- Khadija Patel
Mogadishu International Airport illustrates how much has changed in what was once described, by former British foreign secretary William Hague, as the world’s “most failed state”. Among other notable changes, a scheduled Turkish Airways flight stands in front of a spanking new charcoal grey terminal. But Mogadishu’s airport also illustrates how much remains to be done before Somalia fully escapes the reality of being a failed state. By GREG MILLS and DICKIE DAVIS.
Maiduguri is the jewel of Nigeria’s north-east: it is the biggest city, the most important trading hub and a historical icon. It was also the birth place of Boko Haram, and the militant group is determined to make it the capital of its Islamic Caliphate. The city is under siege, and it seems to be only a matter of time before Boko Haram make good on this threat. By SIMON ALLISON.
Three elderly sisters survive who speak the Nǀuu language. In the heat of Upington, one of them, lacking the resources to do so elsewhere, is teaching local children to speak it outside her house. With the help of a local academic team, they’ve even developed an orthography to ensure the history and heritage doesn’t vanish. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Ahead of elections this year, the Ethiopian government is cracking down hard on any kind of free press – shutting down publications, jailing journalists and harassing their families. This is not just Ethiopia’s problem, however. As the home of the African Union, and as an oft-punted role model for African development, Ethiopia’s censorship problem is Africa’s too. By SIMON ALLISON.
There are plenty of dodgy things going on in Africa, and far too few journalists around to expose them all. In many instances, the truth behind fishy elections and shady arms deals is only revealed through the bravery of ordinary people who tell us what is actually going on. Whistleblowing is a dangerous business, however, and whistleblowers need all the help they can get. A new online platform should make at least one stage of this process a little easier, and safer. By SIMON ALLISON.
After the late but not unexpected death of President Michael Sata, Zambia must now choose his replacement. There are two main candidates, but whoever wins has the unenviable task of fixing a failing economy, with just 18 months to do so. Already, all eyes on the 2016 election, which really is the main prize. By SIMON ALLISON.
The Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) has launched an internal investigation after the Board was presented with a letter mid-December outlining possible collusion between some staff members and poachers who have killed at least 17 critically endangered Kunene black rhinos since late 2012. The crisis at the SRT is, however, just part of a larger one in anti-poaching law enforcement and natural resource management in the so-called ‘Big Three’ communal conservancies - Palmwag, Abenab and Sesfontein - in Namibia's southern Kunene. By JOHN GROBLER.
Jacob Zuma is a president in search of a legacy – at least one that’s not centred around corruption charges, maladministration or palatial homesteads. He thinks he has found a worthy project, in the form of a new continental military intervention force intended as a powerful African solution to African problems. Not everyone is so sure. By SIMON ALLISON.
Late last year, dozens of baby elephants in the Hwange Elephant Park were forcibly removed from their families and prepared for export. Now, Zimbabwe has confirmed its intention to ship 60 elephant calves off to undisclosed destinations in France, the United Emirates and China. While Zimbabwe defends the move with claims of over-population, conservationists condemn the trade as both unethical and unwise in the face of the poaching crisis. Killed for teeth and banished for money, Zimbabwe's elephants are under siege. By ANDREA TEAGLE.
If you thought 17 dead in Paris was bad enough for one week, you were wrong. In Nigeria, more than 2,000 people are feared dead after Boko Haram launched its deadliest-ever attack on a strategic north-eastern town. But where are the solidarity marches, the passionate editorials and the international condemnations? Some lives, it seems, are more valuable than others. By SIMON ALLISON.
The aftermath of the failed coup in the Gambia has reached the USA, where two alleged plotters are being put on trial by US authorities. This is the best case scenario for Gambia’s president-for-life Yahya Jammeh, who survives with his power reinforced by a de facto American endorsement. By SIMON ALLISON.
News and politics rest for no man, not even weary journalists or the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and while millions of Africans were celebrating the festive season, the continent continued on its merry way. If you were lucky enough to switch off the outside world for a week or two, here’s a round-up of what’s been making headlines to ensure you don’t start the new year on the back foot – and a peek at what’s waiting for Africa in 2015. By SIMON ALLISON.
Caught between the triumph of election victory and the disquiet of losing almost 20 percent vote share, Mozambique’s ruling party, FRELIMO, faces a challenging future. Mozambique was thought to have turned the page on its violent past, yet economic progress is thin, and political relations fraught as FRELIMO continues to face a serious challenge from its nemesis RENAMO. By PAULA CRISTINA ROQUE.
Love him or loathe him, there’s no questioning his influence: this year, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has done more than any other African to shape the destiny of both his country and his continent. From defying the International Criminal Court to beating back Al Shabaab in Somalia to militarising the Kenyan state, Kenyatta has been an almost permanent fixture in the headlines (and not always for the right reasons). SIMON ALLISON examines his controversial record.
Even stagnation requires renewal, as Robert Mugabe well knows – he is the master of changing things up just to keep them the same (for himself at least). The latest Zanu-PF party conference, which concluded on Saturday, was a textbook example of this. In maintaining his status quo, President Mugabe fundamentally altered Zimbabwe’s political landscape – and sacrificed a few high-profile comrades in the process. SIMON ALLISON picks out the key moments, and what they mean for the country.
As Zambia heads for special elections in January, no clear favourites are emerging to succeed Michael Sata as president. This is largely the late president’s fault: by failing to plan for a successor, he left his party vulnerable to the messy infighting which is tearing it apart. Fortunately for the contenders – but not particularly encouraging for the country – the other parties aren’t faring much better. By SIMON ALLISON.
December 2014 marks a year since violence peaked in the Central African Republic, killing thousands and forcing nearly one million people to flee their homes. Despite ongoing war, widespread displacement, rising malnutrition among children and recruitment of children into armed groups, a lack of news headlines and a dismal lack of funding for humanitarian work shows that the situation in the Central African Republic is probably the world’s most forgotten crisis. But not for those who live there and are fighting to save what’s left of their country. By MOHAMED FALL, Unicef’s representative in the Central African Republic.