Thursday, April 17, 2014

Weekly Newsletter 4 February 2013

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A stamp from Mali.

Dear Reader,

French warplanes are continuing to attack rebel positions in northern Mali and have taken control of the town of Kidal, the Islamist militants’ last remaining stronghold. France’s military campaign has so far been quick and effective, although hugely complex and long-term challenges remain. Understanding the real roots of northern Mali’s rebel movements, such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), will be crucial in meeting those challenges. At the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, $450 million in pledges from the international community was raised for an AU peacekeeping force to take over operations from France. However, an increase in funding for aid projects will also be needed if a worsening of the humanitarian situation is to be avoided.

Congress for the Republic, one of the three parties which make up Tunisia’s ruling coalition, has threatened to withdraw from the government unless two religiously-conservative ministers are replaced. Tensions between secular and Islamist partners have intensified recently, reflecting forms of dangerous identity politics playing out more broadly in Tunisia. And as the country’s political leaders fight over Tunisia’s future, civil society groups such as women’s rights organisations have had to remain vigilant to ensure democratic achievements are not rolled back.

Following the revelation that Zimbabwe’s government had just $217 in its account at one point recently, Think Africa Press has been examining claims that billions of dollars in diamond revenues could be finding their way into the pockets of ruling party elites. Meanwhile in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni and some high-level figures in the government and military have suggested a coup could take place if the “bad politics” in parliament continue. Think Africa Press explores the implications of this warning.

North: Algeria: The Real Roots of AQIM

West: Editor's Q & A: What's the Deal with Mali?

Central: AU Summit: Money for Mali, but Diplomatic Delays on DRC and Sudans

East: Uganda's "Bad Politics": Museveni, the Military and an Assertive Parliament

South: Zimbabwe's Marange Diamonds: ZANU-PF's Best Friend?

Below are a few highlights from the past week:

All the best,

The Team at Think Africa Press