30 Apr

Congo’s Katumbi to Return Home When Vote Certain to Go Ahead

Democratic Republic of Congo presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi said he’ll return from exile once he’s convinced long-delayed presidential elections are going to take place.

The 53-year-old former governor of Congo’s copper-rich Katanga province would be the likeliest candidate to replace President Joseph Kabila if he’s allowed to compete in elections scheduled for December, according to a poll published last month.

“The election time isn’t clear yet,” Katumbi said in an interview at a conference in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. “When it becomes clear, I will definitely go back.”

Congo, which hasn’t had a peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960, was supposed to hold elections in November 2016. The electoral commission postponed the vote, citing financial and logistical constraints.

Opposition leaders have long accused Kabila, head of state since 2001, of delaying the vote in order to retain power and change the constitution. “Our constitution is very clear,” Katumbi said. “He has no right to run.”

Security forces have killed more than 300 people in nationwide anti-government protests since January 2015 in the run up to and following the end of Kabila’s second mandate, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Elections are now scheduled for Dec. 23. Last week, a spokesman for Kabila’s ruling coalition said “no other solution is possible” than elections happening this year.

Katumbi has been in self-imposed exiled since May 2016, soon after he split with Kabila and announced an intention to succeed his former ally. A month later he was convicted in absentia for illegally selling a property, while two other investigations remain open — including allegations he violated Congo’s ban on dual citizenship.

 A month later he was convicted in absentia for illegally selling a property, while two other investigations remain open — including allegations he violated Congo’s ban on dual citizenship.

Katumbi denies the allegations and says the “fake, bogus” actions are politically motivated.

To read the full article, click here.

19 Dec

Scarred South Africa Turns to Mandela Favorite

Cyril Ramaphosa wiped tears from his eyes moments after his election as leader of South Africa’s ruling party — a reflection of his arduous journey to the pinnacle of power and possibly of what lies ahead.

Many South Africans are relieved at the prospect of one of their brightest political minds possibly replacing the scandal-plagued president, Jacob Zuma. But the final step won’t be easy. To capture the presidency, Ramaphosa would need Zuma to step down voluntarily or to be ordered out by the fractious African National Congress.

And then there’s Zuma’s mess. The economy is moribund, one in four people are out of work, corruption riddles state institutions, and a divided ruling party faces a real threat of losing power in 2019 elections.

But don’t count Ramaphosa out.

The man who became the ANC’s top negotiator in talks to end apartheid is nothing if not resilient. After the party blocked his bid to succeed Nelson Mandela — even though he was Mandela’s preferred heir — he went into business to become one of the richest black South Africans. And just to win the ANC presidency, he had to beat Zuma’s candidate — his ex-wife — a feat few thought possible.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-19/scarred-south-africa-turns-to-mandela-favorite 

07 Dec

Power Brokers Start to Gear Up for Nigeria’s 2019 Elections

As Nigeria begins to gear up for general elections in February 2019, five senior politicians appear to be key players in Africa’s top oil producer.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a 74-year-old former military ruler, will start as one of the favorites if he seeks re-election after becoming the first opposition candidate to win power in Nigeria’s history in 2015. A health scare this year — he spent more than five months in London receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical ailment — convinced some observers that he wouldn’t serve more than one term. But he returned in August with renewed vigor, regularly traveling on official trips both at home and abroad.

Buhari has pledged to boost investments to spur growth after presiding over an economic recession, exacerbated by falling crude prices and production and a currency policy that starved factories, airlines and fuel importers of dollars. While his administration has slowed the advance of Islamist militants in the northeast, it faces renewed unrest in the oil-rich Niger River delta and the southeast, where secessionist sentiments are on the rise.

To win again, he’ll need to rebuild the coalition that formed the ruling All Progressives Congress and guaranteed him votes in his northern base and large parts of the southwest and center.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, 71, effectively signaled he’s considering another run for the presidency when he announced in November that he was leaving the ruling APC, accusing it of imposing a “draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy.” A few days later, he rejoined the opposition People’s Democratic Party, which he had previously quit twice to pursue his presidential ambitions elsewhere.

Abubakar has been a presidential aspirant in three different parties since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999. He lost to Buhari in the APC primaries but supported him as the candidate.

A former Nigerian Customs Service top official who became a major shareholder in Intels Nigeria Ltd., an oil-service company, he favors regional autonomy and power devolution, a stance that has popular appeal particularly in southern Nigeria.

To read the full article, click here.