Posts tagged as: austria

Nigeria:Alternative Energy May Force Oil Prices Down to $10 Per Barrel, Says Expert

By Oladeinde Olawoyin

As alternative energy fuels continue to attract more investors across the world, oil prices are poised to crash to just $10 per barrel, an expert has said.

In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Chris Watling, chief executive of Longview Economics, said the crash may be experienced over the next six to eight years.

In his forecast for 2018, Mr. Watling acknowledged that a key catalyst for the oil market would most likely be Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of next year.

Speaking on Saudi Arabia’s state oil group being launched on the international stock market, he said the oil producer needed to get it away before the crash.

“Well I think they need to get it away quick before oil goes to $10 (per barrel),” he said.

Mr. Watling, however, explained that he did not necessarily expect such an intense decline in oil prices over the coming weeks or months.

“What happens with electric vehicles is really, really important,” he said, saying that’s because “about 70 per cent of oil is used for transportation.”

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global outlook for oil markets in 2018 could put a dampener on hopes for higher prices.

In its report Thursday, the IEA said global stock builds, rising non-OPEC production and static oil demand could weigh on the oil price.

The organisation’s latest monthly report was published amid optimistic forecasts from the major oil producer group OPEC, with the cartel arguing there was evidence of the global oil market rebalancing following several years of low prices.

In June 2014, the price of oil collapsed from almost $120 a barrel due to weak demand, a strong dollar and booming U.S. shale production.

OPEC’s reluctance to cut output was also seen as a key reason behind the fall. But, the oil cartel soon moved to curb production — along with other oil producing nations — in late 2016.

But Nigeria was exempted from the cut imposed on member countries in January 2017, due to its low output caused by unrest in its oil rich Delta region.

In September, the Joint Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee, JMMC, also extended the exemption granted the country over the output cut.

At its meeting in Vienna, Austria, the Committee upheld Nigeria’s position that the exemption, which was extended by another six months last May, should be sustained until the country’s oil production stabilises.

The extension of the exemption period means more revenue earnings from oil exports by Nigeria, as the country would be able to export all the oil it produces as oil prices hover around $57 a barrel.

Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s oil minister, has said that although Nigeria was making considerable progress since October 2016 in its production recovery efforts, it was not enough as full stability had not been attained.

“Although Nigeria’s oil production hit 1.802 million barrels per day in the month of August, that was not enough justification for a call by some countries for Nigeria to be brought back into the fold,” Mr. Kachikwu pointed out.

The next JMMC Meeting is scheduled to be held in Vienna, on November 29, 2017.

Speaking further on Friday, Mr. Watling said things are changing and people may shift attention to alternative energy sources.

“We forget don’t we? I mean 120 years ago the world didn’t live on oil. Oil hasn’t always driven the global economy… The point is alternative energy in some forms is gathering speed (and) things are changing,” he added.

The Longview Economics CEO forecast the price of oil would ultimately slump to $10 a barrel over the next six to eight years.

The World’s Largest Lottery Jackpot Now Open to Kenyans

The EuroMillions lottery jackpot grew to €163 million (Sh20 billion) after rolling over and has some predicting that the jackpot will reach its €190 million (Sh23 billion) cap.

The current jackpot started at an especially high €130 million (Sh15.9 billion) as part of the special EuroMillions Superdraw, a special lottery event that takes place only once or twice a year. Since the first draw on 15th September, the jackpot has rolled over three times.

If the jackpot reaches its €190 million (Sh23 billion) cap the money that would normally go to the jackpot will trickle down to secondary prizes. The jackpot may remain at its capped amount for four draws. If there are no jackpot winners on the fourth draw, the jackpot will be distributed among the winners of the next highest prize category.

Ticket sales at online retailer theLotter have already taken off as international players rush to purchase their entries to this incredible jackpot.

Services such as theLotter are also available in Kenya, where it is not economically feasible to travel to Europe to purchase lottery tickets.

TheLotter uses local agents in Austria, France, Spain, and the UK to buy official lottery tickets on behalf of customers from all over the world. The website charges customers a transaction fee and in return, they receive a scan of any ticket purchased before the draw. No commissions are taken from winning tickets.

