Keith Somerville on Africa’s Long Road Since Independence

As a journalist, Keith Somerville was stationed in Malawi in 1981 to monitor regional radio coverage. The BBC World Service maintained the Monitoring Service, with bases in Kenya and Malawi, to track events across southern, central and eastern Africa. The Monitoring Service worked both for the BBC and its funder, the British government, and routinely passed on information to the Ministry of Defence and, by extension, to the intelligence services. The radio networks played a vital role in Africa because of widespread illiteracy, as well as the lack of infrastructure and logistics necessary for a functioning press. Radio broadcasts offered … Continue reading

Recidivus: Who will succeed Mugabe?

After 35 years at the helm, Robert Mugabe shows no interest in giving up the big seat. Even at 91, Mugabe’s will remains steadfast – perhaps more so than his body. He has expressed his intention to stand for re-election in 2018 when he will be 94 if he’s still around. The ruling party, Zanu-PF, has just endorsed his candidacy. Despite how strong President Mugabe claims to be, the party apparatus has endured spasms over the question of succession. The first candidate, Joice Mujuru, was knocked out of the race last year. She was purged for supposedly plotting against the … Continue reading

Zimbabwe’s power struggle to succeed Mugabe comes to a head

Zimbabwe has seen rising factional tensions and accusations of plots in recent months, all of it over who ought to succeed Robert Mugabe. President Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 34 years, and has led its ruling party for 39 years. He now stands as the fifth-longest serving African head of state. He maintains that he will be available to serve his country as long as he is still mentally competent and healthy. Officially, he intends to run for re-election in 2018, having already secured another term in July 2013. But as he turned 90 this year, the question of succession … Continue reading