John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Civil Society"

Anti-Semitism at a South African University?

by John Campbell
Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, unveils an English Heritage Blue Plaque dedicated to South African freedom fighters, Joe Slovo and Ruth First in London, July 11, 2003. (Courtesy Reuters) Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, unveils an English Heritage Blue Plaque dedicated to South African freedom fighters, Joe Slovo and Ruth First in London, July 11, 2003. (Courtesy Reuters)

South African and Israeli media report that the student council at Durban University of Technology is demanding that “Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should de-register.” Read more »

Nelson Mandela Freed Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

by John Campbell
A local holds a lit candle in front of a mural of former South African President Nelson Mandela ahead of Mandela's first death anniversary, in Soweto, December 4, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) A local holds a lit candle in front of a mural of former South African President Nelson Mandela ahead of Mandela's first death anniversary, in Soweto, December 4, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

In 1964, Nelson Mandela was convicted of sabotage in conjunction with the armed struggle against apartheid in the Rivonia Trial. He was sentenced to life in prison. His statement at his sentencing was an anthem for a democratic South Africa free of racism. Because Americans may be less familiar with it than South Africans, it is worth quoting part of it here: Read more »

Why Were Nigeria’s Presidential Elections Postponed?

by John Campbell
A vendor displays newspapers with headlines about Nigeria's elections in traffic in Lagos, February 6, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A vendor displays newspapers with headlines about Nigeria's elections in traffic in Lagos, February 6, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

On Saturday, Nigeria’s Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) announced that Nigeria’s presidential election would be delayed until March 28. According to Attahiru Jega, chairman of the INEC, National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki directed the postponement of the February 14 elections for at least six weeks. Dasuki said that starting February 14, the military and security services will launch a campaign against Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement in northeast Nigeria. Therefore, they can not provide the necessary security for the electoral process. Read more »

Nigerian Presidential Elections Postponed?

by John Campbell
Election posters are displayed on the city gate to Jimeta town, Yola, Adamawa State, January 14, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Election posters are displayed on the city gate to Jimeta town, Yola, Adamawa State, January 14, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigeria’s presidential elections are scheduled for February 14, 2015, though there has long been speculation that they might be postponed. The Nigerian National Security Advisor, Sambo Dasuki, called for the elections to be postponed on January 22 to allow time for the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), which are necessary for a ballot to be cast. Dasuki’s call was rejected by the opposition and civil society. Read more »

What to Expect from the African Union Summit

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
The opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Negeri). The opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Negeri).

This is a guest post by Jason Warner. He is a PhD candidate in African Studies at Harvard University, serving as a U.S. Government Boren National Security Fellow in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Late January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia brings waves of impenetrable traffic, pan-African flags adorning the central Bole Road, and scarcely a vacant room in the city’s infamously hotel-filled landscape. The cause: the semi-annual African Union (AU) Heads of State Summit, which this year began on Friday, January 23. As the AU’s most important annual meeting kicks into high gear this week, here are some of the more pressing questions that observers and participants will have on their minds. Read more »

Zimbabwe: The ‘Crocodile’ Who Would Be King

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe congratulates Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) after he was sworn in as Zimbabwe's vice president at the State House in Harare, December 12, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe congratulates Emmerson Mnangagwa (R) after he was sworn in as Zimbabwe's vice president at the State House in Harare, December 12, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Amid a public debate over the presidential succession, President Robert Mugabe named Emmerson Mnangagwa vice-president of Zimbabwe on December 10, 2014. It would seem that Mnangagwa, nicknamed ‘Ngwena’ or ‘Crocodile,’ is now the heir apparent to Zimbabwe’s president. Mnangagwa has been a member of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party since the 1960’s, and fought alongside Mugabe in the Zimbabwe war of liberation from white rule, which lasted from 1964 to 1979. Among other duties, Mnangagwa has served as Zimbabwe’s minister of state security, and, most recently, he was the minister of justice. Read more »

Nigeria’s Elections in 2011 and 2015

by John Campbell
A campaign banner in support of President Goodluck Jonathan (R) is hung next to a banner in support of Presidential candidate of opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC) Muhammadu Buhari and his running mate Yemi Osinbajo, on a street light in Ikoyi district in Lagos, January 21, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A campaign banner in support of President Goodluck Jonathan (R) is hung next to a banner in support of Presidential candidate of opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC) Muhammadu Buhari and his running mate Yemi Osinbajo, on a street light in Ikoyi district in Lagos, January 21, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigerian anxiety is high about the approaching February 14 national elections. The country’s political class is fragmented, oil prices are falling, Nigeria’s currency has been devalued, and the Lagos stock exchange is in the doldrums. The insurgency called Boko Haram appears to be gaining strength. Read more »

Technical Challenges to Free, Fair, and Credible Elections in Nigeria

by John Campbell
A banner advertising awareness for voter's registration is hung at the back of a bus along a road in Lagos January 7, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A banner advertising awareness for voter's registration is hung at the back of a bus along a road in Lagos January 7, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated every single Nigerian presidential election since 1999. Using sophisticated forms of electoral rigging and relying on a relatively unified political class built on patronage, a PDP incumbent or his anointed successor has secured electoral victory at every turn. Such a scenario would all but ensure the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan in the February 14, 2015 elections. Read more »

International Assistance for Nigerian Refugees

by John Campbell
Refugees gather in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters) Refugees gather in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, that was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants, at Wurojuli, Gombe State, September 1, 2014. (Samuel Ini/Courtesy Reuters)

In the best of times, Northeastern Nigeria and the adjoining regions in neighboring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon are among the poorest regions in the world. Food security, especially, is highly fragile in the face of desertification and overpopulation. These are not the best of times. Read more »

Paying Nigeria’s Civil Servants

by John Campbell
Youths and workers carrying signs protest at a rally marking May Day outside an open field in Lagos, May 1, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) Youths and workers carrying signs protest at a rally marking May Day outside an open field in Lagos, May 1, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

A large proportion of the government of Nigeria’s revenue goes to pay the salaries of civil servants at the national, state, and local levels. With the exception of Lagos state, the heart of Nigeria’s modern economy, the states and the local government authorities have few sources of revenue of their own. They are largely dependent on revenue from the Federation Account, the share of oil revenue distributed by the federal government according to a set formula. Read more »