John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "African Union"

Immunity for African Leaders?

by John Campbell
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir 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) Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir 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)

African elites generally do not like the International Criminal Court (ICC) that sits in the Hague. There is a widespread view that the ICC engages in selective prosecution and holds African leaders to a higher standard than others.

Africans ask why the ICC prosecutes Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, but not former vice president Dick Cheney or former prime minister Tony Blair for Iraq-related issues, for example. There have been calls for immunity for African heads of state that are wanted for international crimes. The ICC cases against President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have particularly focused the debate, and Kenya may withdraw from the Treaty of Rome, which established the ICC. Read more »

Time for Better Coordination Against al Shabaab

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Ugandan peacekeeping troops stand during a ceremony at Mogadishu airport in Somalia, May 18, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) Ugandan peacekeeping troops stand during a ceremony at Mogadishu airport in Somalia, May 18, 2014. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, program coordinator, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

Last month, in the wake of the kidnapping of the schoolgirls from Chibok in Nigeria by the Islamist organization Boko Haram, President Francois Hollande of France convened a security summit in Paris. Heads of state from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger attended. The main result was the creation of a “central intelligence platform,” which will serve as a place for West African nations to coordinate their responses to Boko Haram. The United States and its partners in the Horn of Africa should endeavor to copy a form of this strategy to counter al Shabaab in the Horn. Read more »

South Sudan Conflict: Personalities, Resources, and Threats

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Rebel fighters walk in a rebel controlled territory in Upper Nile State February 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) Rebel fighters walk in a rebel controlled territory in Upper Nile State February 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution.

In March, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the international organization that represents east African nations, announced plans to deploy a stabilization and protection force to South Sudan by mid-April. As of April 1, IGAD also announced that peace talks between the warring factions in South Sudan were suspended for a month. There is no update on the development of the stabilization force. Read more »

Crimes Against Humanity and Nigeria’s Giwa Barracks

by John Campbell
A soldier examines a wall riddled with bullets, from an attack by Boko Haram militants, in front of a house in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier examines a wall riddled with bullets, from an attack by Boko Haram militants, in front of a house in Bama, Borno State, February 20, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Amnesty International, the London-based non-governmental human rights organization, has issued a report, “Nigeria: More than 1,500 Killed in North-Eastern Nigeria in Early 2014.” Of particular interest is its dissection of what happened on March 14 at Giwa Barracks, the largest military facility in Maiduguri, Borno State. Read more »

Al Shabaab, AMISOM, and the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman walks by an armoured vehicle of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) outside the perimeter area of the Kismayu airport, November 11, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) A woman walks by an armoured vehicle of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) outside the perimeter area of the Kismayu airport, November 11, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, program coordinator, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

In a recent article on the Daily Maverick, Simon Allison identifies the “surprisingly perceptive” core message of al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane’s recent propaganda audio message. Read more »

Uganda and the African Standby Force

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution.

Since 2003, The African Union Peace and Security Council has sought to establish an African Standby Force, whose purpose would be to rapidly respond to conflicts and emergency situations in Africa. Since then the Council has proposed several structural versions of a standby force to fill this rapid reaction role, none of which have yet yielded results. In the meantime it appears that the Ugandan government is using its own military to fill this role. Read more »

The Central African Republic: Where Elections Could Do More Harm Than Good

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
(L-R) Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonne Nzapalainga; Bangas Nicolas, a minister in the evangelical church; and imam Oumar Kobine Layama, representative of the Muslim community in Bangui attend during a meeting between religious representatives, Bangui residents and African and French peacekeeping forces, in Bangui, February 10, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters) (L-R) Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonne Nzapalainga; Bangas Nicolas, a minister in the evangelical church; and imam Oumar Kobine Layama, representative of the Muslim community in Bangui attend during a meeting between religious representatives, Bangui residents and African and French peacekeeping forces, in Bangui, February 10, 2014. (Luc Gnago/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

Elections are often seen as progress toward democracy in Africa. Elections confer legitimacy on governments, especially abroad. However, in some conflicts, conducting elections credible enough to confer legitimacy is an unrealistic goal. Instead there are “election-like-events.” These may even exacerbate internal cleavages within a society. Rushing into elections in the Central African Republic will not resolve the breakdown of order there and could make it worse. Read more »

Is South Sudan’s SPLA Breaking Up?

by John Campbell
An internally displaced man holds his son inside a United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMIS) compound in Juba, December 19, 2013. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) An internally displaced man holds his son inside a United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMIS) compound in Juba, December 19, 2013. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

South Sudan president Salva Kiir and ex-vice president Riek Machar have sent delegations to the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa to try to negotiate a ceasefire to the recent outbreak of hostilities. In the meantime, a humanitarian crisis looms, with hundreds of thousands displaced persons. There are fears that the conflict is spiralling down into a civil war. Read more »

In Africa, It’s About Governance

by John Campbell
Combination picture shows Kenya's then-finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's former Higher Education Minister William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in these April 8, 2011 (L) and September 1, 2011 file photos. (Pool New/Courtesy Reuters) Combination picture shows Kenya's then-finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's former Higher Education Minister William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in these April 8, 2011 (L) and September 1, 2011 file photos. (Pool New/Courtesy Reuters)

Many friends and observers of Africa, including myself, see shortcomings in governance as key to the slow rate of economic, social, and political development in some African countries. The converse is also true. Where governance is better, development can be rapid. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has published its annual ranking of African states. The top five in descending order are Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Seychelles, South Africa, and Namibia while the bottom five, going from bad to worse, are Zimbabwe, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, and Somalia. For a second consecutive year, the Foundation has announced that there is no winner of the Ibrahim Prize for outstanding leadership by a chief of state. Established in 2006, the prize’s independent and highly distinguished judges have awarded the prize only three times, to the former chiefs of state of Botswana, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. They have also recognized the work of Nelson Mandela, out of office long before the prize was established, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, both of South Africa. Subsequently, I will be blogging on the Ibrahim Index and the Ibrahim Prize. Here I cite them to support the point about the relationship between good governance and social and economic progress, and to point out that poor governance remains a significant challenge for Africa. Read more »

Kenya and the International Criminal Court

by John Campbell
A general view shows the opening session of Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 11, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A general view shows the opening session of Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 11, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Significant African opinion appears hostile to the International Criminal Court at The Hague (ICC). In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, both under ICC indictment for crimes committed during post-election violence in 2007-2009, included in their campaign rhetoric that the ICC was a tool of Western imperialism. This view is shared by many. Read more »