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AUG-2015 The end is nigh for crude oil and oil producers from Caracas to Luanda, from Riyadh to Abuja
Law & Politics
Well “The end is nigh’’ for crude oil and oil producers from Caracas
to Luanda, from Riyadh to Abuja who were squealing like pigs are about
to be served up as rashers.
Oil based economies are going to contract, currencies which have
already collapsed are going to be routed and Greek- style austerity
will be the order of the day. The melt-down is coming.
Ryszard Kapuciski said: “If the crowd disperses, goes home, does not
reassemble, we say the revolution is over.”
The revolution is only just beginning
Gabon opposition leader says two killed, many wounded after disputed vote
"Everybody knows that I won the election," Ping told Reuters, adding
that the electoral commission's figures were based on false documents.
"The (Bongo) family are repeating the same scenario for almost half a
century. The opposition can win the elections but they have never had
access to power... We need assistance from the rest of the world to
protect the population of Gabon from a clan of mercenaries, a rogue
state," he said.
Opposition supporters greeted the election result with anger.
Demonstrators in the capital Libreville clashed with police and set
part of the parliament building on fire. It burned for hours before
being extinguished, witnesses said.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called for an immediate end
to violence. France is Gabon's former colonial power and retains
strong economic and cultural links.
"Within the framework of a political process, there's no room for
violence," Ayrault said in a statement. "I'm calling, therefore, all
parties to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid additional victims."
Bongo won 49.80 percent of votes against 48.23 percent for Ping, on a
turnout of 59.46 percent, according to results given region by region
by Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet Boubeya.
"This victory by such a tight score obliges ... each of us to respect
the verdict of the ballot box and our institutions," Bongo said in the
text of a speech distributed to reporters.
France's Foreign Ministry also said the way in which the results were
announced was a source of concern.
"We think it is necessary to publish the results of all the polling
stations. The credibility of the election as well as Gabon's
international reputation are at stake," it said.
10 NOV 14 :: Ouagadougou's Signal to Sub-Sahara Africa The Star
The tipping point for this accelerated sequence of events was
President Compaoré stacking parliament in order to extend the
presidential term limit. There are plenty of African presidents who
are seeking to pull off the same magic trick and events in Ouagadougou
have surely put them on notice.
Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab
Spring, this is the Black Spring”.
During the Arab Spring [now in the bleak mid-Winter], nearly all
commentators spoke of how this North African wildfire could not leap
the Sahara and head to sub-Saharan Africa. The reasons were that the
State [incumbents] had a monopoly on the tools of violence and would
bring overwhelming force and violence to bear.
We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone
cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000? This is another
point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where
that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.
Therefore, the preeminent point to note is that protests in Burkina
Faso achieved escape velocity. Overthrowing incumbents is all about
acceleration, momentum and speed best characterised by the Ger- man
Out of a population of 17 million people in Burkina Faso, over 60 per
cent are aged between 17 and 24 years, according to the World Bank,
and this is another point to note. The country’s youth flexed their
muscles. What’s clear is that a very young, very informed and very
connected African youth demographic [many characterise this as a
‘demographic dividend’] – which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a
demographic terminator – is set to alter the existing equilibrium
between the rulers and the subjects, and a re-balancing has begun.
Zimbabwe's wave of protests heaps pressure on Mugabe
Southern Africa nation needs money to pay civil servants, import food
and alleviate a cash crunch
A large opposition-led protest planned for Friday in Harare will heap
further pressure on Robert Mugabe, the veteran president, following
weeks of public marches over Zimbabwe’s dire economic conditions.
The planned march is due to be spearheaded by prominent members of
Zimbabwe’s 18 opposition parties, although some previous events have
struggled to win court approvals. Sporadic demonstrations also took
place on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe’s recent protests have been accompanied by a strike by
teachers, doctors and nurses over unpaid salaries. The southern
African nation — treated as a pariah by the west for years —
desperately needs money to pay civil service salaries, import food and
alleviate a cash crunch.
Zimbabwe’s police have used force, including tear gas and water
cannon, to break up rallies. Recent government comments point to a
willingness to launch a fresh crackdown.
“They are burning tyres in the streets to get into power. They are
thinking what happened in the Arab Spring is going to happen here, but
we tell them that is not going to happen here,” Mr Mugabe, who is 92
and has led Zimbabwe since it won independence from Britain in 1980,
told supporters last Friday.
Piers Pigou, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, said: “This
is all part of rhetoric to create the impression of a legitimate
The recent unrest also threatens international lenders’ attempts at
“re-engagement” with Harare over its economic reform and tackling its
$7bn debt, half of which is in arrears. The government may now put
re-engagement on the backburner to focus on security.
Zimbabwe was also hit by economic crises that sparked political
instability in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2008, a
hyperinflation crisis paved the way for a 2009-2013 coalition
government between Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. However, Zanu-PF’s firm hold over the security
forces and bureaucracy has historically enabled it to retain monopoly
Some Zimbabweans insist that this time is different, pointing to new
catalysts for change, such as the emergence of previously unknown
civil society groups unaligned with any political party. The best
known is Pastor Evan Mawarire’s #ThisFlag movement, which in July
staged one of the most effective protests so far by bringing together
a younger generation of political activists, although it has since
lost some momentum.
Opposition parties have also united behind the banner of electoral
reform, demanding changes ahead of presidential and parliamentary
elections scheduled for 2018.
However, analysts believe only two of the 18 parties can muster
substantial support: former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC,
whose backing is mostly urban, and Zimbabwe People First, recently
founded by former vice-president Joice Mujuru.
Zimbabwe’s government, backed by the International Monetary Fund,
claims the economy will grow 1.4 per cent this year, despite steep
declines in farm production and exports. But five years of large
current account deficits, averaging a fifth of gross domestic product,
have drained hard cash from the economy.
The country’s current US dollar shortage is partly the result of
Harare’s dumping the worthless Zimbabwe dollar in 2009, as an
emergency solution to hyperinflation. Zimbabwe then moved to a fully
dollarised economy that cannot print its own currency.
Banks’ cash holdings collapsed from over $350m in mid-2013 to $90m in
May this year. They have since fallen further, spurring the central
bank to promise the launch next month of so-called “Bond Notes”,
backed by a $200m loan from the African Export-Import Bank.
Businesses and the public fear that the notes represent the backdoor
return of the local currency. One Zimbabwean analyst who did not want
to be named even sees their promised launch as a “game-changer” that
will bring people out on to the streets in ever larger numbers.
Some western diplomats believe time is fast running out for Mr Mugabe
and his vice-president and presumed successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Some estimate that by the end of the year it will no longer be
possible to pay the civil service, police, army, teachers and health
workers — and that this, not the cash crisis, will bring the
administration to its knees.
While there is no agreed successor to Mr Mugabe, who is unlikely to
contest the 2018 elections, there is little enthusiasm even within
Zanu-PF for Mr Mnangagwa — known as “The Crocodile” for his guerrilla
activities in the pre-independence civil war.
Mr Mnangagwa’s candidacy is bitterly opposed by the so-called G40
faction, which has no clear leader but appears to have the backing of
the party’s youth wing and its women’s league, as well as Grace
Mugabe, the president’s wife.
In another sign of political ferment, some groups among Zimbabwe’s war
veterans — once a powerful base of support for Mr Mugabe — have turned
against the president and called for change.
“Mugabe going and necessarily generating the opportunity for reform —
that’s extremely moot at this stage,” Mr Pigou says. “The fundamental
political and economic challenges don’t disappear.”