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Africa

African press review 24 May 2011

media

Political horsetrading in South Africa after the local elections, a former senior commander of Uganda's Lords Resistance Army is set to go to trial and the fallout from the weekend's SADC summit Namibia all make Tuesday's newspapers in Africa.

The Star reports from Cape Town that South Africa's political movers and shakers are locked in meetings across the country, trying to seal coalition deals in municipalities where power hangs in the balance after last week's municipal elections.

The Democratic Alliance is said to be working towards a broad agreement with the Congress of the People that would give the Alliance control of four additional municipalities in the Western Cape and three in the Northern Cape, according to James Selfe, chairman of the Democratic Alliance federal executive.

Speaking after a day-long meeting of the executive in Cape Town, Selfe said the Democratic Alliance would prefer to form an agreement with the Congress of the People at a national level, rather than enter into negotiations about individual councils.

A Congress spokesman would say only that the party's working committee met on Monday, and that the national committee would convene on Tuesday to discuss the elections and decide if the Congress wants coalitions.

The ANC's national working committee met on Monday for a post-mortem on the elections that saw the ruling party's national share of the vote dip to 62 per cent.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

The Star also carries an interview with former South Africa Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, a potential candidate to take over Dominique Strauss-Kahn's job as director general of the International Monetary Fund.

In his first public comments on the vacancy, Manuel told public broadcaster SABC the issue of his candidacy had been raised, but avoided declaring his interest.

Manuel, who now heads South Africa's National Planning Commission, went on to say: “It is not a ‘me’ decision. There are all kinds of issues. I think that for any candidate it's fundamentally important to do what the Europeans are doing, to build a critical mass of support.”

Emerging countries have called for the next managing director to be chosen from a non-European country, ending Europe's 65-year hold on the IMF's top job. That's a call Manuel supports.

“It has to be wrong for multilateral bodies to have recruitment processes where birthright is more important than ability,” he said.

The IMF says the nomination process will run until 10 June, with the aim of naming a new director general by 30 June.

The Daily Monitor in Uganda reports that Colonel Thomas Kwoyelo, a former senior Lord’s Resistance Army commander, is to face trial before the War Crimes Division of the High Court.

The War Crimes Division was set up in 2008 in Kampala to try individuals accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 20-year insurgency in northern Uganda. The former LRA fighter is being tried locally because he was not among the top five LRA commanders indicted by the International Criminal Court.

Kwoyelo was captured on 3 February, 2009, by the joint forces of Uganda, DRC and South Sudan in the Central African Republic. Kwoyelo faces 12 charges, including intent to murder, according to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Monitor also says that the Vice President, Gilbert Bukenya, yesterday ordered his bodyguards to block journalists from photographing and filming him when he appeared before Kampala High Court as defendant in an election petition case.

Bukenya was defending his re-election as Busiro County North MP. A lawsuit was started against him two months ago by Hussein Kasta, Bukenya's closest challenger in the 18 February parliamentary polls.

Kasta, who accuses Bukenya of electoral malpractice, wants the court to nullify the Vice President’s victory and order fresh elections.

The Monitor claims that Bukenya, who arrived at the court at around 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, immediately ordered his bodyguards to stop journalists from filming and taking his photograph.

Still in Uganda, the Nakawa Chief Magistrate was yesterday forced to extend the date of the hearing of opposition politicians allegedly involved in the recent walk-to-work protests to 24 June after a majority of the suspects failed to appear.

The suspects include Uganda Peoples Congress party president, Olara Otunnu, and five Members of Parliament.

Twenty politicians were last month charged with inciting violence and public disobedience. They denied the charges and were released on bail. The legislators were yesterday reported busy with meetings, preventing them from attending the court.

The Namibian in Windhoek continues its analysis of last weekend's SADC summit, saying that the virtual suspension of the Southern African Development Community Tribunal by the summit was “disappointing but expected”.

Lawyer Norman Tjombe is quoted by the paper as asking “Why would the SADC leaders support a strong regional court if they do not support strong courts in their own countries?”

Tjombe maintains that the courts in Angola, Zimbabwe, the DRC, Swaziland and Lesotho have very poor records of judicial independence and are overwhelmingly “dis-empowered”.

However, Tjombe suggests that countries such as Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa, which have independent judiciaries, must adopt a more “progressive” position on the SADC Tribunal.

The Windhoek summit resolved that a final report on the review of the Tribunal will be considered in August 2012.

 
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