After a year of credible elections in Ghana and South Africa but rigged ones in Uganda, Gabon and Zambia, together with a raft of political and corporate corruption scandals, there will be a new focus on judicial systems. It was the independence of court decisions over election management and access to data that allowed Ghana's main opposition party to set up its own results reporting system in what could become a template for opposition parties across the continent.
Similarly, it was South Africa's independent judiciary that backed
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's
investigation into President Jacob
Zuma's use of US$20 million of public funds to refurbish his
homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, as well as her probe into the
business ties between the wealthy Gupta family and the presidency.
Madonsela then called for a detailed judicial investigation into those
links. And as Zuma's support base ebbs, he faces another 680 charges
relating to the misuse of public funds.
A big legal fight is also coming over Mozambique’s $2 billion
secret debts. Ratings agencies say that the banks, Crédit Suisse and
Russia's VTB, involved in
marketing $750 mn. of the 'tuna bonds' failed
to do serious due diligence on the deal. Still more legal brickbats
are flying in Guinea,
following the arrest of former Mines Minister
Mahmoud Thiam on charges that
he laundered a bribe payment from a
Chinese company through the New
York banking system. Thiam denies all