Anyone Can Play, Anyone Can Win

TheLotter recently celebrated its biggest win, ever. On 19th July, 2017 Aura D. from Panama City, Panama won a $30 million (Sh3 billion) jackpot playing Florida Lotto online with theLotter.

Aura D. had been retired but still needed to work to support her children. She had been playing with theLotter for only two months before her jackpot win.

While the size of Aura D.’s win is certainly exceptional, her story is not. She joins a long list of winners at theLotter who have taken home over $80 million (Sh8 billion) in winnings since the company opened its doors in 2002.

Playing the Lottery Online is Easy and Secure

Playing the lottery online is the easiest and most convenient way to play. It is possible to create an account and begin playing any of the 53 lotteries on theLotter within minutes. is user friendly and features 24/7 customer support through a Live Chat feature, telephone, or via email.

Furthermore, playing with theLotter is the most secure way to play the lottery. Paper tickets are secured in a safe and a scanned copy is available in players’ accounts. Furthermore, all transactions on as well as personal and payment information are secured with Geotrust 128 SSL bit security.


Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Gambia: Austrian Journalist Visits Gambia to Promote Tourism

By Njie Baldeh

An Austrian journalist is currently in The Gambia to see the country’s tourism attraction areas to report about it back home as the preparations for the 2017/2018 Gambia tourism season is in high gear.

The journalist, Wolfgang Weitlaner, has been received by the Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard) as part of their efforts to promote tourism in the country to the world.

In an interview with The Point on Monday at the GTBoard head office, Mr Weitlaner said he had been writing for almost 20 years in Austria and had travelled to over 100 countries where he is needed to do some promotions for tourism.

He said his main focus would be first to write more articles about what people can expect when they come over to The Gambia for holidays.

“I would also like to enhance people to do more than just sitting on the beach to enjoy the sun and the ocean,” he said.

“Holidaymakers should also get to the heritage and the culture of this country and its beautiful people.”

The Austrian journalist said he was very much interested in Banjul as the capital of The Gambia but also the coastline.

“And what I like most here is that the people are interconnected to each other,” he said. “When I go back to my country what I will write most is the biggest sensation of the people and the nature though I do not know more about the River Gambia, I think this is one of the absolute highlights of what I have seen, including the birds and beautiful wildlife.”

Ousman Kebbeh, product manager at the Gambia Tourism Board, said: “We are very fortunate to have the journalist from Austria.”

He said the Austrian has been taken on a conducted tour to visit some parts of The Gambia for him to have adequate and enough information to sell the destination.


Security for the People

Our president has just launched a national security initiative called Security Sector Reform Project to get a well… Read more »

Belt Up Kenyans, We Are Headed for a Rough 60-Day Patch

opinionBy Peter Kagwanja

Kenya has made history. Its Supreme Court made a rare ruling, annulling the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 8 elections with a huge margin of 1.4 million votes.

Blissfully, the ruling affirms Kenya as a new bona fide liberal democracy.

But it also reveals creeping ideological and jurisprudential divisions in our courts, likely to undermine public perception of the impartiality of the judiciary, exposing it to potential reprisals by sections of the aggrieved political class.

Kenya becomes the first country in Africa, and exceptionally very few in recent history, where a supreme court has overturned officially declared results of a presidential election.

It joins Maldives and Austria where the supreme courts have recently overturned the will of the people on legal and administrative technicalities.

“The presidential election was not conducted in accordance to the Constitution. The results are null and void,” Chief Justice Maraga declared.


In Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean, the Supreme Court nullified the results of presidential elections held on September 7, 2013, leading to a repeat poll on November 9 and a run-off on November 16.

In Austria, where the presidential elections took place on April 24, 2016, the Supreme Court annulled the results of a second round run-off on May 22, 2016 paving the way for a revote on December 4, 2016.

This is the second ruling by the Supreme Court, created by the 2010 constitution. The first was a unanimous affirmation of the results of the 2013 presidential elections. In contrast, the 2017 ruling was by a simple majority with strongly dissenting opinions.

