Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn speaks at a press conference announcing his resignation, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb. 15, 2018 (AP photo).

After almost three years of deadly, sporadic crises, 2018 brought signs of much-needed change to Ethiopia when the government announced in early January that it would release many jailed journalists, politicians and protesters. But instead of opening up, Africa’s second-most populous country has returned to a formal state of emergency following the surprising resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Feb. 15. With an emboldened opposition, and divisions within the ruling party, Ethiopia now faces more uncertainty. The chaotic chain of events underscores the difficulties for the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, in trying to […]

Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi protest after the Muslim Brotherhood called on its supporters to take to the streets on the anniversary of the 2011 uprising, Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2016 (AP photo by Hesham Elkhoshny).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, and associate editor, Omar H. Rahman, discuss the recent indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Was Russia’s interference a sophisticated campaign of hybrid warfare, or a ham-handed attempt at undermining America? For the Report, Peter Dörrie talks with our contributor in Cairo about the Muslim Brotherhood’s struggle for survival under Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our […]

A man walks past burned-out houses following an attack by Boko Haram in Dalori village, near Maiduguri, Jan. 31, 2016 (AP photo Jossy Ola).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The attack was depressingly familiar, as was the government’s apparent inability to provide a clear explanation of what exactly happened. On Monday evening, militants from the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram stormed a girls’ school in the town of Dapchi, in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Yobe, and kidnapped dozens of students. The exact number of those missing was still unclear Friday, but it could be more than 100. The incident immediately evoked the abduction in 2014 of hundreds of […]

Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, at the opening ceremony of the G20 Summit, Hangzhou, China, Sept. 4, 2016 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

On Monday, a spokesman for a civil society group in Chad called Iyina became the latest government critic to be detained by security forces. According to police, Alain Kembah Didah was caught with a bottle of gasoline in his hand, preparing to burn a tire as part of an anti-government protest. Didah has disputed this account, but that didn’t stop Chadian authorities from taking him into custody and, according to Amnesty International, beating him to the point where he could barely stand. In Chadian Arabic, the name Iyina means “We’re fed up.” Its members aren’t the only ones who’ve been […]

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, center with black cap, goes for a walk with members of the public, Cape Town, South Africa, Feb. 20, 2018 (AP photo).

When Jacob Zuma formally resigned as South Africa’s president last week, some commentators used his overdue but less than gracious exit as an opportunity to reach for the famous words of U.S. President Gerald Ford, who in 1974 declared, in the wake of Richard Nixon’s resignation, that “our long national nightmare is over.” Those words capture both the widespread sense of disgust in South Africa at the malignant nature of the Zuma presidency, and the hope for a new beginning and a fresh start under Cyril Ramaphosa. The new president has chosen his words carefully so far, anxious not to […]

An Egyptian youth carries a lit flare as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood protest in the El-Mataria neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, April 24, 2015 (AP photo by Belal Darder).

Editor’s Note: WPR has agreed to publish this article anonymously due to the hostile environment in Egypt toward political dissent and independent reporting. Tracking down the Society of the Muslim Brothers, better known as the Muslim Brotherhood, is a difficult task. Ever since the group was outlawed in Egypt following the July 2013 military coup that brought Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to power, those Brotherhood members who have not been killed, executed or imprisoned have kept their heads down. Inside Egypt, they generally refuse to meet or cancel at the last minute for fear of being identified and apprehended […]

A security man stands guard as Karanj, India's third Scorpene class submarine, is set afloat during a launch ceremony, Mumbai, India, Jan. 31, 2018 (AP photo by Rafiq Maqbool).

On Jan. 31, India signed a 20-year agreement with the island nation of the Seychelles to build an airstrip and jetty for the Indian navy. The pact, which was in the offing for years, reflects greater competition between India and China to establish naval positions in the Indian Ocean. In an email interview, James Holmes, the J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the U.S. Navy War College, discusses the deal and India’s wider strategy to keep tabs on China in what New Delhi sees as its “rightful nautical preserve.” WPR: How does India’s port deal with the Seychelles […]

Gambian President Adama Barrow arrives to cast his vote during parliamentary election, Banjul, Gambia, April 6, 2017 (AP photo).

In January 2017, under pressure from other West African leaders and much of his own population, Gambia’s longtime dictator, Yahya Jammeh, flew into exile in Equatorial Guinea. His successor, Adama Barrow—the winner of an election whose results Jammeh at first respected, and then disavowed—promised to pursue accountability for crimes committed during Jammeh’s more than 22-year tenure. So far, Barrow’s administration has had little luck concerning Jammeh himself, whose hosts in Equatorial Guinea are refusing to extradite him. Nevertheless, authorities recently arrested several of Jammeh’s top former associates, holding out the possibility of some justice. But at the same time, some […]

A civilian fighter in the ruins of Benghazi, Libya, Feb. 23, 2016 (AP photo by Mohammed el-Shaiky).

