This week diplomats and soldiers mull the decisions and lack of decisions at the African Union summit as political tensions rise in Uganda ahead of this month’s presidential elections. Mozambicans want to know what is behind the shooting of a top Renamo official and the United Nations finally gets tough with the two leaders in South Sudan’s civil war and power struggle. Finally, fighting in Libya escalates and fresh efforts to form a unity government are thwarted.
AFRICAN UNION: Summit gives
Nkurunziza another chance
The ability of the African Union to intervene by force in member states
to stop mass killings was tested at the organisation’s summit on 29-30
January in Addis Ababa.
A plan by the AU’s Peace and Security Council to send a peacekeeping
force to stop the slaughter in Burundi
was held back by the opposition of South
Africa and Tanzania,
the two states which drafted the Arusha peace accord which ushered in Pierre Nkurunziza’s first
government. South Africa and Tanzania both argued that there should be
another effort to negotiate the role of an AU force with the incumbent.
The chances of a broad agreement over an intervention looks slim.
Nkurunziza, backed by Gambia’s
President Yahya Jammeh,
sternly opposes any intervention as a violation of national
sovereignty, and the two have been exploiting the divisions on the
issue among AU member states. As the AU struggles to find a consensus
on Burundi, the United Nations sounds increasingly dire warnings about
the mounting death toll and the deepening crisis there.
Our correspondents at the AU summit will also look at the difficulties
of raising more money for its African Mission in Somalia forces, against the
background of the devastating attack by Al Shabaab on a Kenya Defence Force base on 15
January. The corridors have filled with gossip about whether AU
Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma will leave Addis this year and run for the
leadership of the African National Congress at party elections due in
UGANDA: Museveni doubles down on
There is no question that President Yoweri
Museveni is throwing everything into his battle to win the
presidential election this month, regardless of the fact that the
opposition could not unite behind one candidate and present him with a
credible electoral threat.
After the police arrested several opposition activists, the military
have turned their attention to dissidents in their own ranks: they
arrested General David Sejusa,
who fled fled Uganda for Britain
three years ago after claiming there was a plan to kill officers who
opposed Museveni’s plan to be succeeded as president by his son, Kainerugaba Muhoozi. He then
returned to Uganda and apparently made his peace with Museveni.
Military sources say that Gen Sejusa is to be court-martialled but did
not specify other charges. Our correspondents look at the campaign and
how Museveni is leaving nothing to chance.
SOUTH SUDAN: UN calls for
sanctions against both sides
A scathing report for the United Nations Security Council blaming both
sacked Vice-President Riek Machar
and President Salva Kiir Mayardit
for ordering ethnically-based slaughter and obstructing peace has
causing ructions at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, where the
rivals sent large delegations, and in Juba.
The report notes that Salva has acquired three helicopter gunships and
fears an escalation of the war with Riek’s forces. This is despite both
sides’ signing an accord for a unity government.
The two sides missed yet another deadline to form a power-sharing
government on 22 January. Our correspondents unpick the situation and
assess the Security Council’s chances of obtaining sanctions against
both leaders and an arms embargo and whether it will make any
MOZAMBIQUE: Who and what is
behind the hit on Renamo?
The Secretary General of Renamo, Manuel
Bissopo, was shot and seriously wounded and his bodyguard killed
in an attack widely blamed on 'rogue’ elements of the security forces.
A couple of days later, the head of the main employer’s federation, the
CTA, Rogerio Manuel, was seen
driving round Maputo trying to buy up all the copies of Maputo weekly Magazine Independente. The first,
an action of the 'old guard' contrasts with the second, a presumed win
for the reform party. The paper carried a story about a ministerial
order against him to repay $7 million to the government. President Nyusi is expected to try to stamp
his authority on a unstable situation at the Frelimo Central Committee
meeting on 3 February.
LIBYA: New deal, new impasse
As fighting rages in Benghazi between nationalist and Islamist
militias, the refusal of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives to
endorse the latest UN plan for a national unity government creates
fresh obstacles for any outside intervention force.
Western governments had hoped that proposed unity government would
invite them to send intervention forces, including air strikes against
the ISIS contingent in the Gulf of Sirte. That prospect has receded as
fighting along Libya's littoral has intensified.