John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Corruption"

Nigeria’s Pro-Biafra Agitation: A Mix of Crisis and Opportunity

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A man carries the Biafran flag during a parade in Ekwe village, near Enugu in southeastern Nigeria, May 27, 2008. (Reuters/George Esiri) A man carries the Biafran flag during a parade in Ekwe village, near Enugu in southeastern Nigeria, May 27, 2008. (Reuters/George Esiri)

This is a guest post by Carl Unegbu. Carl is a Nigerian-born American lawyer and journalist. He lives in New York City.

Nigeria’s old Biafra problem has reared its head again and with it, the specter of disintegration. For a thirty-month period between 1967 and 1970, Nigeria was embroiled in a bloody civil war as its eastern region unsuccessfully tried to secede from the country under the banner of the Republic of Biafra. The latest episode in the Biafra crisis revolves around the arrest on October 19, of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of a secession movement called the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Kanu is presently facing trial for sedition and treason. Since his arrest, protesters demanding both his release and an independent Biafra have repeatedly clashed violently with security forces with resulting deaths. On the international front, the European Union’s foreign policy chief recently weighed in on the matter with a policy statement and the controversy is on its way to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Read more »

South African Icon Disillusioned with Ruling Party Leadership

by John Campbell
A copy of a combo picture showing Rivonia trialists with their names written by hand is seen on the wall in Maybuye Center in Cape Town, March 10, 2005. From L to R on the top row are Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Gowan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba and on the bottom row are Elias Motsoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, and Dennis Goldberg. (Reuters/Radu Sigheti) A copy of a combo picture showing Rivonia trialists with their names written by hand is seen on the wall in Maybuye Center in Cape Town, March 10, 2005. From L to R on the top row are Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Gowan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba and on the bottom row are Elias Motsoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, and Dennis Goldberg. (Reuters/Radu Sigheti)

On January 24, in London, UK Prime Minister David Cameron honored Nelson Mandela’s three surviving co-defendants at the 1964 Rivonia trial. They were Denis Goldberg, Ahmad Kathrada, and Andrew Mlangeni. Cameron also honored their suriviving defense attorneys, Lord Joel Joffe and George Bizos, who succeeded in avoiding the death penalty for their clients, though not twenty-six years of imprisonment. Read more »

New Frontier in Nigeria’s War on Corruption

by John Campbell
A man on a motorcycle sits near a signboard campaigning against corruption along a road in Dangi district in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, January 19, 2016. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A man on a motorcycle sits near a signboard campaigning against corruption along a road in Dangi district in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, January 19, 2016. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

Confronting Nigeria’s culture of corruption was a primary campaign theme of Muhammadu Buhari’s successful campaign for the presidency. Since taking office, he has fired numerous high officials widely regarded as corrupt, made a reputation for incorruptibility a prerequisite for high appointments (though there have been exceptions), and directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to launch investigations into the allegedly corrupt behavior of numerous high-ranking military and civilian officials. Read more »

“Corruption Fights Back” in Nigeria

by John Campbell
A girl walks on a gas pipeline running through Okrika community near Nigeria's oil hub city of Port Harcourt December 4, 2012. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A girl walks on a gas pipeline running through Okrika community near Nigeria's oil hub city of Port Harcourt December 4, 2012. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

President Muhammadu Buhari successfully ran for the presidency on an anti-corruption ticket and a promise to restore security by destroying Boko Haram. His geographical support was based in the north and the west of the country, and he also benefitted from a general sense among the political class that incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan was incompetent and had to go. Read more »

Nigeria’s Buhari Moves to Fix Deficiencies in Fight Against Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari (C) stands at the opening of the 48th ordinary session of ECOWAS Authority of Head of States and Government in Abuja, Nigeria, December 16, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari (C) stands at the opening of the 48th ordinary session of ECOWAS Authority of Head of States and Government in Abuja, Nigeria, December 16, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Nigerian security service abuses have been a driver of recruitment for Boko Haram, the radical, jihadist movement that seeks to destroy the secular state. Abuses have reflected poor leadership, poor training, and lack of resources. Hence, the Buhari administration’s arrests of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki in December and his Defence Minister Bello Haliru Mohammed on January 5, are particularly significant. Read more »

South Africa, a King, and the Rule of Law

by John Campbell
AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo speaks to journalists after handing over a memorandum to government officials in Pretoria, July 10, 2013.  (Reuters/Sumaya Hisham) AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo speaks to journalists after handing over a memorandum to government officials in Pretoria, July 10, 2013. (Reuters/Sumaya Hisham)

The alarums and excursions over South Africa’s economy and economic policy do not stop. December saw the discreditable episode of President Jacob Zuma’s hiring and firing multiple ministers of finance in only a few days and a drop in the country’s estimated economic growth rate to perhaps 1.2 percent. The new year kicked off with an apparent standoff with the United States over trade that if unresolved would end South Africa’s participation in the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). But, a BBC news item that appeared New Year’s Eve highlights how South Africa’s commitment to the rule of law makes it well-prepared to weather the multiple crises of the moment. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update December 26-January 1

by John Campbell
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from December 26, 2015 to January 1, 2016. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Undemocratic Democracies in Rwanda and Central Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Presidents (from L) Salvar Kiir of South Sudan, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda stand during a photo opportunity before the start of the extraordinary summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) head of states emergency summit in Kampala, September 5, 2013. (Reuters/James Akena) Presidents (from L) Salvar Kiir of South Sudan, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda stand during a photo opportunity before the start of the extraordinary summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) head of states emergency summit in Kampala, September 5, 2013. (Reuters/James Akena)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School.

Just this past month, Rwandan President Paul Kagame followed neighboring rulers in Burundi, the Republic of Congo, and Togo to become the latest long-serving African ruler this year to attempt to extend his hold on power for a third term. Like his neighbors Kagame has done it legally, through a change in the nation’s constitutional term limits, but not without coercion. Read more »

South Africa’s Rhino Horn Moratorium

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Police officers stand guard next to a part of a shipment of 24 rhino horns seized by the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic during a news conference in Prague, July 23, 2013. (Reuters/David W Cerny) Police officers stand guard next to a part of a shipment of 24 rhino horns seized by the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic during a news conference in Prague, July 23, 2013. (Reuters/David W Cerny)

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

Last week, South African High Court Judge Francis Legodi ruled against the Zuma administration moratorium on the country’s domestic trade in rhino horns. As it is possible to harvest a rhino’s horn without killing the animal, there is discussion about the potential for a regulated trade in rhino horns. In light of the dramatic increase in rhino poaching, the argument that legalizing trade in rhino horn could help save the species has been gaining steam. The high court ruling is a reflection of this thinking. However, the decision from the judge may not actually mean much. Read more »

Sambo Dasuki at the Intersection of Nigerian Politics

by John Campbell
Former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki (R) arrives with one of his counsels Ahmed Raji at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria, September 1, 2015. (Courtesy/Afolabi Sotunde) Former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki (R) arrives with one of his counsels Ahmed Raji at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria, September 1, 2015. (Courtesy/Afolabi Sotunde)

Col. Sambo Dasuki, ret., National Security Advisor to Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan from 2012 to 2015, stands accused of stealing huge sums of money intended for the military’s struggle against Boko Haram. He has denied the accusations and said that he is prepared “to open the can of worms,” but only at his trial. Dasuki’s career runs like a thread through Nigeria’s post-civil war (1967-70) history and crosses between traditional, military, and civilian politics. Read more »