- Simon Allison
Even before the current outbreak of xenophobic violence, South Africa wasn’t the most popular kid in the African bloc. In its wake, however, our image lies in tatters and there are continent-wide protests outside our embassies (the likes of which have not been seen since the international anti-apartheid movement targeted the regime’s diplomats). Even though President Jacob Zuma has moved swiftly to mollify angry African governments, the damage has already been done – and there will be a price to pay. By SIMON ALLISON.
The first group of 390 Malawians repatriated after the recent wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa arrived in Malawi on Monday 20th April. According the Malawian Government, another 3200 Malawians are waiting in South Africa to do the same. Two Malawians are confirmed to have been killed in the attacks on foreigners that broke out in townships of Durban and Johannesburg. UNICEF met some of the young people that had made the unplanned journey.
Over the last decade, Ethiopia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing – perhaps THE fastest-growing – economies in Africa. Even though “double-digit” growth has become something of an official mantra, independent appraisals still put it at over 10 percent from 2003-13, double the sub-Saharan average. Growth is driven by a determined government policy of creating the conditions for development, notably through a massive level of infrastructural investment. By CHRISTOPHER CLAPHAM and GREG MILLS.
It was Nigeria’s presidential elections that grabbed all the headlines, but the more significant vote might actually have come two weeks later, when Nigerians chose their state governors. In Nigeria’s federal system, these men (they are all men) wield enormous power – and might just have more influence on the day-to-day life of citizens than the president himself. By SIMON ALLISON for ISS Today.
Mr President, the xenophobia expressed today in South Africa is not merely a barbaric and cowardly attack against “the others”. It is also aggression against South Africa itself. It is an attack against the “Rainbow Nation” which South Africans proudly proclaimed a decade or more ago. Some South Africans are staining the name of their motherland. By MIA COUTO.
Between Ebola, terrorism, xenophobia and conflict fatigue, there are plenty of reasons why you haven’t heard much from the Central African Republic in the last few months. That doesn’t mean nothing is happening. SIMON ALLISON assesses where the stricken country is, and where it’s going. The signs are not encouraging.
Al-Shabaab’s 2 April attack in Kenya that killed 147 people at a university in Garissa, 120km from the border with Somalia, has again cast doubt on the Kenyan government’s ability to keep its citizens safe. Three members of Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa staff consider here the implications of Al-Shabaab’s longstanding ambition to broaden its campaigns from Somalia into the wider East Africa region. By Cedric Barnes, Abdullahi Abdille and Zakaria Yusuf for the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
In South Africa, locals are beating and burning foreigners, and looting their shops. Kenya wants to send hundreds of thousands of refugees back into war-torn Somalia. Another boatload of migrants sank in the Mediterranean. This has been a devastating week for Africans in motion. That’s the bad news. The good news? History is on the migrants’ side. By SIMON ALLISON.
A cool $114 million has just found its way into Ghana’s struggling bank balance, courtesy of a new loan package with the International Monetary Fund. It’s not huge money in the grand scheme of things, but alongside the government’s own reforms – and with more IMF funds on the way – it could be just enough to rescue Ghana’s free-falling cedi and stabilise its wobbly economy. By SIMON ALLISON.
Last year, Mali’s new government was rocked by the ‘jet scandal’ – a multi-million dollar defence procurement contract that hid all kinds of dodgy deals and illicit spending. Shocked donors suspended aid and the president’s popularity nosedived. But the donors are back and Mali has moved on, even though little seems to have changed. By Alex Duval Smith for GOOD GOVERNANCE AFRICA.
There are generally two responses when we tell people that we've quit our jobs to travel across Africa from Cairo to Cape Town. Some folks are excited and even inspired to do the same. Others just shake their heads. As we make our way home to the Cape Flats over nearly 100 days, the following stories capture some of our wonderful adventures. By FARZANA PALEKER & KAYUM AHMED.
