Some predictions for 2013
- 7 January 2013
- From the section Africa
"Events, dear boy, events…" Harold Macmillan's overused and quite possibly apocryphal warning - supposedly given in response to a question about what British prime ministers fear most - still holds true for anyone attempting to peer into the year ahead in search of something sensible to predict.
2012 reinforced the point in Africa. Who could have anticipated Mali's spectacular fall from grace and stability? Or the shocking milestone of South Africa's Marikana killings? Or the capture of the eastern DRC town of Goma by rebels? Or even Somalia's peaceful and surprising election?
Last year I attempted to sidestep the whole business with a list of more humdrum predictions for the continent. The broad theme - of quiet progress away from the headlines - was on the money, but I still got most details wrong. Then again, perhaps that's the whole point. To have any chance of being substantially right, you have to keep your prophecies so bland and broad as to strip them of any real interest. Yes, Africa's economy will continue to grow. Yes, some conflicts will continue, others will end, and some elections will be relatively free and fair…
So what about 2013?
For the sake of argument - and please do argue - here are some suggestions for the year ahead, some broad, some specific.
South Africa - A relatively good year after the gloom of 2012. Cyril Ramaphosa will grab his "de facto prime minister" job by the teeth and embark on a frenzy of deal-making in order to push through at least some of the widely respected National Development Plan, while failing to keep President Zuma's shenanigans out of the headlines.
Zambia will win the Africa Cup of Nations.
Somalia - a big year of consolidation for the country as it starts to win over the sceptics/realists and moves towards building a credible government and restoring security after decades of chaos. But growing internal confidence will shift the focus towards Somalia's increasingly strained relations with its meddling neighbours - Kenya and Ethiopia. Piracy will hardly be mentioned.
Kenya - Raila Odinga, always the bridesmaid, never the bride, will finally squeak through to win March's election. The national poll will be peaceful and free - at least in comparison with 2007's - but the growing devolution of power across the country will trigger, or exacerbate, more localised conflicts, particularly in the east.
Mali - The much-touted military offensive to reclaim the north will not materialise, although there will be some skirmishes. Progress on the negotiating front, combined with repeated political crises in the south, will ensure more muddles and delays.
Zimbabwe - I hope I'm wrong, but I still can't quite imagine a peaceful, free election taking place this year. The constitutional process will collapse. SADC will intervene forcefully, but the South Africans remain lukewarm about the MDC and so, in the interests of stability, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will settle for an extension of a version of their current power-sharing arrangement, at least until 2014.
Uganda - Leader of the LRA rebels Joseph Kony will be betrayed for money and killed by one of his deputies. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will be shelved once again.
Eritrea - Africa's invisible country will, for better or worse, be back in the headlines.
Ok, that'll do for now. What are your predictions?