It hasn’t been long since Kenyan voters transformed Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto from nasty politicians into the country’s leading statesmen, nevermind that both have been charged with crimes against humanity. But as their trials loom larger, so do the dirty tactics. It’s a fight the International Criminal Court will struggle to win. By SIMON ALLISON.
Many readers will probably remember the old Hans Christian Anderson children’s tale of the poverty-stricken match seller who, starving, stares through a window at a restaurant banquet table overflowing with food as she lights one match after another of the ones she is supposed to sell so as to keep warm enough to stay alive. This 170- year-old cautionary tale, along with the Charles Dickens story of the nearly as unfortunate Little Nell, another hungry Victorian Age waif, swam into mind while attending the recent World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
Negotiations between the M23 rebel group and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo have stalled in Uganda. With neither side willing to compromise, a push for a political solution to the conflict appears doomed to fail. And as South African boots ready themselves for combat against M23, the warning of sexual violence in war – and as a tactic of war – is being brought into sharp focus. By KHADIJA PATEL.
Exactly why the World Economic Forum on Africa invited King Mswati III of Swaziland to sit on a panel is a slight mystery. Throughout the WEF, the values of transparency, accountability, good governance and anti-corruption have been highlighted over and over again as essential to Africa’s growth. These values are the antithesis of what King Mswati’s rule has meant to Swaziland. But he insisted on Thursday that the Swazi people are very happy with their feudal status quo. By REBECCA DAVIS.
A point frequently returned to throughout the World Economic Forum on Africa has been the inescapability of the fact that Africa’s economy will be shaped by its reserves of natural resources for the foreseeable future. Introducing the 2013 Africa Progress Report on Friday, Kofi Annan and his colleagues said that Africa’s mineral wealth has the potential to transform the continent, but resource-rich countries are leaving their poor behind. He also hit out at “shady deals” between mining houses and countries. By REBECCA DAVIS.
It’s been a bad few months for gay rights in Zambia, with virulent anti-gay rhetoric from public figures being matched by the arrests of a gay rights activist and two men accused of “unnatural” and illegal sex. Ironically, the negative international headlines generated by all this might force the Zambian government to rethink its views. By SIMON ALLISON.
It’s taken as axiomatic that Africa cannot prosper without good governance. At a panel discussion held to round off Thursday’s sitting of the World Economic Forum on Africa, certain key themes were returned to repeatedly: the need to stamp out corruption; the need for greater openness about the disposal of a country’s natural resources; the role of civil society and the private sector; and the importance of transparency. But as several speakers made clear, the beloved buzzword “transparency” is nowhere near sufficient on its own. By REBECCA DAVIS.
At a small discussion at Thursday’s World Economic Forum on Africa, the issue of gender equality in African politics took centre stage. While all panelists agreed on the need for more women in positions of leadership, Malawian President Joyce Banda was on hand to remind the audience that sometimes getting to the top is just the beginning of the struggle. By REBECCA DAVIS.
President Jacob Zuma took the stage at the World Economic Forum on Africa on Thursday to participate in a panel discussion on the relationship between Brics and Africa. Zuma strongly stressed that a Brics bank is necessary to deal with African financing challenges that the “older” financial institutions have been too slow to deal with. But, as has been the case with all previous discussions of the bank, details of what it would look like were in short supply. By REBECCA DAVIS.
The Africa Competitiveness Report, released annually by the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Denmark Foreign Affairs Ministry, reflects both good and bad news. For South Africa, things are looking relatively peachy: we’re one of only two African countries sitting in the top half of the Global Competitiveness Index. But the report also shows that 14 out of 20 of the world’s least competitive economies are in Africa, and the continent remains the lowest-performing region globally. By REBECCA DAVIS at the World Economic Forum (Africa).
It was always an awkward marriage, and never a permanent solution, but Zimbabwe’s government of national unity has just about managed to keep the peace and revive the country’s moribund economy. But with its mandate set to expire in just two months, the unity government is looking as divided as ever, and no one can agree on what comes next. By SIMON ALLISON.
So Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott doesn’t like South Africa, or South Africans. In an otherwise hilarious interview with the Guardian, Scott flouted the rules of diplomacy to launch a full-fronted assault on our foreign policy, our president and our general disposition (arrogant and overbearing, apparently). Should we be insulted? Absolutely – but only because, like all the best insults, Scott’s are very close to the bone. By SIMON ALLISON
Rebels in Sudan are getting stronger and bolder, last week extending their fight against Khartoum to a whole new province. They’re now in striking range of El Obaid, a small, otherwise forgettable Sudanese town that just happens to be the centre of the world’s gum arabic industry. And gum arabic just happens to be in nearly every fizzy drink you’ve ever had. By SIMON ALLISON.
Ethiopia doesn’t really want to keep its troops in Somalia much longer. It’s an expensive business, and they’ve got other engagements to deal with. But who will replace them, and make sure that those hard-won conquests don’t fall back into Al-Shabaab hands? No one’s particularly keen, which is why Ethiopia has had to resort to an empty threat. By SIMON ALLISON.
This is Bayelsa State, heart of the Niger Delta, and “glory of all lands”, according to the official state tagline. Under the care of His Excellency the Honourable Seriake Dickson, what was once a restive kidnapping zone has mellowed considerably. But Nigeria’s oil-rich region still has some way to go before it reaches the New African Ideal: a knowledge economy overrun by tourists from the East carrying Louis Vuitton luggage sets and golfing under an equatorial sun. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Just days after Nigeria seriously proposed extending a general amnesty to Boko Haram militants, the conflict exploded. At least 185 people, many of them civilians, were killed as a gun battle raged through a suburban area, proving once again that neither the militants nor the Nigerian authorities really care about anyone else. By SIMON ALLISON.
A year after its formation, the March 23 Movement, M23, is bristling against international intervention in the DRC. Daily Maverick spoke to M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa about his view of M23’s conflict with the Congolese state, the possibility of further conflict with the newly formed UN brigade and South Africa’s approach to securing peace in the DRC. By KHADIJA PATEL.
Chad was supposed to be the backbone of the African-led force in Mali. And, until now, that’s exactly what it has been, providing the only African soldiers trained and trusted for combat operations in the tricky desert war against experienced Islamist militants. Chad’s shock decision to withdraw its troops is therefore a serious setback. By SIMON ALLISON.
It’s all gone wrong for Madonna in Malawi again. An ignorance of diplomatic protocol and a little over-selling of her charitable efforts got her into a nasty war of words with the country’s President Joyce Banda, who went as far as to equate Madonna’s star power with Gary Neville’s. Ouch. On the plus side, it looks like no orphans (parented or otherwise) were harmed in the fracas. By SIMON ALLISON.
South Africans have understandably reacted with consternation to the news that the country’s armed forces will soon be at war against the M23 militia in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. After the loss of 13 South Africans in combat in the Central African Republic, you’d forgive South Africans for expressing their anxiety at the latest military adventure across our borders. The reservations of South Africans about the involvement of the country’s troops, however, belie the greater problems attached to the formation of the United Nations brigade to fight the M23. By KHADIJA PATEL.
The earth had not yet settled on the graves of the soldiers killed in the Central African Republic when our government committed another 1,000 men to another central African war, this time in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a dangerous deployment, but this time we’re going about things the right way. By SIMON ALLISON.