Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Number One With A Bullet

Less than a week ago, I posted what I felt would be the ten most important stories of 2008.

The trials of sub-Saharan Africa were at the head of my list, not intentionally (there really was no order involved), but it was frontmost on my mind as the crisis in Kenya unfolded.

Well, it looks like I may have stumbled into being right, for once:

1) Kenya's dubious election - Kenya's opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) claims that last month's election was rigged in favour of President Mwai Kibaki.

2) A related story: Kenyan leader names new cabinet - Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki has named his new cabinet, hours before Ghana's leader was due to arrive as part of mediation efforts over disputed polls. (This is not a good thing. Kibaki is basically saying, "Screw the mediation. I'm taking the reins!")

3) Still more: Odinga says Obama is his cousin - Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has said he is a cousin of US presidential hopeful Barack Obama. (This could impact how the State Department handles the mediation going forward, if at all.)

4) Let's move onto other African countries now: Teenager prevents assassination of Maldives president - The Maldives president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, survived an assassination attempt today when a teenage boy grabbed the knife of an attacker who jumped out of a crowd of people greeting the president, a government spokesman said. (Islamist militants have been accused, and are also accused of setting off a bomb in Male in September that wounded 12 tourists.)

5) Two Libyans released in Somalia - Two Libyan diplomats have been released in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, after being briefly abducted by gunmen.

6) Staying with Somalia: Sick Somali president in London - Somalia's interim President Abdullahi Yusuf is being treated in a London hospital after he collapsed last week. (It's unclear if he's critically ill or not, altho rushing him to London from Africa is indicative of severity. Yusuf was installed by Ethiopian forces and as is evident from the first story, it was not an overwhelmingly popular choice.)

7) Turning now to South Africa: ANC behind Zuma for SA president - South Africa's ruling African National Congress has confirmed that its newly elected leader Jacob Zuma will be the party's presidential candidate in 2009. (This, despite the fact that prosecutors have indicted him on corruption charges in an arms deal with "old Europe.")

8) And finally, Mauritania: Arrests over Mauritania killings - Mauritania's authorities say they have arrested nine people in connection with the shooting of four French tourists last month. (Once more, an African group allegedly related to Al Qaeda has been blamed)

Not a pretty picture for this troubled continent.