Since Mali adopted a new constitution in 1992, the country was considered democratic as subsequent elections were lauded free and fair as President Alpha Oumar Konare served his term and retired graciously after 2002. His successor President Amadou Tuomani Toure was on the verge of retirement after his two year term, when he was arrested by the military led by Captain Sanogo in March 2012 making Mali the main concern for the African Union’s peace and security agenda in the continent.
On the fateful Tuesday evening that Professor Atta Mills passed on, I met with a Ghanaian friend who works in Nairobi to catch up. My friend received a phone call from Ghana, in which the caller announced that Mills was dead and then promptly hung up. We thought at first it was a prank since Mills had died many times before, courtesy of rumour mongers and distractors. However, after considering the finality of the caller’s tone we scampered for the internet, immediately checking Twitter and myjoyonline.com, a popular Ghanaian news site. The websites confirmed that Professor Atta Mills had indeed just passed on at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.
Recent weeks have seen South Africa’s crime intelligence boss, Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, suspended, reinstated, and suspended for a career third time by the Acting National Police Commissioner, Major General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, pending an ongoing court inquiry into the 1999 murder of Mdluli’s former lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe.
Last week saw the deepening of divisions between South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). This comes at a time when the party’s youth league (ANCYL) has also become increasingly antagonistic towards the ANC.
In October 2011 al-Shabab fighters killed more than 70 African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers in one of the worst attacks that occurred in Somalia since the rising of the Islamist insurgency. However, the exact number of casualties is not known as AMISOM itself has confirmed only ten. Some of the bodies, reportedly Burundian Soldiers, have been put on displayin the al-Shabab-controlled El-Maan area, 18km from Mogadishu.
In the decade since 9/11, much has been written about the alleged changes in the nature of insurgent and revolutionary movements. Many of these studies in fact base their arguments on an interpretation of the functioning of the global Jihadist movement. They boil down to a technical analysis of principles of insurgency and counterinsurgency, devoid of politics and ideology. The presently successful Arab Spring movements, which have eclipsed the Jihadist appeal in most of the Middle East, indeed do display some of these trends. Nevertheless, they also bear witness to the continued importance of politics and ideology. Their success is ultimately based on the mobilisation of widespread popular support through an appealing cause that taps into widespread grievances.