John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "governance"

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update August 2–August 8

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 August 2 to August 8, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters and the Labor Aristocracy

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters) Supporters of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Party (EFF) cheer during their party's final election rally in Pretoria, May 4, 2014. (Skyler Reid/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

In his August 5 post on Julius Malema and South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), John Campbell concludes that both may be shoved aside by a responsible, left-wing political party, expected to be created by the Metal Workers Union in time to contest the 2019 national elections. As Campbell mentions, this new party is likely to be well funded with veteran leadership. However, what he views as the Metal Workers Union’s strengths—ample funding and veteran leadership—may be the very characteristics that will make any political party it creates unattractive to those now supporting Malema and the EFF. Read more »

Nigeria’s Chibok School Girls as Suicide Bombers?

by John Campbell
Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education and a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaigner, addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain, on the hundredth day of the abductions of more than two hundred school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, July 23, 2014 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters). Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education and a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaigner, addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain, on the hundredth day of the abductions of more than two hundred school girls by Boko Haram, in Abuja, July 23, 2014 (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters).

It has been nearly four months since Boko Haram kidnapped up to three hundred school girls from a school in Chibok, Borno state. Thus far, there has been little public evidence that the government has located them or is about to rescue them. Nor do the offers of assistance from friendly governments such as the United States appear to have had much impact. Frustration is growing, articulated by former education minister Obiageli Ezekwesili, an animator of the #BringBackOurGirls protests in Abuja. Read more »

Alex Perry on Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by John Campbell
The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, by Alex Perry The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, by Alex Perry

With its violence, its ritualized executions, its mixture of the utterly archaic with AK-47s and YouTube videos, its behavior modeling based on a nineteenth century interpretation of an obscure medieval Islamic theologian—Boko Haram is hard for us to get our minds around. Read more »

Immunity for African Leaders?

by John Campbell
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir arrives for the extraordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the case of African Relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 12, 2013. (Tiksa Negeri/Courtesy Reuters) Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir arrives for the extraordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the case of African Relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 12, 2013. (Tiksa Negeri/Courtesy Reuters)

African elites generally do not like the International Criminal Court (ICC) that sits in the Hague. There is a widespread view that the ICC engages in selective prosecution and holds African leaders to a higher standard than others.

Africans ask why the ICC prosecutes Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, but not former vice president Dick Cheney or former prime minister Tony Blair for Iraq-related issues, for example. There have been calls for immunity for African heads of state that are wanted for international crimes. The ICC cases against President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have particularly focused the debate, and Kenya may withdraw from the Treaty of Rome, which established the ICC. Read more »

Nigeria’s Oil Industry

by John Campbell
Men suspected to be involved in oil theft are paraded to the media at a military base in Yenagoa, March 28, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Men suspected to be involved in oil theft are paraded to the media at a military base in Yenagoa, March 28, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The Nigerian Daily Independent recently published remarks by Mutiu Sunmonu, the managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC). The remarks provide insights into Nigeria’s oil industry. Read more »

Inconsistent Reports of More Women and Children Kidnapped in Northeastern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Rachel Daniel, thirty-five, holds up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel, seventeen, as her son Bukar, seven, sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri, May 21, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters) Rachel Daniel, thirty-five, holds up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel, seventeen, as her son Bukar, seven, sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri, May 21, 2014. (Joe Penney/Courtesy Reuters)

The Nigerian media is reporting a new mass kidnapping in northeastern Nigeria. This time, victims include adolescent males and small children as well as women and girls. The estimated number of those kidnapped ranges from sixty to nearly one hundred. Read more »

Kenya: Violence Coopted by Political Rivalries

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A resident holds a placard as he participates in a protest against the recent attack by unidentified gunmen in the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, June 17, 2014. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters) A resident holds a placard as he participates in a protest against the recent attack by unidentified gunmen in the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, June 17, 2014. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Amanda Roth, volunteer intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa program. She is a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where she studies international security policy. Read more »

“The Chibok Girls—Nigeria’s Side of the Story”

by John Campbell
A protester addresses the "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group as they march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok who were kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, May 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A protester addresses the "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group as they march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok who were kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, May 22, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and his administration have been subject to withering criticism at home and abroad over the government’s response to the Boko Haram kidnapping of some three hundred schoolgirls from Chibok.

There are ongoing demonstrations in Nigeria by women, united across ethnic and religious boundaries, calling for greater government engagement in finding and liberating them. Abroad, the episode has highlighted Nigeria’s governance challenges, including corruption and the apparent near-collapse of its military. Read more »

Nigeria: What Time Is It?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
People crowd on a road near Balogun market to shop, a day before Christmas in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, December 24, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) People crowd on a road near Balogun market to shop, a day before Christmas in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, December 24, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Luxury watch sales are rising in Africa. Ulysse Nardin opened a shop in Abuja, as Nigeria is seen as “the force today” in that market. Yet time may be moving faster than horological devices can measure. Read more »