Monday, November 17, 2003

I am falling progressively behind on making these posts .... and there's so much interesting stuff going on ....

So here goes ...

In the Ivory Coast, rebels have declared a state of emergency in the areas they control, saying that President Laurent Gbagbo is readying to go to war. Also today, two high-ranking rebel leaders were in Togo to speak with that country's president where they reaffirmed their support of the peace deal. For what it's worth, earlier last week, following a fruitless summit in Ghana, some rebel leader had intimated that the North might secede. But by the end of the week, rebels were denying the secession story.

And that strange story in South Africa ... about whether the chief prosecutor (who is black) was an apartheid era spy. A former Transport Minister, Mac Maharaj, testified that he received information that Bulelani Ngcuka was a spy in 1989 or 1990, just as white minority rule was ending. A few weeks back, Ngcuka was accused of being agent RS452 ... and a woman lawyer came out and admitted that she was in fact agent RS452 (see this earlier post). Here is a long-ish piece on RS452, Vanessa Burton (worth reading).

Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo is considering inviting Mugabe to next month's Commonwealth Summit ... a move which threatens to split the organization.

And another Zimbabwe story ... police set-up roadblocks and raided tourist-related businesses to seize foreign currency. The country is broke. In a related story, the government has ordered that doctors and nurses be arrested because their two week old strike over pay has basically crippled the country's health care system. "Under the country's laws, health personnel cannot go on strike because their services are considered essential and indispensable to the community." Military doctors and nurses have been filling in at the state-run institutions.

Here is a country you don't often hear about ... the US has renewed ties with Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea's president had his opponents imprisoned and tortured, had his presidential predecessor executed by firing squad, helped himself to the state treasury at will. State radio recently declared him "like God."

Teodoro Obiang might seem an unlikely candidate for warmer relations with Washington, except for one thing — his tiny West African country's got a tremendous amount of oil.
Should have mentioned it ... Burundi government and the FDD, the largest rebel group, signed a deal on Sunday, ending 10 years of civil war. Peace? Not quite yet. They still need the FNL to come onboard.

In Rwanda, a story of reconciliation (of sorts). Paul Rwarakabije, a Hutu militia leader who had been fighting against the Rwandan government from his base in the DRC, returned to Rwanda with 103 of his fighters. Rwarakabije led the FDLR (Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda) and has renounced violence ... which is a good thing for both Rwanda and the DRC because, according to this story, he commanded a force of between 15,000 and 20,000 men.
Rwarakabije, a former Rwandan army officer, has not been accused of having played a role in the [genocide]....

Rwanda's army spokesman said that Rwarakabije would undergo the same procedures as other returning combatants from the DRC, including participation in a two-month reintegration programme, after which combatants choose to either remain in the army or to be demobilised.

Analysts told IRIN that Rwarakabije would most likely join the army.
Uganda's cabinet last week recommended that officials, including the President's brother, stand trial for corruption in connection with a bogus helicopterr deal (check this).