Articles on African politics

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Fidel Castro poured troops into Ethiopia’s war with Somalia after describing Siad Barre as “above all a chauvinist”. Reuters/Prensa Latina

Castro’s troubled legacy in the Horn of Africa: hero or villain?

Many Ethiopians regard Castro as the man who saved their country. Somalis view him as the man who denied them the Greater Somalia re-union
US President-elect Donald Trump has displayed behaviour that will resonate with autocrats in Africa. William Philpott/Reuters

Trump’s leadership traits are bad news for democrats in Africa

Besides worries that Donald Trump might not make Africa a priority of his presidency, his temperament and views bode ill for democracy on the continent.
Demands to recall South African President Jacob Zuma reached a climax at the governing ANC’s national executive meeting. EPA/Kim Ludbrook

A new centre of power through mass mobilisation is needed in South Africa

There are early signs of the emergence of a third force for good in South Africa in the likes of the Save SA movement and Socio-Economic Future of South Africa convened by the Archbishop of Cape Town.
A woman arrives for Nelson Mandela’s memorial. The idea of a rainbow nation has been futile. EPA/Jim Hollander

Why forging social cohesion still eludes post-apartheid South Africa

Despite the noble goals of the new South Africa and its ideals of racial harmony, racial tensions remain a major problem in the country. Prejudice and bigotry persists even in universities.
Mahatma Gandhi figurine at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Vienna.The call to remove his statute from the University of Ghana has reignited debate about his legacy. shutterstock

Ghana University row re-ignites debate about Mahatma Gandhi’s racism

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most influential personalities in history, celebrated for his advocacy of non-violent resistance. But his dark side is now receiving increased attention.
The criminal case against South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan, right, is an example of President Jacob Zuma’s abuse of state institutions. GCIS

How Zuma has used the capture of South Africa’s state institutions to stay in power

The use of the prosecuting authority and the police in ANC succession struggles has a long history. What's different in the Zuma era is the symbiosis between elite police and the prosecution service.
South Africa and Ethiopia are part of a wave of protests sweeping across parts of Africa that are known as Africa Uprising. Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

The death knell of Zuma’s rule echoes transitions elsewhere in Africa

The growing revolt against South Africa's president, amid state capture allegations, is not an isolated event, but part of a much wider pan-African uprising led by the continent's disaffected youth.
Protestors call for the removal of South Africa President Jacob Zuma outside court in Pretoria, the capital city. Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Tide begins to turn against South Africa’s president and his supporters

For the moment President Zuma's supporters control the governing ANC's levers of power. But an unprecedented number of people in the ANC are turning against him. How long will the centre hold?
Head of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, Shaun Abrahams, dropped a fraud charge against the finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

South Africans learn that the law can be a double-edged sword

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority charged the country’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan and two of his former colleagues at the tax authority, Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashule, with fraud last…
Côte d'Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara addresses a rally ahead of the referendum on a new constitution. The placard reads “yes to new Ivory Coast”. Luc Gnago/Reuters

Controversial constitutional referendum sparks distrust in Cote d'Ivoire

The proposed new constitution would allow Alassane Ouattara to remain as president. Opposition parties see this move as a constitutional “coup” that will also protect his allies.
Presidents Jacob Zuma and Uhuru Kenyatta. Their countries are at the forefront of efforts to have Africa leave the ICC. GCIS

Exiting the ICC: South Africa betrays the world and its own history

Ironically the campaign to withdraw from the ICC was mainly initiated by the very same governments and heads of state that had earlier referred cases to the ICC when it suited their own interests.
South Africa’s planned withdrawal from the ICC is considered a detraction from Nelson Mandela’s “inspiring legacy”. Jim Bourg/Reuters

Why South Africa’s withdrawal is not a death-knell for the ICC

The ICC has made important advances by investigating cases outside Africa and completing ones that further define what is not allowed in war. South Africa’s withdrawal is concerning, but not fatal.
Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi, addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly. He never went home for a month afterwards. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Power battles keep Malawians guessing why their president disappeared

One needs to understand Malawian politics to appreciate the bizarre episode in which a state president was unaccounted for a month, leaving a nation rudderless and puzzled.
Burundian refugees fleeing conflict at home gather on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma region in western Tanzania. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Africa has some work to do before it starts its own humanitarian agency

The initiative to establish an African Humanitarian Agency is a welcome one. But political, technical and financial support will matter. This will require the AU to take a pragmatic approach. Can it?

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