John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Two African Obituaries: Dikko and Gordimer

by John Campbell Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Novelist Nadine Gordimer was among about 300 white liberals who visited
Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg on May 18, 1986 to lay
wreaths at the grave of victims of political unrest. (Reuters photographer/Courtesy Reuters) Novelist Nadine Gordimer was among about 300 white liberals who visited Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg on May 18, 1986 to lay wreaths at the grave of victims of political unrest. (Reuters photographer/Courtesy Reuters)

On July 14, the New York Times carried the obituary of Umaru Dikko, a former Nigerian minister accused of corruption who was once the subject of a kidnap attempt. On July 15, it carried an obituary of Nadine Gordimer, the South African author who became a major anti-apartheid icon. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update July 5 – July 11

by John Campbell Monday, July 14, 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 July 5 to July 11, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

South Africa’s Mamphela Ramphele Leaves Politics

by John Campbell Thursday, July 10, 2014
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 Wednesday, July 9, 2014
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 Tuesday, July 8, 2014
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 28 – July 4

by John Campbell Monday, July 7, 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 June 28 to July 4, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »

Nigeria’s Oil Industry

by John Campbell Thursday, July 3, 2014
Men suspected to be involved in oil theft are paraded to the media at a military base in Yenagoa, March 28, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Men suspected to be involved in oil theft are paraded to the media at a military base in Yenagoa, March 28, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

The Nigerian Daily Independent recently published remarks by Mutiu Sunmonu, the managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC). The remarks provide insights into Nigeria’s oil industry. Read more »

Central African Republic: “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Seleka fighters take a break as they sit on a pick-up truck in the town of Goya, June 11, 2014. 
(Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Seleka fighters take a break as they sit on a pick-up truck in the town of Goya, June 11, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

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

The devastating yet disorganized fury and violence over the past eighteen months in the Central African Republic (CAR) has caused the collapse of the state and defied traditional conflict labels and international quick-fixes. Read more »

Abuja Bomb Blast and Nigerian Security

by John Campbell Tuesday, July 1, 2014
The scene of a bombing at the Emab business center is pictured filled with wreckages of burnt cars at the business district in Abuja, June 26, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) The scene of a bombing at the Emab business center is pictured filled with wreckages of burnt cars at the business district in Abuja, June 26, 2014. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On June 25, there was a bomb blast at a shopping center in Wuse 2 in downtown Abuja. According to the police, twenty-one persons were killed. While no group has claimed responsibility, the Nigerian media (and everybody else) points to Boko Haram, the Islamist insurrection, as the most likely perpetrator. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update June 21-27

by John Campbell Monday, June 30, 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 June 21 to June 27, 2014. These incidents are also available here, and are included in the Nigeria Security Tracker.
Read more »