Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh at a festival in his home village of Kanilai, Gambia, May 13, 2014 (Photo by Jason Florio).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss global climate change diplomacy against the backdrop of the G-20 summit. For the Report, Louise Hunt talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Gambia’s first tentative steps toward transitional justice for the crimes committed under former dictator Yahya Jammeh, and the potential pitfalls facing that process. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a […]

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari waves to the crowd during Independence Day celebrations, Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 1, 2018 (AP photo by Olamikan Gbemiga).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. For much of this year, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has tried to treat the Boko Haram insurgency and his upcoming re-election bid as two separate stories. As Obi Anyadike noted in an in-depth report for WPR last month, Buhari seemed to take his eye off the war in northeastern Nigeria, despite significant military setbacks, focusing instead on political jockeying in Abuja and elsewhere. One security analyst told Anyadike that the government’s priority was “regime security, not national security.” In […]

Men duck for cover as heavy gunfire erupts in the Miskin district of Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 3, 2014 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

In the span of a year, the Central African Republic has gone from a country on the margins of international attention to a flashpoint. Russia’s expanding military presence and French attempts to retain influence over its former colony have ignited a competition for influence, threatening CAR’s already shaky peace process and its fledgling democratic government, which lacks much authority beyond the capital, Bangui. If Russia and France continue to recklessly prioritize their own interests, then CAR’s fragile security situation will only worsen. In late October, Moscow announced its second arms shipment to CAR and the deployment of 60 additional military […]

Relatives of victims of the regime of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh participate in a demonstration to demand information about what happened to their loved ones, Banjul, Gambia, April 17, 2018 (Photo by Jason Florio).

Nearly two years after Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile, the transitional justice process is taking multiple forms. But as officials prepare for potential prosecutions and truth commission hearings, there are fears that their work could roil Gambian society, and that Jammeh could evade accountability. BANJUL, Gambia—In July 2005, Martin Kyere, a 25-year-old shoe-seller from Kumasi, in northern Ghana, set off for what he hoped would be a better life in Europe. He took with him a small bag containing some clothes and biscuits, and $1,400 sewn into his underpants. First he traveled to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, […]

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 2, 2018 (Pool photo by Nicolas Asfouri via AP Images).

Earlier this month, on Nov. 7, the State Department announced what appeared to be a significant step forward in relations between the United States and Sudan. A spokesperson said the U.S. would consider removing Sudan from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list if it helps Washington advance some of its foreign policy priorities in Africa and beyond—including cooperating on counterterrorism, ending Sudan’s internal conflicts and isolating North Korea. The statement also called on Sudan to improve its human rights record, respect religious freedoms and meet legal claims related to its previous support of terrorist attacks against American citizens. Removal of […]

A man demonstrates operating an electronic voting machine that will be used in Congo’s election, Beni, Congo, Oct 16, 2018 (AP photo by Al-hadji Kudra Maliro).

According to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Constitution, President Joseph Kabila should have left office two years ago. The end of his second five-year term came and went in December 2016, and his refusal to step down at the time led to violent protests, acrimony—and then two more years in power. Now, he says he’s on his way out. Seventeen years after taking office to replace his assassinated father, and in the face of mounting international condemnation, Kabila has agreed to step aside for elections next month in what could be Congo’s first peaceful and democratic transition of power since […]

U.N. peacekeepers from Rwanda patrol the streets of Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 12, 2016 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

What does a small spat in the Security Council over the Central African Republic, or CAR, tell us about the state of major power relations? Last week, the council was unable to agree on the terms of a six-month extension to the 13,000-strong United Nations stabilization mission in CAR, known by its French acronym MINUSCA. The diplomats gave themselves a month to fix their differences over the operation’s mandate. There seem to be three main points of contention. One is Moscow’s insistence that the council endorse a Sudanese-Russian effort to mediate the fragmented country’s conflicts. France, the former colonial power, […]

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signs a peace accord with Ethiopia in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 16, 2018 (Saudi Press Agency photo via AP Images).

In a sign of rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the Horn of Africa, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to lift sanctions against Eritrea. The move comes amid a rapid thaw in Eritrea’s relations with neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia. The leaders of all three countries met for a rare summit in September, raising hopes for broader regional cooperation. In a further sign of detente, Somalia and Ethiopia advocated at the U.N. for the sanctions to be lifted, strengthening Eritrea’s case. The sanctions, which included an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on Eritrean officials, were first […]

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, then a candidate, at an election rally in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 23, 2015 (AP photo by Khalfan Said).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. In the three years since John Magufuli became Tanzania’s president, he has shown little interest in responding to criticism, no matter its source. This is perhaps unsurprising for a man known as “The Bulldozer,” a nickname that dates back to his tenure as a hard-charging minister of public works. Magufuli’s administration has become notorious for restricting press freedom, creating an unsafe climate for opposition politicians and promoting regressive policies on women’s rights. He has also pursued populist economic policies […]

Algerian soldiers march during a military parade at the Cherchell “Houari Boumediene” in Algiers, July 1, 2018 (AP photo by Anis Belghoul).

Since last June, Algeria’s 81-year-old president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has been dismissing high-profile security officials at an unprecedented rate. A who’s-who of top brass from the police, the gendarmerie and most importantly the army, which has long been the backbone of the Algerian regime, have all been replaced—and all without any public explanation from Bouteflika or his inner circle. The shake-ups, which seemed to have concluded in late September, ousted around a dozen senior generals and regional army commanders, including the director of defense personnel, the chief of the army’s powerful Central Security Directorate, the commander of the ground forces and […]

A soldier stands guard at the state funeral of Mozambique’s opposition leader, Alfonso Dhlakama, in Beira, Mozambique, May 9, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

In early October, a court in Mozambique began trying 189 people accused of carrying out a spate of grisly attacks, some involving beheadings, in Cabo Delgado province, in the north of the country. The trial, the first of its kind, represents a rare opportunity to gather information on a security threat that continues to confound experts and government officials alike. Though the violence in Cabo Delgado, which has killed more than 100 people, first began getting serious attention more than a year ago, details about what’s driving it remain elusive. It has been attributed to a group commonly referred to […]

New Tunisian tourism minister Rene Trabelsi, right, and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis, Nov. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Hassene Dridi).

Tunisia’s prime minister, Youssef Chahed, announced several changes to his Cabinet last week in a bid to shore up support for his government amid a parallel political and economic crisis. The changes were approved in a parliamentary vote that the ruling Nidaa Tounes party boycotted, laying bare the deepening divisions within the Tunisian government. In an email interview with WPR, Sharan Grewal, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy, discusses the latest developments in Tunis and what to expect from the newly approved Cabinet. World Politics Review: What prompted Prime Minister Chahed to reshuffle […]

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, left, French President Emmanuel Macron, center, and Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army, right, at a conference in France, July 25, 2017 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. For at least the past six months, France has been pushing for elections to be held in Libya by the end of this year. At a conference in Paris in May, representatives of various Libyan factions settled on a date: Dec. 10. Yet there have always been questions about whether this was even remotely realistic. Seven years after former dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed, Libya remains highly unstable, its politics organized around the rivalry between the United […]

Ugandan opposition MPs scuffle with security trying to eject some of the MPs from Parliament during a debate on the presidential age limit, Kampala, Uganda (AP photo by Ronald Kabuubi).

Can Africa’s democracies overcome the ‘president-for-life’ phenomenon, or is democracy in Africa doomed to fade? Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). Late last year, Uganda removed a constitutional measure that barred anyone older than 75 from running for president, clearing the way for long-time President Yoweri Moseveni, 73 years old, to remain in office after his current term ends. But the aggressive and occasionally ham-handed tactics of Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement, or NRM, are giving rise to a new generation of opposition leaders who are set on changing this common approach to undermining democracy […]

A group of men identified by Nigerian police as Boko Haram extremist fighters and leaders are presented to the media, Maiduguri, Nigeria, July 18, 2018 (AP photo by Jossy Ola).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, and associate editor, Elliot Waldman, discuss why Asia’s two main economic rivals, China and Japan, are now trying to improve their ties. For the Report, Obi Anyadike talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about his reporting from Nigeria, where in the past six months, an estimated 600 Nigerian soldiers have been killed in the fight against Boko Haram. Soldiers are poorly equipped and overstretched, and their morale is dangerously low. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign […]

South Sudan’s opposition leader, Riek Machar, center-left, is greeted as he arrives at the airport in Juba, South Sudan, Oct. 31, 2018 (AP photo by Bullen Chol).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. “I came only to confirm to people that I am for peace. The past is gone. We have opened a new chapter for peace and unity.” That was Riek Machar, South Sudan’s opposition leader and former vice president, who returned to the war-torn country Wednesday after more than two years away. His upbeat tone was matched by President Salva Kiir, who similarly described the event as a turning point in a civil war that’s nearly five years old and, […]

Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo, during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, July 14, 2018 (Photo by Sergey Mamontov for Sputnik via AP Images).

The Central African nation of Gabon has limited experience with presidential transfers of power. In the nearly 60 years since it attained independence, only three men have ever held the top job. The first president, Leon Mba, died in office in 1967. His successor, Omar Bongo, proved himself to be an archetypal African “strongman,” holding the post for more than four decades and becoming the continent’s longest-serving leader before he, too, died in office in 2009. The current president is Omar Bongo’s son, Ali Bongo, who was sworn in several months after his father died following an election that sparked […]