John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Corruption"

South Africa’s Currency Falls Again on Rumors of Finance Minister’s Arrest

by John Campbell
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan gestures during a media briefing in Sandton near Johannesburg, March 14, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan gestures during a media briefing in Sandton near Johannesburg, March 14, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

On May 15, the Sunday Times (English, Johannesburg) published rumors of the impending arrest of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over alleged revenue service irregularities. However, on May 16, Beeld (Afrikaans, Johannesburg) reported that President Zuma denied the Sunday Times report. Nevertheless, the South African national currency, the rand (ZAR), fell the following two days, reaching its weakest level in two months; it has fallen 2.1 percent against the U.S. dollar since March 15. Read more »

South Africa Moves Against Secretly-Owned Companies

by John Campbell
Demonstrators carry placards as they march to protest against corruption in Cape Town, September 30, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) Demonstrators carry placards as they march to protest against corruption in Cape Town, September 30, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

The Tax Justice Network-Africa has issued a press release praising the South African government’s commitment to register and make public the “beneficial owners” of all companies incorporated in the country. “Beneficial owners” are those who ultimately benefit from a company. In many countries, governments do not require such information, resulting in anonymously owned companies that may be used by corrupt politicians or others who want to hide their identity. The “Panama Papers” highlight the role such companies play in activities ranging from money laundering to tax evasion. Read more »

Attacks Accelerate on Nigeria’s Oil Infrastructure

by John Campbell
Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) Villagers stand near jerrycans containing crude oil collected at the shore of the Atlantic ocean near Orobiri village, days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011. Amnesty International called into question Royal Dutch Shell's accounting in Nigeria for oil spill amounts and causes, saying the oil major was seeking to avoid compensation payments and damage to its reputation. Picture taken December 31, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

According to Bloomberg, militant attacks on the oil infrastructure in the Niger delta have resulted in the lowest level of production in Nigeria in twenty years, falling below 1.7 million barrels a day. As such, Nigeria is no longer Africa’s largest oil producer; Angola is. Bloomberg, citing the International Energy Agency, estimates that the Nigerian government could lose $1 billion in revenue by the end of May. It appears that some of the oil companies are withdrawing “non-essential” workers out of concern for their safety. Read more »

Theft, the Nigerian Security Services, and Boko Haram

by John Campbell
Nigerian soldiers, handcuffed in pairs, leave the court premises after the opening of the General court-martial in Abuja, October 2, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian soldiers, handcuffed in pairs, leave the court premises after the opening of the General court-martial in Abuja, October 2, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

From 2011, when it re-emerged, until early 2015, Boko Haram inflicted one defeat after another on the Nigerian security services, principally the army. Boko Haram carved out a territory the size of the U.S. state of Maryland, and threatened Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and a major Nigerian city. For many observers, the seeming collapse of the Nigerian military, once regarded as the best in West Africa, was bewildering, and a sign that Boko Haram was a formidable fighting force. Boko Haram was beaten back in 2015 by a multinational effort, South African mercenaries, and a revived Nigerian military. Read more »

Christian Association of Nigeria Warns Against Arrest of Goodluck Jonathan

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) presents a gift to president-elect Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja, Nigeria, May 28, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) presents a gift to president-elect Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja, Nigeria, May 28, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

According to Nigerian media, the northern branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) warned President Muhammadu Buhari that “Nigeria would boil” if former President Goodluck Jonathan, the “hero of democracy,” were arrested as part of the ongoing anti-corruption campaign. Read more »

South Africa’s President Zuma in Trouble with His Party

by John Campbell
President Jacob Zuma answers questions at Parliament in Cape Town, March 17, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) President Jacob Zuma answers questions at Parliament in Cape Town, March 17, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has often been accused of corruption. But, until recently his hold on the governing African National Congress (ANC), with its huge parliamentary majority, has ensured that he could weather political storms. However, his recent missteps have eroded his support within the party. There is speculation that the party could remove him as party leader which would likely result in his resigning the presidency. While such speculation is premature, he is certainly politically damaged. The greatest threat to Zuma’s political future is now from within his own political party, rather than from the opposition. Read more »

Radical Islamist Terrorism in West Africa

by John Campbell
Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara prepares to lay a wreath for those killed in Sunday's attack by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, on a beach in Grand Bassam, March 16, 2016. (Reuters/Luc Gnago) Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara prepares to lay a wreath for those killed in Sunday's attack by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, on a beach in Grand Bassam, March 16, 2016. (Reuters/Luc Gnago)

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its affiliates launched an attack in Mali in November, one in Burkina Faso in January, and now in Ivory Coast over the past weekend. On March 16, Boko Haram attacked a mosque in Maiduguri, Nigeria, killing at least twenty-two people. The CFR’s Nigeria Security Tracker shows that Boko Haram has been associated with more than 150 deaths since January 1, 2016, but before the March 16 mosque attack. Even in Senegal, a genuine democracy where the opposition comes to power through elections, there is concern about signs of radical activity. Read more »

South Africa’s Three Capitals

by John Campbell
A general view of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, November 24, 2009. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) A general view of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, November 24, 2009. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Resulting from negotiations between the British Empire and the defeated Boer republics that ended the second Anglo-Boer war and created the Union of South Africa were three capitals. Parliament meets in Cape Town, the former capital of the British Cape Province. The administration was based in Pretoria, the capital of the Boer republic of Transvaal, and the judiciary was based in Bloemfontein, the capital of the other Boer republic–the Orange Free State. Read more »

Nigerian Army to Shut Markets Where Boko Haram Trades

by John Campbell
Men walk in front of election posters at an open market in Kano, March 27, 2015. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) Men walk in front of election posters at an open market in Kano, March 27, 2015. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

In a February 9 statement, acting Director of Army Public Relations Sani Usman said that the military will be shutting markets in Yobe and Borno states where traders “have clandestinely been aiding the terrorists (Boko Haram) with logistics and other supplies through smuggling and other forms of illicit trading, thus sustaining them while the merchants of death make money out of it.” Hence, “from now on, some markets identified to be engaging in this illegal trade with the adversary in Borno and Yobe states will be closed.” He also said that the traders were “sabotaging the successes… against the Boko Haram insurgency.” Read more »

Jacob Zuma and South Africa’s Constitution

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

The South African government spent about $24 million on “security upgrades” to President Jacob Zuma’s private estate, Nkandla. Those “security upgrades” included a swimming pool, a chicken run, and a football pitch. In 2014, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela investigated the expenditure and found some of it improper, and directed the president to pay back some—not all—of the public money spent on the estate. President Zuma refused, and was supported by his cabinet minister and the governing African National Congress (ANC) majority in parliament. Read more »