- Greg Nicolson
The roadmap to ending the crisis in the ethnically divided Central African Republic, which includes elections before the end of 2015, is only a short-term answer. To avoid pursuing a strategy that would merely postpone addressing critical challenges until after the polls, the country's transitional authorities and international partners should address them now by implementing a comprehensive disarmament policy, and reaffirming that Muslims belong within the nation. If this does not happen, the elections risk becoming a zero-sum game. By the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
At least three people have been killed and 60 injured during street clashes in Burkina Faso’s capital as protesters demonstrated against a military coup on 16 September. Crowds gathered in the streets of Ouagadougou to demand the release of the interim president and members of his government, detained by the presidential guard, and the organisation of elections as scheduled for 11 October. Soldiers fired warning shots to disperse the protestors, who responded by throwing stones. Coup leader General Gilbert Diendere told Reuters the trigger for the putsch was a proposal this week by the transitional authorities to dismantle the powerful Presidential Security Guard. By CYNTHIA OHAYON for the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
Much has changed in Zambia in the last 25 years. But amid all the change, the country's recent economic travails show just how much has remained the same. The economy is still dependent on copper, accounting for more than 70% of its export income, and thus vulnerable to price swings. As a result of the current commodity downturn, the kwacha has fallen by more than a quarter of its value this year. By GREG MILLS.
Although regional players and the African Union have voiced their opposition to the coup in Burkina Faso, and civil society has mobilised people in several towns across the country, strongman Gilbert Diendere and his Regiment of Presidential Security have proven that they are willing to overturn what was once a hopeful situation in one of the poorest countries in the world to ensure their supremacy. For these reasons, and the potential domino effect a crisis in Burkina Faso would have on the region, Diendere is unlikely to be ousted any time soon. By BAT-EL OHAYON.
Three months after his election, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has still to announce his cabinet. The challenge of creating a unified and uncorrupt cabinet, while maintaining the internal support of the composite members of the ruling party, and exerting influence over opposition-held areas, may explain why the man nicknamed Baba Go-Slow has yet to act. By FRANK CHARNAS.
When the much-feared Presidential Guard stormed into a cabinet meeting to arrest Burkina Faso’s interim President and Prime Minister, we should not have been surprised. Until now, the country’s revolution has been – superficially at least – a little too clean, a little too orderly. In hindsight, another setback was always inevitable. By SIMON ALLISON.
The attempt to rally Sufis in the struggle against extremism seems attractive, but the Kenyan government ought to be aware of potential pitfalls. In embracing Sufism it may, inadvertently, be opening itself to charges of creating an 'official' Islam designed to 'correct' a form of Islam deemed 'distorted'. This would invariably deepen sectarian divisions and alienate non-violent Salafis – the single most important constituency whose support is critical to defeating jihadism. By RASHID ABDI for INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
The Tripartite Alliance’s consistently poor performance on job creation coupled with voter alienation cannot inspire confidence in its longer-term electoral prospects. The African National Congress, now increasingly distant from its heroic act of liberating South Africa from apartheid, is called upon to deliver. Today, the growth market in South African politics is apathy. By GREG MILLS and JEFFREY HERBST.
Another judgment has found the state had an obligation to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to face charges at the International Criminal Court. President Jacob Zuma and his executive are unlikely to back down from challenging the international court, but after the courts have once again said the state was wrong, Al-Bashir should not be welcomed back to South Africa in December. By GREG NICOLSON.
On 9 September, it will be six months since the abduction of prominent Zimbabwean activist Itai Dzamara, a prominent critic of Robert Mugabe's government. On 9 March 2015, he was forced into an unmarked vehicle and has not been heard from since. His wife, Sheffra Dzamara, spoke to AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL about his disappearance.
These days, getting bitten by a snake shouldn’t be such a big deal. Scary, sure, and painful, but thanks to increasingly effective anti-venoms, snakebites are rarely life-threatening if you can access drugs in time. So why are 100,000 people dying from snakebites every year, and why is that number set to increase rapidly in Africa in 2016? By SIMON ALLISON.
September is a big month for international justice in Africa. In The Hague, warlord Bosco 'The Terminator' Ntaganda is on trial for war crimes, while in Dakar former Chadian president Hissène Habré is finally being held to account for his brutal regime. These are both encouraging signs for accountability in Africa – but if the African Union has its way, these could be the last high-profile cases to make it to court for quite some time. By SIMON ALLISON.
East Africa is the fastest growing sub-region on the continent, with economic growth expected to expand by 5.6% this year, well above the continental average of 4.5% or Southern Africa’s 3.1%. But in an odd contradiction to regional growth trends, East Africa’s infrastructure is one of the least developed in Africa. Infrastructure development is thus paramount for the sub-region to reach its full potential and many ‘mega’ infrastructure projects are currently under way in the region. By LYAL WHITE and ADRIAN KITIMBO.
