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

v21/18 8 September 06

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CONTENTS

CONGO:

Tension remains high while Bemba and Kabila prepare for the second round  

CONGO:

Bemba-Kabila interface a 'tinderbox'       

REGION:

Last Burundi rebel group signs ceasefire

ZIMBABWE:

Decentralised demonstrations planned           

ZAMBIA:

Riled on Taiwan, China takes a hand in election           

ZAMBIA:

Indian industrial giant may move into power generation       

REGION:

Kenya thwarts SA's Nepad leadership on undersea cable

SA POLITICS:

Union congress will lay out succession battle plan for year ahead      

INTERNATIONAL:

Putin makes 'historic' visit to SA and pledges massive investment      

 


Congo:

Tension remains high while Bemba and Kabila prepare for the second round

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] Trepidation and uncertainty surrounds the second round of the presidential election after the violent showdown in Kinshasa late last month between the two main contenders.

The candidates who won most votes, President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, have since been working intensively to gain the support of 'the patriarch' Antoine Gizenga, leader of the Lumumbist Unified Party (PALU), who won 13 percent of the votes. Although Kabila won 44.8 percent of the votes, far ahead of Bemba's 20 percent, forecasts about the final outcome are difficult to make. ...

Gizenga's support ...

MONUC organises ...

More fighting? ...

Electoral challenges ... >>> Full report


Congo:

Bemba-Kabila interface a 'tinderbox'

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] Reports from different parts of the country during and after the first round of the election indicate sharply differing prospects in the pre-election period. 

But most ominously Mbandaka, on the wartime frontline between Jean-Pierre Bemba's Equatoria stronghold and the West, is described by observers as a "tinderbox". Bemba's supporters there were immediately mobilized on news of the attack on his compound in Kinshasa just after the election. ...

Kivu situation ...

Resentment in Kasai ...

Suspicions in KinshasaYet perhaps the main question for the post-election period, outside of direct security issues, concerns whether the UN Development Programme's action plan will be fully funded so that it can start to deliver on voter expectations....

>>> Full report


Region:

Last Burundi rebel group signs ceasefire

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] In a significant achievement for South Africa's diplomats Agathon Rwasa's 'Forces Nationales de Liberation' (FNL) Hutu rebels signed a ceasefire agreement with Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, on Wednesday (September 6), at a ceremony in a Dar es Salaam hotel. It took place in the presence of Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. and Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.

SA diplomats have acted as mediators since the end of May to bring the FNL into the fold. It was the last active rebel group and demonstrated this two days before the ceasefire by launching an attack with heavy weapons, on the town of Gatumba, on the Congolese border. One civilian was killed and two others were injured. ...

Committed to peace? ...

>>> Full report


Zimbabwe:

Decentralised demonstrations planned

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] Trade unionists, students and political opposition parties have said they will launch nationwide protests to force President Robert Mugabe's government to improve living conditions.

There are indications that these decentrlaised protests will have more of a chance than earlier ones that were put down by the police. In this case the decision to protest came after religious leaders - not including many of the pro-Mugabe leaders in the Church hierarchy - got all the parties to agree to work together to unseat the ruling Zanu-PF. ...

>>> Full report


Zambia:

Riled on Taiwan, China takes a hand in election

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] China's diplomatic relations with Zambia remain fragile after the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata said he recognized Taiwan as a sovereign state and would open diplomatic relations with that country when he took the presidency.

Chinese ambassador Li Baodong reacted by saying that China would cut diplomatic ties if Sata were elected and urged the electorate not to vote for him on September 28. Apparently disregarding the rule that foreign diplomats do not interfere in a country's internal affairs, Li said threatening statements from opposition political leaders contesting presidential elections were worrying. ...

Battle lines ...

>>> Full report


 

Zambia:

Indian industrial giant may move into power generation

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] Amid concerns about power shortages in the Southern Africa region by 2008, the Indian industrial giant Tata has promised to build a generating plant in Zambia. The Tata Africa Holdings group has focused on the US$120 million Itezhi-Tezhi hydro-power station project.

Zambia had been declared a major investment destination in the group's expansion programme in Africa. Zambia is currently experiencing power outages due to the dilapidated state of power generating machinery in many hydro-power stations. The Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) has said Zambia will continue experiencing power shortages until after 2008 when the company expects to complete renovating the Kariba hydro-power station. ...

Interest in SA mining ...

>>> Full report


 

Region:

Kenya thwarts SA's Nepad leadership on undersea cable

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] Kenya said this week it would seek funding to finance its own undersea internet cable after an African joint venture was delayed by disagreements. The fibre optic cable, expected to cost $110m, would run from Mombasa to Fujairah in the Gulf of Oman.

The announcement comes as a blow to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) 23-country consortium organised by South Africa, to lay the cable, called the East African Submarine Cable System (Eassy). Its repercussions extend beyond the  current issue and may affect how Nepad works in other regional infrastructure projects, where SA's leadership may be similarly contested because of commercial rivalries, say analysts. ...

>>> Full report


 

SA politics:

Union congress will lay out succession battle plan for year ahead

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] The leadership battle inside the ruling African National Congress is due to ratchet up sharply later this month when the trade union federation Cosatu holds is annual congress (September 18-21) with more than 2,000 delegates expected.

This may see a shift in the balance of power inside the federation, which is with the ANC and the SA Communist Party one of the three pivots of the Alliance, but it will also lay the ground for battles round the presidential succession at congresses in the coming year. ...

Unemployment remains key ...

'Reconfiguring'  Alliance ...

Zuma ally shotPolice were this week investigating the murder of the chairman of 'The Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust' as a straightforward crime case, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. Zobaphi Sithole was shot in Soweto on Monday in what many observers said appeared to be an assassination. He was the second Gauteng chairman of the Trust to die this year - earlier this year George Nene was killed in car accident. Zuma said this raised suspicions but did not elaborate. According to Sithole's family he had received death threats over the phone before he was killed....

>>> Full report


International:

Putin makes 'historic' visit to SA and pledges massive investment

[(c) SouthScan v21/18 8 Sept 06] South African and Russian relations took a significant turn this week after a state visit by President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by 100 business leaders. He is the first Russian leader to visit Africa since Nicolai Podgorny toured Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania in 1976 and his visit signals a bid to make Russia, now with a reviving economy, a player in Africa again.

South Africa's Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Putin's visit was "historic" and that the countries would develop relations in the aerospace, energy and military-industrial spheres. ...

'Billions' to be invested ...

Deals announced ==...

>>> Full report