- Rebecca Davis
DRC President Joseph Kabila has announced that he will enact a constitutionally mandated process known as ‘decoupage’ to create 26 new provinces in the country before elections can be held. In doing so, the president, who is seeking an unconstitutional third term, has taken steps to delay the polls and disempower one of the most popular figures in the country, Governor of Katanga Province, Moise Katumbi – ‘Moise wamuu Bible (the Moses of the Bible)’. FRANK CHARNAS reports.
Joe-Louis Kanyona, a 32-year old Congolese resident of Cape Town, was hired as a doorman at craft beer mega bar Beerhouse on Long Street last December. At 10:37pm on Saturday 20 June, while standing guard at the entrance, Kanyona, a smaller man than his occupation usually dictates, was approached by four men and stabbed in the neck. Without withdrawing the knife from his flesh – "it was a steak knife, like something from a restaurant," an eyewitness said – Kanyona tried to run upstairs, where his brother Julian was working, but faltered after a few steps. He died a few minutes later. His last words, spoken in French and repeated three times, were: "Lord, I put myself in your hands." KIMON DE GREEF reports for GROUNDUP.
As Burundi’s government digs in its heels, the prospect of a peaceful solution to the crisis gets more and more remote, and the African Union is running out of options. Is it time to take a stand on idealism, or does it make more sense just to give Nkurunziza his third term – especially while he’s holding Somalia hostage? By SIMON ALLISON.
Conservation needs to work with unlikely bedfellows – the hunters, the miners and loggers. Given Africa’s need for economic growth and employments these activities that are so often adjacent, to and sometimes in, protected areas will never be wished away. It would be better therefore if they were included in the conservation discussion and became allies of wildlife areas rather than being perceived as ‘the enemy’. PETER BORCHERT on game rangers, poaching and the need to collaborate to save the continent’s precious wildlife.
The real story moving forward in a tiny kingdom afflicted by HIV and malnutrition – and utterly dependent on foreigners for free HIV anti-retrovirals and extra food – is if the most influential of donors, the United States, sticks to its demand for accountability for those responsible for the events last 30 August. But responsibility is a complex beast. By MICHAEL J. JORDAN.
I wrote my Master’s dissertation in 1986 on Lesotho. Despite having suffered its first military coup earlier that year, the mountain kingdom remained reasonably prosperous, helped by a paradox of anti-Apartheid aid and remittances from its miners in South Africa. And there was the promise of income from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, supplying ‘white gold’ to the thirsty South African reef. The overdue signature of this scheme was one stated reason for the coup that saw Major General Justin Metsing Lekhanya evict Chief Leabua Jonathan who had ruled with steadily increasing authoritarianism since independence in October 1966. GREG MILLS describes the impact of decades of coups and unrest in South Africa’s fractious neighbour.
The deadly assault on Egyptian government positions in the Sinai Peninsula by an Islamic State-aligned militant group was more proof, if any was needed, that Egypt is dealing with a major insurrection. It’s not alone. Following on from the attack in Tunisia, and the occupation of parts of Libya, it’s clear that North Africa is being targeted by Islamic State. Underestimate them at your peril. By SIMON ALLISON.
Don’t panic, Liberia’s health officials say, as a new case of Ebola turns up near the capital city. Liberia was meant to be Ebola-free, and this comes as a devastating blow for the country that is still struggling to get back on its feet after the deadly epidemic. Nonetheless, the health officials are right. Liberia has learnt its lessons, and this time should be different. By SIMON ALLISON.
On Monday, Burundi voted in the first leg of its controversial elections which will, almost certainly, result in a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. In going ahead with the polls, Nkurunziza defied almost everyone in the international community, who had urged him to postpone until the political situation had calmed down. But perhaps they should have spoken up sooner. By SIMON ALLISON.
The huge, sparsely populated, impoverished Sahel is affected by growing numbers of jihadi extremists and illicit activities, including arms, drugs and human trafficking, estimated to generate $3.8 billion annually. Borders are porous, government reach limited. Populations and unemployment are soaring. Within this perfect storm of actual and potential instability, criminal networks increasingly overrun Central Sahel – the Fezzan in Libya’s south, Niger and the Lake Chad Basin. Here follows a report on the situation. By the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
One after the other the carcasses were extracted from the crammed vehicle. Burnt, shrunken-back lips exposed grimacing teeth…a gruesome effect. As the pile of animals mounted up on the side of the road the overpowering smell of smoked and decaying bush meat became stronger. A haul of 40 animals in total, from pangolins, to genets to duikers – the scene seemed to cry “unsustainable”. A dispatch from ZANNE LABUSCHAGNE in the Republic of Congo.
