John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nelson Mandela and the Land Question in South Africa

by John Campbell Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Community members visit a memorial on the anniversary of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the site of his arrest in Howick, 5 December, 2014. South Africa marked the first anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela's death on Friday with tributes to his struggle against white-minority rule and sober reflections on the country's failure to capitalise on the freedom he fought for. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) Community members visit a memorial on the anniversary of the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the site of his arrest in Howick, 5 December, 2014. South Africa marked the first anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela's death on Friday with tributes to his struggle against white-minority rule and sober reflections on the country's failure to capitalise on the freedom he fought for. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

A year after the death of Nelson Mandela, his reputation for reconciliation is undiminished. However, a more rounded evaluation of his career is emerging, one that takes into account the difficult choices that he had to make. I was part of that process in an article I wrote for Foreign Policy and my Council on Foreign Relations Expert Brief. Bernadette Atuahene, the author of the compelling We Want What’s Ours: Learning from South Africa’s Land Restitution Program, in a thoughtful Los Angeles Times Op-ed looks specifically at Mandela’s compromises over the land question at the time of South Africa’s transition to “non-racial” democracy. She concludes that Mandela left a legacy of both reconciliation and inequality. Read more »

Restrained South African Reaction to the Murder of Pierre Korkie

by John Campbell Tuesday, December 9, 2014
A police trooper gestures as suspected al-Qaeda militants arrive in an armoured vehicle at the state security court in Sanaa, December 2, 2014. (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters) A police trooper gestures as suspected al-Qaeda militants arrive in an armoured vehicle at the state security court in Sanaa, December 2, 2014. (Khaled Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters)

Pierre Korkie was a South African teacher working in Yemen, where his wife, Yolande, did hospital relief work. They were kidnapped by al-Qaeda operatives in May 2013. Yolande Korkie was released without ransom payment in January 2014. Pierre Korkie, however, was held for a $3 million ransom. On December 5, he was murdered by his kidnappers during the course of the failed U.S. effort to free American journalist Luke Somers, who was also killed. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update November 29-December 4

by John Campbell Monday, December 8, 2014
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 November 29 to December 4, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

The Somali Prime Minister Merry-Go-Round

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, December 5, 2014
Somalia's Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed waves as he arrives for the celebration to mark the 54th Somali Independence Day at the former parliament buildings in capital Mogadishu July 1, 2014. (Ismail Taxta/Courtesy Reuters) Somalia's Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed waves as he arrives for the celebration to mark the 54th Somali Independence Day at the former parliament buildings in capital Mogadishu July 1, 2014. (Ismail Taxta/Courtesy Reuters)

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

Recently, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud organized for the Somali parliament to lodge a petition for a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohammad. This comes on the heels of a spat between Ahmed and President Mohamud after the prime minister removed a minister of justice and constitutional affairs. That minister, now the minister of veterinary and animal husbandry, is a major ally of President Mohamud, who declared the move “null and void” citing constitutional authority. Read more »

An African Odyssey

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, December 5, 2014
A group of 104 sub-Saharan Africans on board a rubber dinghy reach out for life jackets tossed to them by rescuers of the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) some 25 miles off the Libyan coast in this handout photo provided by MOAS October 4, 2014. MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, began operating at the end of August and has assisted in the rescue of some 2,200 migrants crossing from Libyan shores towards Europe.
(MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Handout via Reuters) A group of 104 sub-Saharan Africans on board a rubber dinghy reach out for life jackets tossed to them by rescuers of the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) some 25 miles off the Libyan coast in this handout photo provided by MOAS October 4, 2014. MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative, began operating at the end of August and has assisted in the rescue of some 2,200 migrants crossing from Libyan shores towards Europe. (MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/Handout via Reuters)

This is a guest post by Amanda Roth, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a graduate student at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, where she studies international security policyRead more »

Tanzania Shows It Has A Woman’s Constitution

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete speaks during the closing news conference for the "Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm's Reach" Summit in Toronto, May 30, 2014. (Aaron Harris/Courtesy Reuters) Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete speaks during the closing news conference for the "Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm's Reach" Summit in Toronto, May 30, 2014. (Aaron Harris/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

A victory for women. That’s what October 8 represented in Tanzania as the East African nation’s Committee of the Constituent Assembly officially presented a draft for a new constitution to President Jakaya Kikwete, the first new constitution since 1977. This draft has been endorsed by parliament and will likely become law when it is put through a referendum in the spring before the October 2015 general elections. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update November 22-November 28

by John Campbell Tuesday, December 2, 2014
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 November 22 to November 28, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Kano, Nigeria, Mosque Attack Likely Aimed at Governor, Emir

by John Campbell Monday, December 1, 2014
Security and emergency agency staff investigate the Kano Central Mosque bombing scene in Kano November 29, 2014. Gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshippers at the main mosque in north Nigeria's biggest city Kano on Friday, killing at least 81 people, witnesses and officials said, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants. (Stringer/ Courtesy Reuters) Security and emergency agency staff investigate the Kano Central Mosque bombing scene in Kano November 29, 2014. Gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshippers at the main mosque in north Nigeria's biggest city Kano on Friday, killing at least 81 people, witnesses and officials said, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants. (Stringer/ Courtesy Reuters)

The November 28 attack on worshippers at Kano’s Central Mosque killed at least 130, according to the Nigerian media. No group has claimed responsibility, though most observers appear to think it was Boko Haram. Read more »

Gulu and Detroit: Bicycles to the Rescue

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Tuesday, November 25, 2014
A gold miner uses a bicycle to transport a sack of sandy soil from a small scale mine in Bugiri, 348 km (216 miles) east of Kampala, Uganda's capital February 5, 2013. (Edward Echwalu/Courtesy Reuters) A gold miner uses a bicycle to transport a sack of sandy soil from a small scale mine in Bugiri, 348 km (216 miles) east of Kampala, Uganda's capital February 5, 2013. (Edward Echwalu/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. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update November 15-November 21

by John Campbell Monday, November 24, 2014
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 November 15 to November 21, 2014. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »