Malawian President Peter Mutharika, left, is presented with the Sword of Command by the Malawi Defense Force Commander General Griffin Phiri, right, during an inauguration ceremony in Blantyre, Malawi, May 31, 2019 (AP photo by Thoko Chikondi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Incumbent President Peter Mutharika squeaked out a victory in Malawi’s presidential election last week, taking 38.5 percent of the vote in a seven-way race. With about 35.4 percent, opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera fell just short in an election that required only a simple plurality to win. In his acceptance speech Tuesday, Mutharika declared, “It is time to move on and develop the country,” according to The Associated Press. Easier said than done. Chakwera followed Mutharika’s speech by vowing to challenge the results […]

Troops ride in a vehicle near central Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, March 2, 2018 (AP photo by Ludivine Laniepce).

On May 12, unknown attackers killed a Catholic priest and five worshippers in northern Burkina Faso, before burning the church. Two days later, four Catholics were killed in a separate attack in the region. It was the third attack on Christians in Burkina Faso in just three weeks. Then, two weeks later, gunmen raided another church in the region and shot four people dead. The targeting of both Catholics and Protestants in the country comes amid a wider unraveling of security that has killed and displaced Muslims and Christians alike. In this rising crisis, the escalation is outpacing the government’s […]

A farmer picks his maize, in Qunu, South Africa, June 12, 2013 (AP photo by Schalk van Zuydam).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on food security around the world. African countries have long maintained some of the strictest regulations on genetically modified agriculture, with only four out of 47 countries across the continent allowing the planting of any genetically modified crops. Some countries, including Kenya and Nigeria, are mulling looser restrictions on imports and cultivation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, but those moves will have limited significance for food security, says Robert Paarlberg, an adjunct professor of public policy at Harvard University who specializes in global food and agricultural policy. In an […]

Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo, leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Sept. 14, 2015 (Photo by Liewig Christian for Sipa via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. For months, Gabon’s government has been ensnared in “kevazingogate”—a scandal over the smuggling of protected timber. This week, the scandal appears to have cost the vice president and the forestry minister their jobs. The drama began earlier this year when nearly 5,000 cubic meters of kevazingo wood was discovered in the country’s Libreville port ready to be shipped to China. The problem is that President Ali Bongo’s government banned the export of kevazingo last year in a bid to protect the country’s […]

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa applauds as confetti is launched at the end of the election results ceremony, Pretoria, South Africa, May 11, 2019 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

If South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994 provided what observers called a “designer outcome” in which the three major parties at the time all secured significant prizes, the country’s sixth general election in early May was its polar opposite: a vote in which the three principal players all experienced setbacks and had reason to be disappointed. The 1994 electoral outcome helped stabilize the new political dispensation after apartheid. It remains to be seen if this year’s result will usher in a new era of instability and fragmentation. With 57.5 percent of the national vote, the ruling African National Congress […]

A police officer stands on the side of the road near the newly inaugrated Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque, in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, east of Cairo, Jan. 10, 2019 (pool photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds via AP Images)

It doesn’t seem like an accident that Egypt’s prime minister, Mostafa Madbouly, used to be the country’s housing minister and, before that, the head of the government agency that came up with elaborate, mostly unrealistic urban development plans, including one that reimagined Cairo as Dubai in the Nile Valley. Since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power in a coup in 2013, he has set out to build. Canals, bridges, cities—they are all part of an old school nationalist development agenda redesigned for the 21st century. Taking their cues from recent building sprees in China and the Gulf states, Sisi’s megaprojects […]

Ugandan soldiers patrol through the Central African jungle during an operation to hunt notorious Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, April 19, 2012 (Photo by Yannick Tylle for dpa via AP Images).

GULU, Uganda—On a Monday morning in March, dozens of people gathered outside the courthouse in this hot, dusty city in northern Uganda. They sipped passion fruit juice as they prepared to watch legal proceedings projected on a canvas screen, which had been set up in the shade. Inside and up three flights of stairs, journalists and representatives of various development organizations pressed together on wooden benches in the courtroom. Lawyers, dressed in black robes, made small talk, though their easy laughter clashed with the gravity of the matter at hand. The trial of Thomas Kwoyelo was about to begin. Kwoyelo, […]

A man holds a poster reading “We stand against xenophobia” during a march in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 23, 2015 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has steadily seeped into mainstream political discourse in South Africa, where immigration has long been a contentious issue as the country is a primary destination for migrants from across the African continent. In the general election earlier this month, both major political parties, the ruling African National Congress and the opposition Democratic Alliance, advocated stricter controls on immigration. In an email interview with WPR, Loren B. Landau, a migration expert at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, discusses the […]

