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Africa

African press review 25 April 2012

media

Is it goodbye to Julius Malema? And what about the ANC Youth League? What happened to five billion euros of Nigerian fuel subsidies? And Mwai Kibaki promises to bow out peacefully.

In South Africa, the ANC’s disciplinary committee has rejected Youth League leader Julius Malema’s appeal against his expulsion.

Malema has exhausted the ruling party's appeals procedure and is definitively out. Unless he can organise a revolt within the ranks of the Youth League itself.

Malema was at the centre of a campaign to replace President Jacob Zuma as ANC president by his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, at the party’s conference to be held in Mangaung in December. He had also led the push for nationalising SA’s mines and for redistribution of white-owned land without compensation.

He was charged in August last year with sowing division and bringing the party into disrepute. This related to his comments on bringing about regime change in Botswana. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to comparing Zuma to former president Thabo Mbeki and received a two-year suspended sentence. He was again summarily suspended by the disciplinary committee earlier this month for referring to Zuma as a dictator.

"Malema kicked out" is the main headline in The Sowetan, which describes yesterday's decision as "a fatal blow".

The Star's front page screams "No mercy for JuJu". The Johannesburg daily quotes the message left yesterday on Malema's answering machine. "We will not remember the words uttered by the enemies against us but will remember the silence of our friends during these difficult times. Never surrender, never retreat, victory is certain," it says.

So much for the facts. But what about the analysis?

The editorial in BusinessDay says ANC disunity may give Malema a chance to sneak back onto the South African political stage. Sooner or later, the writer says, the mainly young, poor and unemployed masses are going to realise that, although the left-leaning workerist faction and the socially conservative nationalist grouping within the ANC claim to represent them, neither actually cares a jot.

The article goes on to say that Malema desperately needs to secure a vote of confidence from the Youth League's general council but he has probably left it too late.

The Youth League accounts for about a third of the ANC’s membership, and has considerable influence within the party as long as it remains united. But it is doubtful that saving Malema’s skin is cause enough to ensure unity, especially since the credibility of the process that saw him elected was questionable in the first place.

The most likely scenario will see someone stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum and prevent a complete breakdown of relations with the ANC, which has the power to disband the league if it comes to that.

League deputy president Ronald Lamola is the most obvious candidate for this role.

Personally, I don't think we've heard the last of JuJu Malema. The press review just wouldn't be the same without him.

In Nigeria, the papers are hot under the collar about fuel subsidy cheating.

Yesterday, the Nigerian parliament voted to prosecute companies involved in profiteering from the government's petrol subsidy scheme. Seventeen fuel companies have been called to give evidence as the authorities attempt to find out what happened to an estimated five billion euros.

Some companies were paid 300 million euros in subsidies, without ever importing a drop of fuel. Several other outfits were paid several times for the same imported fuel. Officials in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan are believe to be among those who benefited from the subsidy fraud.

According to the Nairobi Daily Nation, President Mwai Kibaki on Tuesday assured Kenyans of a peaceful handover of power to his successor and promised that measures had been taken to ensure that the next general election will be free and fair.

In his last State of the Nation address to the 10th Parliament, the president asked Kenyans to pick, as their next head of state, a leader who would carry on the achievements of his 10 years in power.

Kenyan elections are set for 4 March 2013.

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