John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "Malawi"

Poor Leadership in Africa

by John Campbell
President Arthur Peter Mutharika of Malawi waits to address attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 29, 2015. (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

Quartz Africa published a thought-provoking article by Lynsey Chutel titled “The Mystery of Africa’s Disappearing Presidents.” Her take-off point is Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika, who went to New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in mid-September and returned home only on October 16. His entourage refused to provide any itinerary. She cites other African leaders who take long ‘vacations’ or otherwise disappear from their countries for long periods of time: Cameroon’s President Paul Biya once spent three weeks in La Baule, France, at a cost of $40,000 per day and later spent two months at the Hotel Intercontinental in Geneva. With respect to the La Baule stay, his spokesman said, “Like any other worker, President Paul Biya has a right to his vacations.” Read more »

The Sub-Saharan Security Tracker

by John Campbell
Volunteers set up eight thousand candles in the shape of the African continent as part of a demonstration entitled "Africa needs medicine now" at the parliament square in Berne, Switzerland December 1, 2005. (Reuters/Pascal Lauener)

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa Program has just “soft-launched” a new online tool we call the Sub-Saharan Security Tracker (SST). We anticipate a roundtable at the Council’s New York and Washington offices to introduce formally the SST. In the meantime, it is available for use. Read more »

South Africa Moves Against Secretly-Owned Companies

by John Campbell
Demonstrators carry placards as they march to protest against corruption in Cape Town, September 30, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

The Tax Justice Network-Africa has issued a press release praising the South African government’s commitment to register and make public the “beneficial owners” of all companies incorporated in the country. “Beneficial owners” are those who ultimately benefit from a company. In many countries, governments do not require such information, resulting in anonymously owned companies that may be used by corrupt politicians or others who want to hide their identity. The “Panama Papers” highlight the role such companies play in activities ranging from money laundering to tax evasion. Read more »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell and John Campbell
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 »

Negotiating Democracy in Malawi

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Malawi's President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013. (Ray Stubblebine/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Kate Collins, Associate Director, Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, who lived and worked in Malawi in 2012-2013. 

Malawi is currently witnessing a political drama that will prompt Americans to recall the days of hanging chads in Bush vs. Gore. On May 20, Malawi held tripartite presidential, parliamentary, and municipal elections. The vote was chaotic, accompanied by spasms of violence unusual for this quiet southern African country. Some urban polling centers were torched by angry crowds, and the army was dispatched to keep order. The elections were also marred by logistical hurdles that are part and parcel of working in Malawi. Even urban polling stations with good access to infrastructure saw bungled ballot delivery, rescheduled polling, and officials counting votes by hand at night in the dark. Read more »

Afrobarometer Shows Mixed Results on Africa’s Fight Against Corruption

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A protester displays a modified Kenyan 1,000 Shilling note ($12) imprinted with an image of a pig to depict what he says is greed in lawmakers demanding for a pay rise, during a demonstration in Nairobi, June 11, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Diptesh Soni. Diptesh is a master’s degree candidate at the Columbia University School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) studying economic and political development. You can read more by him at: Read more »

Is South Africa “African?”

by John Campbell
Jacob Zuma, leader of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), sings for his supporters at the Pietermaritzburg high court outside Durban August 4, 2008. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

An off-hand comment made by President Jacob Zuma this month implied that South Africa is fundamentally different from the rest of Africa. His comments have resulted in renewed debate about the extent to which South Africa is “African.” Some examples of the debate can be found here. Read more »

An African Agenda for President Obama

by John Campbell
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) jokes with patients and staff of the Heal Africa clinic in Goma August 11, 2009. (Roberto Schmidt/Courtesy Reuters)

There is criticism in Africa and in the United States that, given Africa’s growing strategic, political, and economic importance, President Obama paid insufficient attention to it during his first term. In fact, the Obama administration has many program initiatives in Africa; and cabinet officers, led by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, regularly visited the continent. During her four year tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton visited Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Benin, Somalia, South Africa, Kenya, and Malawi, among others. Read more »

Malawi: Justice versus Impunity and the African Union

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir attends the 16th African Union Summit, in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2011. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Asch Harwood. Asch is the Council on Foreign Relations Africa program research associate.

Malawi has decided not to host July’s African Union (AU) summit because of demands that Sudan’s al-Bashir be permitted to attend. It’s a heroic effort toward ending impunity on the continent. Read more »