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Africa

African press review 21 March 2016

media DR

What will happen next in Zanzibar? Kigali has once again refused a request from the United Nations Human Rights Council to ratify the Rome Statutes and join the International Criminal Court. Rwanda says African crimes can be tried in Africa by Africans.

The top story in regional paper The East African attempts to analyse the situation in Zanzibar in the wake of yesterday's election rerun, boycotted by the main opposition party, the Civic United Front (CUF).

The election was cancelled in October over alleged irregularities and a rerun ordered, after CUF candidate Seif Hamad Sharrif declared himself the winner.

The CUF boycott means the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi’s candidate Ali Mohammed Shein is certain to win the election but questions are being asked over how the Zanzibar Electoral Commission will validate the result and how Chama cha Mapinduzi will form the government without CUF.

Section 39 of the Zanzibar Constitution stipulates that the First Vice-President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar should come from the party that takes the second position in the presidential race.

This could see the vice-president being named from the tiny Alliance for Democratic Change party, which doesn't have a single seat in the House of Representatives.

Rwanda rejects Rome Statutes

The East African also reports that Rwanda has once again declined to join the International Criminal Court, as Kigali continues to press other African countries on the creation of a continental body to prosecute terrorism, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The United Nations Human Rights Council had asked Rwanda to consider ratifying the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court, but this request was rejected by the government.

Supreme test for Ugandan court

According to the main story in the Kampala-based Daily Monitor, the nine judges of the Ugandan Supreme Court today embark on the mammoth task of writing their final judgement on the election petition filed by defeated presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi.

They have just finished six days of non-stop hearings in the case which questions the fairness of Yoweri Museveni’s victory as announced by the electoral commission in February.

Mbabazi, a former prime minister, is seeking to annul the declared result, alleging among other things non-compliance with the law on the part of the electoral commission and bribery by Museveni.

Guptagate: "shocking revelations"

In South Africa, BusinessDay reports that the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will request that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela extend her investigation into President Jacob Zuma and the so-called Guptagate scandal to include the latest "shocking revelations" by former government communication and information system boss Themba Maseko.

The DA will also press criminal charges against the Guptas on the basis of evidence suggesting an attempt to improperly benefit from public resources.

This follows media reports yesterday that Maseko was called by Zuma prior to a meeting with the Guptas and asked to "help them".

At the meeting it is alleged that Ajay Gupta asked for government advertising to be channeled to the New Age newspaper, owned by the Gupta media group.

"Tell departments to give you money, if they refuse we'll deal with them," Gupta allegedly told Maseko. "If you have a problem with any department‚ we will summon ministers here".

The Democratic Alliance says that Zuma’s purported involvement in this alleged attempt to improperly favour the Gupta family was a clear violation of the Executive Ethics Act.

Another South African opposition party, the Congress of the People, has called for the immediate arrest of the president and the Gupta family‚ saying there cannot be any more excuses for police to drag their feet in what the party asserts is a "clear corruption case".

Egypt's human rights record defended

The front page of the Cairo-based Egypt Independent reports that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri has responded to US Secretary of State John Kerry's accusations of human rights violations in Egypt.

In a weekend press conference the foreign minister underlined the Egyptian government's devotion to the subject of human rights. He stated that the government does not accept foreign intervention in the matter. The Egyptian people, Shoukri said, are the only ones who have the right to evaluate the state of human rights in their country.

Kerry on Friday criticised the Egyptian government's decision to interrogate a number of non-governmental rights organisations after they recorded government violations. This, Kerry stated, was part of a broader governmental campaign to intimidate opposition, journalists and activists.

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