John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Corruption"

Zimbabwe and Nigeria: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Most Corrupt of Them All?

by John Campbell
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, February 23, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, February 23, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

Robert Mugabe, the poster boy for bad governance in Africa, said last month that Zimbabweans were behaving “like Nigerians” with respect to bribes and corruption. This, he implied, is not a good thing. Read more »

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma Stonewalls on Corruption Charges

by John Campbell
A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters stands on the roof of a house they built for an elderly woman, near the homestead of South African president Jacob Zuma (in the background), in Nkandla January 11, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters stands on the roof of a house they built for an elderly woman, near the homestead of South African president Jacob Zuma (in the background), in Nkandla January 11, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa’s Public Protector stated in a recent report that taxpayer money funded improvements to Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma’s private estate. The public protector found this “unconscionable, excessive, and caused a misappropriation of public funds.” President Zuma made his first public comment on March 31, in remarks carried by a TV station. He said, “I never did anything wrong.” In effect, he is blaming his subordinates within the governing African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

Big Men: Ghana, Nigeria, and the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Ebiowei, 48, carries an empty oil container on his head to a place where it would be filled with refined fuel at an illegal refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Ebiowei, 48, carries an empty oil container on his head to a place where it would be filled with refined fuel at an illegal refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

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

A great discovery often brings together strange bedfellows. Such is the case when the Jubilee Oil Field is discovered within Ghana’s national waters in the Gulf of Guinea. The heights and depths of the relationships between the people and groups pulled together around this oil field is the subject of the new Rachel Boyton (director) and Brad Pitt (producer) documentary Big Men. The documentary was filmed over five years from first discovery of the oil field to nearing “first oil” -when actual production begins. Read more »

“To Live and Die in LA,” and Maiduguri

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A dog walks past burnt houses in Angwan Gata village, in Kaura local government area, Kaduna State, March 19, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A dog walks past burnt houses in Angwan Gata village, in Kaura local government area, Kaduna State, March 19, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Northeastern Nigeria increasingly resembles the world depicted in the 1985 film, To Live and Die in LA. Directed by William Friedkin, the story is about Secret Service agents’ pursuit of a counterfeiter. In the process, differences between criminals and law enforcement personnel nearly disappear. A reviewer observes that the criminals have more of an inner life than the law enforcers, whose actions are “endlessly self-consuming,” leading to “meaningless death and brutality.” A “contradictory moral universe” emerges “where the wrong people die and redemption is an illusion.” Read more »

Fireworks During White House Meeting of Northern Nigerian Governors

by John Campbell
Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On March 18, governors from Nigeria’s north and Middle Belt met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other U.S. officials at the White House. The governors come from states where economic development is slow or non-existent and includes those where the radical, Islamist insurgency “Boko Haram” is active. Read more »

South African President Jacob Zuma’s “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment?

by John Campbell
A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

There is an apocryphal story that in France, King Louis XVI’s queen Marie Antoinette was once told, “Madame, the people have no bread.” To which she replied, “then let them eat cake.” The reality behind the story was of a self-centered court widely perceived as isolated from the French people. The French Revolution followed shortly after. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: Understanding the Illegal Wildlife Trade Supply Chain

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer stands guard near a shipment of elephant tusks and rhino horns which was intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the capital Nairobi, August 23, 2010. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer stands guard near a shipment of elephant tusks and rhino horns which was intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the capital Nairobi, August 23, 2010. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Over the past year the plight of Africa’s elephants and rhinos has captured international imagination; in December 2013, the UN proclaimed March 3 to be World Wildlife Day. Moving beyond the headlines, countering wildlife slaughter and trade requires a better understanding of the illicit wildlife supply chain and what, beyond poverty and greed, motivates its participants. Read more »

Compatibility Issues in Somalia: Governance and Economics

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A truck drives through Bakara market in Mogadishu, October 5, 2013. (Feisal Omar/Courtesy Reuters) A truck drives through Bakara market in Mogadishu, October 5, 2013. (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. 

Somalia continues to improve after a nearly a quarter century of war, but integrating economics and governance remains difficult. Read more »

Nigeria: War, Denial, and Corruption

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Soldiers stand guard following an attack in Kawuri, January 28, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Soldiers stand guard following an attack in Kawuri, January 28, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Civil war is raging in Nigeria’s northeast. Abuja says it is winning, but when Boko Haram attacks a military base, kills numerous soldiers and their dependents, then burns barracks to the ground, such claims strain credulity. The Army, long able to discourage direct confrontation, and since independence the country’s most durable national institution may be starting to unravel. In contrast, Boko Haram, firmly ensconced in the grassroots, remains robust. Moreover, they appear to have one-upped Amazon.com because they may be keeping their weapons inventory on mobile platforms, rather than in fixed caches. Moving “warehouses” are hard to destroy. Read more »

Lamido Sanusi Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor in Bombshell “Suspension”

by John Campbell
Nigeria's central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London, October 30, 2013. (Stefan Wermuth/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London, October 30, 2013. (Stefan Wermuth/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday ordered the immediate suspension of Lamido Sanusi, the governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank. According to the BBC, Reuters, and the Financial Times, trading in Nigeria’s foreign exchange, bond, and money markets, halted due to uncertainty over the president’s move. How long trading will be halted and what the consequences will be remains to be seen. Read more »