Boko Haram’s bloody weekend attacks in Nigeria’s most important Islamic city, Kano, following unrelated countrywide protests over the end of a decades-old fuel subsidy underscore the fact that business as usual is no longer good enough. Only genuine reform of Nigeria’s political economy can pull it back from the brink.
By partly reinstating the fuel subsidy, coupled with alleged payoffs to labor leaders and a certain amount of oppression, the government of President Goodluck Jonathan was able to subdue protests that brought the country to a halt for a week. But with Boko Haram, the radical Islamic movement that has been gripping the northeastern part of the country, a similar response is unlikely to work.… Seguir leyendo »
The just-concluded Nigerian elections are being hailed as the most credible since the restoration of civilian governance in 1999. International observers and governments have congratulated the Nigerian people on their conduct and Goodluck Jonathan on his presidential election. They have also expressed satisfaction that Nigeria is resuming its role as the beacon of democracy in Africa.
Not so fast.
The elections have polarized Nigeria and resulted in likely underreported bloodshed in the northern parts of the country. The traditional northern Islamic establishment, which might have moderated the religious and sectarian conflict, has come under attack, and the North’s perceived marginalization from national politics could potentially radicalize an Islamic population that already views the United States as a partisan supporter of southern Christian president Goodluck Jonathan.… Seguir leyendo »
The downward spiral in Ivory Coast continues toward civil war or, at best, stalemate. The standoff between long-time ruler Laurent Gbagbo and the internationally supported presidential victor in credible if imperfect elections, Alassane Ouattara, is far from resolved. Both have had themselves sworn in as president. Both also maintain substantial support within their respective constituencies, some of whom are prepared to fight.
A recent general strike designed by the opposition to force Mr. Gbagbo out was widely observed in the north, where Mr. Ouattara derives much of his support, hardly at all in those parts of the country supportive of Mr.… Seguir leyendo »