The emergence of radical religious groups in Cameroon risks destabilising the country's climate of religious tolerance. Traditional Sufi Islam is increasingly being challenged by the rise of stricter Islamic ideology, mostly Wahhabism. Within Christian communities, the rise of Revivalist Churches has ended the monopoly of the Catholic and Protestant Churches. Yet, the religious changes are not perceived as problematic by Cameroonian political and religious authorities, which underestimate their potential for conflict. By INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
Just as he’s struggled to turn around South African Airways and Eskom, Cyril Ramaphosa has made little headway in Lesotho despite more than a year of high-profile involvement under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Lesotho remains dangerously unstable, but South Africa, the SADC and the US should between them have enough leverage to improve the situation. By ALEXANDER NOYES and JEFFREY SMITH.
Since the turn of the century, Africa has been posting growth rates above the average of developing countries. Yet the narrative about the continent seems to be fixated on migration and negative assessments of its performance. It is, therefore, important to understand why Africa is perceived to be generating more migrants today than ever before. By CARLOS LOPES.
The African Union Mission in Somalia suffered another devastating setback this week as Al-Shabaab stormed a military base, killing dozens of peacekeepers in the process. The incident was yet more proof that there’s still plenty of bite to Al-Shabaab’s bark. It also raised difficult questions for the African intervention force, which is struggling to adapt to the militants’ changing tactics. By SIMON ALLISON.
The Malian peace plan signed a few months ago does not seem to have had a discernible effect on the conflict. From Bamako, SIMON ALLISON reports on the intricate web of drugs, terrorists, separatists and corruption that makes this conflict so intractable. The bottom line is that Mali is already dangerously close to the bottom, and treading water – and that’s about the best we can hope for. Maybe it’s time to rethink our approach.
Experts have warned that without urgent repairs the Kariba Dam risks collapse, unleashing a ‘tsunami’ of water through the Zambezi Valley, reaching the Mozambique border in just eight hours where it would overwhelm the Cahora Bassa wall, in so doing eliminating 40% of the region’s hydro-electric capacity and putting an estimated 3.5-million human lives at risk. Overlooked, perhaps inevitably, amidst the hyperbole of collapse, destruction and loss of life, is the cost of the poor management of the asset, and the water resource, something that can be relatively easily fixed and where the failure to do so is less dramatic but no less costly. By GREG MILLS.
Eritrean cycling finally went global over the course of the 2015 Tour de France, when MTN-Qhubeka’s star climber Daniel Teklehaimanot introduced his obscure, east African country to the world. But Zemede Tekle, Eritrea’s sports commissioner recently told the Daily Maverick: ‘Cycling is life here. It is who we are.’ In 1936, 25 years after Italian colonialists imported the sport (and refused to allow the locals to participate), Eritreans held their first race. They’ve been racing ever since. In Eritrea, as an Italian journalist once noted, cycling is bread. Words and photos by RICHARD POPLAK.
In June this year, four months after Al-Shabaab militants massacred 148 people at Garissa, South African safari-operator Steve Fitzgerald welcomed the first guests to Angama Mara in Kenya. Fitzgerald maintains there’s simply no comparable super-luxury lodge in the Mara. ‘If Angama is successful, it could do the same for Kenya as the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge did for Tanzania,’ he says. It’s certainly a vote of confidence in the future of the Kenyan tourism industry. By CAROLYN RAPHAELY.
South Africa has a youth unemployment crisis. Statistics suggest the problem has worsened since 2008, leaving more than 5-million people between the ages of 15 and 34 neither employed nor receiving education or training. In the first of a two-part series, SIBONISO MNCUBE puts a face and a voice to their struggle.
In Addis Ababa, a grinning President Salva Kiir finally put pen to paper on a peace deal for South Sudan. Better 10 days late than never. While sceptics are right to wonder if his signature is anything more than a PR stunt, the truth is that peace doesn’t come easy – and this is as good a place to start as any. By SIMON ALLISON.
It will take a concerted effort to unseat the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi in the upcoming elections in Tanzania, but momentum appears to be behind the Ukawa opposition coalition, led by former prime minister Edward Lowassa. The outcome of what are expected to be the closest elections in the country’s history is sure to affect not just Tanzania, but the region and the African continent as a whole. By FRANK CHARNAS.
Rafael Marques de Morais is famous for his journalism and activism in Angola, standing up to the ruling Movement for the Liberation of Angola despite intimidation and imprisonment. Recently, he spoke to the Daily Maverick Show on CliffCentral's Kingsley Kipury about his fight for freedom of expression, corruption investigations, and the stories he'll tell his grandchildren. By GREG NICOLSON.
While the cost of sending money across borders is plummeting, sending money from South Africa to neighbouring countries appears to incur the highest costs. One of the most popular remittance corridors in the region is from South Africa to Zimbabwe, and new money-sending agents are making this corridor cheaper and easier. GROUNDUP tested three of these services. By BEN STANWIX and TARIRO WASHINYIR.