John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Democracy"

The Conflicting Messages of Jacob Zuma

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma attends the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), called to discuss industrialisation in southern Africa, in Harare, April 29, 2015.  (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) South African President Jacob Zuma attends the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), called to discuss industrialisation in southern Africa, in Harare, April 29, 2015. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has denounced the anti-immigrant violence racking his country while also promising to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration. It’s a tricky and dangerous high stakes game to play, one that does not address the nation’s underlying problems of unemployment and poverty, and that sadly puts South Africa’s stability at stake. Read more »

A New Generation of South African Politics?

by John Campbell
A statue of Nelson Mandela stands outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), near Paarl in Western Cape province, February 10, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters) A statue of Nelson Mandela stands outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), near Paarl in Western Cape province, February 10, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

The African National Congress’s (ANC) electoral support is slowly eroding. Its share of the national vote has declined to 62.2 percent in 2014 from its high water mark of 69.7 percent in 2004. Its leader, President Jacob Zuma, is much more unpopular than the party, and outside his Zulu core constituency, many see him as corrupt and incompetent. Read more »

Sudan’s Recent Elections and Daunting Future

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters) Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) casts his ballot during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Aala Abdelgadir, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relation’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

Last month, Sudan held national elections, and Omar al-Bashir secured another presidential term. Though expected, many commentators are focused on the illegitimacy of al-Bashir’s victory. The election’s results are indeed disappointing, but the real challenge facing Sudan is its uncertain future. The country is struggling with an economic crisis, ethnic conflict, and political gridlock. These must be the focus of politicians and analysts alike if Sudan is ever to regain stability. Read more »

It Is Time for President Obama to Visit Nigeria

by John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama is seen in a mirror behind members of the Nigerian delegation as he meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (not seen) in New York September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama is seen in a mirror behind members of the Nigerian delegation as he meets with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (not seen) in New York September 23, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

Up to now, President Barack Obama has never visited Nigeria. That has been appropriate given the country’s history of rigged elections and the government’s refusal to investigate credible reports of human rights abuses by the security services in the struggle with Boko Haram. The Obama administration did engage with the Jonathan administration, with meetings between the two presidents in Washington and New York, and visits by Secretary of State John Kerry to Abuja. Read more »

African Leaders Silent on Boat People

by John Campbell
Shadows from migrants are cast on a makeshift shelter with the written word "Refugee" in Calais, France, April 30, 2015. (Pascal Rossignol/Courtesy Reuters) Shadows from migrants are cast on a makeshift shelter with the written word "Refugee" in Calais, France, April 30, 2015. (Pascal Rossignol/Courtesy Reuters)

Adam Nossiter has published a thought-provoking article in the April 29, 2015, New York Times. He comments on the silence of African leaders regarding the deaths of scores of African boat people who were trying to cross the Mediterranean in search of a better life. While it is true that many of the Mediterranean boat people are from Syria, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world, the majority are African. Read more »

South Africa’s Xenophobic Violence

by John Campbell
A Zimbabwean man takes refuge at the Milnerton police station after fleeing a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence in Cape Town, May 22, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/Mark Wessels) A Zimbabwean man takes refuge at the Milnerton police station after fleeing a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence in Cape Town, May 22, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/Mark Wessels)

The current wave of violence and intimidation against African immigrants in South Africa started in Durban and has spread to Johannesburg and other parts of the country. Intimidation and fear mongering appears to be widespread, generating panic among African foreigners. There have been previous waves of xenophobia in post-apartheid South Africa that also were violent. Read more »

“Hard for Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan Not To Run in 2015—But Can he Win?”

by John Campbell
Two men cast their ballots in a poling station in Kano, March 28, 2015. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Two men cast their ballots in a poling station in Kano, March 28, 2015. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

That was the title of my December 20, 2013 post. It appeared in the aftermath of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s highly critical letter to Jonathan cataloging the latter’s political failures, the publicizing of Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi’s accusation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had failed to remit billions of dollars to the federal treasury, and the defecting of many legislators from Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Boko Haram attacks in the northeast were also escalating. Read more »

Nigeria President-elect Mohammadu Buhari’s Agenda

by John Campbell
All Progressives Congress presidential candidate and Nigeria's former military ruler Muhammodu Buhari leaves after a verification of his voter's card at a polling unit at the begining of general elections in Daura, March 28, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) All Progressives Congress presidential candidate and Nigeria's former military ruler Muhammodu Buhari leaves after a verification of his voter's card at a polling unit at the begining of general elections in Daura, March 28, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

As in the United States, there is a hiatus between a president’s election and his inauguration in Nigeria. Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated as president of Nigeria on May 29. In the meantime, President Jonathan remains in charge, but with little prestige and insufficient credibility to take the initiative in the aftermath of his election defeat. There will be gubernatorial and local elections on April 18; rivalries are often intense at that level, and there could be considerable bloodshed. Read more »

Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Victory in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Opposition presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), speaks during the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja, February 9, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Opposition presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), speaks during the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja, February 9, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

In a country where elections have routinely been rigged in favor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential incumbent or his designee, opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress have won an astonishing victory. Buhari’s support was nationwide, and his vote total was the largest in four of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones. Unlike 2011, the electorate did not starkly bifurcate along north/south, Muslim/Christian lines. Read more »

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan Concedes to Muhammadu Buhari

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari pose for a photo after signing a peace accord in Abuja March 26, 2015. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (L) and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari pose for a photo after signing a peace accord in Abuja March 26, 2015. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

International and Nigerian media is reporting that Aviation Minister Osita Chidoka and opposition All Progressives Congress Party spokesman Lai Mohammed state that President Goodluck Jonathan has called Muhammadu Buhari to offer his congratulations on Buhari’s victory in the March 28, Nigerian presidential elections. Read more »