John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: January 28 – February 3

by John Campbell Monday, February 6, 2017
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 January 28 to February 3, 2017. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Caught in the Crossfire: What Future for Women and Children in Nigeria’s Forgotten Crisis

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, February 3, 2017
A mother holds her malnourished baby at the Molai General Hospital Maiduguri, Nigeria, November 30, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabai Sotunde)

This is a guest post by Sherrie Russell-Brown. Sherrie is an international lawyer, who writes about issues of gender, security, international justice and humanitarian law, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. She also coordinates a collaborative group of experts dedicated to promoting research and analysis on the Sahel, and, in particular, the Boko Haram insurgency. Read more »

AU ICC Withdrawal Recommendation Means little

by John Campbell Thursday, February 2, 2017
A general view shows Chad's President Idriss Deby addressing delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

At the end of the recent 28th African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa on January 31, a recommendation emerged that collectively member states should withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). The AU is not a party to the Treaty of Rome, which established the ICC, and its recommendation cannot compel individual states to withdraw. According to the media, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tanzania opposed the AU recommendation and other states declined to commit themselves. In the aftermath of the recommendation, on February 1, Nigeria publicly reiterated its intention to remain within the ICC. Read more »

South Africa’s ANC Horserace

by John Campbell Wednesday, February 1, 2017
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (L), who is also the president of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), gestures next to his Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during the party's 104th anniversary celebrations in Rustenburg, January 9, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Everybody loves a horserace among political personalities. South Africa is no different. The December 2017 African National Congress (ANC) leadership contest is commonly seen as a race between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the a reformer with an urban constituency, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Zuma’s ex-wife and potential protector of his patronage networks. A possible dark horse is Zweli Mkhize, ANC party treasurer, who has been identified as a likely compromise candidate. There are also suggestions of compromise arrangements, such as Ramaphosa accepting Dlamini-Zuma as deputy president of the party or vice versa. Read more »

African Elite Reaction to President Trump’s Travel Ban

by John Campbell Tuesday, January 31, 2017
African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (L) and Chadian President Idriss Deby attend a news conference at the close of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

It is too soon to say what the lasting consequences will be of President Trump’s “travel ban” of the citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries and his 120-day suspension of all refugee admissions to the United States. But, it could have serious effects on U.S.-African relations. In 2010 the Pew Research Center found that of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population of 823 million, 234 million were Muslims. The Islamic population is heavily concentrated in West Africa where U.S. strategic and economic interests on the continent are the greatest, especially Nigeria, where at least 50 percent of the country’s population of two-hundred million is Muslim. However, there are Muslim minorities in nearly all African countries. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update: January 21 – January 27

by John Campbell Monday, January 30, 2017
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 January 21 to January 27, 2017. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Salafism in Northern Nigeria Beyond Boko Haram

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell Friday, January 27, 2017
A pilgrim returning from his Haj in Saudi Arabia looks on at the General Aviation Terminal of the Abuja Airport, Nigeria, September 29, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

This is a guest post by Alex Thurston. Alex is the author of  Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics, and is an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Alex was an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2013-2014. Read more »

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters Breaks with Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe

by John Campbell Thursday, January 26, 2017
Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) looks on before addressing his supporters during his campaign, ahead of the August 3, local government elections, in Etwatwa, a township near Benoni, South Africa, July 27, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko.)

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a voice of radical causes, including the expropriation of white-owned land without compensation. It is led by Julius Malema, former head of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL). Malema later broke with ANC party leader Jacob Zuma and was expelled from the party. He then organized the EFF as a rival party, which won over 6 percent of the vote in the 2014 general elections and more than 8 percent of the vote in the 2016 national municipal elections. Read more »

Biafra and the U.S.-Nigeria Relationship

by John Campbell Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Supporters of Nnamdi Kanu are seen outside the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria January 10, 2017. (Reuters/Stringer)

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a separatist movement that seeks to recreate Biafra as an independent state. From 1967-70, there was a civil war over Biafra’s attempt to secede that left up to two million Nigerians dead. Ever since, the Nigerian government has tried to crack down on Biafra secessionist movements. Hence, it’s imprisonment of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu. Read more »

Identity Politics in South Africa

by John Campbell Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Students await the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town (UCT), April 9, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

The African National Congress (ANC), which has governed South Africa since the 1994 transition to “non-racial democracy,” traditionally eschewed identity politics. Though its electoral support was overwhelmingly Black, the party recruited its leadership from all races, which included many Whites and Asians. Nelson Mandela’s emphasis on racial reconciliation was very much in the spirit of the ANC. He particularly emphasized that there was place for Whites in post-apartheid South Africa. Famously, he attended a rugby championship match, the subject of the film Invictus. (Rugby is a White, mostly Afrikaner sport). Read more »