John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Politics"

Zimbabwe and Nigeria: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Most Corrupt of Them All?

by John Campbell
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, February 23, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, February 23, 2014. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

Robert Mugabe, the poster boy for bad governance in Africa, said last month that Zimbabweans were behaving “like Nigerians” with respect to bribes and corruption. This, he implied, is not a good thing. Read more »

South Sudan Conflict: Personalities, Resources, and Threats

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Rebel fighters walk in a rebel controlled territory in Upper Nile State February 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) Rebel fighters walk in a rebel controlled territory in Upper Nile State February 14, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution.

In March, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the international organization that represents east African nations, announced plans to deploy a stabilization and protection force to South Sudan by mid-April. As of April 1, IGAD also announced that peace talks between the warring factions in South Sudan were suspended for a month. There is no update on the development of the stabilization force. Read more »

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma Stonewalls on Corruption Charges

by John Campbell
A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters stands on the roof of a house they built for an elderly woman, near the homestead of South African president Jacob Zuma (in the background), in Nkandla January 11, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters stands on the roof of a house they built for an elderly woman, near the homestead of South African president Jacob Zuma (in the background), in Nkandla January 11, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa’s Public Protector stated in a recent report that taxpayer money funded improvements to Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma’s private estate. The public protector found this “unconscionable, excessive, and caused a misappropriation of public funds.” President Zuma made his first public comment on March 31, in remarks carried by a TV station. He said, “I never did anything wrong.” In effect, he is blaming his subordinates within the governing African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

Tracking South Africa’s Democracy in Real Time

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.”
Source: FACTIVA A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.” Source: FACTIVA

This is a guest post by Le Chen, Janice Dean, Jesper Frant, and Rachana Kumar. They are Master of Public Administration students at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs. They are working with Ambassador John Campbell on a graduate practicum project, which was made possible by faculty adviser Professor Anne Nelson. A longer version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »

Nigeria is Officially “Africa’s Largest Economy”

by John Campbell
Trucks are seen parked around an automobile workshop overlooking the Lagos business district at the Orile-Iganmu in Lagos August 29, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Trucks are seen parked around an automobile workshop overlooking the Lagos business district at the Orile-Iganmu in Lagos August 29, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

On April 6, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that after “rebasing,” Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) almost doubled to U.S. $509.9 billion. That figure is dramatically larger than South Africa’s 2013 GDP of $370.3 billion, and bestows on Nigeria the bragging rights of being the largest economy in Africa. Read more »

Al Shabaab, AMISOM, and the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman walks by an armoured vehicle of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) outside the perimeter area of the Kismayu airport, November 11, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters) A woman walks by an armoured vehicle of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) outside the perimeter area of the Kismayu airport, November 11, 2013. (Siegfried Modola/Courtesy Reuters)

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

In a recent article on the Daily Maverick, Simon Allison identifies the “surprisingly perceptive” core message of al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane’s recent propaganda audio message. Read more »

Fireworks During White House Meeting of Northern Nigerian Governors

by John Campbell
Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Kwire-Mana, Kpafrato II, Homun Honest Stephen (R), receives his staff of office from Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, during a presentation ceremony at Makwada Square in Numan, Adamawa state, December 7, 2013. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On March 18, governors from Nigeria’s north and Middle Belt met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other U.S. officials at the White House. The governors come from states where economic development is slow or non-existent and includes those where the radical, Islamist insurgency “Boko Haram” is active. Read more »

Carnage at Giwa Barracks in Northern Nigeria

by John Campbell
Two boys stand near the charred chassis of a vehicle after a bomb attack near a busy market area in Ajilari-Gomari near the city's airport, in Maiduguri, March 2, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Two boys stand near the charred chassis of a vehicle after a bomb attack near a busy market area in Ajilari-Gomari near the city's airport, in Maiduguri, March 2, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

On March 14, insurgents labeled “Boko Haram” attacked the Giwa Barracks, a major army facility in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. At the time, military spokesmen said that a significant number of “Boko Haram” members were killed. However, in a horrific article in the March 21 New York Times, Adam Nossiter reports that the victims of the killing spree outside the gates of the Giwa Barracks were young men who had previously been indiscriminately rounded up and detained in Giwa Barracks without charge. Read more »

South African President Jacob Zuma’s “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment?

by John Campbell
A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

There is an apocryphal story that in France, King Louis XVI’s queen Marie Antoinette was once told, “Madame, the people have no bread.” To which she replied, “then let them eat cake.” The reality behind the story was of a self-centered court widely perceived as isolated from the French people. The French Revolution followed shortly after. Read more »

Uganda and the African Standby Force

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution.

Since 2003, The African Union Peace and Security Council has sought to establish an African Standby Force, whose purpose would be to rapidly respond to conflicts and emergency situations in Africa. Since then the Council has proposed several structural versions of a standby force to fill this rapid reaction role, none of which have yet yielded results. In the meantime it appears that the Ugandan government is using its own military to fill this role. Read more »