Analysis and reporting on key policy issues from Southern and Central Africa

v21/07 7 April 06

 For subscription details ...


Failure to bring main opposition on board threatens stability and legitimacy of election P.1

Another poll postponement announced P.3

EU force to deter 'spoilers' in west of country P.3

China takes up most new oil production P.4

Peacekeeping training in Harare P.5

Mines takeover law to be extended to other sectors P.5

Ever rising inflation dashes Bank's hopes P.5

Minister's links with safari company scam revealed P.6

SA's communist leader claims investors are fleeing BEE P.6

SA politics:
Zuma trial opens up ANC's inner dynamics P.6

'Plot' tests robustness of security institutions P.7


Failure to bring main opposition on board threatens stability and legitimacy of election

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] Last ditch efforts have failed to bring on board for the presidential election the main opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDSP) party led by Etienne Tshisekedi, increasing the chances for the present incumbent, Joseph Kabila, but also reducing his legitimacy after the vote. Instead a fake ‘Etienne Tshisekedi’ has been entered in the race, widely thought to be a plant by the Kabila camp.

Seventy-three people registered as presidential candidates and 8,650 registered for the legislative elections, including 920 independent candidates. Some important political figures who had threatened not to participate in the election eventually did register. Antoine Gizenga, the 80-year-old chairman of the Lumumbist Unified Party (PALU), eventually but reluctantly agreed to pay the US$50,000 non-recoverable deposit required from the presidential candidates. ...

Undermining Kabila ...

UDSP disarray ...

Intimidation ... >>> Full report


Another poll postponement announced

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] The DR Congo’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) last Sunday (April 2) closed the registration of candidates for the forthcoming elections. Owing to delays these will now take place after June 18, the initial date set by the IEC, and will most probably be held after the June 30 deadline, marking the end of the transition period. A firm date for the first round should be announced on April 19.

From a constitutional point of view the postponement should not be a problem and there is no risk of a power vacuum after June 30 since the constitution adopted in December stipulates that the current transitional authorities will remain in office as long as their successors are not elected or appointed. But the voters should not be given the impression that the process is being deliberately delayed, the IEC chairman, Apollinaire Malu Malu warned during a press briefing at the European Parliament in Brussels on March 28.


EU force to deter ‘spoilers’ in west of country

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] The main mission of the European Union troops destined for the DR Congo is to deter “spoilers” among the losers in the election. They could be found on the presidential side or among the main former rebel groups such as the Movement of Liberation of Congo (MLC) or the Congolese Rally for Democracy (CRD), according to Aldo Ajello, the EU’s special representative to he Great Lakes.

He was speaking at a press conference on Monday in Brussels, where he and a senior EU military officer gave more details on the objectives of the operation in support of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC). ...

French force ...

Opposition remains ...

Eastern region ...

Western region violence ...

>>> Full report


China takes up most new oil production

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] Angola has become China’s main source of oil, replacing Saudi Arabia. Chinese imports of Angolan crude are up 42 percent over the year and take up most of the Angolan production increase.

China’s $2 billion credit line has put Beijing in a favourable position for winning tenders for oil exploration. Angola shipped 2.12 million tonnes of crude to China in February, ahead of Saudi Arabia’s 1.98m tonnes, according to Swiss-based Petromatrix Gmbh, a trade advisory and risk management company.In January Angola was China’s third-biggest supplier shipping 1.55mt of crude, behind Iran’s 1.89mt and 1.55mt shipped by Saudi Arabia. China plans to spend $22.5bn in the oil refining and petrochemical sector in the next five years....

US navy visit ...

>>> Full report


Peacekeeping training in Harare

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] Thirty military officers from 11 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries graduated from a Peace Support Course at the Regional Peacekeeping Training Center (RPTC) in Harare last week.

They were being trained for the SADC Standby Force in the first course to be run at the centre since the Danish withdrew their funding in 2002. ...

>>> Full report


Mines takeover law to be extended to other sectors

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] Proposals by the Zimbabwe government to take over half of foreign owned mines and give them to locals could be spread to cover the whole economy, a senior official said this week. The mines plan was postponed after major mining companies met with President Robert Mugabe and said they were putting investment on hold (SouthScan v21/05).

But the National Investment Trust, an indigenisation organisation under the control of the presidency, has let slip that government is planning to ‘indigenize’ the whole economy, putting the future of multinationals at stake and extinguishing any hopes of attracting foreign direct investment. ...

>>> Full report


Ever rising inflation dashes Bank’s hopes

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] Zimbabwe’s inflation rate, already the highest in the world, is continuing to rise despite the Reserve Bank’s predictions that it will level off. Inflation is partly being fuelled by increases in house rents following the government’s massive urban clearance last year in the Operation Murambatsvina, which left thousands of people homeless after destroying their houses. (The Zanu-PF controlled Harare council has now announced it will clear shanties that have been built to replace those bulldozed earlier.)

The annual inflation rate shot to a record 913.6 percent in March, ending any hopes of recovery this year for the economy. It passes its own previous world record, of 782 percent set in February, the Central Statistics Office said on Friday. CSO acting director Moffat Nyoni said the increase in inflation meant that goods and services were about 10 times more expensive in March than they were during the same period last year. ...

Marked downThe report that uses an index that measures the degree of preparedness of a nation or community to benefit from the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)....

>>> Full report


Minister’s links with safari company scam revealed

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] A furore has broken out in the Zanu-PF government after the revelation that Webster Shamu, a minister of policy implementation in President Robert Mugabe’s office, has close links with HHK Safaris, a wildlife hunting safari company which was this week accused of racially abusing its workers and externalizing huge amounts of foreign currency.

The government, strapped for foreign exchange and unable to pay power and fuel bills, has attempted to crack down on individuals sending forex out of the country. ...

>>> Full report


SA’s communist leader claims investors are fleeing BEE

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] South Africa’s Communist Party chief has claimed South African companies investing in Zambia are running away from regulations of black economic empowerment in South Africa.

Several Zambian opposition leaders have been warning their government to investigate why white South Africans have been flocking into the country as investors. SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said they were fleeing Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) regulations, but that despite the programme the South African economy was still run by white South Africans. ...

Unity call to opposition ...

>>> Full report

SA politics:

Zuma trial opens up ANC’s inner dynamics

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] The rape trial of Jacob Zuma, which reached its culmination this week when he took the stand for four hours, has been a polarizing event for the African National Congress, bringing the issues of gender and ethnicity to the fore.

In the country with the highest rate of rape and with one of the highest HIV rates in the world the trial has reactivated gender politics and women’s solidarity after the harsh questioning of the complainant about her sexual past, including about rapes she may have endured as a child, over the insults and attacks on the woman by Zuma’s supporters outside the courthouse, and over Zuma attitude to HIV/AIDS. ...

Focus on the Zulus ...

Verdict on conspiracy ...

>>> Full report

SA politics:

‘Plot’ tests robustness of security institutions

[© SouthScan v21/07 7 Apr 06] Concern is growing in SA that the National Intelligence Agency has become completely enmeshed in the factional battles inside the African National Congress.

Last week of the NIA’s inspector general published his report on an alleged plot inside the agency. Public attention in South Africa was focused on his description of bogus e-mails used by the agency’s director general to buttress claims of a conspiracy against former deputy president Jacob Zuma. But the report also noted that the overall NIA surveillance operation posed a threat to SA’s young state institutions. ...

Ethnic disputes ...

Masetlha’s history ...

>>> Full report