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Africa Center for Strategic Studies 

Media Review for November 16, 2012   

Sierra Leone's elections explained
On Saturday, Sierra Leone will hold its third presidential, parliamentary and local elections since civil war ended a decade ago. The outcome is expected to hinge on a close-fought contest between the ruling All People's Congress (APC), for whom President Ernest Bai Koroma is seeking a second term, and the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), led by Julius Maada Bio. The Guardian


Sierra Leone Election Caps Shift From Civil War to Economic Boom
Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma is seeking re-election after he introduced policies that lured more foreign investment and helped the country become sub- Saharan Africa's fastest-growing economy. Bloomberg


Sierra Leone Election Campaign Encouraging, Says Carter Center
Official campaigning ends Friday for Sierra Leone's general election on Saturday, November 17. The U.S.-based Carter Center poll monitoring group says its observers are encouraged with the peaceful campaigning and other political party activities in the run up to the vote. VOA


Ghana Elections 2012: Mahama ahead by a hair
Oil, gas, gold, education and health dominate a landmark election in which the main contenders may again be fewer than just 50,000 votes apart. t has been Ghana's longest-ever campaign and electors are being offered a real choice of policies and people but still the two major parties are running neck-and-neck ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December. The centre-left National Democratic Congress under President John Dramani Mahama has maintained a slight lead, according to local and international pollsters. Africa Confidential


Ghana's perfect election - shame about the toxic politics
It has been the longest-ever election campaign and it could be the closest, with polls suggesting there is less than a 5% gap between the leading candidates, President John Mahama and Nana Akufo Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). The Africa Report


Diplomats Hint At European Union Military Intervention In Mali
The European Union is warming up to the idea of sending its own troops to Mali, a West African country where Islamist insurgents have taken over a swath of land the size of France. On Thursday, EU member nations France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Germany - collectively called 'Weimar Plus' - approved a tentative plan for EU troops to help train Malian forces in the buildup to an African-led intervention. International Business Times


Ansar al-Din shift creates doubts in Mali
Ansar al-Din announced Wednesday (November 14th) that it was abandoning its goal of imposing Sharia law throughout Mali. The Islamist group, which is currently holding negotiations with a representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Ouagadougou, also claimed that it was ending its harsh application of Sharia against northern Mali populations. Magharebia


Intervening in Northern Mali: "The People are like Straw on which Elephants are Fighting"
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal argues that the fact Islamist extremists in northern Mali do not enjoy the support of the local population, combined with the area's flat desert landscape, "suggest that an aggressive Pakistan-style drone campaign can have results". With the French reported to be moving surveillance drones into the region, an intensive drone campaign supporting a relatively small number of ground troops may seem an attractive option for the intervention forces. But the reality is unlikely to be quite so simple. Think Africa Press


France urges Mali to step up talks with rebels
France's president called Thursday for stepped-up talks between Mali's government and any leaders from its breakaway north "who reject terrorism," even as African nations geared up for a possible military operation against Islamic extremists there. President Francois Hollande's comments suggested a growing openness to dialogue with the extremists, but he remained committed to supporting the military planning effort. AP on Stars and Stripes


Algeria fears al-Qaida, refugees infiltration in possible military intervention in Mali
Algeria has been warning of the chaos that would be provoked in the region of the African Sahel, including on its southern borders, in case a military intervention was conducted in northern Mali. Xinhua


O Maghreb: Where Art Thou... in US Foreign Policy?
The US elections and the monotonous presidential debates bear little to no substance on North Africa. In the much-anticipated third debate on foreign policy, there was scant mention of the countries of the Maghreb and their important strategic worth in US global fight against terrorism. Except for Libya (mentioned 12 times) in the context of the murder of US ambassador Chris Stevens, president Obama mentioned Tunisia once in passing. This is the same Tunisia where the catalyst behind the so-called "Arab spring" was born. The North Africa Journal


Guinea's battle against corruption: which side is the west on?
Across Africa democratically elected leaders are fighting against corruption in the natural resource sector. But by various means, corruption fights back. Those under investigation hire highly paid legal guns to sue and silence, and highly paid public relations gurus to twist and smear. Impecunious governments trying to impose the rule of law find it subverted into the rule of lawyers and trial by media.The Guardian