Of the six judges involved, four – Chief Justice David Maraga, his Deputy Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justice Smokin Wanjala and Justice Isaac Lenaola — were of the opinion that “irregularities” and “illegalities” affected the conduct of the polls.


The ruling has put the Supreme Court on trial. It has revealed serious ideological and jurisprudential divides likely to bedevil the judiciary.

The ruling hit Jubilee like a jolt from the blues. However, had the governing party pundits invested in unearthing the ideological schisms in the Supreme Court, they would have seen the ruling coming.

For example, Chief Justice Maraga’s puritanical view of the democratic electoral process is neither new nor private. It is patently public.

This became evident in the high-profile case (Joho v Nyange and another) of 2008, where he declared that: “The law is therefore clear as to when an election can be nullified. An election will be nullified if it is not conducted substantially in accordance with the law as to the elections. It will also be nullified, even though it is conducted substantially according to the law as to the elections, if there are errors or mistakes in conducting it which, however trivial, are found to have affected the results of the election.”


However trivial, errors and mistakes matter to the Supreme Court puritans, and trivial “irregularities” and “illegalities” are sufficient reason to overturn the will of the people. Elections must adhere 100 per cent to the process and the letter of the law. The will of the people and political consequences of court rulings are secondary.

On contrast are those judges valorising the will of the people and concerned with the larger picture of democratic elections as imperfect and work in progress.

In this regard, one of the dissenting Judges, Njoki Ndung’u, argued that the irregularities and illegalities were not sufficient to change the outcomes or to warrant the overturning of the will of the people expressed in the voting. The second, Justice Jackton Ojwang, argued that “there is no iota of evidence to merit the overturning of the election.”

Perhaps unintendedly, the ruling confirms Kenya’s constitutional order and asserts the rule of law. Although disagreeing with the ruling, President Kenyatta said he would respect it. Opposition leader and petitioner Raila Odinga hailed the ruling as a “historic victory for Kenya.”


Moreover, for a while, the decision has restored the stability of the Kenyan system. It has helped demobilise forces advocating post-election violence.

In its immediate aftermath, the ruling has drowned open calls to violence by sections of human rights extremists in civil society, who threatened that Kenya would burn if Kenyatta was sworn in as President and even publicly advocated the break-up of Kenya into ethnic “republics” along the lines of former Yugoslavia.

NASA’s own confidence in courts has been restored. In 2007, Odinga declined to seek redress for his grievances in court, instead calling his supporters to the streets.

This plunged the country into a cataclysmic violence that pushed the country to the brink of state failure. In 2017, NASA had declared that it would not go to court but appeal to the people.


Inadvertently, perceptions of the ruling as a reflection of a desire by the Supreme Court to assert itself over the Executive in a political style has thrust the court into a tornado path of a vicious political clash of rival camps of the political class. Jubilee argued that “six individuals” have ousted the will of over 45 million Kenyans. Its pundits view the consequences of the ruling as a “civilian coup”.

The court has, however, only delivered half victory to Odinga.

Admittedly, a new election is a burden to NASA. Like Jubilee, NASA has to mobilise huge finances for campaigns at a short notice.

Notably, NASA principals – with the exception of Senator Moses Wetang’ula – are literally jobless.


One scenario from a repeat election is an Odinga victory in the presidential contest. Despite the reprieve from the Supreme Court, all odds are stacked against NASA which has lost Parliament, Senate, Woman Reps, Governors and Members of County Assemblies to Jubilee. Out-numbered, out-gunned and out-there, “President Odinga” cannot govern.

The best case scenario for Odinga is a negotiated power-sharing arrangement with the Jubilee majority.

But Jubilee has ruled out any “nusu-mkate” (power-sharing government) and hit the campaign trail starting with Nairobi. Kenyans should belt up, we are headed for a rough 60-day patch.

The author is a former Government Adviser and currently heads the Africa Policy Institute

Nigeria: Firms in Talk With Govt Over Plan to Assemble Aircraft in Nigeria

By Chinedu Eze

Austria aircraft manufacturing company, Diamond Aircraft Industries in collaboration with indigenous company, Interjet Nigeria Limited are in talks with the federal government on their plan to establish aircraft assembly plant in Nigeria.

