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

v21/08 21 April 06

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CONTENTS

Zimbabwe:
Demobilised opposition faces Mugabe rampant on independence anniversary

Zimbabwe:
Seventh 'recovery' programme fails to excite but mines takeover speech does

Zambia:
Chinese and Indian copper miners boost investment


Congo:
Presidential campaign starts with no election date yet in sight

Congo:
Kabila's party and Christian Democrats in pole positions

Congo:
Death threats against human rights activist


Congo:
US instructors to train military

Congo:
Gecamines' focus on cobalt rather than copper 'wrong'


Congo:
Kansteiner company finds more gold

Congo:
Transition's failures laid at the door of governing elite

Angola:
Gaydamak's bid over France-Soir rejected


International:
Russian G8 leadership may push Nepad onto back burner


SA development:
Peer review open to public comment


International:
UA-SACU free trade deal runs into the sands


SA development:
Study plays down AIDS' economic impact


Zimbabwe:

Demobilised opposition faces Mugabe rampant on independence anniversary

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] President Robert Mugabe response to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s calls for mobilisation against the government has been to threaten him with “the full wrath of the law”.

Mugabe's Independence Day speech on Tuesday came as trade unionists warned that strikes could follow a deadlock in wage talks in a situation of hyper inflation - a price hike earlier this month put a loaf of bread beyond the reach of most wage-earners. Inflation is nearing 1,000 percent. Talks between unions and employers opened last month and were expected to continue until the end of this month. There has been no large-scale labour action for eight years. ...

Churches apathetic or bought ... >>> Full report

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Zimbabwe:

Seventh ‘recovery’ programme fails to excite but mines takeover speech does

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] The government this week launched its seventh economic recovery programme in a decade, but analysts have already dismissed it as mere talk, with unrealistic targets.

Much more widely disseminated and more damaging was President Robert Mugabe’s declaration at Independence Day celebrations earlier in the week that he was determined to put control of foreign-owned mines into the hands of locals, despite earlier postponements (SouthScan v21/07). ...

Growth anticipated ...

Parastatals for sale ...

Property rights were key ...>>> Full report

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Zambia:

Chinese and Indian copper miners boost investment

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] With copper prices reaching new peaks Zambia is riding high on revenues from minerals exports, especially to resource hungry China and India.

An Indian company has announced more investment in Zambian copper - Vendanta Mineral Resources, the major shareholder of Konkola Copper Mine (KCM), will in the next three to four years invest US$1 billion to enhance operations of the biggest copper mine in Zambia. In 2004 the Indian firm purchased 51 percent of KCM share and the mining company produced 200,000 tons of copper in that year. The mine, bordering the DR Congo, has an ore reserve of 215 million tons with a grade of about 4.15 percent. ...

Benefits limited ...

Mwanawasa hospitalisedHe fell ill in early April as he prepared to travel to the northern Copperbelt province for a campaign swing ahead of elections expected later this year....>>> Full report

 

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Congo:

Presidential campaign starts with no election date yet in sight

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] Analysts in Kinshasa are increasingly tending to the view that instead of elections being held in two months time, as per the latest schedule, they may be held some time before the end of the year, or even later. Instability may as a result increase, they believe.

The most optimistic still think that a chance remains for the first round of the elections to take place somewhere between July 23 and September 3. But sources within the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) say that it is more realistic to envisage a poll some time before the end of the year, a long way off from the initial target deadline of June 30. They say that this is still an optimistic scenario. ...

Appeals results awaited ...>>> Full report

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Congo:

Kabila’s party and Christian Democrats in pole positions

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] There have been more indications confirming the lead position ahead of the elections of President Joseph Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Development (PPRD).

According to the Independent Electoral Commission, the PPRD has managed to present lists in all the largest 13 constituencies (four in Kinshasa, as well as in Lumumbashi, Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga, Kisangani, Bukavu, Goma, Matadi, Mbandaka, and Bulungu). ...>>> Full report

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Congo:

Death threats against human rights activist

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] The Human Rights Division of the UN Mission in the Congo, MONUC has condemned death threats against the director of the Lumumbashi-based Action against Impunity for Human Rights NGO, Hubert Tshiswaka.

He was threatened after he released a communiqué urging the citizens of Lumumbashi not to vote for rights violators or for people involved in the looting of the country’s natural resources.... >>> Full report

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Congo:

US instructors to train military

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] One of the practical consequences of the election delays is that the deployment will also be delayed of the European Force in support of the UN force MONUC. It has also given scope for more US military training.

EU force deployment is supposed to take place one week ahead of the first round of the elections and continue for four months, and the operational commander of the European Force, French general Christian Damas, reassured Congolese Defence Minister, Adolphe Onusumba, of the EU’s commitment at a meeting on Wednesday. ...

Katangan deployment ...

Hutu rebelsBut inside the Congo other problems must be addressed. On Monday a hundred Mai-Mai fighters in Maniema province demanded to be sent to an orientation centre. They told the Congolese government Office for the Disarmament and Reinsertion of Fighters (Conader) that civilians who seek material or financial advantages from Conader were allowed to register while “genuine” fighters were left out....>>> Full report

 

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Congo:

Gecamines’ focus on cobalt rather than copper ‘wrong’

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] The Katanga mining industry in the DR Congo is heading in the wrong direction, according to a new report. The mining parastatal Gecamines’ development strategy remains geared to cobalt, but the growing resource is copper, in the view of the Belgian economic weekly ‘Trends’.

