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.

Is Africa run better than before?

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“People look at headlines from two or three countries and forget there are 55 countries in Africa and in most of them life is normal.”

That is what Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born telecoms entrepreneur and one of Africa’s best known business leaders, told Reuters at the launch of the 2008 Index of African Governance by his foundation.

Is Mbeki’s time up?

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Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, speaks during a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York

South African President Thabo Mbeki did not get to bask long in the success of securing Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal before finding himself in the firing line again at home.

Now his most strident foes - who can be found within his ruling African National Congress – say he should be pushed from office after a judge made clear he saw political interference in the corruption trial against ANC leader and longstanding Mbeki rival Jacob Zuma.

Always a marriage of convenience in Ukraine?

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Ukraine’s President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko smile during their meeting with local businessmen in KievHe was a suave central banker and she a “gas princess”, a young politician desperate to make her mark. In 1998 Yulia  Tymoshenko, now Ukraine’s prime minister, said she knew her destiny lay with Viktor Yushchenko, who went on to become president.

“We understood that we are a team,” she said at that time.

It’s an assertion Yushchenko disputes — a clash of views that has defined this partnership since they overturned a Soviet-style leadership in the 2004 “Orange Revolution” and vowed a modern, Western future for Ukraine’s 47 million people.

Italy sends in troops, but why?

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“Should I wait until she’s finished?” asks a soldier from an Italian Alpine regiment, in their distinctive feathered Tyrolean-style hat, to her police colleagues as they patrol an area of Turin notorious for addicts known as “Toxic Park” and see a woman shooting up.

Incidents like this one reported in Corriere della Sera newspaper seem to support Italian police unions’ doubts about Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s initiative, which began this week, to put 3,000 soldiers on the streets of 10 cities for the next six months to help the police fight a supposed crime wave. Some police officers believe military personnel, even those hardened by peace missions abroad, do not have the training needed to fight crime.

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