John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Politics"

South Africa’s Mamphela Ramphele Leaves Politics

by John Campbell
Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches her new political party "Agang" to challenge South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Pretoria, June 22, 2013. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele launches her new political party "Agang" to challenge South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Pretoria, June 22, 2013. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Mamphela Ramphele, the founder of the political party AgangSA (Agang is the northern Sotho word for ‘build’) in 2013, announced on July 8 that she is leaving politics. 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: Kidnapping and Escape of Women and Girls

by John Campbell
Campaigners attend a speak-out session for the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign in the rain near Nigeria's Lagos Marina, July 5, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Campaigners attend a speak-out session for the "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign in the rain near Nigeria's Lagos Marina, July 5, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

Western attention continues to focus on the kidnapping of up to three hundred school girls from the Chibok Secondary School in April. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. There has been an international outcry and offers of assistance from Western countries. The United States offered surveillance aircraft and unmanned drones. Nevertheless, the girls have not been located, much less rescued. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 15-20

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 June 15 to June 20, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. 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 »

Nigerian Chief of Defense Staff Responds to Critics of the Military

by John Campbell
New Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, speaks during a handing over ceremony in Abuja January 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) New Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, speaks during a handing over ceremony in Abuja January 20, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

For many years, the Nigerian military was regarded as the most proficient in West Africa. It was commonly seen as the guardian of the nation, and was remarkably free of the ethnic and religious divisions that have bedeviled Nigeria as a nation. The downside of this proficiency was that as “the guardian of the nation” the military was regularly involved in coups and ruled the country most of the time between 1966 and 1999. Read more »

South Africa’s Political Playground

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
African National Congress  election posters featuring images of South Africa's president Jacob Zuma are displayed on a wall as a school boy climbs over it in Embo, May 6, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) African National Congress election posters featuring images of South Africa's president Jacob Zuma are displayed on a wall as a school boy climbs over it in Embo, May 6, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Derek Charles Catsam, associate professor of History and the Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan fellow in the Humanities at the University of Texas of the Perman Basin. Derek was senior editor for the Foreign Policy Association’s Africa blog from 2007 to 2014. Read more »

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Stonewalls on Security Service Human Rights Abuses

by John Campbell
French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan as he arrives to attend the African Security Summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, May 17, 2014. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Courtesy Reuters) French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan as he arrives to attend the African Security Summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, May 17, 2014. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Courtesy Reuters)

President Jonathan delivered an important speech at the “Regional Summit on Security in Nigeria” held in Paris on May 17, 2014. Its worth a close reading because if provides the Jonathan administration’s “narrative” on Boko Haram, international terrorism, and the school girl kidnapping. Read more »

Contemplating the Nigerian Crises That Attract International Notoriety

by John Campbell
A man holds a placard calling for the release of secondary school girls abducted in the remote village of Chibok, during a protest along a road in Lagos, #BringBackOurGirls, May 14, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A man holds a placard calling for the release of secondary school girls abducted in the remote village of Chibok, during a protest along a road in Lagos, #BringBackOurGirls, May 14, 2014. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

There has been no end of atrocities related to the “Boko Haram” insurgency and the Nigerian government’s failed efforts to defeat it. For example, in February, “Boko Haram” slit the throats of some dozens of adolescent boys in the dormitory of a boarding school they attacked and burned. In March, the security services murdered in cold blood hundreds of detainees at Giwa Barracks charged with no crime, an event that is the subject of an Amnesty International report. Read more »

The 2014 South African Election: Another ANC Landslide

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
President Jacob Zuma dances at a victory rally of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Johannesburg May 10, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) President Jacob Zuma dances at a victory rally of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Johannesburg May 10, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Derek Charles Catsam, associate professor of History and the Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan fellow in the Humanities at the University of Texas of the Perman Basin. Derek was senior editor for the Foreign Policy Association’s Africa blog from 2007 to 2014. Read more »