The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is implicated in a leaked report that suggests that corrupt officials have been diverting food aid intended for displaced Somali refugees. It is feared that al-Shabab (the Islamist insurgency group that is fighting against Somalia’s transitional government and its international backers) is benefiting from the diversion of food aid.
Diversion of food aid for other ends is not new in this region of the Continent. In the 1980s when the Ethiopian government under tin pot dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam was fighting Eritrean and Meles Zenawi-led rebels, both sides of the conflict diverted food aid and used it to purchase weapons, with disastrous consequences. The CIA seems to have forgotten about this particular case. The agency is a key nemesis of al-Shabab in Somalia.
South African democracy still has a long way to go. My greatest fear is that ANC supremacy might get into the heads of the party bosses and have them collapse the distinction between party and state. There are already allegations of corruption within the top ranks of the ANC. Ironically, if corruption is to be tackled head on within the ANC, Jacob Zuma is the right man for the job, his own failings notwithstanding. He seems to have a direct connection with average ANC supporters and could use this to rein in party bosses, or at least make them steal less.
It is hard being a disciplined hegemonic party. Tanzania’s CCM is a lesson in what the ANC should avoid. Botswana’s BDP might be a better example of a relatively disciplined hegemonic party. The party has ruled Botswana since 1966 without falling into the temptations of grand corruption and power grabbing.
Edit: Recent events have shown cracks beginning to form within the BDP. The world is watching what Ian Khama, son of Seretse Khama is prepared to do to secure his presidency in the face of increasing opposition.