John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Kenya"

AU Vote to Leave the International Criminal Court of Little Consequence

by John Campbell
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Led by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the African Union (AU) voted by a huge margin in favor of a proposal for withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the aftermath of the vote, President Jacob Zuma reiterated his threat that South Africa would withdraw from the ICC’s jurisdiction: “Our strongly held view is that it is now impossible, under the circumstances, for South Africa to continue its participation…” The AU chairman, Chadian President Idriss Deby, repeated the regular criticism that the ICC is biased against Africa: “Elsewhere in the world, many things happen, many flagrant violations of human rights, but nobody cares.” Read more »

Al-Shabab and Islamic State: A New Rivalry

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Djibouti soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) display weapons and parade suspected al-Shabab members during a patrol in the south central town of Beledweyne in Somalia, May 9, 2013. (Reuters/Feisal Omar) Djibouti soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) display weapons and parade suspected al-Shabab members during a patrol in the south central town of Beledweyne in Somalia, May 9, 2013. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)

This is a guest post by Alex Dick-Godfrey, Assistant Director, Studies administration for the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Program.

Earlier this month, al-Shabab attacked an African Union (AU) base deep into AU controlled territory. This was followed up last week with an attack on civilians in AU controlled Mogadishu. The attacks reminded the world, again, that although al-Shabab has lost some of its previous stature, it remains resilient. But, a new threat looms. Recently, al-Shabab has been struggling to counter the new threat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s growing influence in East Africa. As the Islamic State gains momentum, and the rival groups compete for recruits and jockey for position, they may both use attacks on AU troops and civilians to prove their legitimacy.  Read more »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by John Campbell and Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney) Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

While western governments are currently transfixed on events in Iraq and Syria, it is important that they do not forget Africa. Boko Haram has become the world’s deadliest terrorist organization and Libya is increasingly becoming a base of operations for the Islamic State. Below, CFR’s Africa program outlines six African issues to watch in 2016. While they could certainly affect the lives of millions of Africans, these issues could also have serious implications for international politics. Read more »

Pope Offers ‘Home Truths’ About African Elites

by John Campbell
Pope Francis prays at the Anglican martyrs' shrine in Namugongo near the Ugandan capital of Kampala, November 28, 2015. (Reuters/James Akena) Pope Francis prays at the Anglican martyrs' shrine in Namugongo near the Ugandan capital of Kampala, November 28, 2015. (Reuters/James Akena)

In November during a Nairobi, Kenya slum visit, Pope Francis used plain language to express home truths about African elites. According to UK media the Pope ascribed the “injustices” suffered by the slum residents to “wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy, and rundown peripheries.” Read more »

M-Akiba: Kenya’s Revolutionary Mobile Phone Bond Offering 

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A customer conducts a mobile money transfer, known as M-Pesa, inside the Safaricom mobile phone care centre in the central business district of Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 15, 2013. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) A customer conducts a mobile money transfer, known as M-Pesa, inside the Safaricom mobile phone care centre in the central business district of Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 15, 2013. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

The government of Kenya is tapping the country’s digital finance prowess to raise critical infrastructure funds. The National Treasury has teamed up with a local mobile money pioneer, Safaricom, to launch the so-called M-Akiba bond. It is the first government security carried exclusively on mobile phones. Read more »

Conduct of Kenyan Security Forces a Cause for Concern in Fight Against Al-Shabaab

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Police stop a protester from demonstrating for freedom of speech to be respected outside Kenya's parliament in the capital Nairobi, December 18, 2014. (Reuters/Noor Khamis) Police stop a protester from demonstrating for freedom of speech to be respected outside Kenya's parliament in the capital Nairobi, December 18, 2014. (Reuters/Noor Khamis)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs candidate at the University of Toronto.

