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

v20/01 14 Jan 05

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CONGO:

Election delay sparks violent demonstration and strike

Hate speech spreads notion of 'diabolical plots

Grandiose Inga power scheme is vital for SA

REGION:

Uganda sees security risk in refugee flood

ANGOLA:

Swiss lawsuit dropped, funds to return under conditions

REGION:

Oil beckons in Southern Sudan

MALAWI:

Treason plot claim prompts calls for national unity

ZAMBIA:

Protests mount over constituent assembly

ZIMBABWE:

Pro-Mnangagwa demonstrators challenge Mugabe

MOZAMBIQUE:

Renamo backtracks from demand to annul election

SA POLITICS:

Neo-liberal ANC looks back to Freedom Charter and RDP

 


Congo:

Election delay sparks violent demonstration and strike

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] News that the presidential and parliamentary elections initially for June are likely to be postponed has triggered violence in Kinshasa and other centres and then a strike in the capital. Despite an eight-hour crisis session on Wednesday chaired by SA President Thabo Mbeki the sense of crisis has continued.

None of the ruling parties want to take responsibility for the postponement, while one of the major elements of the transitional government, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, is currently boycotting the administration.

The crisis atmosphere has been boosted by undiminished conflict in the eastern part of the country while in Kinshasa ethnic propaganda is being spread against Rwanda, Tutsis and the 'Anglo-Saxons'. ...>> Full report


Congo:

Hate speech spreads notion of 'diabolical plots

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] Altogether the climate in the DRC is becoming increasingly volatile and the nerviness of the main players seems to be growing in what should be an electoral year.

But another worrying factor is the proliferation of incitements to hatred within Congolese communities inside the country and in the diaspora.>> Full report


Region:

Grandiose Inga power scheme is vital for SA

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] Inside South Africa there is not much sympathy for President Thabo Mbeki's shuttle diplomacy through Africa. This week he was moving back to the DR Congo from a bout of mediation in the Cote d'Ivoire. The letters pages of the SA press are filled with complaints that he should be home attending to domestic problems.

However, those taking a strategic view of South African interests back his energetic activity, most keenly where the DRC is concerned. ...

Facing a power deficit...

Where is the finance?...>> Full report


Region:

Uganda sees security risk in refugee flood

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] Uganda is transforming its refugee policy from a humanitarian to a security one amidst fears that influx of refugees from neighbouring states is now a security risk. A three-year government strategic document running up to 2007 states that the prime minister's office has transferred refugee affairs to the security affairs department.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees records show 230,000 refugees in Uganda, up from 170,000 in 2001....

Status changes...>> Full report


Angola:

Swiss lawsuit dropped, funds to return under conditions

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] The good news for President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos was that on December 21 the Swiss prosecutor general in Geneva, Daniel Zapelli, ordered an end to the inquiry into Angolan funds deposited in Swiss banks....

Debt restructuring...>> Full report


Region:

Oil beckons in Southern Sudan

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] South Africa is preparing to join the oil rush into Sudan, where a peace deal was signed last week. SA was involved in mediation efforts there, but local analysts said it always had its eye on the large oil deposits.

In July 2001 there were reports of the oil company Soekor was engaged in exploration but this was denied after hefty Church criticism of engagement with the Khartoum regime (SouthScan v16/01). As in the US, the Christian Right has been involved in the South and missionaries from Ray Macaulay's Rhema Church have made trips there over the past decades....

Accessing the reserves...>> Full report


Malawi:

Treason plot claim prompts calls for national unity

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] Political life in Malawi is growing increasingly confused as the rift widens between President Bingu wa Mutharika and the former leader Bakili Muluzi, who appears to be using a faction in government to sabotage the administration.

Last week (January 5) security officers confiscated weapons at Sanjika State House in Blantyre where the two competing groups were to hold reconciliation talks. Three members of parliament and a cabinet minister were arrested and charged with treason for allegedly plotting to eliminate the president. The Sanjika meeting was unceremoniously cancelled but later Mutharika pardoned the culprits. Indeed he has been so relaxed over the affair that on Monday he set off to Taiwan for a five-day visit at the invitation of President Chen Shui-bian....

Muluzi's ambition...>> Full report


Zambia:

Protests mount over constituent assembly

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] Mass protests have begun in response to the government's unyielding stance over the constitution making process and the opposition has warned that civil strife may follow (SouthScan v19/24).

The country started the year with peaceful demonstrations by thousands of people last week (January 6) in the capital Lusaka and in a number of towns across the country, demanding the enactment of a new constitution before the general elections slated for next year....

Corruption cases...>> Full report


Zimbabwe:

Pro-Mnangagwa demonstrators challenge Mugabe

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] Ahead of the selection of election candidates President Robert Mugabe has had to face unprecedented public opposition from supporters of his presidential rival Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zanu-PF leaders have banned, barred and dropped several senior members, denying them the right to hold office in the ruling party. The response to the imposition of candidates on party districts was a protest from at least 22 of the 120 constituencies and demonstrations last week and this week at party headquarters. Many of the demonstrators were identified as supporters of parliamentary speaker and would-be presidential contender Mnangagwa, who lost out at the party conference in November...

Left out of the race...

MDC decision awaited...

Tsunami aid target..>> Full report


Mozambique:

Renamo backtracks from demand to annul election

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] The main Mozambican opposition party Renamo this week said it would accept the results of the December elections, despite evidence of fraud in some regions.

President Joaquim Chissano's hand-picked successor, Armando Guebuza, won the presidential race and the ruling Frelimo party won 161 of the 251 seats in parliament.>> Full report


SA politics:

Neo-liberal ANC looks back to Freedom Charter and RDP

[(c) SouthScan v20/01 14 Jan 05] The accent at last weekend's African National Congress anniversary celebrations was on the past - on the historic Kliptown Freedom Charter that in rhetorical form underpinned the culture of the organisation.

The focus on this socialist document was unexpected; it is based on the transfer of economic and political power to the working masses, but it and its offshoot, the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) have over the past ten years been marginalized and replaced by a neo-liberal economic agenda....

Different views...

Economy rides high...

Social spending...>> Full report