Saturday, August 5th, 2017


Africa in the news: Election updates, China’s new Djibouti base, and Google CEO’s Nigeria visit

By Amy Copley Election updates for Kenya, Rwanda, and Senegal A top Kenyan election official, Chris Msando, who served as acting director for information and communications technology at the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), was tortured and murdered over the weekend, an autopsy revealed this week. The Kenyan National Police Service stated that a special homicide team is investigating the murder while IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati appealed to the government to “provide security for all members of the IEBC for them to give Kenya free and fair elections.”  TheRead More

A deal in Libya? Don’t applaud just yet

By Federica Saini Fasanotti Many in the international community cheered the latest apparent breakthrough in mediating the ongoing conflict in Libya. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to amount to much—both because of the political and security difficulties plaguing Libya, and because the main problem Libya poses for Europe is actually rooted in the Sahel. That region, from which much of the recent migration to Europe stems, hasn’t featured nearly as prominently in European security discussions as it should. The Libya picture On July 25 in Paris, the two leaders of TripolitaniaRead More

Kenya’s election 2017: Same concerns, different approaches

By Douglas L. Kivoi, Steven Nduvi Only the Jubilee Party of Kenya and the National Super Alliance have shared manifestos on their aspirations for the populace. With the manifestos generally aligned to the aspirations in Kenya Vision 2030, the issues brought forth are similar, with differences in their approaches. It is important to note that the Kenya Vision 2030 aims to make Kenya an upper-middle-income country, emphasizing economic, social, and political transformation.  Economic issues have dominated the political campaigns. The incumbent Kenyatta government has focused on demonstrating the achievements madeRead More

Kenya’s election 2017: Unique concerns for a unique country

By Douglas L. Kivoi, Steven Nduvi Kenya holds its general election this coming Tuesday, August 8, 2017, the second time since the promulgation of the country’s new constitution in August 2010. This constitution established a devolved system of government with a national government and 47 county governments. As such, in this election, Kenyans will elect the president, county governors, county members of the Senate, county women representatives, members of parliament, and members of county assemblies.  Notably, the two main contenders for the presidency are incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta running onRead More

Will violence flare again in Kenya?

WHAT does it say about the fairness of a vote when a senior election official is murdered a week before polling day? On August 8th Kenyans will pick a president, governors, MPs and senators. Yet instead of being excited about the chance to elect a new government, many are terrified. On July 31st Chris Msando, the chief technician in charge of the electronic voting system, was found dead in Nairobi, the capital, his arm broken and his body displaying signs of torture. Who killed Mr Msando is far from clear.Read More

How climate change might affect the Nile

TO THE untrained eye, the satellite photos of north-west Ethiopia on July 10th may have seemed benign. They showed a relatively small pool of water next to an enormous building site on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile river. But the project under construction is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is more than halfway complete. And the water is why it is so controversial. Since Ethiopia announced its plan to build the dam, it has inspired threats of sabotage from Egypt, which sits downstream and reliesRead More

Israeli spy shows are conquering the world

What’s “Allahu akbar” in Chinese? THERE are only about 9m Hebrew-speakers, yet Netflix, an online video service, now offers a dozen Hebrew-language shows to its subscribers. Most Hebrew-speakers will have already seen them on Israeli television, but Netflix is betting that, subtitled, they will attract viewers around the world. Like other television companies, it is excited about drama from Israel. As well as investing in television series, it is behind a new Israeli film, “The Angel”, based on the life of an Egyptian spy run by Mossad. Most of theRead More

The fertile world of Nigerian patois

NO COMPLIMENT was too flowery at the launch in May of “Antidotes for Corruption”, a book by Dino Melaye, a Nigerian senator who has fended off numerous allegations of graft. “What is being launched today is, ipso facto, a new potent Intercontinental Ballistic-cum-Cruise missile—an unassailable Assault weapon against, arguably, Mankind’s Enemy Number One: Corruption,” read the opening sentence of a leaflet handed out at the event. The 43-year-old politician was described as a “unique, strong-willed, opinionated, stubborn, determined, intelligent, prolific and even sexy young man in his prime”. It isRead More

How developers deal with “hijacked” buildings in Johannesburg

A column of Red Ants prepares for battle BACK in 2010, Gerald Olitzki could only survey his new building from a safe distance across the street. He bought the downtown property for redevelopment, even though criminals still controlled it, extorting rent from poor tenants. Squatters peered warily out of broken windows; inside, a warren of shacks faded into the gloom. At that time, he did not dare approach to give your correspondent a closer view. Fast-forward seven years, and Mr Olitzki now strides proudly towards a building that, like manyRead More

Europe’s no business as usual summer

“DON’T you know about our summer?” asks a spokesperson of a Swedish multinational, himself presumably on holiday as kids chirp in the background. Almost everyone is gone until September, he says. At a German multinational, “the whole board is away for August,” admits a spokesperson. Faced with a slew of out-of-office messages across corporate Europe, there seems little choice for a business correspondent but to report on the phenomenon itself. The practice of collectively taking July or August off dates from the Industrial Revolution, when it made sense to sendRead More