- Khadija Patel
As a continent with enough conflicts of its own, it’s tempting to dismiss what’s happening in Iraq and Syria as somebody else’s problem. This is a mistake. As the Islamic State expands – and it’s already doing so – Africa is a prime target, with the continent particularly vulnerable to its subversive ideology. By SIMON ALLISON.
Here’s another one to add to the acronym soup: welcome, Minusca, the UN’s new mission in the Central African Republic – which, at the time of writing, looks suspiciously like the African Union force which came before. Except for those smart blue berets. Can the rebranded peacekeepers make a real difference? By SIMON ALLISON.
‘SA spooks fixed Guinea poll' ran the front page of the Mail & Guardian on Friday. The claim, made by the loser in a multi-billion dollar mining dispute, is an extraordinary one: that South Africa’s intelligence service fiddled the results of the Guinea’s presidential elections in 2010, in a bid to win lucrative contracts for South African businesses. It sounds far-fetched, ludicrous even – but maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised. By SIMON ALLISON.
Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh really doesn’t like homosexuals. And because he’s been in charge for 20 years, he gets to make the rules. A new bill, plagiarised from Uganda, will punish “aggravated homosexuality” with a life sentence. It’s more bad news for Africa’s beleaguered LGBTI community. By SIMON ALLISON.
Our Home Affairs department has recently been in the news for its valiant attempts to keep people out of South Africa. Now, it’s suddenly in the news for throwing them out illegally. That may not matter to many South Africans: if someone gets deported home, good riddance, they may say. But in the case of Edwin Samotse, it’s literally a matter of life and death. He was illegally deported to Botswana last month, where he is wanted for murder. Botswana uses the death penalty, and in this case has refused to rule it out. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
Pity the international community, whoever that may be. As Ebola spreads “like wildfire”, it is being lambasted for being too slow and too tight-fisted in its response to the West African epidemic, while the rhetoric around Ebola becomes ever more apocalyptic. How worried should we be? Just worried enough to spur ourselves into action, argues SIMON ALLISON.
It’s easy to take pot shots at the African Union – and frankly, these can be well-deserved. But it’s a mistake to write the organisation off entirely. In fact, it does plenty to justify its standing as Africa’s only continental institution. For all its faults, Africa is better with the AU than without it. By SIMON ALLISON for ISS TODAY.
The death by drone of Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was “a delightful victory” for Somalia’s struggling transitional government, and a major boost for a new anti-Al Shabaab military offensive. But as African Union troops push further in south-central Somalia, Human Rights Watch has reported horrific sexual abuse and exploitation at the Amisom base in Mogadishu. So much for the moral high ground. By SIMON ALLISON.
Drone strikes aimed at Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane reportedly hit their target, but no one’s sure if he’s actually dead or not. A lot rides on the outcome – and not just the future of Somalia. SIMON ALLISON looks at what this could mean for east Africa’s most dangerous terrorist organisation, and for the American drone programme designed to contain them.
A swift and stern SADC reaction looks to have calmed the political stand-off in Lesotho, although the real test will come when the Prime Minister tries to go home on Tuesday. But what’s to stop another crisis in the Mountain Kingdom, especially when all its leaders are desperately trying to save their own skins? By SIMON ALLISON.
In 1977, when Parisian designers oversaw the lavish coronation of Jean-Bédel Bokassa as “Emperor” of the Central African Republic, were they aware of his alleged anthropophagy? In December 2013, when French troops descended on Bangui amid rumours of cannibalism in the market, was irony finally claiming the spoils? Recently returned from Centrafrique, KEVIN BLOOM considers a story almost too macabre to tell.
Ever since Gaddafi’s grisly death, Libya has been a state in name alone, held together by a delicate balancing act of rival militias. But even this is now beginning to unravel, with devastating consequences for the country – and, potentially, for the rich Gulf petro-states who are watching these developments with barely-disguised terror. And unfortunately for them, no amount of unilateral airstrikes are likely to help. By SIMON ALLISON.
According to Boko Haram, north-eastern Nigeria no longer belongs to the Nigerian government. Instead, it’s now part of an Islamic Caliphate. We’re not yet sure who exactly this Caliphate answers to, but it’s certainly not President Goodluck Jonathan. What’s Jonathan going to do about it? By SIMON ALLISON.
It’s been over four months since the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state. Very little concrete information is available about their whereabouts, and in the propaganda war over who is in control in northern Nigeria, Islamist group Boko Haram seems to be one step ahead of Nigerian security forces. By LIESL LOUW-VAUDRAN for ISS TODAY.
Africa, defined by outside, has been viewed in the bipolar narratives of good and evil. Lately, the “rise of the middle class” dominates, calling for investment and telling foreigners the bad times are over. GREG NICOLSON looks at a new report that grounds the issue and should offer South Africa its own opportunities while leaving the Hollywood narratives for Hollywood.
It’s been nearly six months since the first reported case of Ebola in West Africa. Despite everyone’s best efforts, we’re still no closer to containing the lethal virus. In fact, the opposite is true. Now that it’s spread across four African countries, it’s going to be even harder to stop – and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. By SIMON ALLISON.
Who will succeed Robert Mugabe? With the nomination of Grace Mugabe to a senior Zanu-PF position, the great succession debate is dominating headlines once again. But is it still too soon to contemplate the future? By all accounts, there’s life in the old dog yet – and maybe even a new trick or two. By SIMON ALLISON.
For centuries, international politics has been defined by the twin pillars of sovereignty and the nation state. These ephemeral conceits are the foundation of diplomacy, the building blocks of the world order as we know it. But not everyone’s buying into the hype any more – and if we don’t believe in them, then these ideas lose their potency. By SIMON ALLISON.
Boko Haram has long wanted to carve out its own country in north-eastern Nigeria. It’s always been an improbable goal – until now. Emboldened by the successes in Iraq and Syria of the Islamic State, Boko Haram has changed its tactics and is closer than ever before to realising an Islamic state of its own. By SIMON ALLISON.
In the Central African Republic, where an ongoing civil conflict has killed scores and displaced hundreds of thousands, no two narratives converge. There have been repeated attempts at reconciliation, but the culture of blame and finger-pointing appears to be endemic. From the streets of Africa’s most contested capital, KEVIN BLOOM tries to make sense of it all.