In a report titled “Fighting Terror with Terror,” the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights confirmed over a hundred allegations of human rights abuses committed by Kenyan security forces since 2014. Meanwhile, recruitment in Kenya for the Somali extremist group al-Shabaab is at an all time high, suggesting a link between state-sponsored repression and growing radicalization. Read more »

African Chiefs of State and the Law

by John Campbell
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. Obama toured a U.S.-supported food factory in Ethiopia on Tuesday on the last leg of an Africa trip, before winding up his visit at the African Union where he will become the first U.S. president to address the 54-nation body. (Courtesy Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. Obama toured a U.S.-supported food factory in Ethiopia on Tuesday on the last leg of an Africa trip, before winding up his visit at the African Union where he will become the first U.S. president to address the 54-nation body. (Courtesy Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

In his rightfully celebrated speech at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa on July 28, President Barack Obama proclaimed, “no one person is above the law, not even the president.” This is a fundamental principle of American law, based on centuries of English precedent, but it is by no means universally accepted. Read more »

President Obama Visits Kenya and Ethiopia

by John Campbell
A security guard walks past a wall mural depicting U.S. President Barack Obama outside the Go-Down Art Centre in Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 17, 2015. Kenya is preparing itself for a visit by U.S. President Obama in the coming week. Seen as a son of the East African nation owing to his father being Kenyan, many see this visit as a long overdue homecoming, while others question how long authorities can keep up the upgrades after Obama is gone. (Courtesy Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) A security guard walks past a wall mural depicting U.S. President Barack Obama outside the Go-Down Art Centre in Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 17, 2015. Kenya is preparing itself for a visit by U.S. President Obama in the coming week. Seen as a son of the East African nation owing to his father being Kenyan, many see this visit as a long overdue homecoming, while others question how long authorities can keep up the upgrades after Obama is gone. (Courtesy Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

Whatever decision the White House makes in selecting the countries included on a presidential visit to Africa, it is bound to draw critical scrutiny. On July 24, President Obama departs for a trip to Kenya and Ethiopia. Two reasons for these two countries seem immediately clear. An important focus of the trip will be the African Union (AU), which has its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held this year in Nairobi, Kenya. The AU is the lodestar of the “African solutions to African problems” policy, while the Entrepreneurship Summit demonstrates a focus on economic development. Both are policy goals keenly supported by the United States. However, there is also a symbolic significance to this decision. Many in Africa have questioned why President Obama, with a Kenyan father, has not yet visited Nairobi during his presidency. This absence has contributed to disappointment in Africa that the Obama presidency has not been particularly African in its focus. Read more »

Al-Shabaab’s Ivory Trade, Continued

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Kenya Wildlife Service ranger walks past a pile of 15 tonnes of ivory confiscated from smugglers and poachers before it was burnt to mark World Wildlife Day at the Nairobi National Park, March 3, 2015. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) A Kenya Wildlife Service ranger walks past a pile of 15 tonnes of ivory confiscated from smugglers and poachers before it was burnt to mark World Wildlife Day at the Nairobi National Park, March 3, 2015. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

This is a guest-post by Andrea Crosta, co-Founder and Executive Director of Elephant Action League (EAL).

The Elephant Action League (EAL) is appreciative of this opportunity to justify our findings on al-Shabaab’s involvement in the ivory trade and our decision to not share certain details gleaned from confidential sources due to security and confidentiality reasons. Read more »

Al-Shabaab and Foreign Fighters in Kenya

by John Campbell
Omar Hammami addresses al-Shabaab fighters in a farm within Afgoye district near Somalia's capital Mogadishu, May 11, 2011. (Reuters/Feisal Omar) Omar Hammami addresses al-Shabaab fighters in a farm within Afgoye district near Somalia's capital Mogadishu, May 11, 2011. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)

The Kenyan military has announced that it killed a British subject, by appearance ethnically English, during an al-Shabaab attack on a military base in Lamu county. The Kenyan police have issued a $100,000 reward for the capture of a German national who appears to be ethnically German who also took part in the al-Shabaab attack. Read more »