chizuma. Pic: www.africanshapers.com

Revelations in an English court and public anger at the behaviour of top law officers are challenging President Chakwera's authority


Top French minister drawn into bribery row

January 2014, Jean Yves Le Drian pays tribute to a French soldier killed in Mali. On the right is Soumeylou Boubeye Maïga. Pic: Adama Diarra / Reuters / Alamy
January 2014, Jean Yves Le Drian pays tribute to a French soldier killed in Mali. On the right is Soumeylou Boubeye Maïga. Pic: Adama Diarra / Reuters / Alamy

Bamako's prosecutor has summoned France's former foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to answer corruption accusations as bilateral ties plummet further


Turmoil at the top deepens

Lazarus Chakwera. Pic: weforum.org
Lazarus Chakwera. Pic: weforum.org

The split between the heads of the governing alliance parties is getting wider as the economy declines ever further