- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2007

SOUTH AFRICA

Ruling party caucus faces deep divisions

MIDRAND — South Africa’s ruling African National Congress began a crucial policy conference yesterday amid some of the worst divisions in its post-apartheid history.

The meeting, which analysts say will be overshadowed by a bitter party leadership battle, comes as President Thabo Mbeki’s government is under attack by unions staging one of the biggest public-sector strikes since South Africa embraced democracy in 1994.

In a speech opening the conference, Mr. Mbeki vowed to tackle economic and social ills and reminded South Africans that the party had liberated them from white minority rule.

NIGERIA

Opposition joins unity government

ABUJA — Nigeria’s largest opposition party will join the new government after the two sides agreed to work together on electoral reform and to review last-minute privatizations by the previous administration.

The rival parties announced the deal yesterday after two days of talks called by new President Umaru Yar’Adua. Mr. Yar’Adua has tried to form a “government of national unity” because the April election was criticized as not credible by international monitors.

The two sides agreed to work together to review the electoral process, the constitution and a series of privatizations made in the dying days of the last government, they said in a joint statement.

SOMALIA

Top officials escape attacks

MOGADISHU — Somalia’s trade minister and former defense minister escaped assassination attempts, the latest in a string of Iraqi-style guerrilla attacks on government targets, witnesses said yesterday.

A roadside bomb hit Trade Minister Abdullahi Ahmed Afrah’s convoy late Tuesday in a busy north Mogadishu street.

A land mine exploded yesterday near former Defense Minister Abdikadir Adan Shire’s vehicle in the central Somali district of Bardhere. Mr. Shire, a member of Somalia’s parliament, was rushed to a hospital with head injuries.

ZIMBABWE

Mugabe warns of new takeovers

HARARE — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday threatened to seize foreign companies, including mines, that have raised prices and cut output in what he called an economic “dirty tricks” campaign to drive him from office.

Mr. Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, accused former colonial power Britain of leading a Western drive to overthrow him.

Speaking at the funeral of a top military officer in Harare, Mr. Mugabe charged that some industrialists, including miners, had been drafted into the “regime-change” agenda by Britain and were deliberately reducing production, raising prices and illegally banking foreign currency abroad.

LIBERIA

Government auditor slams new president

MONROVIA — Liberia’s top financial watchdog yesterday stood by his claims that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s post-civil-war regime is even more corrupt than its predecessor, whose leaders are facing fraud indictments.

Auditor-General John Morlu was summoned to parliament to explain recent charges he made in the Liberian press, producing a 13-page document that he said detailed the new administration’s corruption.

He said the report backed up his claims that Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf’s government, which came to power in January 2006 pledging to sweep away graft, is far more corrupt than the previous transitional one.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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