the moment of truth
The big news in African politics this week is South Africa's general election, which takes place on Wednesday, April 22. ANC leader Jacob Zuma seems almost certain to win the presidency. (Any time Nelson Mandela shows in a t-shirt bearing your face, I'd say that's a sign you're likely to win. We should develop a control variable for that!) Although the election has a fairly predictable outcome, the peaceful continuance of South Africa's democracy is critical for regional and continental security. Not only will the new leader of Africa's strongest economy have to contend with the Zimbabwe basket case on its northern border, he'll also have a critical role to play in stabilizing the D.R. Congo, pressuring Rwanda and Uganda to behave, ensuring a more robust national response to the HIV/AIDS crisis throughout southern Africa, and building an continent-wide consensus on what to do about Sudan.
I'm by no means an expert on southern African politics and will therefore offer only general observations on the events to come this week. Here are some great places to learn more:
- If you're looking for a great primer about the major players and issues in the race, the BBC has put together a nice Q&A.
- Africa is a Country is closely following events back home. Check out his excellent list of Jacob Zuma-isms.
- Since it's always better to go straight to the source, I highly recommend following South African newspapers. Best among them are the Mail & Guardian and the Independent.
- Pretoria's Institute for Security Studies is the best think tank on the continent. One of their scholars, Collette Schulz-Herzenberg, has a nice piece on the importance of turnout in this election.