This week, the political developments start in Kenya, with mounting protests for electoral reform, then to the story of why some senior Nigerians are spending the week in London and the private reactions to the appointment of the president's daughter to head the state oil company of Angola. And then in Kinshasa, a close political ally announces that a referendum may be organised to allow President Kabila another term, while there are some prickly exchanges between Western and South African officials over a warning about terrorism threats.
KENYA: Election Commission
At least one person was killed and another twelve suffering from bullet
wounds were taken into the Jaramogi Odinga Teaching Hospital in Kisumu
after clashes between protestors and police on 6 June.
Protestors are stepping up their campaign for the reform of the
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission by organising street
demonstrations every Monday.
Three people were killed in clashes after demonstrations last month in
Western Kenya, which is an important opposition base. An opposition
protest in Nairobi went off peacefully on 6 June.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga
last met President Uhuru Kenyatta
at the end of May but the two failed to agree on substantive changes to
the Electoral Commission. Now oppositionists say they will organise
more protests to press the government to negotiate.
NIGERIA: Two Presidents and
Finance team land in London
It is a big week for Nigeria in London this week, with two Presidents
and a Finance Minister arriving in the British
capital. First to arrive was former President Goodluck Jonathan, who gave his
first major speech since losing national elections a year ago.
Jonathan used the platform, provided by Bloomberg News and Invest
Africa, to call for a Bill of Rights which would establish the same
rights of citizenship for all of Nigeria's 180 million people.
'Civus nigerianus sum,' ('I am
a Nigerian citizen'), said Jonathan, arguing that Cicero's definition of citizenship
in ancient Rome should apply in contemporary Nigeria. Discrimination
against 'settlers' by 'indigenes' should be prohibited by the
constitution, he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari
arrived in London on the morning of 6 June for a ten-day holiday and a
medical consultation for a persistent ear infection, his office
Buhari's government is struggling with multiple security threats in the
Niger Delta, the north-east and the Middle Belt, as well as financial
pressures from the tumbling price of oil and, more recently, the
disabling of oil production by Delta militant attacks.
That is a major reason why Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun also arrived in London:
she was due to address investors at the Corinthia Hotel, near Trafalgar
Square, on the government's strategy and to win support for a Eurobond
issue. Many of the investors will be asking the government to drop
capital controls and allow the naira to float against the dollar. Both
policies are anathema to President Buhari, who will be just a few miles
down the road at the time.
ANGOLA: Business reacts as
presidential daughter takes helm of state oil company
A hardened Western banker in Luanda told Africa Confidential that he had
never taken any notice of politics in Angola – until a year ago, when
the oil price started to crash and the country's financial woes began
The writ of President José Eduardo dos
Santos was assumed to run supreme, across the military, the
central bank and of course, the parliament. Even so, the President's
decision to name his billionaire daughter Isabel as the new chief executive of
state oil company Sonangol and sack the rest of the board provoked
uncharacteristic gasps across the corporate landscape.
Bankers, all insisting on anonymity and discretion, said Isabel's
appointment would create difficulties for the company for
'reputational' and 'risk' reasons when it goes to the market for funds.
Others suggested it could undermine Angola's attempted rapprochement
with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
So far only one business leader, John
Baltz who is managing director of Chevron's affiliate in Angola,
Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, has publicly endorsed Isabel's new job. 'The
government has acted. I am always optimistic. I certainly support the
direction Sonangol is taking,' Baltz told Reuters news agency.
SOUTH AFRICA: US and now
Britain warn on terror attacks
First the United States, and
now Britain, have publicly warned President Jacob Zuma's government that they
have intelligence on possible Islamist attacks on shopping malls and
Western installations in South Africa. That's not so extraordinary as
there have been such warnings before but this time there is a certain
tetchiness in the official exchanges. Already, Security Minister David Mahlobo, a close ally of
President Zuma, has provoked criticism from local and foreign
Western intelligence agencies have long complained about a lack of
cooperation from their South African counterparts on counter-terrorism.
Some South African officials say they find their Western counterparts
tend to hector or patronise them and are not always well-informed about
local political realities.
After the latest warnings, an official from South Africa's Department
of International Affairs and Cooperation said the country's security
services were absolutely capable of confronting any threat.
ally hints at referendum to extend Kabila term
As the presidential contender and former governor of Katanga province Moïse Katumbi recuperates in Europe
after his latest clash with Congolese
security, an ally of President Joseph Kabila has floated the idea of a
referendum to allow the incumbent to stand for another term.
Until now, it seemed that Kabila's strategy to was to find a formula to
extend his second term in office by claiming that the government wasn't
able to hold elections this November as scheduled. The speculation was
that Kabila and his aides could secure another two years in power
without a vote.
This was strongly challenged by Moïse Katumbi and other leading
opposition contenders who have been insisting that Kabila must respect
the two-term limit in the constitution.
But Henri Mova Sakanyi, the
Secretary General of the ruling PPRD, told a rally in Kinshasa to
celebrate the President's 45th birthday that his supporters would find
a way to organise a referendum on term limits.
Sakanyi quoted approvingly the example of Rwanda, where Paul Kagame has banished such
limits. He made no reference to Burundi,
where the death toll has been mounting after President Pierre Nkurunziza pressed ahead with
his plan for an unconstitutional third term in the teeth of staunch