- Greg Nicolson
The Africa growth story is making headlines: Africa’s population is rising faster than that of any other region in the world. Its cities are growing. Its middle class is getting bigger. The youth bulge is expanding. China’s trade with the African continent is booming and Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country, by a factor of two – has overtaken South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy. But look a little closer and many things are not quite as they seem. By GEORGINA ALEXANDER and JOHN ENDRES for AFRICA CHECK.
Somehow, in Mozambique’s presidential election earlier this month, Renamo doubled their share of the vote. How did they pull it off? Civil war, that’s how. It’s an unorthodox and dangerous political strategy that has paid off handsomely for Renamo – although perhaps not for the rest of the country. By SIMON ALLISON for ISS TODAY.
It is true that the further you are from the Ebola crisis, the more biblically paranoid you are about the disease. Going to the heart of where Ebola is thought to have originated in West Africa – a small picturesque forest village called Meliandou in Guinea – made me realise that. By SUZANNE BEUKES.
For a while, it seemed that Niger’s wealthy elites had discovered the cure for infertility. But what looked like a miracle turned out to be quite the opposite as authorities uncovered an international baby smuggling ring that implicated some of the country’s top officials. MERCEDES SAYAGUES reports.
So much for Africa’s model democracy. As Botswana votes on Friday, it does so in an unprecedented climate of fear and intimidation. The incumbent, President Ian Khama, will probably win again – but what has he sacrificed to prolong his stay in State House? SIMON ALLISON and ANDREA TEAGLE report from Gaborone.
Well, that didn’t last long. The ceasefire between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government – announced on Thursday, with much fanfare, by government spokesmen – has already been broken. If, that is, it actually existed in the first place. A skeptical SIMON ALLISON considers Nigeria’s track record on this subject.
Although final results are still to be released, it’s already clear that Mozambique’s ruling party has clung onto power by a comfortable margin. Perhaps too comfortable – both major opposition parties are contesting the results, alleging widespread irregularities. Even so, Frelimo has not had it all its own way. A precipitous drop in support means the party has lost that precious two-thirds majority in parliament, and might just have to compromise every now and then. By SIMON ALLISON.
Botswana only has one power station. Unfortunately, it’s broken, leaving the country without any of its own electricity. Never fear: a most unlikely guardian angel is at hand. Eskom, take a bow! The beleaguered parastatal might not be very popular in South Africa, but in much of the region it is all that’s keeping the lights on. Although this may not be quite as benevolent as it seems. By SIMON ALLISON.
Marc Ravalomanana has reluctantly spent the last five years in South Africa. All the while, he’s been pining for home – and political power – in Madagascar. But his unexpected and unsanctioned return on Monday didn’t go quite according to plan, and he now finds himself locked up as a guest of the country’s new president in a remote military facility. Nonetheless, his impatience might just force Madagascar to finally confront its demons. By SIMON ALLISON.
In recent months, the West African Republic of Liberia has received attention on a scale it has not experienced since its devastating civil war ended in 2003. The Ebola outbreak has not caused nearly as many fatalities as the 14-year war, but the crisis in Liberia and its two neighbours, Guinea and Sierra Leone, has captivated the world. What’s the way forward? By BROOKS MARMON.
For a few months, Bangui has been calm – even the refugees had started to go home. Last week, however, the relative peace was shattered in a new bout of violence that left more than a dozen dead and the interim government looking even more out of control than before. This country has a long, long way to go. By SIMON ALLISON.
It is almost irrelevant who wins Mozambique’s elections on Tuesday – whatever happens, change is coming. Yes, the parties may disagree on exactly who gets to occupy the president’s Palácio da Ponta Vermelha, but the electoral race masks a more fundamental shift. No longer can anyone in Mozambique take power for granted. By SIMON ALLISON.
Mozambique’s political duopoly is being shattered by the upstarts of the Movimento Democrático de Moçambique, who reckon they could cause an upset – if not in these presidential elections (coming up next week) then in the next. SIMON ALLISON visits the unlikely Maputo headquarters of the opposition party that is causing consternation in the ranks of the powers-that-be.
There are only a few countries in Africa where abortion is legal. In the next few weeks, Mozambique will become one of them, with President Armando Guebuza expected to sign a new bill into law. It is a major victory for women’s reproductive rights in Mozambique, and an important legacy for the president as he prepares to step down next month. By MERCEDES SAYAGUES.
Traditionally southern Africa’s most stable nation, there have been rumblings of discontent emanating from Botswana in the run-up to October’s general election. SIMON ALLISON asked Edgar Tsimane, the journalist who is seeking asylum in South Africa after fleeing Botswana for his life, for his take on what’s going wrong.
Congolese President Joseph Kabila may or may not have decided to fiddle with his country’s constitution, but opposition groups aren’t waiting for him to make up his mind. Protests in Kinshasa and Goma this weekend were a pre-emptive warning that there will be consequences if he does try to remove constitutional term limits and keep himself in power. By SIMON ALLISON.
As you read this, an existential crisis grips South African media. Editors are in emergency meetings, sub-editors are dusting off whiskey bottles and journalists are… Googling stuff. The crisis? For once, government is making all the right moves and is handling the horror building collapse in Nigeria exactly as it should. Feels weird, right? ALEX ELISEEV thinks so.
It’s been several weeks since the coup that wasn’t in Lesotho, yet there’s been little progress in unravelling the tense political stand-off there. This comes despite the best efforts of President Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who have both invested plenty of time and diplomatic capital in efforts to find a solution. SA’s influence only stretches so far, apparently. By SIMON ALLISON.