Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Fighting graft in Africa. Or not.

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 A little while back, we asked who is and isn’t fighting corruption effectively in Africa. This week, a number of examples bring us back to the subject.

 

In Tanzania, two former ministers have been charged with flouting procurement rules over the award of a tender for auditing gold mining back in 2002. The pair, who deny wrongdoing, served in the government of President Jakaya Kikwete’s predecessor Benjamin Mkapa. One of them also served under Kikwete himself.

 

Tanzania’s pledge to fight corruption is under close donor scrutiny and given the level of aid that Tanzania gets – more than one tenth of GDP by 2005 figures – it has little choice but to show willing. There have been doubts in the past, however, about how serious the government really was about going after the most senior and the best connected.

 

“By hauling the long-serving politicians to court, the Government has dispelled the rumour that some influential personalities are being shielded,” commented The Citizen newspaper of the charges against the former ministers.

Drugs and guns in Guinea-Bissau

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Members of Guinea-Bissau’s unruly armed forces have blotted the military’s record again with another attack against the country’s political institutions. Early on Sunday, Nov. 23, renegade soldiers, their faces hooded, sprayed the Bissau residence of President Joao Bernardo “Nino” Vieira with machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The president survived unhurt this latest apparent attempt to topple him.

 

But The attack underlined the fragility of the small, cashew nut-exporting West African nation, one of the poorest in the world and a former Portuguese colony which has suffered a history of bloody coups, mutinies and uprisings since it won independence in 1974 after a bush war led by Amilcar Cabral. The assault followed parliamentary elections on Nov. 16 which donors were hoping would restore stability and put in place a new government capable of resisting the serious threat posed by powerful Latin American cocaine-trafficking cartels who use Guinea-Bissau as a staging post to smuggle drugs to Europe.

What should the world do about Somalia?

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Islamist militants imposing a strict form of Islamic law are knocking on the doors of Somalia’s capital, the country’s president fears his government could collapse — and now pirates have seized a super-tanker laden with crude oil heading to the United States from Saudi Arabia.

Chaos, conflict and humanitarian crises in Somalia are hardly new. It’s a poor, dry nation where a million people live as refugees and 10,000 civilians have been killed in the Islamist-led insurgency of the last two years. A fledgling peace process looks fragile. Any hopes an international peacekeeping force will soon come to the rescue of a country that has become the epitome of anarchic violence are optimistic, at best.

Rwanda deja vu? UN council hesitates on more Congo troops

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In 1994 the U.N. Security Council failed to prevent the slaughter of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. U.N. officials often refer to that period as the darkest chapter in the 60-year history of U.N. peacekeeping.

In 2000 the council accepted responsibility for dragging its heels and failing to prevent the Rwandan genocide. Members of the 15-nation body vowed to take lessons from the tragedy.

Does Algeria now have a president for life?

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After the Algerian parliament changed the constitution to lift presidential term limits, north Africans are asking whether Algeria now has a president for life.

 

In making the change, Algeria has followed a route taken in recent years by other African countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Uganda, all of which removed the limit of two presidential terms.

from Africa News blog:

How serious is Sudan’s Darfur ceasefire?

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Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was in a jubilant mood when he announced to crowds of supporters that he was declaring a ceasefire in Darfur.

From his body language, you might have thought he had already ended the crisis and achieved his goal of avoiding a possible indictment by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

Where now for Zimbabwe?

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It was not hard to see which of Zimbabwe’s rivals felt he had come out on top from the regional summit at the weekend.

 

President Robert Mugabe described the leaders as “persuasive”. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was “shocked and saddened”.

Austria’s Haider: a hero beyond the grave?

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He may have died in a car crash last month whilst drunk, but Austrian rightist Joerg Haider is not gone.

Haider, who was enmeshed in nearly every part of Austrian political life, is now being hailed for his efforts to help two Austrian hostages being held in the Sahara months before his death.

Will Obama’s “change” anthem profit Africa?

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    Barack Obama’s campaign for U.S. president was followed around the world, but perhaps nowhere more closely than in the tiny hamlet of Kogelo in remote western Kenya.

    Obama’s late father hailed from here — and that brought a media circus that rivalled any an African village has seen.

Does crisis give China new opportunity in Africa?

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chinese-workers-in-kenya.jpgWith the West reeling from the financial crisis and pulling back some of its investment in Africa, could China step into the breach and expand its footprint on the continent - a presence that already worries Western powers?

On the face of it, China, which is relatively unscathed by the crisis, has a golden opportunity to exploit Western disarray and increase its financial and political penetration of the continent. Already there are signs that Africans are starting to look away from the West and towards other emerging markets, especially China, as they watch the banking chaos in the traditional capitalist markets.

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