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

v21/23 17 November 06

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CONTENTS

Congo:

In a fragile city tentative hopes grow for peaceful transition        

 

Congo:

British firm wins exclusive rights in tactic to control uranium exports

 

International:

China deal thwarts SA's good governance intentions        

 

International:

Mbeki seeks to hold governance line against Chinese          

 

Zambia:

Smelting plant will make China biggest investor           

 

Mozambique:

Rise of new middle class is reflected in ruling Frelimo party   

 

Mozambique:

Press freedom 'better than in US'     

 

SA politics:

As Zuma threat fades police graft scandal looms over Mbeki

          

SA development:

Air force fighter pilot issue shows up skills deficit in military           


Congo:

In a fragile city tentative hopes grow for peaceful transition

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] A precarious calm prevailed in the Congolese capital at the end of the week, after the official announcement on Wednesday (November 15) of Joseph Kabila's victory in the presidential election with 58.05 percent of the votes.

While the situation remained fragile the perception was growing among local observers that the losing contender, Jean-Pierre Bemba's side was divided on what tactic to support. ...

'Cannot accept result'

The day after the results were announced Bemba refused to concede defeat and said in a televised statement that he would use "all legal means" to challenge the results given by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). "I cannot accept these results which are far from reflecting the truth of the ballot", declared Bemba. ...

Kinshasa situation

Yet, although the Congolese police and the UN's MONUC troops managed to more or less retain control of the situation after the official announcement of the results, the situation remains tense in Kinshasa. Even if Bemba himself is not prepared to challenge the results through an insurrection, some of those who voted for him may adopt a more bellicose attitude. ...

Bemba's support divided

Bemba's supporters are divided on what strategy to adopt. His deputy, the secretary general of the 'Movement of Liberation of Congo', Francois Mwamba, who was on Monday in Paris for "medical treatment", is in favour of peaceful opposition.. ...

War contracts

Even if he is not challenged in the streets Kabila's task may be difficult. Neither he nor the prime minister he said he would appoint, 81-year- old Antoine Gizenga, are charismatic leaders or good at communicating. ... >>> Full report


Congo:

British firm wins exclusive rights in tactic to control uranium exports

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] Even before the presidential election results were announced the transitional government in the DR Congo has handed exclusive rights over the development of the country's uranium resources to a British company.

The company is jointly owned by a raft of major Western firms and the deal is being seen as a strategic move by the West to prevent future proliferation by an unstable government of nuclear material from some of the world's richest sites. ...

Major companies

Major companies, including Lonrho Africa holdings, Credit Suisse, First Boston Nominees Ltd, Tau Proprietary Investment Ltd, and Roy Nominees Ltd have all shares in Brinkley Mining. Western diplomats believe the reputation of these companies will provide a guarantee. ...

>>> Full report


International:

China deal thwarts SA's good governance intentions

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] Announcements in recent weeks of mutually fruitful investment deals seemed to point the way to non-exploitative relationship between China and African countries that would sustain the African Union and SA-backed policy goals set out in Nepad, the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

A raft of fresh investments in African countries was announced at last week's Sino-African summit in Beijing. At the same time a Hong Kong-based billionaire bought shares in London and Johannesburg listed Anglo American for US$800m, and Anglo, one of the world's major resources companies, announced it was investing in coal mining in China. ...

Military deals

China is not only interested in mineral resources from Uganda (or via Uganda). It regards Uganda as a strategic partner in the Great Lakes, controlling water resources in the region, and it is cementing its relations with military deals.  ...

Regional aims

Ugandan military objectives were spelled out to the Chinese visitors and these included engagement in security locally and regionally, given Uganda's strategic role. . ...

Arms sales competition

South Africa may for its own reasons be looking askance at these deals - Uganda has been one of its biggest African customers for security related hardware. ...

>>> Full report


International:

Mbeki seeks to hold governance line against Chinese

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] The "strategic partnership" between Africa and China needed transparency and good corporate governance, SA's President Thabo Mbeki said last week at the Sino-African summit in Beijing, and he emphasized the principles set out in Nepad, the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

But Chinese officials repeated the refrain that they would not interfere in Africa's own affairs and impose conditionality on their trade, investment or aid. . ...

