John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "governance"

Nigeria’s Elections: The Space Created by Waiting

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

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard. Emily is a researcher for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation working on their online resource religionandgeopolitics.org in London, England, and a former research associate for the CFR Africa program. Emily recently returned from Nigeria. All opinions expressed are her own. Read more »

Nigeria’s Democracy Challenge

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Members of the Nigerians United for Democracy Movement hold signs during a rally against any further election postponement in Abuja, February 14, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Members of the Nigerians United for Democracy Movement hold signs during a rally against any further election postponement in Abuja, February 14, 2015. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Russell Hanks, now retired from the State Department, who is a long-time observer of the Nigerian political scene. The views expressed are entirely his own.

Nigeria’s election, originally scheduled for last month, is set to take place this weekend. This is the first open election in the nation since 1980, one in which the outcome is not a foregone conclusion. Read more »

President Zuma Unlikely to Exit Early

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma greets supporters of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party during their final election rally in Soweto, May 4, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) South Africa's President Jacob Zuma greets supporters of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party during their final election rally in Soweto, May 4, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

When Jacob Zuma succeeded Thabo Mbeki as African National Congress (ANC) party leader and eventually became the South African chief of state, his flaws were already well known: personal financial issues, a rape trial (he was acquitted), and corruption scandals. The ANC was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Read more »

Nigeria’s Former President Acknowledges Boko Haram Grievances

by John Campbell
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo sits with the family of late Emir of Kano Ado Bayero in Kano, June 7, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo sits with the family of late Emir of Kano Ado Bayero in Kano, June 7, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

According to the Nigerian media, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, at a conference in Dubai, said, “they (Boko Haram) have legitimate grievances. We don’t need anyone to tell us that that is a problem: a problem of disparity, a problem of marginalization.” Read more »

South Africa’s President Zuma Stonewalls

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma arrives to give his State of the Nation address at the opening session of parliament in Cape Town, February 12, 2015. (Nic Bothma/Courtesy Reuters) South African President Jacob Zuma arrives to give his State of the Nation address at the opening session of parliament in Cape Town, February 12, 2015. (Nic Bothma/Courtesy Reuters)

For many South Africans, the expenditure of roughly 246 million Rand (about $24.6 million) on President Jacob Zuma’s private residential compound, Nkandla, has become symbolic of the corruption at the upper reaches of the African National Congress (ANC). Parliamentary members of the ANC’s opposition have increasingly complained about the misuse of public money to fund Zuma’s ostentatious home. Read more »

Mercenaries in Nigeria

by John Campbell
A Chadian soldier walks past an armored vehicle that the Chadian military said belonged to insurgent group Boko Haram that they destroyed in battle in Gambaru, Nigeria, February 26, 2015. (Emmanuel Braun/Courtesy Reuters) A Chadian soldier walks past an armored vehicle that the Chadian military said belonged to insurgent group Boko Haram that they destroyed in battle in Gambaru, Nigeria, February 26, 2015. (Emmanuel Braun/Courtesy Reuters)

Reuters reported early Thursday that the Abuja government is using foreign mercenaries in the struggle against Boko Haram. They cite a security source as saying that each mercenary is paid $400 per day in cash. Additionally, they quote other sources as saying that the mercenaries are South African and from the former Soviet Union, especially Georgia. They ostensibly number in the hundreds, if not more. The numbers seem to be far larger than the two private companies providing “trainers and technicians” to which President Goodluck Jonathan referred in an interview with the Voice of America late Wednesday. And, the mercenaries appear to be using their own sophisticated military equipment. According to Reuters, Nigerian government and military spokesmen are refusing to comment. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Moving Toward ISIS?

by John Campbell
A still from a video of Abubakar Shekau standing in front of the black flag released by Boko Haram in October 2014. A still from a video of Abubakar Shekau standing in front of the black flag released by Boko Haram in October 2014.

In a recording Boko Haram released last week Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) emir, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The recording appears to be authentic. Shekau’s pledge goes further than his previous statements of support for ISIS, and was a Boko Haram propaganda coup: once again, the movement made the front page of the New York Times and became a brief media sensation. However, it is unclear what, if any, practical effects this pledge will have. Read more »

Namibia’s President Wins Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership

by John Campbell
Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, September 25, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/Ray Stubblebine) Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, September 25, 2012. (Courtesy Reuters/Ray Stubblebine)

The 2014 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership has been awarded to the Namibian president, Hifikepunye Pohamba. He is set to leave office later this month. Mo Ibrahim, British-Sudanese telecom billionaire, established the prize in 2006. It may be awarded annually to an elected African head of state who promoted good governance and left office in accordance with the constitution. The prize comprises of $5 million, spread over ten years, followed by $200,000 a year for life. Among other things, it is intended to free African leaders from the financial concerns that have led some of them to cling to power. Read more »

To Catch a Victim and a Perpetrator: The ICC and Dominic Ongwen

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Dominic Ongwen, a commander of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), waits for the start of court procedures as he makes his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, January 26, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Peter Dejong/Pool) Dominic Ongwen, a commander of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), waits for the start of court procedures as he makes his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, January 26, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Peter Dejong/Pool)

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

They’ve got him, but can they get him? That’s the question before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as it finally confronts Dominic Ongwen, the number two commander in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The Court has been after him for a decade, almost as long as it has been in existence. Read more »

Why Were Nigeria’s Presidential Elections Postponed?

by John Campbell
A vendor displays newspapers with headlines about Nigeria's elections in traffic in Lagos, February 6, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A vendor displays newspapers with headlines about Nigeria's elections in traffic in Lagos, February 6, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

On Saturday, Nigeria’s Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) announced that Nigeria’s presidential election would be delayed until March 28. According to Attahiru Jega, chairman of the INEC, National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki directed the postponement of the February 14 elections for at least six weeks. Dasuki said that starting February 14, the military and security services will launch a campaign against Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement in northeast Nigeria. Therefore, they can not provide the necessary security for the electoral process. Read more »