- Simon Allison
Caught between the triumph of election victory and the disquiet of losing almost 20 percent vote share, Mozambique’s ruling party, FRELIMO, faces a challenging future. Mozambique was thought to have turned the page on its violent past, yet economic progress is thin, and political relations fraught as FRELIMO continues to face a serious challenge from its nemesis RENAMO. By PAULA CRISTINA ROQUE.
Love him or loathe him, there’s no questioning his influence: this year, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has done more than any other African to shape the destiny of both his country and his continent. From defying the International Criminal Court to beating back Al Shabaab in Somalia to militarising the Kenyan state, Kenyatta has been an almost permanent fixture in the headlines (and not always for the right reasons). SIMON ALLISON examines his controversial record.
Even stagnation requires renewal, as Robert Mugabe well knows – he is the master of changing things up just to keep them the same (for himself at least). The latest Zanu-PF party conference, which concluded on Saturday, was a textbook example of this. In maintaining his status quo, President Mugabe fundamentally altered Zimbabwe’s political landscape – and sacrificed a few high-profile comrades in the process. SIMON ALLISON picks out the key moments, and what they mean for the country.
As Zambia heads for special elections in January, no clear favourites are emerging to succeed Michael Sata as president. This is largely the late president’s fault: by failing to plan for a successor, he left his party vulnerable to the messy infighting which is tearing it apart. Fortunately for the contenders – but not particularly encouraging for the country – the other parties aren’t faring much better. By SIMON ALLISON.
December 2014 marks a year since violence peaked in the Central African Republic, killing thousands and forcing nearly one million people to flee their homes. Despite ongoing war, widespread displacement, rising malnutrition among children and recruitment of children into armed groups, a lack of news headlines and a dismal lack of funding for humanitarian work shows that the situation in the Central African Republic is probably the world’s most forgotten crisis. But not for those who live there and are fighting to save what’s left of their country. By MOHAMED FALL, Unicef’s representative in the Central African Republic.
Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko have been in jail in Swaziland since April, and they’re not getting out anytime soon. A new court decision on Wednesday means the journalists’ case will only be heard again in May, which is the next time the Supreme Court will bother to sit. This is justice in Swaziland: slow, vindictive and completely unaccountable. By SIMON ALLISON.
Terrorist acts are rarely about gratuitous violence. Usually, they are a particularly brutal and violent form of communication. Tuesday’s attack by Al Shabaab on workers sleeping in a Kenyan quarry was no different. The message was unequivocal: Al Shabaab may be down, but they’re not out yet. And as long as they’ve got any fire left, then Kenyans can expect to feel the pain. By SIMON ALLISON.
China is stealing African animals yet again, and covering it up with suspicious paperwork and probably in violation of its own regulations. More than 30 wild baby elephants are in bomas in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, awaiting clearance for transport overland to Maputo and shipment to China. The probable transit destination is Shanghai Wild Animal Park, though the final endpoint is possibly wealthy private collectors. Many will undoubtedly die before they get there. By DON PINNOCK.
The economic empowerment of women in Africa, and globally, is one of the key strategies in advancing women’s rights and liberating them from intergenerational cycles of poverty and dependence. The two-day Thomson Reuters ‘Trust Women’ conference that took place in London last month (and streamed live around the world) highlighted some of the critical challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to empower women to change their communities. By ANDREA TEAGLE.
No surprises here: in a show of utter dominance, Namibia’s ruling party strolled to victory in both presidential and parliamentary elections. The results are a vindication of Swapo’s uninterrupted reign over independent Namibia, and a sign that they’ll be in charge for a long time still to come. By SIMON ALLISON.
The health care workers who put their lives at risk to fight Ebola should be honoured, not quarantined. KATHRYN STINSON, who recently returned from Sierra Leone, experiences fear, loathing and hysteria from friends, colleagues and fellow parents… and is plagued with a need to keep washing her hands. By GROUNDUP.
The Gauteng government held a memorial service on Thursday for those who died in the collapse of TB Joshua’s Lagos church. Again we heard they died serving the Lord. While this may offer some comfort to relatives, those responsible are yet to be brought to justice and eleven families are still waiting for their loved ones' remains. By ANDREA TEAGLE & GREG NICOLSON.
Amid allegations of gross incompetence and corruption at the South African Embassy in Uganda, Jon Qwelane has quietly returned to South Africa after his four-year term as High Commissioner to the notoriously anti-gay country has come to an end. And while Qwelane is no longer “in the employ of the state” he might still have to face charges of hate speech relating to a column published in 2008. By MARIANNE THAMM.
The people of Tunisia, the northernmost African country and epicentre of the recent Jasmine Revolution, conducted a peaceful election a few weeks ago, which has gone unnoticed by many South Africans. Situated on opposite ends of the continent, South Africa and Tunisia face similar social problems, such as high levels of youth unemployment and similar concerns about corruption. In our search for solutions to these problems, we potentially have much to learn from how our two countries have chosen to tackle the legacy of economic crime involving an old elite. By MICHAEL MARCHANT.
Equatorial Guinea have stepped in at the eleventh hour to take over the hosting rights of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. That in itself is not a problem, but the country’s human rights abuses and the fact that they were disqualified from the tournament earlier this year paint CAF in a rather bad light. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
For more than 12 years, the South African government fought to keep the contents of the Khampepe Report under wraps. Finally, they failed, and the details of a damning cover-up were revealed: Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections were rigged, and South Africa knew all about it. Zimbabwe has been paying the price for this ever since. Now it’s South Africa’s turn. By SIMON ALLISON.
After months of prevarication, Botswana’s President Ian Khama finally decided on a deputy. Meet Mokgweetsi Masisi, formerly minister of education and now the man almost certain to succeed Khama in the top job. But he wasn’t Khama’s first choice – even the president can’t have it all his own way. By SIMON ALLISON.
Last month, Nigeria’s parliament gave President Goodluck Jonathan a $1 billion war chest. The money is to buy arms and equipment to help the army fight Boko Haram. Only problem: no one’s selling, at least not to Nigeria. South Africa and the USA have already said no. Since when did arms dealers develop a moral backbone? By SIMON ALLISON.
Most politicians, in most countries, would have cancelled campaigning after the devastating suicide bombing at a school in north-eastern Nigeria on Monday. Not Goodluck Jonathan. With barely a mention of Nigeria’s deteriorating security situation, Jonathan launched his re-election campaign on Tuesday. He can afford to be tone deaf – with the opposition in chaos, this election is his to lose. By SIMON ALLISON.
There’s not a lot of critical, independent journalism coming out of Angola – a country that desperately needs journalists to hold its corrupt government to account. Most of the good stuff that does exist comes from the over-worked keyboard of Rafael Marques de Morais, a fearless investigator who has repeatedly lifted the lid on the worst excesses of the Dos Santos regime. SIMON ALLISON caught up with Marques at Wits University in Johannesburg, where he delivered the 2014 Carlos Cardoso Lecture.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement and the romance of Burkina Faso’s popular revolution. But revolutions solve nothing on their own, it’s what comes next that really counts. Unfortunately, Africa’s recent track record in this department is poor. The odds of a success story, at least in the short term, are not in Burkina Faso’s favour. By SIMON ALLISON.