The potential downfall of Cyril Ramaphosa
by Connor Crout
On 15 July 300 protesters, most of them members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), marched through Johannesburg demanding, amongst other things, a new president. Some of the protestors’ main grievances with incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa include the rising cost of living and institutional state corruption.
Ramaphosa became president of South Africa in February 2018 after the resignation of previous president Jacob Zuma. His presidency has not seen much in terms of public support, with him getting 57.5 percent of the vote in the 2019 South African General Election – the ANC’s lowest vote share since the end of Apartheid.
It therefore seems like the public have turned against Ramaphosa, blaming him for the current economic problems. Just like his predecessor, Ramaphosa could be pressured into resigning – albeit this time mainly by his own party.
Death of Angola’s ‘architect of peace’ reopens old wounds
by Harvey Young
Angola’s former, and well renowned, president José Eduardo dos Santos’ death on 8 July has shaken the country and sparked conversations regarding Angola’s lasting divisions. Dos Santos’ divisive legacy is seen as responsible both for Angola’s successes and failures.
Dos Santos ruled from 1979, shortly after Angola’s civil war, up until 2017. He presided over the Marxist MPLA faction during the Angolan civil war and fought against the pro-western UNITA faction. He garnered much admiration when he signed a peace deal with UNITA in 2002, bringing peace to a country which had been ravaged by conflict for over 40 years. Although he enjoyed massive success, José Eduardo dos Santos’ would often brutally crack down on opposition and his time in office was dogged with accusations of corruption and nepotism. Dos Santos himself later admitted making mistakes.
Egypt withdraws from Mali peacekeeping mission
by Aidan O’Connor
Egypt has decided to temporarily withdraw from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, (MINUSMA), citing an increase in attacks against peacekeepers which have resulted in seven deaths this year. Egypt has over 1,000 troops based in Mali. Its withdrawal and suspension of operations is set to remain in place until security and safety concerns are addressed. Although Egypt has cited safety concerns in Mali before, the decision to withdraw is likely down to Mali’s choice to temporarily suspend troop rotations by nations involved in the peacekeeping mission.
Since a military coup in 2020, Mali’s government has clashed with the UN and neighbouring allies over UN peacekeepers’ attempts to investigate war crimes in the country. Mali’s dangerous struggle to contain an Islamic extremist insurgency, ongoing since 2012, has made this UN peacekeeping mission one of the deadliest in the world. The Egyptian decision to temporarily withdraw from operations in Mali may have damaging consequences for what remains of the UN peacekeeping efforts.
The first step is done: Chad on its way back to democratic rule
by Neo Allert
After the death of Chad’s president Idriss Deby in April 2021 during a visit to a military camp in the north of the country, Mohamat Idriss Deby, the former president’s son, ascended to power. Since then he has strengthened his position as head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), functioning as interim president.
Initially claiming only to oversee an orderly 18-month transition from military government to democracy, Deby and the TMC have already postponed a national dialogue. However, on 15 July the interim president finally announced that he will hold a national dialogue in August which will, in theory, include armed opposition groups. Chad is a major ally of France and other Western countries in the global fight against terrorism so working to democratise and stabilise Chad may be a good start to improve the situation in the whole Sahel region.