- Simon Allison
Proving, once again, that borders in this part of the world are little more than an inconvenience, Boko Haram militants launched another attack in Cameroon on Sunday. This one was even scarier than those that have come before, because it wasn’t just ordinary, innocent civilians who paid the price. The militants made off with the wife of one of Cameroon’s top politicians – and if she’s not safe, then who is? By SIMON ALLISON.
News that warring parties in the Central African Republic have agreed on a ceasefire is encouraging – but not too encouraging. A few crucial oversights in the peace deal, coupled with the structural realities of the conflict, mean that it’s going to be very difficult to enforce. Still, it’s a start. By SIMON ALLISON.
We don’t get to say this often, but yes, here’s a good news story from Zimbabwe! Two journalists managed to convince the country’s highest court that it really made no sense to make defamation a criminal act, and had the offending law struck off the statute books. This should offer a little more protection for journalists working in the country – not that it comes close to solving all their problems. By SIMON ALLISON.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan wants another $1 billion to funnel into his army, hoping that this will succeed where everything else has failed against Boko Haram. Here’s the thing, though – he hasn’t actually tried anything else except the military approach. And if we know one thing beyond reasonable doubt, it’s that the strong arm tactics don’t work. By SIMON ALLISON.
Swaziland isn’t known for the probity of its judicial system, so we can hardly be surprised that another two journalists are behind bars on spurious, politically-motivated charges. But the country’s lack of democratic progress and casual disregard for human rights is not without consequence – although, as usual, it won’t be the King who suffers. By SIMON ALLISON.
What exactly constitutes a government? This is a question Libyans are asking themselves after their post-revolutionary administration revealed, yet again, the limits of its authority. If the government can’t even protect Tripoli’s international airport, how can it be expected to protect the country as a whole? By SIMON ALLISON.
The International Criminal Court case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta isn’t going well. Between an obstinate lack of government cooperation, and a concerted campaign of witness intimidation, the prosecution’s case is falling apart – not necessarily through any fault of their own. If there’s to be any real hope of justice being done, the charges against Kenyatta should be dropped now. By SIMON ALLISON for ISS TODAY.
France may be shutting down its military operation in Mali, but that doesn’t mean French troops are going anywhere anytime soon. Instead, Operation Serval will be replaced by the bigger, brasher and bolder Operation Barkhan, France’s master plan to forever rid the Sahel of the scourge of Islamist extremism. And good luck to them – as long as France realises that soldiers and drones can’t solve anything on their own. By SIMON ALLISON.
Equatorial Guinea has one of the worst human rights records on the continent, all overseen by Africa’s longest serving dictator. It is a model of how not to run a country - especially one with such vast oil reserves. Fortunately, there are Equatorial Guineans willing and able to stand up for their rights, even if they are few and far between. SIMON ALLISON caught up with one of them.
Mali may be out of the headlines, but that doesn’t mean it’s fixed. Sure, the country is now a little more stable, but after 2012’s rebellion, civil war, military coup and de facto secession of the north this isn’t saying very much. Nonetheless, it’s something – and for that we have the French to thank. For now. By SIMON ALLISON for ISS TODAY.
Zambian President Michael Sata has not been himself lately. Normally full of energy, the president has looked withdrawn and lacklustre. Ominously, he’s also been on some kind of medical holiday in Israel, although government spindoctors insist it was a business trip. Meanwhile, with elections just round the corner, the race to succeed him is starting to get serious. By SIMON ALLISON.
Having only just rid itself of one meddling neighbour, the Central African Republic must now contend with another as Uganda declares war on the Seleka rebels. Already, fighting between Ugandan troops and Seleka forces has killed at least 17 people. Will this compromise Uganda’s role as peacekeeper? By SIMON ALLISON.
It’s about to become a lot harder, and more expensive, for South Africans to travel to Kenya. Join the club, the Kenyans say – it’s already a mission for them to come here. But the petty, tit-for-tat regulations don’t seem to be in anyone’s interest: surely we should be encouraging travel, tourism and trade between two of Africa’s most important countries? By SIMON ALLISON.
It has been widely reported that a Namibian version of the Economic Freedom Fighters has been established. Despite denials of official links, they look like the South African fighters: same red overalls, same red berets, exact same logo. They also talk like the South African fighters: same rhetoric about emancipation of the working class and the nationalisation of mineral resources. But there’s one notable difference. The Namibian gang hate gays. The South Africans claim to love them. So why aren’t they distancing themselves from their homophobic doppelgangers? By REBECCA DAVIS.
The African Union wants to set up a new court to try really serious crimes like war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc. There’s only one catch, but it’s a big one: in the draft protocol up for discussion, African heads of state and senior government officials are immune from prosecution. By SIMON ALLISON for ISS TODAY.
Freedom didn’t last long for Meriam Ibrahim and her two young children, both of whom have spent most of their lives in a Sudanese prison. After her unexpected release on Monday, she was rearrested on Tuesday and taken to an undisclosed location. Her crime was to be a Christian in a Muslim country, and to marry a Christian man. Her treatment by her own government is a symbol of all that’s wrong with Sudan. By SIMON ALLISON.
This weekend, hundreds of delegates from across Africa will be travelling to Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, for the 23rd African Union (AU) Summit. The previous Malabo summit took place in 2011, so why is the summit taking place in Equatorial Guinea again, only three years later? The costly, week-long summit will end only after the Assembly of Heads of State on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 June. By LIESL LOUW-VAUDRAN for ISS TODAY.
Three Al Jazeera journalists have been sentenced to a long time behind bars after a sham trial in Egypt found them guilty of aiding a terrorist group. While the verdicts are shameful, they are also instructive, offering an unprecedented glimpse into the heart of this new, untested Egyptian regime. By SIMON ALLISON.
After 147 days on a hunger strike, a detained Al Jazeera journalist has been released by Egyptian authorities on medical grounds. In 304 days in prison, he was not charged with a single crime. While his family celebrate, with good reason, for journalists in Egypt his release is the exception rather than the rule in a country that has given up any pretence of press freedom. By SIMON ALLISON.
To see the desert-adapted elephants of Namibia's north-eastern Kunene region, you have to travel far over rough roads, be patient and trust your luck. The sight of these gaunt, highly intelligent animals trailing down a dry riverbed is one of the country's great wildlife experiences. But these animals are increasingly under threat: political, environmental, and, of course, from hunting. By DON PINNOCK.