When established, the assembly plant will cater to the West African market and beyond.

Diamond Aircraft Industries is an Austrian-based manufacturer of general aviation aircraft and motor gliders. It is the third largest manufacturer of aircraft for the general aviation sector, and had a global presence; possessing its own manufacturing facilities in Wiener Neustadt, Lower Austria and in London, Ontario, Canada, as well as further production lines operated as joint ventures in other nations, such as China.

Managing Director of Interjet Nigeria Limited, Seun Peters who confirmed the plan, said decisions would soon be taken on the project.

“Interjet Limited, in partnership with Diamond Aircraft of Austria, is working towards building a state-of-the-art maintenance facility in Abuja to service Nigeria and other West African countries. We are confident that in view of our experience, the dream of the Buhari -led Administration to turn Nigeria into a leading aviation hub for sales and maintenance of Aircraft in Africa will be realised,” he said.

Diamond Aircraft Industries is supplying the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria 20 trainer aircraft with after sales skills training.

During the commissioning of the delivery of the first batch of the aircraft the representative of Diamond, Reinhard Schwaiger confirmed the plan to THISDAY in an interview and said that the management of the company would take decision on when the plant would be established in Nigeria.

On the delivery of trainer aircraft to NCAT, Schwaiger said the company had already trained NCAT technical personnel that would be maintaining the aircraft

“We have trained some personnel already. Diamond customer service is a one-stop shop. We train for the airframe and the engine,” he said.

Schwaiger said his company in partnership with Interjet would work with NCAT and Nigeria to develop technical skills in aircraft maintenance when the plant would be established.

Peters in his address during the commissioning of the newly delivered aircraft, said the College is expected to play significant roles in the development of aviation in Nigeria, considering the fact that it is one of the great aviation schools in Africa.

“We are well aware of the role NCAT is expected to play in training quality manpower; first among equals for safety, standards and efficiency. This role is very crucial to the diversification drive of government to open our country to foreign investments; in this we are proud to be associated with the federal government in making this a reality. Our determination is to see NCAT re-positioned as a foremost international academy; a choice training aviation institution for professionals in the whole of Africa; we believe this is very possible.

“Our Aircraft are one of the safest and most durable in the world and come with advanced avionics and sophisticated Austro engines which run on JET-A1 which is much easier to purchase than Aviation Gasoline (AVGAS). The Aircraft are built with composite material which make them light weight and easy to fly and have a remarkable fuel efficiency. Our safety record is unmatched which is why our Aircrafts are the best and most sought after in the world today. There is therefore absolutely no reason why Nigeria cannot maintain and assemble aircrafts in this age of ICT and universal science engineering.

Also, the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in an interview, commended Diamond and Interjet and praised the aviation College for its outstanding achievements.

“I think we are one of the best training institutions around the world that that have the capacity and ability to do all of those trainings that are listed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). I can’t remember any institution that has most of those things NCAT has got. The school has its airport, it has its control tower, it has its students’ hostels, training aids, production units, swimming pool, golf course etc. These are all within the College and they support learning,” the minister said.

Israel Business Titans Are Coming

Chief Executive Officers of 50 Israel companies are expected in the country later this year for a business summit as Tanzania becomes increasingly attractive to global investors.

The Israel Ambassador, Yahel Vilan told the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa in Dodoma yesterday that the summit, to be held later this year, would be an opportunity for business leaders from Israel to explore trade and investment opportunities in Tanzania, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Israel envoy hailed the government for execution of its activities which include sustaining strong macroeconomic performance and restoring discipline in the public sector.

The fifth phase government under President John Magufuli has been praised by Western donors for an anti-corruption drive and cutting wasteful government spending since coming to power in 2015.

Mr Majaliwa told the Israel envoy that Israel investors were welcome to invest in various sectors including agriculture. He also invited Israelis to visit Tanzania as tourists to see for themselves what is making Tanzania an attractive tourists destination in the East African region.

The Premier said the government would continue to cherish warm bilateral relations that would be used to boost trade and investment relations between the two countries.