The U.S. foreign policy community tosses the word “failure” around a lot: intelligence failures, policy failures, failures of imagination. Each American president is assigned his share of failures, sometimes based on reflections of those who participated in hard policy decisions, but more often based on judgments made by others who were not directly involved. It’s perfectly fair to assess whether the outcome of a particular policy succeeded or failed to achieve its stated goal. Yet over time, some misleading “truths” become established that need to be checked and revisited. Take the increasingly common framing of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as […]

Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma, Pretoria, South Africa, April 7, 2017 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The drama surrounding South Africa’s leadership transition has dragged out long enough to acquire its own snappy name: Zexit. That’s according to the BBC, which noted this week that the early departure of President Jacob Zuma, who has already been replaced as head of the ruling African National Congress by his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, is now being discussed as though it’s inevitable. This week, that meant a series of canceled meetings and other engagements as Zuma and Ramaphosa negotiated […]

Cameroonian President Paul Biya speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron during an EU Africa summit in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Nov. 29, 2017 (AP photo by Diomande Ble Blonde).

Michel Thierry Atangana Abega spent 17 years in detention in Cameroon, locked in a tiny underground cell. He was alone for nearly all that time, denied access to lawyers and doctors and dependent on charity to supplement meager, state-issued rations. His primary connection to the outside world came from a radio that carried local stations and, sometimes, Radio France Internationale and the BBC. Born in Cameroon in 1964, Atangana studied in France and became a naturalized French citizen in 1988. He embarked on a career as a financial engineer and, in 1994, traveled back to Cameroon to develop road projects. […]

An Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 787 Dreamliner prepares to take off from Addis Ababa airport, Ethiopia, April 27, 2013 (AP photo by Elias Asmare).

At the end of January, 23 African nations announced plans to launch a single aviation market in an effort to boost connectivity and economic growth. While airline executives and industry analysts described it as a “seismic event,” African states have not had the best track record implementing integration policies. In an email interview, Richard E. Mshomba, a professor of economics at La Salle University in Philadelphia and the author of “Economic Integration in Africa: The East African Community in Comparative Perspective,” explains what is behind the initiative, as well as the obstacles and opportunities for broader economic integration on the […]

African Union peacekeepers detain a suspected anti-Balaka militia member, Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

On Jan. 22, a court in the Central African Republic convicted and sentenced a former warlord and leader of the anti-Balaka militia, Rodrigue Ngaibona, to life in prison. Human rights groups described it as a first in the war-torn nation and a “decisive first step” in delivering justice for crimes committed during the violence that has gripped the country for the past five years. In an email interview, Elise Keppler, the associate director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, and Lewis Mudge, a senior researcher in the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch focusing on the Central […]

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga announces plans to challenge the results of last August’s election in court, Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 16, 2017 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term more than two months ago, but tensions around his re-election are clearly still fresh in Kenya. This week, the decision by opposition leader Raila Odinga to follow through on threats to stage a shadow inauguration brought those tensions to the forefront, and the government’s response raised questions about Kenyatta’s commitment to civil liberties. Thousands of Odinga supporters attended Tuesday’s ceremony, where Odinga, holding a Bible, declared himself “the […]

A painting of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Harare, Nov, 20, 2017 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

2017 was a year of political transition in Africa, beginning with the flight into exile of Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh and ending with a military intervention in Zimbabwe to remove Robert Mugabe from power, which he had held for 37 years. The continent still has numerous heads of state who seem inclined to stay in office for many years to come, if not for life. But several of them are facing new pressures that may make their continued rule untenable. WPR has compiled 10 articles that examine those pressures and look at which of Africa’s strongmen are most vulnerable. Purchase […]

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Jan. 20, 2018 (Pool photo via AP by Khaled Desouki).

As Egypt’s presidential election draws closer, the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has resolutely quashed any hope that it will allow even a hint of democratic legitimacy. Registration for the March election closed this week after authorities made sure every credible candidate was pushed out of the contest, either through arrest or intimidation. A token contender, whose party had already endorsed Sisi, was added at the last minute to avoid the embarrassment of a one-man race. The spectacle has been thoroughly demoralizing not only for the opposition, but also for many of the Egyptians who welcomed Sisi nearly half a […]

Supporters of Cote d’Ivoire’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo, and former youth minister, Charles Ble Goude, rally outside the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, Jan. 28, 2016 (AP photo by Peter Dejong).

It’s been a busy few weeks for Cote d’Ivoire’s courts. A spate of recent trials targeting high-profile members from the previous government, including former President Laurent Gbagbo himself, has redirected attention to the strikingly unbalanced pursuit of justice that has followed the West African country’s post-election conflict seven years ago. Even as the political class shifts its focus to the 2020 presidential election, the wheels of the judiciary keep turning, at least when it comes to trying those who were on the losing side of the fighting. Among the latest notable decisions was a verdict issued in December against Hubert […]