Latest Articles

Burundi: Democracy and Peace at Risk

Since the new, democratically elected government came to power in September 2005, the first since 1993, there has been marked deterioration in Burundi’s political climate. Led by the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), the government has arrested critics, moved to muzzle the press, committed human rights abuses and tightened its control...

A Congo Action Plan

More than two years into the transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the peace process remains at risk. As many as 1,000 people a day still die from war-related causes -- mainly disease and malnutrition, but also continuing violence. While the main belligerent leaders are all in the transitional government, their corruption and mismanagement threaten stability during and after the...

Rebuilding Liberia: Prospects and Perils

Liberia is a collapsed state that has become in effect a UN protectorate. Whether its political and economic reconstruction can begin depends on how quickly security spreads throughout the country. Squabbles over jobs by leaders of the armed factions have caused near-paralysis in the transitional government. Faction leaders tried to block disarmament until they received more jobs, boding ill for...

Making the Millennium Challenge Account Work for Africa

Publisher: The Brookings Institution
Published: 2003
President Bush has been rightly lauded for his visionary initiative to establish a Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) that would increase U.S. resources directed toward the most promising development investments. The administration's proposal to use a set of publicly available, quantitative indicators to direct assistance to those countries with sound policy environments is a good step...

L'islamisme en Afrique du Nord IV: contestation islamiste en Mauritanie: menace ou bouc émissaire?

SYNTHÈSE Ignorée par les médias et les chancelleries internationales la Mauritanie vit une période d'instabilité croissante. Tentatives de putschs avortés, formation du mouvement rebelle, Foursan Taghyir (Les Cavaliers du Changement), découverte de caches d'armes à Nouakchott, arrestations de dirigeants islamistes: les signes ne manquent pas. Dans le discours officiel, le problème de...

Zimbabwe: Three Months after the Elections

In the immediate aftermath of Zimbabwe's 24-25 June 2000 Parliamentary elections, many Zimbabweans optimistically expected that their country would begin to return to normal-leaving behind the six months of violence, intimidation, farm invasions, racist political rhetoric, and erosion of the rule of law. Three months later, their hopes have been largely dashed. As of late September the...

Zimbabwe's Election: The Stakes for Southern Africa

Since the intensification of Zimbabwe's political, economic and humanitarian crisis following defeat of a government-sponsored constitution in a national referendum nearly two years ago, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has documented the escalation of state-sponsored violence and erosion of the rule of law. ICG has called for robust action by the international community, especially...

Zimbabwe in Crisis: Finding a Way Forward

Zimbabwe is in a state of free fall. It is embroiled in the worst political and economic crisis of its twenty-year history as an independent state. The crisis has negatively affected virtually every aspect of the country and every segment of the population. It has exacerbated racial and ethnic tensions, severely torn the country's social fabric, caused fundamental damage to its once-strong...

Zimbabwe: Time for International Action

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published a detailed report in summer 2001 that found Zimbabwe to be in a severe political and economic crisis, characterised by state-directed violence aimed at crushing political opposition and by growing potential for internal conflict and regional instability. It concluded that the international community should make strenuous efforts to persuade President...

Zimbabwe: What Next?

In the aftermath of the deeply flawed March 2002 presidential election, Zimbabwe has dropped off the radar screen of most policy-makers and media but its crisis is deepening: * the ruling ZANU-PF party and the government are systematically using violence to intimidate the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and civil society in order to punish and compel them to accept the...

Zimbabwe: The Politics of National Liberation and International Division

Despite the rising humanitarian costs of the crisis in Zimbabwe, the international community remains deeply divided about its response, allowing President Mugabe to believe that he can exploit the policy fissure between - broadly - the West and Africa. The foreign media's emphasis on the plight of white commercial farmers plays into the regime's liberation rhetoric, reinforcing the...

Zimbabwe: Danger and Opportunity

The economic meltdown, government-created food crisis, and deepening state-sponsored violence that have plagued Zimbabwe in the year since President Robert Mugabe's ruling party rigged the presidential election continue to point in one ominous direction: potential state collapse. One of Africa's most highly developed formal economies is disappearing. Despite price and wage controls,...

Zimbabwe: In Search of a New Strategy

For all the sound and fury of international condemnation and domestic opposition, octogenarian President Robert Mugabe maintains the upper hand in Zimbabwe. He has bludgeoned opposition parties and neutralised mass action strategies, minimised African criticism, maintained South Africa's friendship, and withstood sporadic pressure from the wider international community. It has been a...

Zimbabwe: At The Crossroads

Zimbabwe's 24-25 June 2000 parliamentary election resulted in President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU (PF) party retaining power. However, the nine month old opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), made an impressive showing, winning 57 of the 120 contested seats. This represents a significant democratic advance in a country which, since independence in 1980, has been...

Zimbabwe's Operation Murambatsvina: The Tipping Point?

Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order) cost some 700,000 Zimbabweans their homes or livelihoods or both and otherwise affected nearly a fifth of the troubled country's population. Its impact, as documented in a scathing UN report, has produced a political shock that has returned Zimbabwe to the international spotlight and made the quality of its governance almost impossible for its regional...

Zimbabwe: Another Election Chance

Zimbabwe's crisis -- political as well as economic -- remains as deep as ever, with widespread abuse of human rights and ever harder lives for the average citizen. The ruling ZANU-PF party continues to use repression and manipulate food aid unscrupulously for partisan purposes. African institutions and above all South Africa need to apply pressure to make the crucial elections scheduled for...

Post-Election Zimbabwe: What Next?

The 31 March 2005 parliamentary elections that confirmed the full control of President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF government were neither free nor fair and disappointed those who hoped they might mark a turn away from the crisis that has dominated Zimbabwe's political life for the past five years. The post-election situation looks deceptively familiar. In fact, Mugabe's era is coming...

Decision Time in Zimbabwe

Change is in the air in Zimbabwe. Its citizens no longer talk about whether it will come, but rather when. All acknowledge, however, that the road will be dangerous, possibly violent. South Africa is the single country with ability to help its neighbour through the roughest patches if it is willing to engage with sufficient determination to persuade the government of President Robert Mugabe and...

Diminishing Returns: Algeria's 2002 Legislative Elections

Multiparty parliamentary elections are a comparatively recent innovation in Algeria, and in each instance to date the outcome has been overshadowed by the process that preceded or followed it. The first, held at the end of 1991, were cancelled before the second round of voting had taken place. The parliament, which would otherwise have been dominated by the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), never...

Adding 3Ns to the 3Ds - Lessons from the 1996 Zaire Mission for Humanitarian Interventions

This paper examines the 3D (defence, diplomacy, and development) framework for humanitarian interventions in weak states and/or conflict situations. It accepts that there are some considerable strengths built into this strategic concept for it privileges both a "whole of government" approach and the need to emphasize capacity building in all areas of governance. It argues, however, that...

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