Israel ranks in the top 18 nations in the world on the UN’s Human Development Index, which places it in the category of “Very Highly Developed”– the highest ranked in the Middle East, allowing the country to enjoy a high standard of living rivaling other Western countries such as Austria, France and Finland. The major economic sectors include high-technology and industrial manufacturing.

Relatively poor in natural resources, Israel depends on imports of petroleum, raw materials, wheat, motor vehicles, uncut diamonds and production inputs, though the country’s nearly total reliance on energy imports may change with recent discoveries of large natural gas reserves off its coast on the one hand and the leading role of the Israeli solar energy industry on the other.


African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to Visit Egypt, Tunisia

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) is set to visit and conduct sensitisation seminars in the Arab… Read more »

Cranes Strikers That Could Replace Retired Massa

Photo: Daily Monitor

Cranes players (file photo).

By Elvis Senono

Geoffrey Sserunkuma

He has been around longer than Massa having risen to prominence while playing for then topflight league Horizon based in Kabale. That was at the turn of the century before the latter came onto the scene at Mbale Heroes in 2004. His inclusion would therefore only be only a stop gap.

Basing on current form, Sserunkuma looks best placed to fill the void created by Massa’s retirement with the striker enjoying an Indian summer where he has scored a league leading 13 goals thus far. He also has four goals in as many games as KCCA look to make an impression on the continent.

While not considered a favourite of current national team coach Micho Sredojevic, Sserunkuma has good hold up play, is a fine header of the ball and his movement makes him a better 18-yard box predator.

Emmanuel Okwi

The SC Villa striker possesses a slightly different set of attributes including the ability to beat his opponents with a burst of pace.

He is currently enjoying a mini renaissance at SC Villa where has scored seven goals in seven league games. Has however blown hot and cold throughout since breaking out, the reason he was dropped from the Cranes Afcon squad.

Edirisa Lubega

The player with the most similar attributes to Massa of those that have been in the Cranes fold since Micho took charge. He scored 21 goals to guide Proline back to the topflight league. He supplemented that with seven more goals before a January move to Floridsdorfer Athletiksport-Club in Austria. Like the Massa of old, Lubega is blessed with pace and provides the industry favoured by Micho. A relative youngster having just broken through the ranks.

Muhammad Shaban

What he lacks in size, he more than makes up with effort. The darling of Arua based Onduparaka. Graduated through the ranks from the Under-17 national side three years ago. His pace and aggression have earned him 10 league goals in his maiden season in the top league.

Controversially awarded last season Player of the Year accolade, he has developed a bad temperament that may hamper his career.

He was banned from the East Africa Secondary Schools Games in 2015 and recently hurled a water bottle at a journalist to accompany his six yellow cards this season. Shaban also featured – as a substitute – at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in matches against Ghana and eventual losing finalists Egypt.

Derrick Nsibambi

He is set to conclude his second full season at league champions KCCA but must quickly turn his potential into goals. He is yet to make double figures in a season. He is good in the air despite his slight frame and has decent first touch. Also has pace and always shows commitment to the cause. But with consistency hard to come by from the current generation,it is hard to see the above list that could also include the now club-less Yunus Sentamu eclipsing Massa’s 12 years as the country’s leading striker.


Senior Kony Rebel Surrenders

A former senior signaller in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by elusive rebel leader Joseph Kony has defected from… Read more »

South Africa: Energy On Fuel Price Adjustment for January 2017

Photo: Lothar Wandtner/Pixabay

(file photo).

press release

Media statement issued by the Department of Energy on the adjustment of fuel prices effective from 04 January 2017

The Department of Energy informs the public of the fuel price adjustments for January 2017. South Africa’s fuel prices are adjusted on a monthly basis, informed by international and local factors. International factors include the fact that South Africa imports both crude oil and finished products at a price set at the international level, including shipping costs.

The main reasons for the fuel price adjustments are due to:

(1) The contribution of the Rand/US Dollar exchange rate. The Rand strengthened very slightly against the US Dollar from R13.91 to R13.87, on average, during the period under review when compared to the previous one.

