President Goodluck Jonathan (2011). Photo: Annaliese McDonough (creative commons)

By Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood

Re-published from

11th February 2015

“Elections belong to people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters” – Abraham Lincoln

When elections loom we often make the mistake of believing that voting for a different party or a new president will bring about real change. Soon we realise that those voted in are just a continuation of the old system, but with a different face, or the reappearance of a system that has long ceased to be relevant. This is the choice between change – real change – and just an alternative government.

The Nigerian elections, originally scheduled for Saturday but recently postponed by six weeks due to security concerns, raise this issue. Do the Nigerian people want change, or just an alternative government?

By Semiha Abdulmelik

Re-published from Strife

29th January 2015

‘Meaningful participation in African conflict-resolution processes is not an important aspect of China’s current Africa relations. China is becoming increasingly important in the landscape of African politics, including in conflict-affected theatres, but is not as significant an actor as external perceptions contend. Nor has the Chinese government shown any particular inclination for more active engagement beyond spheres such as Sudan where the need is more compelling’’.[1]

Dan Large (SOAS), 2008, in China’s role in the mediation and resolution of conflict in Africa.

These words, written just seven years ago, now seem out of date. We are now witnessing what might be described as a significant if incremental evolution in China’s involvement in Africa’s peace and security. It is more structured, purposeful, and beyond countries of immediate interest, if still exploratory.

China’s peace and security engagement on the continent has predominantly been characterised as driven by economic interests in countries in which it has significant investments. This is the narrative most commonly seen in the Western media and academia: strict adherence to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries and comprising of bi-lateral military cooperation and arms trade. How this has evolved will be the focus of this piece.

By Desmond Davies

Re-published from The Ghana News Agency

Sunday 25th January 2015

Johannesburg, Jan. 25, GNA – Three African experts have been appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to a seven-member panel charged with reviewing the world body’s peacebuilding architecture in the face of major challenges.

Dr ‘Funmi Olonisakin from Nigeria, Edith Grace Ssempala from Uganda and Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah from Mauritania are on the panel, which was recommended by the presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council in December.

By Comfort Ero

Re-published from The Guardian

Friday 16 January 2015

When Nigeria goes to the polls in February, rival candidates Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari must do all they can to limit the risk of violence

With less than a month to go before contentious polls, Nigeria is facing a perfect storm. Elections on 14 and 28 February are not only about choosing a new president and political representatives; they also constitute a critical test for Nigeria’s unity, particularly after five years of insurgency by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram.

By Patricia Nangiro

Re-published from Kujenga Amani

January 9, 2015

In the months following the announcement in June 2014 by Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni that the government intended to ask Parliament to amend the constitution,1 more than twenty bills relating to various laws have been put forward for amendment. With about 120 amendments made so far in the nineteen years the 1995 constitution has been operative, this will be the seventh time it will have been tinkered with.2 The following are chief among the issues proposed in the cabinet draft dated April 22:3

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