Question: How subversive can a book club really be? Answer: It depends on the fragility of your regime. If you are Jose Eduardo dos Santos, then it’s a very subversive hobby indeed. Guns don’t scare the Angolan president – his are bigger anyway – but ideas are a much more dangerous proposition in a state that rests on such precarious foundations. By SIMON ALLISON.
After the October 2014 popular uprising in Burkina Faso, which ended the 27-year rule of President Blaise Compaoré, it was illusory to believe that things would easily return to normal. The transitional government has succeeded only in keeping Burkina afloat. And with less than four months left before the October 2015 elections, the transition has run out of time to begin reforms – it must focus on organising the ballot and promoting a peaceful climate. Here follows an overview of the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP’S Burkina Faso briefing.
He might not be a president, but Rwandan spy chief Karenzi Karake is still a very big fish. His arrest in London, on a Spanish warrant, could precipitate another crisis for international justice. A word of gratuitous advice for the British authorities: this one’s delicate. Handle with care. By SIMON ALLISON.
Virunga National Park is one of Africa’s treasure troves, and one of its most toxic, and intoxicating, killing fields. Under threat from various armed militias as well as poaching, illegal fishing and charcoal harvesting, and now, oil exploration, it is one of the most biodiverse, ecologically rich places on earth. TONY WEAVER talks to the park’s chief warden, a man with one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
Construction on two new nuclear plants in Nigeria edges closer. Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, has selected two sites for the plants which should start producing energy from 2024. Nigeria, like South Africa, clearly needs the extra power, but the same questions plague both countries: is nuclear really the best way to go? And is Rosatom the best company to make it happen? By SIMON ALLISON.
In the days after a massive terrorist attack in the capital, Chad has banned the burqa – the full-face Islamic veil that apparently protects both terrorists and modesty. This isn’t the first time the burqa has come under attack, and it won’t be the last – but will Chad’s new restrictions really make the country safer? By SIMON ALLISON.
Multiple explosions in Chad’s capital city left 27 people dead, and sent a clear message to Chad that its contribution to the fight against Boko Haram will not be without consequences. But President Idriss Déby has already got plenty of enemies, and is unlikely to be deterred by this latest attack. In fact, the opposite is true. By SIMON ALLISON.
As South Africa dissects the implications of President Omar al-Bashir’s visit, and his illegal departure, it’s worth remembering that although the International Criminal Court wants him for crimes committed years ago, the Sudanese President is still in power – and he’s still dropping cluster bombs on civilians. By NUBA REPORTS.
Forget Sepp Blatter. The biggest and baddest international fugitive of them all is in South Africa, and our government has just rolled out the red carpet for him. Civil society is protesting furiously and the courts are likely to issue an arrest warrant, but this won’t stop Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from flying home on Monday. So what does this mean for the international justice project in Africa? And what does it tell us about the state of South Africa? By SIMON ALLISON.
For once, the African Union Summit is going to have something to show for all its talk of regional integration. The Tripartite Free Trade Area, signed in Egypt on Wednesday, creates a common market across 26 countries, and has the potential to revolutionise trade on the continent. SIMON ALLISON spoke to the AU trade commissioner about why the deal is so important – and why the rest of Africa will have to catch up quickly.
After a protracted and unsuccessful peace negotiation process, the war in South Sudan has once again witnessed a marked increase in violence over the past weeks. The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), allied to former Vice President Riek Machar, are recording notable strategic gains, especially in the oil rich Upper Nile State. Additionally, heavy fighting continues between clans in Lakes, Warrap, Unity and Western Bahr al Ghazal States. By FRANK CHARNAS.
Backlash against the International Criminal Court by some African leaders since 2009 has become well-known. But often overlooked is that activists from across the continent and international organisations with a presence in Africa have undertaken multi-faceted work to offer a counterweight to attacks on the ICC on behalf of victims of some of the world’s worst crimes. By ELISE KEPPLER.
Tazara railway can be turned around, though it will require dollops of political will to do so. At first, it will necessitate a recognition that its current state is not ‘fixed’, even though it suits several key actors to keep it down and out. Turning the political economy of protecting privilege, plunder and survival into one of prosperity will lie at the heart of the railway’s transformation, as with any infrastructure in Africa, writes GREG MILLS.
In an article published in the Sunday Times a week ago [May 31], Edna Molewa, the minister of environmental affairs, admonishes conservationists to “put the lid on” what she believes are unfounded claims of canned lion hunting in South Africa that are “damaging our reputation for species conservation”. By ANDREAS WILSON-SPÄTH.
Fifteen years ago, as secretary general of the Organisation of African Unity, I bore witness to a historic peace agreement in Arusha, Tanzania, heralding peace for Burundi after 10 gruelling years of civil war. With Nelson Mandela at my side, I witnessed the dawn of a new era for a country beset by conflict and in a region shaken by genocide in neighbouring Rwanda, writes DR SALIM AHMED SALIM.