New Ebola outbreak erupts near Uganda capital
Up to three people have died in Uganda from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in its central region, near the capital Kampala, according to officials. Health Minister Christine Ondoa said on Thursday that two of the dead were from one family in Luwero district. Ondoa told reporters: "Another viral hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, has broken out in the country ... a total of three people have, since the onset of the outbreak ,died". Al Jazeera


S. Sudan: US embassy demands release of detained citizen
The US embassy in South Sudan has demanded the unconditional release of one its nationals, allegedly arrested by the country's National Security Service (NSS). Elton Mark McCabe, according to the embassy, was "arbitrarily" arrested in Juba, the South Sudan capital and has now been transferred from NSS detention center to Juba Central Prison. Sudan Tribune


Benghazi's Real Scandal: Why Is the Libyan Investigation Such a Mess?
For two months now, politicians in Washington have argued furiously over who is to blame for the attack against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, which killed the ambassador and three other Americans. And while that argument is sure to rage again on Thursday and Friday during a closed-door hearing of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, there is another controversy roiling about that disastrous assault: In Benghazi itself. Time


Tunisian held in US embassy attack dies in prison
The lawyer for a militant detained for attacking the U.S. embassy in Tunisia says his client has died from a heart attack after a two month hunger strike protesting his innocence. Abdel-Basset Ben Mberek, the lawyer, said his client died Thursday after being transferred to a Tunis hospital when his condition declined. AP on Stars and Stripes


DR Congo clashes: '150 M23 rebels killed' near Goma
More than 150 rebels have been killed in fighting with government forces in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a regional official has told the BBC. The fighting is the most serious since July, when M23 rebels threatened to capture the regional capital, Goma. BBC


Police Killing in Kenya Deepens Aura of Menace
[...] Last weekend, in a remote valley in northern Kenya, several dozen rookie police officers were sent to chase down an especially tough gang of cattle rustlers. It was dark, about 4 a.m., and the rustlers knew the officers were coming. As soon as the officers marched in, single file, they were mowed down by automatic weapons. Police officials said that at least 30 officers, maybe more, were killed, with their bodies left to fester in the sun for several days. The two episodes were hundreds of miles apart and technically had nothing to do with each other. But beneath them was the same rotten root: a spectacularly dysfunctional national police force. The New York Times


Ethiopia's Muslim protests
Tensions have been simmering over several months between Muslims and the government, with thousands holding demonstrations in protest at the government's alleged interference in religious affairs; the government has blamed the protests on a small group of extremists. IRIN


Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, a regional heavyweight with feet of clay
A diplomat for the region and an autocrat on the home front, President Museveni seeks to burnish the country's regional diplomatic credentials and carve out a larger role in East Africa. The Africa Report


'We Can't Forget This Machine': The Letterpress of Mogadishu
In a tiny, damp, oil-soaked cellar tucked behind one of Mogadishu's bullet-pocked central streets, fragile remnants of a city's survival clutter the rickety shelves. Their location, hidden just beneath Mogadishu's shelled fašade, is perhaps their only reason for survival. For 45 years, Daha Printing Press has accumulated an inked archive of Mogadishu's intricate, vibrant and violent political and social history. The Atlantic


Mining: Golden age of conflict and crime
Illegal activities related to mining in the DRC have underscored the urgent need for a truly democratic government, writes Gregory Mthembu-Salter. Mail and Guardian


From Curse to Catalyst?
Africa's natural resources are an untapped catalyst for massive socio-economic growth. With accountable leadership, responsible investment and the right regulations in place, the natural resource sector can spur Africa's development trajectory into the stratosphere. This was the conclusion of participants in the BBC's Africa Debate on 26th October, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 8th African Development Forum. Both the debate and the forum tried to answer the same question: can Africa overcome its natural resource curse and manage its abundant resource endowments for the benefit of its people rather than the bank accounts of political and corporate elites? One.org

FOR THE RECORD - AFRICA - U.S. Government Events, Statements, and Articles
A weekly compilation by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) .
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