Conflict in Cameroon is extracting a heavy toll on ordinary people

1 day 18 hours ago
Cameroon's President Paul Biya being sworn in for a seventh consecutive term on the 6th November 2018. EPA-EFE/Etienne MainimoO

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has let Cameroon’s President Paul Biya know that his nation will no longer host the 2019 African Nations Cup competition. The decision is a humiliation. Once a powerhouse of Africa’s football, Cameroon’s reputation had dropped significantly.

CAF’s decision serves as a reminder that the country is sinking, and something must be done.

Until a few years ago Cameroon was a nation on the move. Despite its many political, economic and social problems, the country was peaceful, attracted people from all over for tourism, business, and education.

For example the University of Dayton had, over two decades, run immersion programmes in the country, and so did many other American universities. Cameroon was also an international centre where major conferences, symposia, and cultural activities took place.

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On the brink: why 2019 may be another bad year for beleaguered Mali

1 week 1 day ago
UN forces at a luxury tourist resort outside Bamako, Mali, in 2017 following an attack. EPA/Stringer

For Mali, 2018 opened with measured optimism. But the year is ending with a widening gap between what many expected and the harsh realities of daily life for ordinary Malians.

It was hoped that more resolution would be found for the things that have gone wrong since the multidimensional crisis that was triggered in 2012. In under seven years, Malians have witnessed an insurgency and coup d’état, intervention by French and West African troops, the establishment of a United Nations mission, and jihadist groups reorganising to extend violence from northern to central regions.

In mid-2018, as much as the difficulties facing Mali were daunting, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was able to parlay some modest signs of progress into a second term. Through his first term (2013-18) Keïta’s status quo approaches to many issues renewed the confidence of donor-partners and private investors in the core of Mali’s economic governance.

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Taking Africa's democratic temperature as a dozen countries prepare for polls

1 week 3 days ago
Elections, and observer processes are a big priority in Africa. UN Photo/Flickr

More than a dozen national elections will be held across Africa next year. All 55 members of the African Union (AU) are obligated to hold regular and ostensibly democratic elections. They must also invite teams of AU election observers to publicly monitor, assess and report the results.

Is all this electoral activity helping to entrench democracy as the foundation for national and regional security, development and integration? Or have elections become the means for demagogues to grab power – or, more typically, for powerful elites and authoritarian rulers to entrench themselves?

Democratic theory prescribes credible elections as a necessary, but insufficient means, to consolidate real democracy. Real democracy typically abets peace and security. National circumstances vary. But three additional conditions are also vital. They are freedom of expression, the right of assembly, and an independent nonpartisan judiciary to resolve disputes and ensure the rule of law predominates.

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Nigeria's 2019 election: a two-horse race with uninspiring candidates

2 weeks 3 days ago
Atiku Abubakar and incumbent Muhammadu Buhari (right) are the two frontrunners in Nigeria's presidential race. EPA/STR

Almost all of Nigeria’s 68 political parties have wrapped up their primaries and chosen candidates to stand in the country’s February 2019 general election. The poll is likely to be yet another two-horse race: a contest between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP). These are the only two parties to win the presidency since the end of military rule in 1999. The Conversation Africa’s Julius Maina spoke to Olayinka Ajala about the emerging campaign issues and the surprises so far.

Who are the main candidates for the February election?

Thirty one aspirants have emerged to contest the presidential election. That number will probably be reduced before the elections, as several smaller parties are in talks to form coalitions.

But there are only two leading contenders – the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, and Atiku Abubakar, who was vice-president under President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007.

Both are contesting on the platforms of the two largest parties in Nigeria.

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Poll in the DRC looms. But the election is unlikely to bring change

2 weeks 6 days ago
Voters during the DRC's last elections in Kinshasa. Dai Kurokawa/EPA

It’s no easy task to hold an election in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just ask the country’s electoral commission, which started 2017 by publicly announcing that the general election, planned for December 2018 might actually only be held as late as April 2019.

But, come early 2018, it looked like there might be good news on the horizon for the beleaguered nation: a 23 December poll was confirmed. The independent electoral commission declared that it had registered enough voters for the election to go ahead.

This is a crucial poll because it finally marks the end of Joseph Kabila’s rule in the DRC. The constitutional court gave Kabila a caretaker mandate to ensure that elections were held after the end of his two-term tenure. Many feared that this caretaker role would eventually turn into a third term but it hasn’t.

However, the majority of ordinary people don’t view this as a chance for real change.

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How events in Ethiopia will influence the Horn of Africa

3 weeks 6 days ago
Peace in the Horn of Africa could depend on how Ethiopia handles its reforms process Shutterstock

Reforms currently sweeping through Ethiopia under the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have implications for the relationship between Ethiopia and its neighbours. Ethiopia is seen as the de facto leading state in the region. But it has a history of clashing with neighbouring states.

The current reforms have the potential to bolster Ethiopia’s leadership role in the region. And an Ethiopia that is perceived as a unifying force could lead to more stability.

Two recent announcements stand out: the normalisation of relations with the northern neighbour Eritrea and the signing of a peace deal with the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a separatist movement that has sought self-determination for the Somali region of Ethiopia.

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