(2) The increase in the prices crude oil, on average, during the period under review. A key factor that contributed to the increase in the prices of crude oil was the fact that OPEC members agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per from 1 January 2017 during their meeting that was held in Vienna, Austria, on 30 November 2016. Furthermore, Russia and other Non-OPEC producers also agreed to cut production by 600 thousand barrels per day.

(3) The increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin, on average, in the international markets during the period under review. The Basic Fuel Price (BFP) of all the products increased in line with the increase in the price of crude oil.

More on This

‘Hefty’ Petrol Price Hike in Store for South African Motorists

Petrol Price to Increase in JanuaryAA Warns of Hefty Fuel Price Jump

(4) Adjustment to the Octane Differential between 95 and 93 OctaneIn line with the Working Rules to determine the Basic Fuels Prices, the 95 octane (unleaded) grade is the price-marker grade and the BFP-differentials between 95 and 93 Octanes will be adjusted on the first Wednesday of each quarter. The 95/93 octane price differential will be adjusted with effect from 04 January 2017.Based on current local and international factors, the fuel prices for January 2017 will be adjusted as follows:Petrol (93 ULP and LRP): 50.00c/l increase;Petrol (95 ULP and LRP): 48.00c/l increase;Diesel (0.05% Sulphur): 39.00c/l increase;Diesel (0.005% Sulphur): 37.00c/l increase;Wholesale price of Illuminating Paraffin: 43.00c/l increase;SMNRP of Illuminating Paraffin: 58.00c/l increase; andMaximum Retail Price of LPGas: 106.00c/kg increase.The fuel prices schedule for the different zones will be published on Tuesday, 03 January 2017.Issued by: Department of EnergyMore on ThisAA Warns of Hefty Fuel Price Jump

January 2017 will see the first of what the Automobile Association (AA) expects to be a series of fuel price hikes in… Read more »

Mt. Gorilla Rally – Penultimate Round on 2017 ARC Season

By Jejje Muhinde

The Federation International Africa Rally Championship (FIA-ARC) has released the official schedule for the 2017 season.

However, the new schedule comes with a few changes in the ARC calendar where next season’s championship will have an additional round, with ARC heading back to Kenya after a two-year absence.

Among the other changes will see the Rwanda Mountain Rally moved as the penultimate round and will be the held on September 9-10. Initially, Rwanda’s most prestigious motorsport event has been staged in August and has always been the fourth event on the seven-round calendar.

The changes will also see the Uganda Pearl of Africa Rally coming earlier in July. However, the Rallye Bandama retained its position as the season opener while South African Sasol Rally is pushed to third after the return of the Kenya Safari Rally, in the second place.

The 2016 season came to a climax on December 2, with Kenya’s Don Smith his navigator Bob Kaugi being crowned the 2016 FIA-Africa champions in a ceremony held at Imperial Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.

2017 ARC calendar:

Feb. 11-12: Rallye Bandana (Ivory Coast)

March 18-19: Safari Rally (Kenya)

Apr. 29-30: Sasol Rally (South Africa)

July 1-2: Pearl of Africa Uganda Rally (Uganda)

Aug 5-6: Rally of Tanzania (Tanzania)

Sep 9-10: Rwanda Mt. Gorilla Rally (Rwanda)

Oct 21-22: Zambia International Rally (Zambia)


Past Lessons Should Keep You Focused, Kagame Tells Troops

President and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces Paul Kagame has called on members of Rwanda Defence and security forces… Read more »

Lessons for Besigye’s Party From Gambia

Photo: The Independent

Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow (C) gesturing to the crowd in Kololi.

By Andrew Mwenda

Accusations based on Jammeh’s personality shouldn’t obscure the politics

On December 01 the President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, lost an election and went on television and conceded defeat. He also called the victor, Adama Barrow, and congratulated him saying he has no ill will and will be pleased to help him in any way. Having taken power by a military coup and ruled that tiny West African nation for 22 years, no one expected Jammeh to concede gracefully.

However, the leader of the opposition coalition – who is not the president-elect, announced they were going to prosecute Jammeh for crimes he committed while in office. A week after conceding Jammeh reversed his position, said elections had been rigged called for a fresh vote. This turnaround has been widely condemned and may push that country into violent conflict.

