THE PRESIDENT of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is a folksy sort of politician and seems not to relish stuffily formal occasions. The master of ceremonies at an event on April 27th to mark the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first multiracial elections tacitly admitted as much
ON APRIL 30th Nuri al-Maliki stepped behind a cardboard voting booth in a hotel ballroom in Baghdad, cast his ballot and raised a triumphant finger dipped in purple ink, urging other Iraqis to head for the polls, too. But this was in the relative safety of the fortified “green zone”, the government area which, he fears, is the ultimate target of opposition fighters now proliferating to the west and north of the capital. Elsewhere in Iraq the election took place amid bombs and bitter sectarian animosity between Sunni and Shia politicians
AS THE elections on May 7th draw closer, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) seems increasingly troubled by a challenge on its left flank from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by Julius Malema, a former head of the ANC’s Youth League, who wants to nationalise white businesses and farms without compensation. The ANC is sure to win the election. But fear of losing votes to the EFF has had a worrying effect on recent legislation related to business.Two bills, on how to govern mining and private security, were rushed through parliament before its recess.
NANA AKUFO-ADDO, the long-serving leader of Ghana’s opposition, is determined to run again for president in 2016—so he declared before a boisterous crowd in the front garden of his home in Accra, the country’s capital.
SIX months ago sceptics warned the army-backed government against a blanket clampdown on dissent, whether peaceful or not. Instead, the re-emboldened security services have increasingly been hammering the whole gamut of opposition, from secular reformers to every type of Islamist.
TUNISIANS have suffered plenty of disappointment since their joyous toppling of a nasty dictator three years ago.
SIX months after a populist coup toppled Muhammad Morsi, their first freely elected president, Egyptians are again heading to the polls. Their choice is a simple yes or no.
A great man’s unquiet grave DURING their patriarch’s long illness, the progeny of Nelson Mandela fought bitterly with each other in what seemed like an attempt to show just how far apples can fall from a tree.
SUNK between the Judaean and Moabite mountains, the world’s lowest point gets lower by a metre every year.
Too late to visit MARK TWAIN described Damascus, Syria’s capital, as immortal. “She has looked upon the dry bones of a thousand empires and will see the tombs of a thousand more before she dies.” That may still be true, but the city’s monuments are suffering.