Cobalt production and projected output by Gécamines  and joint ventures will amount in the coming years to about 30,000 tons, about 60 percent of current world demand.“Since global demand for copper is currently about 15 million tons per annum, the market offers a lot more opportunities for new copper projects than for projects solely based on cobalt”, the report says....>>> Full report

 

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Congo:

Kansteiner company finds more gold

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] The Moto Goldmines concession in the DR Congo holds at least a third more of the metal than previously assessed, according to the company. At a time when the gold price is hitting all time highs the company says a further resource review is planned for the third quarter of 2006. This may reveal yet more.

Directors of the company include former US Africa envoy Walter Kansteiner, and it is chaired by former CEO of AnglogoldAshanti Sir Samuel Jonah. Other directors are also linked to AngloGold and Orvana.The Moto Gold Project is a joint venture of L’Office des Mines d’Or de Kilo-Moto (OKIMO), Orgaman and Moto....>>> Full report

 

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Congo:

Transition’s failures laid at the door of governing elite

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] The DR Congo’s governing elite has been blamed for most of the failures of the transitional period. The authorities have failed to address the political and socio-economic crisis in the country, according to a new report, ‘The State vs the People’, by the Dutch-based NGO Niza (Nederlandse Instituut voor Zuidelijke Afrika) and the Antwerp-based International Peace Information Service (IPIS).

“Much of the transition’s failure can be ascribed to bad governance and corruption on behalf of the DRC’s current political class”, they say. ...

Ruling elite to remain ...>>> Full report

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Angola:

Gaydamak’s bid over France-Soir rejected

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] The attempt by the close business partner of the Angolan President José Eduardo Dos Santos, the Russian-Israeli tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak to take over the bankrupt Paris daily ‘France-Soir’ has failed (SouthScan v21/06).

The Lille court ruled on April 12 in favour of Gaydamak’s adversary, the French real estate company manager, Pierre Brunois, according to the French daily ‘Libération’. But since Brunois announced that he would cut 60 jobs out of a total of 110, France-Soir’s staff decided to go on strike on the following day. ...

Dos Santos still silentAngolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has again refused to say whether he will be standing in the forthcoming national elections. He said earlier this month he was awaiting a report from the National Electoral Commission before fixing a date for the vote but that it would be held “this year or, at the latest, next year”. The first step would be to register voters. That operation would be feasible only in the May to September dry season. MPs in the National Assembly were elected to a four-year term in 1992....>>> Full report

 

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International:

Russian G8 leadership may push Nepad onto back burner

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] As Russia prepares for the G8 July summit concerns is growing that Nepad’s moment as a deal between the ‘donor countries’ of the North and Africa may be passing. The Kananaskis G8 summit involved an historic trade-off - African self-policing in exchange for Western aid and investment. But the current Russian leadership of the G8 is moving the focus of the world’s most powerful states away from Africa and onto the countries of Eastern Europe at the same time as China’s sudden and massive economic engagement with Africa has undermined key Western conditionalities.

Last week Britain appeared to be making an effort to regain the initiative for Nepad. It is to make US$15 billion in aid available over the next 10 years, much of it for African education. The announcement of the massive injection was made by UK chancellor Gordon Brown in the company of SA’s former president Nelson Mandela in Maputo and seemed timed to remind the Russian G8 presidency of the group’s earlier promises. ...

Russia’s ‘pragmatic policy’ ...>>> Full report

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SA development:

Peer review open to public comment

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] South Africans will be asked to comment on the country’s draft self-assessment under the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) before the end of September, SA Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Wednesday. There has been civil society criticism in SA that it was inadequately consulted in the process.

The continuing fluidity around Nepad and the African Union may be cleared up when Nepad heads of state and government meet in June in Dakar, Senegal, to deliberate what a Nepad project is, as opposed to a national project.

 

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International:

US-SACU free trade deal runs into the sands

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] The three-year long free trade negotiations between the US and South Africa its neighbours in the Southern Africa Customs Union have run into the sands.

A free trade agreement between the US and SACU - South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland - was first mooted in 2002 and the deal was expected to be in place by December 2004. But US and SA officials said this week that talks had stalled around issues including intellectual property rights, government procurement and investment. In particular AIDS pharmaceuticals were at issue. ...>>> Full report

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SA development:

Study plays down AIDS’ economic impact

[© SouthScan v21/08 21 Apr 06] South African small and medium sized businesses are unconcerned about the impact of AIDS, according to a new report. The diesase was not having a major impact on South Africa’s overall economy, Hilary Southall, the director of the Joint Economic AIDS and Poverty Programme (Jeapp), said last week. The study commissioned by Jeapp will be published in the next edition of the SA Journal of Economics.

But some experts say it fails to take into account the growing effects of the disease on the wider economy. Its conclusions also seem massively at variance with other business impact studies in SA - though these are described by some AIDS experts as “rickety” and emerging out of models that employ different assumptions about demographic impact, the channels along which AIDS is likely to affect the economy, and about the nature of the effects themselves. ...>>> Full report

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