John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenyatta ICC Trial Temporarily Adjourned

by John Campbell Monday, December 30, 2013
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta arrives for the extraordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC), in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 12, 2013. (Tiksa Negeri/Courtesy Reuters)

On December 19, International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the judges to adjourn the trial date of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta because one of the prosecution’s witnesses is now declining to testify and another has confessed to giving false evidence. She is asking for the adjournment to give her more time to seek other evidence before proceeding with the trial. Read more »

Nigerian Archbishop Kidnapped, Freed

by John Campbell Friday, December 27, 2013
Nigerian policemen await the arrival of Inspector-General of Police Mike Okiro in Port Harcourt, July 6, 2007 (Austin Ekeinde/Courtesy)

Peter Akinola, retired primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and his driver were kidnapped the day before Christmas as he drove away from his office in Abeokeuta, Ogun state (in Yorubaland). Some reports–but not others–say his daughter was also kidnapped. There are other contradictions and inconsistencies in the details of the episode in the press reports. Read more »

No Christmas for South Sudan

by John Campbell Thursday, December 26, 2013
(L-R) Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta meet in the capital Juba, December 26, 2013. (Hakim George/Courtesy Reuters)

The current crisis in South Sudan escalated on December 15, when President Salva Kiir accused his long-time political rival former vice president Riek Machar of attempting a coup. Since then, there has been widespread fighting between the supporters of the two, with “thousands” killed and yet more thousands displaced. Read more »

Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan on the State of Nigeria

by John Campbell Monday, December 23, 2013
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and his wife Patience arrive for a dinner with the French president and other dignitaries as part of the Summit for Peace and Security in Africa at the Elysee Palace in Paris, December 6, 2013. (Benoit Tessier/Courtesy Reuters)

On December 2, former president Obasanjo sent a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan cataloguing the shortcomings of the latter’s administration. Eighteen pages in length, it is a thoroughgoing indictment of the Jonathan administration, cataloging shortcomings ranging from security to corruption to the president’s leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Read more »

Hard for Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan Not to Run in 2015-But Can He Win?

by John Campbell Friday, December 20, 2013
The map above shows the political party affiliations of the Nigerian state governors. Red represents the People's Democratic Party (PDP), green represents the All Progressives Congress, and purple represents the All Progressives Grand Alliance. Kebbi state, which is not mapped, also has a PDP governor. The map is generated by Tableau.

Things are churning in Nigeria. There is the publication of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan cataloging the latter’s political failures. There is Central Bank governor Lamido Sanusi’s letter, also publicized, reporting the failure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to remit almost U.S.$50 billion over a thirteen month period. Read more »

U.S. Department of State Designates “Mr. Marlboro’s” Organization a Foreign Terrorist Organization

by John Campbell Thursday, December 19, 2013
Veteran jihadi Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaks in this undated still image taken from a video released by Sahara Media on January 21, 2013. (Reuters TV/Courtesy Reuters)

Mokhtar Belmokhtar–“Mr. Marlboro”—allegedly leads the al-Mulathamun Battalion. The U.S. Department of State designated the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on Wednesday, December 18. Read more »

“Time to Bring Eritrea in From the Cold”

by John Campbell Wednesday, December 18, 2013
An Eritrean soldier sits on guard duty as a UN military observer and his Eritrean counterpart inspect a frontline trench near the Eritrean town of Senafe on October 20, 2000. (Reuters Photographer/Courtesy Reuters)

The former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Herman J. (Hank) Cohen wrote an important article in African Arguments entitled “Time to Bring Eritrea in From the Cold.” For those involved in policy formulation and implementation in the Horn of Africa it is a “must read.” Read more »

An Optimistic Review of Africa in 2013

by John Campbell Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Ships lie at anchor outside the harbor at Durban, South Africa as a full moon rises on boxing day, December 26, 2004. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters)

Simon Allison published an article on December 15 in South Africa’s Daily Maverick entitled “Africa for Optimists: 2013 in Review.” He picks five of the “most encouraging” African stories from 2013 and provides links to read more about them. They are: Read more »

Nelson Mandela: A Communist?

by John Campbell Monday, December 16, 2013
People wait in a bus line to pay their respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Kevin Coombs/Courtesy Reuters)

Bill Keller’s recent New York Times article entitled “Nelson Mandela, Communist” appeared on December 8. Based on research undertaken by the British historian Stephen Ellis in 2011, Keller accepts Ellis’ conclusions that Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party and a member of its Central Committee, despite repeated denials by Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

Former Nigerian President Obasanjo’s Letter to President Goodluck Jonathan

by John Campbell Friday, December 13, 2013
Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo (R) and the People's Democratic Party's (PDP) vice presidential candidate Goodluck Jonathan (left) speak during a PDP presidential campaign rally in Ibadan, March 8, 2007. (Sunday Aghaeze/Courtesy Reuters)

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo witheringly criticizes President Goodluck Jonathan’s governance in an eighteen page, ostensibly private, letter that has been leaked to the press. Obasanjo’s catalog of Jonathan’s shortcomings and mistakes runs the gamut from failing to address the underlying causes of security issues in the Niger Delta and the jihadist Boko Haram insurrection in the North to subordinating the well-being of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to his own political ambitions. According to Obasanjo, Jonathan is failing to address threats posed by narcotics trafficking and corruption, and his mismanagement of the economy is causing a pause in foreign investment. Read more »