'It's going to be a tough election': South Africa's ANC votes for a new leader

Dr Zweli Mkhize, Treasurer-General of the African National Congress (ANC), leading party of the Republic of South Africa, in his office at Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters - Credits: Miora Rajaonary for TAR
Amid speculation that he may emerge as a compromise candidate in the ANC leadership election, Mkhize tells The Africa Report what the party needs to fix to win back voters


'The clock is ticking': Ghana's new president tries to kickstart urgent economic reforms

Nana Akufo-Addo - Credit: All rights reserved
Having run for office for nearly the past two decades, President Akufo-Addo now has the power to bring the changes he has long called for. The electorate is watching to see if he can turn around the economy, decentralise power and fight corruption


Mo Ibrahim: 'There’s no renewal process for capitalism'

Mo Ibrahim, Founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation - Credit: Bruno Amsellem/Divergence

The billionaire philanthropist talks to The Africa Report about inequality across the globe and the challenges leaders face when tackling the impacts of globalisation


Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: 'It's time for change of leadership'

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela listens as South Africa's president Jacob Zuma, addresses party delegates in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 5, 2017. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP/SIPAPresident Jacob Zuma has led the governing ANC party to the lowest point in its history due to corruption, and South Africa is reverting to the racist state, says the activist, former first lady and ANC stalwart, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela


Spotlight on Winnie Kiiza, firebrand leader of Ugandan opposition

Twitter State House UgandaIn Uganda, the firebrand leader of the opposition in parliament is standing up to the government, which is using strong-arm tactics to change the constitution and allow Museveni to stay in power.


Revolutionary justice

To the barricades as the African sun beats down, comrade judges.
You have nothing to lose but your horsehair wigs and billowing black robes.
But surely the idea that the courts, deep in pomp, would constitute a revolutionary guard against the global tide of authoritarianism and political crookery is naive in the extreme?
Why would this elite cadre of judges flaunting their self-belief as they pass judgements have any interest in challenging the status quo?
Yet, for the past few years, the courts have shown a thrillingly robust spirit as better organised activists use them to show governments the limits of their power.
In the US, the courts struck down Donald Trump’s ban on Muslim immigrants; in ­Britain, they forced Prime Minister ­Theresa May to consult parliament before she signs its divorce with the European Union (EU).
This has extended to Africa where lawyers, in and out of court, find themselves on the frontline of political battles.
The ruling by Kenya’s Supreme Court on 1 ­September to annul presidential elections because they did not meet the standards set out in the electoral law was held up as a ­triumph for judicial in­dependence.
The court’s decision was also a side-swipe at international observers who had rushed to endorse the election and lecture the losers about the need to move on.
It may have been helpful for the court that Kenya’s chief justice, David Maraga, is a conservative and deeply religious figure with no record of radical affiliations.
Critics accuse the court of heating up Kenya’s political climate; in fact, it was already on the boil.
The judges were doing what they should do: testing the provisions of the constitution against realities on the ground to make the political system more accountable to the people.
Radical justice
Far better that arguments about fair elections and legitimacy should be hammered out in courtrooms or council chambers than settled on the streets.
Kenyan activists took a cue from their Ghanaian counterparts, who launched a monumental appeal against the 2012 election results.
Although those petitioners failed after eight months of detailed public hearings, the case helped change electoral law.
That laid the groundwork for last year’s far more credible and accountable elections.
In South Africa, the courts are being dragged into the centre of the political ­arena.
Asked to rule on the reliability of provincial and the African National Congress’s elections, they have been handing down verdicts inimical to President Jacob Zuma’s interests.
Most of all, the tacticians of the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance have been scoring successes in their efforts to ensure that the 783 charges of corruption and racketeering against Zuma are tested in court.
There is no immutable plan for all this.
The activists and petitioners are losing as many cases as they win.
But by pushing back against arbitrary power, the courts are opening up ways for people to organise a more honest and accountable political system.
That’s radical, if not revolutionary, justice. 
From the November 2017 print edition 

Gabon in election turmoil

President Ali Bongo's family have ruled the Central African oil state for almost 50 years. Photo©Francois Mori/AP/SIPAA day after Wednesday's contested re-election of Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon is still under a state of high alert.


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