Policy issues from South Africa and its neighbours. Reports every two weeks.

v19/21 15 Oct 04

For subscription details ...



Shadows hidden in optimistic view of governance

Some SADC countries fail governance test


Mwanawasa's business deals


Hamutenya accused

Secret oil vouchers?

Land reform key plank of manifesto


Angola probes Zambian diamond smuggling


Oil exploration off Angola and Congo


Uganda seeks southern pact


Burundi election postponed


Row over control of parastatals

Soldiers' defection


Shadows hidden in optimistic view of governance

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] The series of high-level meetings in Addis Ababa over the past week generated a sense of dislocation among some observers - optimism mixed with scepticism.

This is because the conferences failed, as often in similar gatherings, to bring together the two main views of Africa today, one seeing signs of progress in governance and the economy, the other seeing state activity as a shadow theatre.

The majority view on show this week is backed by the institutions of the Washington Consensus - and that includes the UN's Economic Commission for Africa, host of the fourth African Development Forum - ADF.

The other view holds that the real economy and politics of many African countries is hidden from view, and that governments' visible policy is in the main still tailored to the needs and fashions of outside 'donors' while it engages in the process of enriching the elite.

Governance report...

Failing states...

Security as a priority...

SA's investment role...>>>Full report


Some SADC countries fail governance test

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] In the Southern African region Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Malawi are failing in key areas of governance, according to a new survey of perceptions of citizens of 28 African states. Angola, reckoned to lead them all on the issue of unaccounted revenues, did not agree to be surveyed.

The UN's Economic Commission for Africa in its interim report on governance is promoting the contribution of traditional leaders and it invited Ghana's Asantehene, the king of Ashanti to speak at its fourth African Development Forum this week.....>>>Full report


Mwanawasa's business deals come to light

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] Almost two weeks after vice president Nevers Mumba was sacked for challenging President Levy Mwanawasa over his remarks that the DR Congo was funding opposition political parties (SouthScan v19/20), DRC President Joseph Kabila is sending a delegation to hold talks with the Zambian government.

The delegation hopes to resolve the matter diplomatically but Mumba holds to his remarks - he says they were made in good faith and with no intention of fuelling tension between the two countries. At the same time reports have emerged linking Mwanawasa to one of Mumba's targets.... .>>>Full report


Malaysian fiasco laid at door of Hamutenya

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] An official probe into a massive financial scam is homig in on ousted foreign minister Hidipo Hamutenya - but it may also rebound against President Sam Nujoma.

A presidential commission of inquiry is underway into the activities of the Development Brigade Corporation (DBC), and Hamutenya is alleged to have been closely connected to a Malaysian housing construction deal that landed the government with major unbudgeted expenditures.....>>>Full report


Secret oil vouchers from Saddam denied

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] The Namibian government has denied a UN report including it in a list of countries that bought about seven million barrels of crude oil from Iraq, violating UN sanctions.

A report by the Iraq Survey Group last week named Namibia, Russia, France, China, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Egypt as countries to which former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein issued secret vouchers for the purchase of oil.

In addition, five Namibian companies bought about seven million barrels of oil from Iraq, according to the report.....>>>Full report


Swapo makes land reform key plank of manifesto

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] Swapo, the ruling party, has announced its election manifesto, leaving little out in its promises. Most significantly, it has made land reform a central plank of its campaign for next month's election.

President Sam Nujoma announced plans to expropriate 192 farms belonging to foreign absentee landlords to speed up land reform over the next five years. The foreign-owned farms total more than 1.2 million hectares. Britain last month announced funds for a technical team from the lands ministry collect data that will be used to draft a strategic plan for land reform. Its official argument against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been that it is not against land reform, but is against unilateral expropriation that benefits only the elite....

Pledges include ....>>>Full report


Angola turns its attention to Zambian diamond smuggling

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] The Zambian border has become the latest focus for the Angolan military, which has been expelling hundreds of thousands of Congolese diamond diggers. Now Luanda has said it will clamp down on Zambian diamond smugglers (SouthScan v19/09).

Fears are being voiced in Lusaka of a renewal of the 1996 row when Angola accused some senior Zambian government leaders of supplying arms to the Unita rebels in exchange for diamonds (SouthScan v13/17). Then Zambians were reported to have been using Angolan refugees to identify diamond-rich areas in Angola and to start diggings, and the same technique may be in use again.....>>>Full report


Oil price rises boost exploration off Angola and Congo

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] African states are starting to calculate the cost to their economies of the rising price of oil, and the continuing uncertainty in the market.

Last week South Africa's Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni told MPs the rising price of oil, currently trading on international markets for more than US$50 a barrel, posed a major threat to the world economy....

More leverage...

Shared waters...

Congolese exploration....>>>Full report


Uganda seeks southern pact

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] President Yoweri Museveni is increasingly seeking support from Southern and Central African states to ward off international pressure over his conduct of national affairs. He visited Harare to hold discussions around the formation of an anti-Western bloc with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and has also met SA President Thabo Mbeki.

US ambassador Jimmy Kolker recently warned Uganda that his country will actively involve itself in Ugandan politics, which are intricately engaged with Sudanese politics, where Washington is actively seeking a peace....

Rwandan detente...

Military strategy....>>>Full report


Burundi election postponed but tensions remain

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] As anticipated (SouthScan v19/20), a group of regional leaders at a summit on Burundi announced this week the postponement of the elections scheduled for 1 November.

The leaders of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, the new Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, and the South African Deputy-President Jacob Zuma, Tanzania's Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete and Ethiopia's ambassador in Kenya, adopted the measure because conditions did not permit elections to for the time being, they said....


Draft accepted....>>>Full report


Row breaks out over control of parastatals

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] The DR Congo's fragile transition process is subject to another challenge with the political opposition and the two major ex-rebel groups seeking a proportional share of the heads of the country's parastal organisations.

The Movement of Liberation of Congo (MLC) and the Congolese Rally for Democracy (CRD) have called for the implementation of one of the key provisions of the December 2002 Pretoria power-sharing agreement - the appointment of new heads and board members at the helm of the country's parastatals in proportion to political representation in the transitional institutions.....>>>Full report


Soldiers' defection in Belgium signals problems for army

[(c) SouthScan v19/21 15 Oct 04] It seems the training of the DR Congo's new unified army is going to be a bumpy ride. A month after the arrival in mid-September of 285 Congolese officers at the Elsenborn Belgian military camp, close to the German border 12 of them had defected.

To prevent new desertions Belgian Defence Minister Andre Flahaut ordered the repatriation of the remaining officers and on Wednesday (13 October) 170 of them were abruptly told at midnight to wake up, pack and leave. They embarked Thursday morning on a flight to Kinshasa, one week ahead of schedule. The rest of the officers are expected to leave in the next few days.....>>>Full report