Zimbabwe aid

This week Beijing sent 22,000 tons of fertilizer to Zimbabwe, part of a 200,000-ton fertilizer package pledged at the summit; Zimbabwe's commercial agriculture has collapsed because of its forced land takeovers. ...

SA-China relations

At the summit Hu told Mbeki that China, a permanent UN Security Council member, would continue to push for the interests of developing countries in world bodies. . ...

Holding the line?

Mbeki was looking increasingly isolated as he tried to hold the line worked out between himself and other African leaders and the G8 countries over a series of summits. ...

Left out

Left out of the Chinese party were Gambia, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Swaziland and Sao Tome...

>>> Full report


Zambia:

Smelting plant will make China biggest investor

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] A state-owned Chinese mining company is to build a copper smelting plant in Zambia as part of its $800m overseas investment plan, it was announced at last week's Beijing Sino-African summit.

China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co Ltd and another smaller Chinese copper firm will invest $220m in building a 150,000-ton copper smelting plant.. ...

>>> Full report


Mozambique:

Rise of new middle class is reflected in ruling Frelimo party

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] The ruling Frelimo party's congress this week has reflected the same economic and social changes as in neighbouring South Africa. Public service staff, dependent on the state for their jobs, have replaced workers and peasants. Of 1,326 delegates, only 90 were subsistence peasants and just nine were industrial workers.

The same pattern has been revealed in recent African National Congress gatherings in SA, as a new middle class dependent on state largesse has developed on the back of economic expansion....

Guebuza consolidates

Frelimo's 9th Congress in Quelimane this week (November 11-15) produced few dramatic changes. President Armando Guebuza consolidated his leadership but ex-President Joaquim Chissano remains a major influence, long-time Mozambique specialist Joseph Hanlon said. ...

New political commission

The 160-member Central Committee is formally the main decision making body of the party, but it meets only twice a year - the Political Commission is the key decision maker....

Verification commission

The verification commission is also influential - it is responsible for disciplinary matters and Frelimo's financial management and can include members who are not on the Central Committee. Eduardo Mulembue remains head of the commission. ...

>>> Full report


Mozambique:

Press freedom 'better than in US'

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] Mozambique's press is now freer than that in the US, according to Reporters Without Borders in their annual press freedom index.

In the ranking, Mozambique comes 45th and the US comes 53rd, with a note that press freedom in the US has been deteriorating since 2002. In that year the US was number 17 and Mozambique ranked 70.

>>> Full report


SA politics:

As Zuma threat fades police graft scandal looms over Mbeki

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] Just as SA's President Thabo Mbeki was thanking his lucky stars that a new court decision had effectively put his rival, Jacob Zuma out of the presidential succession race, another part of the African National Congress roof has fallen in.

This time his loyal police commissioner Jackie Selebi has been tainted in a case of massive proportions - what the Mail and Guardian newspaper called "the biggest can of worms in South Africa's criminal history". ...

Shadowy security force

The charges have also lifted the lid on a shadowy force called Palto, allegedly run by Selebi. . ...

Call for inquiry

The Agliotti arrest again raised calls from civil society security organisations for an independent inquiry. ...

Zuma back on the hook

The news of Agliotti's arrest came as the ANC national executive committee was meeting in Johannesburg. . ...

>>> Full report


SA development:

Air force fighter pilot issue shows up skills deficit in military

[© SouthScan v21/23 17 Nov 06] Ahead of the delivery of state-of-the-art jet fighters the SA air force has barred whites from training as fighter pilots in a symbolic effort to give the elite wing a black face.

The need for a new intake is pressing - since 2004, 70 pilots have resigned. But three top trainee pilots who are white were rejected by the SAAF. ...

Expatriate permits

In addition the government has been willing to give way in other sectors threatened with a lack of skills ...

Army crime connection

The resignations from the airforce have added to concerns about the army, where reports are mounting of thefts and links to organized crime. ...

Operations chief dies ...

>>> Full report