This week we have important election stories – before and after – in Zambia, South Africa and Congo-Kinshasa. And there are new international efforts to get the two sides in South Sudan to implement their peace agreement ,while Nigeria's finance officials prepare to launch a big fundraising campaign.
trade claims on violence and vote-rigging as gap narrows in 11 August
The two main rivals are accusing each other's parties of using
as political tensions ratchet up before the presidential and
parliamentary elections on 11 August. As the race tightens, the outcome
this week could be as significant as Zambia's pioneering multi-party
election which unseated founding President Kenneth Kaunda in 1991.
Presidential challenger Hakainde
of the United Party for National Development (UPND) has slammed the
governing Patriotic Front (PF), claiming that it is using the state
apparatus to ban opposition rallies and its party supporters to
intimidate Zambians (AC Vol 57 No 16, Racing to the finish). Hichilema
told Africa Confidential last
month that a student wearing an opposition T-shirt had been beaten to
death by PF activists.
Countering such claims, President Edgar
Lungu told a local radio station on 1 August that opposition
supporters were running
riot and threatening national security. He added that he would be
willing to take 'draconian measures' – including the suspension of some
democratic rights – to restore order.
Some of the most serious clashes between government and
supporters have been on the Copperbelt, a mining region that has
strongly supported the PF in recent elections. But there are signs that
some voters there may switch to the Hichilema's UPND because of falling
living standards. Mining companies have cut 10,000 jobs and ministers
have been struggling to convince sceptics about the benefits of
President's infrastructure investments.
The PF is using its well-financed election campaign machine to
support in the biggest cities. After Lungu won by just 27,000 votes
against Hichilema in January 2015 many activists believe the result
could be even closer on 11 August.
SOUTH AFRICA: ANC mulls
coalitions and falling city votes after local election losses
Top officials in the African National Congress face tough decisions
about its loss of control over some of the richest and politically
important local authorities in the country. Last week's local election
results confirmed the ANC's declining support in towns and cities,
which was identified over six months ago in an electoral report
commissioned by the party's national executive committee (AC Vol 57 No
ANC heads for the hills). The report warned of the dangers of
the party abandoning the black middle class and urban youth and
becoming too reliant on the rural vote.
After municipal elections on 3 August, the ANC controls just
the country's eight biggest metropolitan areas. Critically, it
lost its majority in the commercial capital Johannesburg, the political
capital Tshwane (Pretoria) and the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan
authority which includes Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape. Along with the
erosion of its political support and networks, the ANC will lose
control of important sources of patronage, such as appointments to
local authorities and the award of service and procurement contracts.
Now the ANC controls just over 150 local authorities in smaller towns
and the countryside, and is the biggest party in another 50 authorities.
Although the ANC has worked in coalitions alongside the
Democratic Alliance (DA) in Cape Town, similar deals are unlikely now.
Senior ANC officials have said they are open to working in coalitions
but the offer looks unlikely to be reciprocated.
Before the 3 August elections, the Economic Freedom Fighters,
led by Julius Malema and got
an average of 10% of the vote, said it
would not go into coalition with the ANC. The liberal and pro-business
has little in common with the radical EFF beyond a visceral distrust of
the ANC and its leader Jacob Zuma
(AC Vol 57 No 15, ANC
unruffled by DA
and opposition alliance step up calls for elections this year
President Joseph Kabila faces
growing pressure to hold elections this
year after veteran Etienne Tshisekedi
wa Mulumba and the new opposition
alliance threatened to organise strikes and boycotts at a mass rally on
1 August. Tshisekedi returned to Congo-Kinshasa at the end of July
after a long absence in Belgium.
He immediately called on the government to convene the Commission
électorale nationale indépendante on 19 September and ensure
elections are held on time to ensure that President will leave office
this year, as scheduled on 20 December.
The call for mass action across the country was no idle threat
according to veteran oppositions Tshisekedi who said that his Union
pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UDPS) was starting to
on the issue across the country. The UDPS led a determined campaign
against the late dictator Mobutu Sese
Opposition activists are also calling on the African Union to
its facilitator, Edem Kodjo,
the former prime minister of Togo,
they claim he is too close to President Kabila. The next big event
could be the return to Congo-Kinshasa of Moïse Katumbi Chapwe, the
former governor of Katanga province who is now part of the opposition
alliance. After some government officials charges against Katumbi on
financial and security offences, there are concerns that police may try
to arrest him on return. However, in an interview with Africa
Confidential last month, Katumbi insisted he was undaunted and
return to Congo-Kinshasa imminently (AC Vol 57 No 15, A
SOUTH SUDAN: US pushes
tougher intervention force and sanctions against rivals
Regional and international officials are going ahead with plans for a
strong intervention force and sanctions despite President Salva Kiir
Mayardit's latest changes in the Juba government designed to
his rival and former Vice-President Riek
Machar Teny Dhurgon.
On 7 August, the United
States circulated a draft resolution for the UN
Security Council to authorise a 4,000-strong intervention force and an
arms embargo on Salva's and Riek's factions. The African Union has also
voted in favour of an intervention force but no clear details have
emerged about how it will be organised and its relations with the UN
Meanwhile, Riek refuses to recognise his replacement as
by his former chief negotiator with the government, Taban Deng Gai, on
23 July. Riek also insists that he will not return to Juba until an
international intervention force is in place (AC Vol 57 No 16, Riek
rival boosts Salva).
NIGERIA: Treasury team eye
bond markets and development banks for funds
A team from Abuja under Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun is preparing
to raise at least US$4 billion over the next three months with $1
bn. coming from a new eurobond issue and $3 bn. of new loans from the
African Development Bank and the World Bank. Negotiations are expected
to be easier following the government's removal of the peg fixing the
exchange rate at 197 naira to the dollar and the effective end of fuel
Businesses complain that the new flexibility in exchange rate
yet to produce inward investment from Nigerians with funds overseas or
foreign companies. Adeosun's fundraising campaign could begin to
change that picture. Last week in London, Babatunde Fashola, the Power,
Works and Housing Minister, told Africa
Confidential that the
government was paying off arrears on public sector contracts which
would bring some money back into the system.
For the government, the priority is restore growth, held back
crashing oil prices and attacks on oil and gas production. The priority
will be a N1.75 trillion (US$5.6 bn.) plan for investments in roads,
water and power stations this year in a bid both to improve services
for people and companies and create much-needed economic dynamism (AC
Vol 57 No 16, Juicier
carrots, heavier sticks).