We are likely not going to hear the inside story of what happened. Across the board, the argument will likely be personal to Jammeh: that he is a weird character and that he is a power hungry megalomaniac. But over the years I have learnt that these accusations that are entirely based on the personalities of our leaders often tend to obscure rather than illuminate our understanding of our politics.

With the sole exception of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, the Western media and its cheer leaders in Africa (including old ole me) have accused almost every president in Africa of being power hungry. But why is it the 54 nations of Africa that produce power hungry leaders? Why doesn’t Norway, or Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, UK, France or Germany – also produce a power hungry leader once in a while who amends the constitution to remove term limits or stages a military coup?

There is something all the nations I have mentioned in Western Europe, North America and Australia share – they have all been industrialised and institutionalised over centuries, and are urbanised with a high per capita income and standards of living. There is also something the nations of Africa share. They are largely agrarian societies, with low levels of institutionalisation of power, limited urbanisation, low per capita income, and low standards of living.

Therefore, I suspect that our nations’ politics is not dysfunctional. It is a reflection of poverty and low levels of institutionalisation of power. Indeed, all too often power has changed hands by military coups, elections, armed struggle, popular insurrections, death or retirement of an incumbent president. Yet with the sole exception of post genocide Rwanda, there has not been any fundamental change in governance in spite of many changes in government.

Over the years, I have developed a suspicion that Africa is going through a phase of development and what we are seeing as governance dysfunctions are inevitable aspects of political development. It does make sense to blame a child for behaving like an infant. This argument does not sit well with missionary politics that hold that leaders should just behave themselves regardless of the circumstances.

Now my argument above may suggest that Africa should sit back and watch the process of development work itself. I am not neglecting the catalytic function of ideas and human agency to impact social development.

We have witnessed how post genocide Rwanda, defying all the odds of a poor agrarian nation with very low per capita income, has structured power to serve broader social goals.

Then the question becomes: how do you structure power in poor agrarian societies to avoid some of the adverse effects of political participation and contestation? The current answer has been to model the structure of governance along what we see in the rich Western World – have a liberal, multi party political system, term limits, etc. with an accompanying regime of rights. I am suspicious of this recommendation in large part because what we see in the West today are consequences not causes of its development process.

There are some nations in Africa, which defying their condition of poverty, have made good progress at domesticating political power. In Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Benin and Senegal, we have seen an opposition party candidate defeat a ruling party or an incumbent president at least twice and power changes hands peacefully. In Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Mozambique we have witnessed a regular smooth transfer or power from one president to another about three times. These are encouraging signs but we can never be sure how enduring they will be.

This brings me back to The Gambia. It is possible Jammeh conceded in a moment of excitement after which his colleagues; especially in the army came and told him to stay put. Someone whispered to me that the defeat of President John Mahama in Ghana altered the geostrategic calculations in Gambia. Apparently, the presidents of Nigeria and Senegal hate Jammeh. Mahama was the guarantor of his safe retirement. With Mahama defeated, Jammeh felt exposed and changed his mind on retirement.

Maybe Jammeh changed his mind because the leader of the opposition coalition threatened to prosecute him? Remember Barrow has not been in politics. He is a businessman. He did not have many quarrels with Jammeh who had not jailed and beaten him and his supporters. May be this is the reason Jammeh felt confident to concede to such a man as opposed to his perennial enemies who he had so terrorised that they are boiling with revenge.

There could be a lesson here for Uganda as well. That to create conditions for Museveni to feel confident to retire, the opposition may need leaders who have not been beaten and jailed the way Kizza Besigye has been. If you are Museveni and those closest to him, you are likely to fear Besigye because your conscience tells you he will seek revenge. So whenever Besigye runs, Museveni and his supporters cannot leave anything to chance. Presidents, we should remember, are human and have both public and private needs.

It is possible that a candidate like Mugisha Muntu may not stimulate the kind of cult-like following that Besigye ignites in those who want Museveni to go. But it is also possible that such lack of enthusiasm in opposition campaigns can lull Museveni’s system to relax their vigilance during the balloting process and calm their nerves in the event of defeat. If this reasoning holds water, then it means a cool candidate like Muntu could be savior the opposition needs.


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