Amnesty International activists protest against human rights violations in Egypt and for freedom of expression on the sidelines of the Egyptian president’s visit to Berlin, Germany, Oct. 29, 2018 (Photo by Paul Zinken for dpa via AP Images).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. The space not just for press freedom but freedom of expression of any kind has dramatically shrunk in Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who took power in a coup in 2013.* Egypt was hardly a bastion of a free and fair press under previous regimes, but under Sisi, government entities have consolidated their control over nearly every major media outlet. Journalists of all affiliations and nationalities also face a variety of threats to their safety, including harassment, arrests, […]

Sudanese protesters wave national flags at the sit-in outside the military headquarters, in Khartoum, Sudan, May 2, 2019 (AP photo by Salih Basheer).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Sudan appeared to be inching closer to a transitional government this week, but renewed violence threatens to derail the talks. The military council, which currently holds power, and the opposition alliance, which is composed of protest leaders and opposition politicians, have agreed on a three-year period of transition to civilian rule. Under the terms of the agreement, the country will be run by a government that includes a sovereign council, a Cabinet and a legislative body. But the two sides remain at […]

Voters gather at a polling station to cast their votes in Cape Town, South Africa, May 8, 2019 (AP photo by Halden Krog).

Editor’s Note: Starting this week, Andrew Green is taking over Africa Watch, WPR’s weekly roundup of the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. South Africa went to the polls Wednesday for the fifth national election since the end of apartheid in 1994. The vote was largely seen as a referendum on the African National Congress, which has been the ruling party for the past quarter-century, and its leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa. Official results are not due until Saturday, though early returns show the ANC is set to win, and that Ramaphosa will secure a full term […]

Supporters of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa attend a rally organized for the white community in Harare, July 21, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

One of the promises Emmerson Mnangagwa made after becoming Zimbabwe’s president in late 2017 was to reach a compromise on one of the most divisive issues in the country: how to compensate the estimated 4,500 white farmers whose property was violently expropriated under Robert Mugabe. But Mnangagwa’s attempts to take a more conciliatory tone risk creating new divisions and reopening old wounds. Mnangagwa is trying to strike a nearly impossible balance, treating the land seizures under Mugabe’s so-called fast track land reform program as “irreversible” while offering “appropriate compensation” to dispossessed white farmers, but only for improvements they made to […]

Benin’s president, Patrice Talon, arrives at the “Compact With Africa” conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 30, 2018 (Photo by Annegret Hilse for dpa via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. It has been clear for weeks that opposition leaders and outside observers were unlikely to quietly accept the results of this week’s legislative elections in Benin, which took place under highly unusual circumstances. In accordance with revised electoral rules, the opposition was excluded entirely, and only two parties were allowed to participate, both of them aligned with President Patrice Talon. Given the pride Benin’s political class takes in its reputation for having a strong democracy, there was some speculation […]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Eloi Alphonse Maxime Dovo, then the foreign affairs minister of Madagascar, arrive for a meeting in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 22, 2018 (Photo by Vitaliy Belousov for Sputnik via AP).

Concerns about Russian activities across Africa have been growing for some time, and new revelations about the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to interfere in the most recent presidential election in Madagascar have lifted the veil on what looks like a concerted campaign to expand Moscow’s influence by a variety of means. As outlined in a BBC documentary last month, in addition to investigative reporting by The Project, an independent Russian journalism collective, these efforts have been spearheaded by Yegveny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin who is known as “Putin’s Chef.” Prigozhin rose to prominence after he was […]

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Jan. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Peter Dejong).

In mid-April, a panel of judges at the International Criminal Court rejected Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have been committed during the long U.S. war in Afghanistan. Ahead of the decision, the Trump administration had waged an aggressive campaign against the case, which threatened to reveal atrocities committed by U.S. forces, including American troops and Central Intelligence Agency officials. Though the ICC judges acknowledged that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan, they determined that a successful investigation was not feasible. Essentially, they acknowledged […]

Protesters wear yellow vests as they denounce Khalifa Haftar’s military offensive, Tripoli, Libya, April 19, 2019 (AP photo by Hazem Ahmed).

When Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the self-declared Libyan National Army, released an audio message announcing his offensive on Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on April 4, he likely expected things to go very differently. Despite being the centerpiece of a United Nations political process that his international backers—primarily France, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt—had essentially hijacked to provide him a diplomatic route to uncontested power in Libya, Haftar used the assault on Tripoli to send a clear message that he rejected even the semblance of diplomacy and power-sharing. After all, it began on the same day that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio […]