Commonwealth
Opinion

Is the Commonwealth relevant?

Is the Commonwealth relevant?

Edited by Dr Sue Onslow, Deputy Director, Institute of Commonwealth Studies In January 2018, as preparations towards the Commonwealth Summit in London began to accelerate, Senior Research Fellows at the Institute were asked for their views on the valid question, ‘Is...

Cambridge Analytica and African elections

Cambridge Analytica and African elections

by Martin Plaut, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies Cambridge Analytica, the British political consultancy caught up in a huge scandal over its use of Facebook data, has boasted that they ran the successful campaigns of President Uhuru Kenyatta...

Democracy and violence: the threat to South Africa’s elections

Democracy and violence: the threat to South Africa’s elections

by Martin Plaut, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies Violent politics in a violent society South African elections take place against a background of violence. The ruptures of the apartheid era have been carried over into post-apartheid society,...

‘New’ Zimbabwe, Commonwealth and Brexit

‘New’ Zimbabwe, Commonwealth and Brexit

by Dr Balasubramanyam Chandramohan, Senior Research Fellow The recent events that led to change of leadership in Zimbabwe resulted in the creation of a ‘new’ Zimbabwe. However, there are more continuities than changes in the power structures at the systemic level, and...

As pressure mounts on South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, he blames an old enemy: Western intelligence agencies

As pressure mounts on South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, he blames an old enemy: Western intelligence agencies

South African President Jacob Zuma has had his back to the wall. The National Executive of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) met at a hotel in Pretoria over the weekend of November 26-27. The discussions – so intense that delegates almost came to blows – were over whether to remove the president from his post.

For the journalists who hung around outside the ANC meeting to decide the fate of their president, it was a long and dreary wait, which continued into the Monday. The president was facing numerous allegations, ranging from corruption and bringing the ANC into disrepute to – perhaps most telling of all – charges of allowing the opposition to take key cities during municipal elections earlier this year.

Botswana’s elephants and conservation – are things starting to fall apart?

Botswana’s elephants and conservation – are things starting to fall apart?

The picture of Dr Mike Chase grimly viewing the carcass of a poached elephant in the Chobe Enclave in northern Botswana is doubly poignant. Not only is it one of at least 26 elephants poached for their ivory there recently, but Mike Chase has just completed the massive Great Elephant Census of many of Africa’s savannah elephants. This massive survey is aimed at providing data to help conserve elephants and their habitat and inform debates over the levels of poaching and of human-elephant conflict. It found a decline in savannah elephant numbers in 18 states surveyed (but oddly excludes those in Namibia, Central African Republic and South Sudan – and all forest elephants) over the last nine years (much of which was already known, though and recorded in the African Elephant Database) and the full import of the new minimum estimate of 352,271 has still to be assessed against existing data.