Recommended Weekly Allowance - Political. Elections, terrorism and regional community

  1. Electoral business. Totemic elections are slated for 23 Dec in the DRC. In theory, they present an opportunity to address internal and external legitimacy of the government and ease the operating environment. In fact, risks surround the unpreparedness of the electoral commission (CENI), its insistence on biometric voting despite evident weaknesses, the role of incumbent president Joseph Kabila and on-going violence in the country, especially around Beni and in Kasai region. Meanwhile, the incumbent’s anointed successor, Emmanuel Shadary, has unveiled his campaign platform. A four-point programme which could be summarised as security, job creation, access to public services and lastly ‘demonstrating the importance of the geostrategic importance of the DRC’. Who he will be facing is still under discussion. An opposition unity candidate Martin Fayulu emerged and was rejected by major elements within days. There are rumours of fresh talks between Felix Tshisekedi (UDPS) and Vital Kamerhe (UNS) are reportedly in negotiations in Brussels.

  2. Forbearance. There is a persistent threat to the political and operating environment from Islamist groups including Boko Haram (BH)/Islamic State west Africa Province (ISWAP) in the Sahelian states and Nigeria. President Buhari claimed in 2015 that BH had been defeated after dramatically eroding its capability to hold territory. However, in recent months especially we have seen an escalation of attacks on military assets and soft targets in the north east of the country (away from primary business and administrative centres). Political energy meanwhile, is focussed on elections scheduled for February 2019 – see manifestos from Buhari and Peoples Democratic Party candidate Atiku Abubakari over the last week – pushing this into the ‘important but non-urgent’ in-tray.

  3. African Union. The AU met last week and made some substantive decisions. Among them – (a) the drive to reduce external dependence by pledging to sanction member states failing to meet their commitments, (b) reducing the number of commissioners from eight to six, and (c) transforming NEPAD into an ‘African development agency’. In January, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt will take over from Rwanda’s Paul Kagame as chairperson.

Nana Ampofo