South Africa's papers are reacting to President Jacob Zuma’s denial of allegations that he spent public money to renovate his private residence in his hometown of Nkandla in KwaZulu Province.
Mail and Guardian reports that “Zuma came out fighting”, as he addressed parliament during two hours of question time Thursday. This was after eight opposition parties including Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Inkatha and the Democratic Alliance managed to slip the issue of a no-confidence vote against him onto the agenda.
Cape Times says that Zuma insisted that the compound, which burnt down during the violence in KwaZulu Natal province, was renovated with bonds from a bank that his family is still paying for. The paper says he however confirmed the existence of a bunker in the compound and the construction of accommodation for police and army units on the site with resources that did not fall within his ambit.
It was the day that the president’s mask slipped, reports the Daily Maverick. According to the paper the home at Nkandla is Zuma’s Achilles’ heel, as opposition MPs struck some serious body blows with comparisons to Comical Ali and the emperor with no clothes.
Business Day claims that this is the first time in the democratic era that there had been calls for a no-confidence vote on a president.
Mail and Guardian underlines that the ANC’s chief whip Mathole Motshekga quickly labelled the motion a "publicity-seeking gimmick". The ruling party it reports vowed to block any attempt to debate the Zuma no-confidence motion put forward by a remarkable temporary alliance of opposition parties.
The Sowetan holds that voting for Zuma for a second term is political suicide for the ANC. The paper urges Vice-President Kgalema Motlanthe to act before it is too late and save the country from corruption, abuse of power and the use of state organs for selfish and narrow political agendas.
The Sowetan also reports that a man charged along with his 50-year-old father of raping 17 women told a Johannesburg court on Thursday that he could neither confirm nor deny if he had infected one of his victims with Aids.
The Sowetan newspaper also narrates the discovery of a bellyfull of diamonds at Johannesburg airport. According to the paper the stomach containing 220 polished diamonds belonged to a Lebanese national en route for Dubai. The Sowetan says that 25-year-old was quickly stopped at a security check and relieved of the concealed cargo which was worth 1.7 million euros.
In Nigeria the Nation reports that tension is rising around the country after President Goodluck Jonathan announced the deregulation of the petroleum industry. The paper warns of the risk of price hikes, despite Jonathan's reassurances that the measure would bring prices down and resolve the problem of fuel shortages.
The Nation holds that the government is banking on the policy to ensure regular supply and to free some cash to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.
The Nigerian Tribune celebrates the achievement of 57-year-old grandfather, who graduated from the University of Ibadan Thursday with a first class degree in law. Isiaka Alli bagged his first degree 35 years ago.
And Punch invites its readers to meet the world's poorest president. José Mujica of Uruguay. who donates 90 per cent of his salary to the poor, shuns the presidential mansion and rides a 1987 Volkswagen.
According to the paper Mujica, who was elected in 2009, lives on a ramshackle farm where laundry is strung outside and water tapped from a well in the yard overgrown with weeds. There are only two police officers and a three-legged dog guarding the residence.