John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "governance"

Possible End to the Gambia Crisis

by John Campbell
Gambian refugees in a wooden canoe approach a beach in the Senegalese village of Niafarang, Senegal, January 17, 2017.  (Reuters/Emma Farge) Gambian refugees in a wooden canoe approach a beach in the Senegalese village of Niafarang, Senegal, January 17, 2017. (Reuters/Emma Farge)

Adama Barrow was sworn-in January 19 as the president of the Gambia at his country’s embassy in Dakar. He was the victor in the Gambia’s presidential elections on December 11. However, Yahya Jammeh, the loser of the election, who has ruled Gambia since 1994, refuses to step down. The members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with the Senegalese at the lead have sent in military forces. The UN Security Council, which convened today, announced its support of Barrow, but emphasized pursuing a political transition first. Read more »

Nigeria’s Demographic Challenge

by John Campbell
People crowd a street at the central business district in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, ahead of Christmas on December 23, 2016. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) People crowd a street at the central business district in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, ahead of Christmas on December 23, 2016. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

Nigeria’s large population and rapid urbanization has been celebrated among those in the U.S. business community optimistic about the country’s prospects. The country’s natural wealth, it was argued, provides the means to construct an education system and other infrastructure for a modern future. With a population projected to be the third largest in the world by mid-century, there are dramatic investment opportunities, so the story goes. Read more »

The looming showdown in the Gambia

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh receives a delegation of West African leaders including President John Mahama of Ghana and Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari for a meeting on election crisis in Banjul, Gambia, December 13, 2016. (Reuters/Stringer) Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh receives a delegation of West African leaders including President John Mahama of Ghana and Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari for a meeting on election crisis in Banjul, Gambia, December 13, 2016. (Reuters/Stringer)

This is a guest post by Mohamed Jallow, an Africa watcher, following politics and economic currents across the continent. He works at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

The Gambia is in a political crisis. The country’s longtime strongman, President Yahya Jammeh lost his bid for re-election to a fifth term earlier this month. After initially conceding defeat, he is refusing to step down. Citing irregularities on the part of the Electoral Commission, Jammeh has rejected the results, and is calling for fresh elections. Read more »

Update on Nigeria’s Kidnapped Chibok School Girls

by John Campbell
Some of the twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls released by Boko Haram are pictured during their visit to meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, October 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Some of the twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls released by Boko Haram are pictured during their visit to meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, October 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu has confirmed that negotiations are ongoing to secure the release of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls held captive by Boko Haram. On the government side, the Department of State Service (DSS) leads the negotiations. Garba Shehu did not identify the Boko Haram interlocutors. He expressed optimism about the negotiations, but cautioned that they were still underway: “To my friends spreading the news of a further release of the Chibok girls, we not there yet.” Recently, army spokesman have said that the Nigerian military has rescued nearly 1900 other Boko Haram kidnap victims over the past week, but Reuters has been unable to verify the claim. Read more »

Nigerian Security Service Abuses

by John Campbell
A security personnel gestures at the Bakkasi camp for internally displaced people (IDP), after security was called in to control a protest rally held to demonstrate against what the IDPs said was a poor distribution of food rations, in Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria, August 29, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) A security personnel gestures at the Bakkasi camp for internally displaced people (IDP), after security was called in to control a protest rally held to demonstrate against what the IDPs said was a poor distribution of food rations, in Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria, August 29, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Security service abuses in Nigeria, primarily by the army and the police, date from colonial times. Observers commonly accept that such abuses are an important driver of recruitment by Boko Haram and other insurgencies. There has been a drumbeat of criticism of the Jonathan and Buhari administrations’ seeming lack of action to curb the abuses. Of late, a focus of that criticism has been credible allegations of security service abuse of civilians, especially rape of women, in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northeast. Read more »

Development of The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. (Reuters/Tiksa Neger) A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. (Reuters/Tiksa Neger)

This is a guest post by Caila Glickman, volunteer intern for the Council on Foreign Relations’ department of Global Health. Caila is currently a pre-med student at Oberlin College studying chemistry and international relations. Her interests are in medicine, environmental science, and international law. Read more »

A Reminder that South Africa’s Ruling Party is Multiracial

by John Campbell
Derek Hanekom (C), head of the ANC disciplinary panel, announces the verdict for Youth League leader Julius Malema at the party's head quarters in Johannesburg, November 10, 2011. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko) Derek Hanekom (C), head of the ANC disciplinary panel, announces the verdict for Youth League leader Julius Malema at the party's head quarters in Johannesburg, November 10, 2011. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom appears to have been the initiator of the African National Congress’s (ANC) November 27-29 in-house debate over whether to recall Jacob Zuma as party leader. (Zuma survived, but is further weakened politically within the ANC by the episode.) Hanekom, who is white, is a useful reminder that the ANC remains a multi-racial party, though its electoral base is overwhelmingly black. In the aftermath of the ANC’s Zuma debate, some black political officials that backed the president accused Hanekom of “racism,” but others defended him as a full member of the movement, even though he is white. Read more »

Elections: U.S. Prestige Takes a Hit in Africa

by John Campbell
Katie Hartman, a correspondent for Seriously.TV, poses outside Hofstra University, the site of the September 26 first presidential debate between U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton) Katie Hartman, a correspondent for Seriously.TV, poses outside Hofstra University, the site of the September 26 first presidential debate between U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

The U.S. image in Africa has been based on more than trade and aid. Africans admire and seek to emulate U.S. rule of law and institutions of governance largely free of corruption. They seek to emulate American elections that are credible and accepted by winners and losers. U.S. ethnic and religious pluralism has long been admired. So, too, has been the American tradition of at least some civility in politics. With the ambiguous exception of Liberia, the United States was not a colonial power and public opinion (if not government policy) was generally hostile to colonialism. The success of American democracy and governance made U.S. criticism of “big man” and other sleazy governments credible to Africans. Read more »

Fallout Continues in Nigeria from Judges’ Arrest for Alleged Corruption

by John Campbell
A court clerk reads the charges to Nigeria Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal at Darki Biu, Jabi Abuja, Nigeria, September 22, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) A court clerk reads the charges to Nigeria Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal at Darki Biu, Jabi Abuja, Nigeria, September 22, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

Critics of the Buhari administration continue to protest the October 8-9 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrest of judges, including some from the Supreme Court, for corruption. Initially, the focus was on the rough “Gestapo style” way the arrests were carried out. Now, critics see the arrests as compromising the independence of the judiciary, in theory one of three co-equal branches of government. Read more »

Nigeria Moves Against Corrupt Judges

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. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) 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. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

According to the Nigerian media, the Department of State Security Services (DSS) arrested seven judges over the weekend for corruption and is planning to move against an additional eight. Among the seven are three supreme court justices. The arrested judges are to be arraigned in court yesterday and then released on bail. Read more »