Blog entries from: African Arguments

African Arguments

1 to 10 of 155

July 24 2014

From African Arguments Thu Jul 24 2014, 09:31:04

Over the past few years, the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region has faded from the headlines. While levels of violence decreased following a peak in 2004-5, violence is again on the increase and the war is far from over. In 2014, the Rapid Support Force, former Janjaweed fighters re-branded as government forces, have gone on the offensive. The stark reality is that over 300,000 Darfuri people have been displaced since the start of 2014. Every day their displacement reinforces the notions of marginalisation that lie at the root of the conflict, reminding them not only of the government's failure to protect their homes, their families and their livelihoods, but also of its direct and indirect involvement in their displacement. The International Refugee Rights Initiative has just released a ...

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From African Arguments Thu Jul 24 2014, 05:36:36

I came across Dickson Jere at a lunch I got a late invite to as a replacement for a much better-known journalist. Still, beggars can't be choosers, and I sat next to a man who introduced himself as having 'floated Zambeef.' We've also been stepping up our Zambia coverage of late as the country is often neglected in favour of its more turbulent neighbours, Zimbabwe and the DRC. Jere is a larger than life fixture in Zambian political, journalistic and legal life. He has also clearly turned himself into a bit of a 'fixer' for international investors, knowing as he does 'how things work' in Lusaka. This is probably why he was being hosted at a swanky Soho eatery by a risk intelligence company and singing for his supper with an (of-the-record) political briefing. Jere started out as a ...

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July 23 2014

From African Arguments Wed Jul 23 2014, 10:12:56

Kieran Holmes is the first Commissioner General of the new Office Burundais des Recettes. As I look out my office window directly above the beautiful Lake Tanganyika, with the mountains of Congo barely visible through the haze, I am reminded of the words of William Butler Yeats written about another, very different, lake. I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart's core. Of course Yeats was writing from the point of view of an Irish emigrant in London remembering the lake waters of Lough Gill - a lake I happen to know very well having spent my youth in Sligo.  While I am not an emigrant, having spent four years in Burundi leading the new revenue authority, I can't help wondering in these ...

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From African Arguments Wed Jul 23 2014, 05:30:40

One year on from Zimbabwe's heavily disputed 2013 elections, we asked Simukai Tinhu, a Zimbabwean political analyst (and regular AA contributor) and Nicole Beardsworth, a PhD student at Warwick University, to comment on how they think President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have performed in the past year. Simukai Tinhu: 'ZANU-PF's first order of business was to consolidate power and banish the opposition to the fringes of Zimbabwe's political playground.' On the 31st July 2013, Zimbabweans went to the polls to choose a new government. Despite complaints of election irregularities by the opposition and the West, voters decided to retain President Mugabe over his long-term rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. His party, ZANU-PF, even secured an overwhelming majority in parliament, paving the way ...

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July 22 2014

From African Arguments Tue Jul 22 2014, 07:01:30

Today, 22 July, marks 100 days since the abduction of almost 300 girls by terrorists from their school dormitory in Chibok, North East Nigeria. Since then, some of the girls managed to escape from their abductors. However, most of them remain in captivity with reports of mass rape, sexual abuse, sex slavery and even death. There has also been news of other abductions, including 90 girls who were taken in a series of attacks in June.  The current situation on ground does not offer much hope that a successful effort by the government to rescue all the girls abducted by Boko Haram and to prevent further abductions will occur in the forthcoming 100 days. That the Nigerian government has handled the Chibok issue abysmally is not in doubt.  Its initial reaction to reports of the ...

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July 21 2014

From African Arguments Mon Jul 21 2014, 06:00:34

Last June, when I first arrived in the Central African Republic (CAR), one of the resident ex-pats suggested I visit 'Cinq Kilo' - Bangui's largest market. 'It's rowdy, but fun.' He said. 'Take someone local with you; it's famous for pickpockets too.' I liked the market, and soon felt confident enough to take one of the shared yellow public taxis back there alone. Speaking Arabic helped me bargain, as the vast majority of traders in Cinq Kilo were Muslim. Six months later anti-Balaka fighters attacked Bangui, effectively overthrowing the resident Seleka regime. Anti-Balaka commanders talked to me about 'Liberating' CAR from the violent excesses of Seleka, saying they had nothing against ordinary Muslims. But their own fighters dumped corpses with slit throats outside Mosques in Cinq Kilo, ...

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July 18 2014

From African Arguments Fri Jul 18 2014, 11:15:44

By the evidence of South Sudan's budget, presented to parliament in late June, the country's finance ministry has lost its mind. This time last year, the Government of South Sudan put forward what it described as a "two-step budget" that would boost social services and economic growth "in a responsible manner." That budget, covering July 2013 to June 2014, consisted of six months of austerity while oil production recovered from a 15-month shut-down. Spending limits were set at SSP555m ($184m) a month for the first half of the year, rising to SSP1bn by early 2014 "if sufficient resources are available." It seems that this common-sense approach hasn't lasted long. Most press coverage of the new budget, covering July 2014 to June 2015, has focused on a reduction in the size of the budget from ...

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From African Arguments Fri Jul 18 2014, 04:42:02

In late June, at a meeting with the College of Bishops of the African Church, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan made some interesting comments on the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70. Jonathan sought to compare the war with the ongoing conflict in Northern Nigeria, and the struggle between government forces and the Islamist militant movement Boko Haram. One of his statements ran thus: "In the North-East, it is almost like it is even worse than the Civil War because in the Civil War, you know if you are here, you know the battle line, either a Biafran or Nigerian. You know where to run to. Right now, you don't even know where to run to because the enemies are in the Sokoto (trouser) pocket." This comparison, albeit a fairly limited and superficial one, demonstrates the extent of the concern ...

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July 17 2014

From African Arguments Thu Jul 17 2014, 06:00:48

Until quite recently, Burundi seemed like the Central African country with the best record of post-conflict progress. The country achieved majority rule in 2005 after a tragic history and cruel civil war and a complex peace process. The war ended with the signing of the Arusha Peace Agreement in August 2000. It was only in November 2003 that the most significant rebel group - the CNDD-FDD - was integrated within the army. This integration immediately normalised the security situation, except in some areas where the FNL, the other main rebel movement, continued its armed struggle. In 2005, CNDD/ FDD won elections which were considered free and transparent by local and international observers. They provided a clear result that was accepted by all players from the political and military ...

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From African Arguments Thu Jul 17 2014, 06:00:48

Until quite recently, Burundi seemed like the Central African country with the best record of post-conflict progress. The country achieved majority rule in 2005 after a tragic history and cruel civil war and a complex peace process. The war ended with the signing of the Arusha Peace Agreement in August 2000. It was only in November 2003 that the most significant rebel group - the CNDD-FDD - was integrated within the army. This integration immediately normalised the security situation, except in some areas where the FNL, the other main rebel movement, continued its armed struggle. In 2005, CNDD/ FDD won elections which were considered free and transparent by local and international observers. They provided a clear result that was accepted by all players from the political and military ...

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