John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Democracy"

President Buhari to Visit the United States

by John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama gestures next to French President Francois Hollande (2L) and other G7 summit participants and outreach delegates at a family picture event at the G7 summit at the Elmau castle in Kruen near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Reuters/Christian Hartmann) U.S. President Barack Obama gestures next to French President Francois Hollande (2L) and other G7 summit participants and outreach delegates at a family picture event at the G7 summit at the Elmau castle in Kruen near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Reuters/Christian Hartmann)

The White House announced on June 25 that President Obama will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Washington, D.C. on July 20. The White House statement notes that both presidents will be accompanied by “senior advisors,” an indication that the visit will be more substantive than ceremonial. Read more »

Nigeria’s Cupboard is Bare

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 the media, President Muhammadu Buhari said on June 23 that Nigeria’s treasury is “virtually empty.” In order to document this he has promised to release a report on the size of Nigeria’s revenue and debt in about four weeks. He also says that he will recover billions of dollars that have been stolen under previous administrations, and that the United States and other countries will assist Nigeria in the recovery of the stolen money. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 13-June 19

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 June 13, 2015 to June 19, 2015. 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 »

Al-Bashir and the Rule of Law in South Africa

by John Campbell
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir greets his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma (L) at the Palace in Khartoum February 1 2015. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir greets his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma (L) at the Palace in Khartoum February 1 2015. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

The media’s take on the failure of South Africa’s Zuma government to hold Sudanese President al-Bashir is that it is a slap in the face of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The press drama is focused on al-Bashir and the credible charges of genocide that he faces before the ICC, and the many African objections to the way the court operates. Read more »

The Mind of the African Strongman

by John Campbell
South African Nobel Peace laureates Nelson Mandela (L) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2nd L) arrive for the 70th birthday celebrations of fellow laureate former President FW de Klerk (2nd R) in Cape Town, March 17, 2006. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings) South African Nobel Peace laureates Nelson Mandela (L) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2nd L) arrive for the 70th birthday celebrations of fellow laureate former President FW de Klerk (2nd R) in Cape Town, March 17, 2006. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Herman J. Cohen, former assistant secretary of state for Africa, former ambassador, and former special assistant for African affairs to President Reagan, has written a fascinating and clear-eyed book on his “conversations with dictators, statesmen, and father figures.” His interlocutors, including more than sixteen African heads of state, range from Leopold Senghor to Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk. Read more »

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari’s Inauguration Address

by John Campbell
Chief Justice of Nigeria Mahmud Mohammed swears in Muhammadu Buhari (C) as Nigeria's president while Buhari's wife Aisha looks on at Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria May 29, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters) Chief Justice of Nigeria Mahmud Mohammed swears in Muhammadu Buhari (C) as Nigeria's president while Buhari's wife Aisha looks on at Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria May 29, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

In Nigeria’s current circumstances, it is hard to imagine a better inaugural address than the one President Buhari delivered on May 29. It strikes all the right notes. He accepted his new role as an international leader and thanked former president Goodluck Jonathan for his “statesmanship” in the transition, everyone involved in the electoral process, and Cameroon, Chad, and Niger for their part in the fight against Boko Haram. The speech was plain and devoid of national or personal self-congratulation and baroque rhetorical flourishes. It was also very short—only 1,909 words—but packed with substance. Read more »

Inauguration Day in Nigeria

by John Campbell
Nigeria's outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan (L) congratulates incoming President Muhammadu Buhari after the handover at Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria, May 29, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Nigeria's outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan (L) congratulates incoming President Muhammadu Buhari after the handover at Eagle Square in Abuja, Nigeria, May 29, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated president of Nigeria today, May 29, in Abuja’s Eagle Square. To call an occasion “historic” is hackneyed. But, this time, it is true. Read more »

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 »