After the horrific attack on Garissa University, Kenya’s under-fire administration has found a scapegoat. 600,000 scapegoats, in fact. Kenya has told the United Nations to shut down the world’s largest refugee camp and resettle its inhabitants within three months, describing it as a breeding ground for terrorists. Dadaab, however, won’t disappear quite so easily. By SIMON ALLISON.
Should we be surprised that Kenya’s security forces can’t contain Al-Shabaab? In an interview with the Daily Maverick, veteran Kenyan anti-corruption fighter John Githongo says no, explaining that decades of corruption has left the state vulnerable to insecurity and terrorism. Even worse is that nothing is changing. By KINGSLEY KIPURY and SIMON ALLISON.
Sovereign wealth funds seem to be the new must-have accessory for African governments—especially those with freshly discovered oil and gas reserves. In the past three years Angola, Ghana and Nigeria have all set up funds. A string of other countries including Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique and Tanzania are planning to follow suit. But are these funds delivering? And do they make sense in an African context? By LOUISE REDVERS.
It’s not always easy being Robert Gabriel Mugabe (although life is much, much harder for his many enemies). Over the last decade, he’s been shunned, disparaged and isolated, and turned into an international pariah. But now he’s back, stronger than ever before – and President Zuma just threw him a coming out party. By SIMON ALLISON.
Somaliland should not exist. It’s anomalous in every respect: An island of stability in a sea of chaos; a democracy surrounded by authoritarian regimes; a real nation forged in spite of civil war, clan divisions, and religious tensions – all the usual rocks upon which developmental states wreck. So what makes it work? And why will no one give it the recognition it craves? In a long form feature, SIMON ALLISON reports from the would-be republic that is beginning to realise that it’s time might never come.
In the aftermath of the attack on Garissa University, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta seems to be receiving just as much blame as the gunmen themselves – even though he didn’t pull the trigger, or behead students in cold blood. But is his administration doing enough to protect its citizens from terrorism? By SIMON ALLISON.
There are generally two responses when we tell people that we've quit our jobs to travel across Africa from Cairo to Cape Town. Some folks are excited and even inspired to do the same; others just shake their heads in disbelief. As we make our way home to the Cape Flats over nearly 100 days, the following stories capture some of our wonderful adventures. By FARZANA PALEKER & KAYUM AHMED.
It’s official: Muhammadu Buhari, the opposition candidate, has won the Nigerian election. And President Goodluck Jonathan has gracefully conceded defeat. Although Buhari’s win is no panacea, it says a lot of good things about Nigeria’s much-maligned democracy – and hints at a brighter future for Africa’s most populous country. By SIMON ALLISON.
Finally, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is getting tough on corruption. Five cabinet ministers and 17 other senior officials have been forced to resign – and this is just the beginning, he says. But what’s really at stake here? And is this more about politics than the rule of law? By SIMON ALLISON.
Nigerians have voted in what commentators are describing as Africa’s most important election. There have been problems - even President Goodluck Jonathan failed to vote on his first attempt - but this shouldn’t take away from what has been an impressive process so far. There are grounds for cautious optimism, although the real test comes later, when the results are announced. By SIMON ALLISON.
Whippings, forced labour, evictions, humiliations galore and killings with impunity: you’d think you were reading about Portuguese colonial abuse in Angola. Instead, you’re reading investigative journalist Rafael Marqes’ expose of the Dos Santos regime. MERCEDES SAYAGUES reviews the book that has the generals running scared – and that landed its author in court.
The INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP offers insights into potential crisis areas the world over. Ahead of Nigeria heading to the polls, NNAMDI OBASI, Senior Analyst, Nigeria, discusses possible outcomes of the general elections rescheduled for 28 March and 11 April, and how the international community should prepare for post-election unrest that looks increasingly likely.
There are two competing visions of how to promote peace and justice in situations of violent political conflict. One vision reifies the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the ethical and political successor to the Nuremberg trials, the famed series of Allied tribunals that prosecuted leading Nazis in the aftermath of the Second World War. The other contrasting vision places politics at the core of conflict management and resolution, with all the messy compromises that entails. By MARTIN KIMANI.