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Africa

African press review 2 October 2017

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The tone sharpens between the rivals in Kenya's presidential election re-run. The East African Community is putting the finishing touches to its trade deal with Europe. A Rwandan opposition group calls for electoral reform. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is pushing for elections to be held next year, despite the troubled situation in the country.

Kenya opposition presidential contender Raila Odinga yesterday described President Uhuru Kenyatta as an unworthy candidate.

Campaigning in the west of the country, Odinga said President Kenyatta had sought the help of political losers. The National Super Alliance leader described his opponent as "desperate", as the two men prepare for a presidential rerun on 26 October. According to the Nairobi-based Standard, Odinga told President Uhuru Kenyatta to forget votes from western Kenya. He said the region will vote for NASA in the repeat presidential election.

Odinga also criticised western Kenyan leaders who have endorsed the Jubilee candidate's re-election.

Supporting Odinga, Senator Moses Wetang’ula said the opposition will use mass action to prevent the government from forcing through proposed amendments to Kenyan election legislation.

Trade deal between Europe and EAC next month

The fate of the trade deal between the East African Community (EAC) and the European Union will be known next month.

According to this morning's edition of regional paper the East African, a decision on whether all EAC partner states will sign the Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe will be announced in November during the Heads of State summit.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who is the chairman of the East African Community, met European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last week to present the concerns raised by Tanzania about the deal, leading to a delay in signing the agreement.

Tanzania is concerned that the agreement will compromise the region’s interests in subsequent trade negotiations.

Rwandan opposition calls for electoral reform

A Rwandan opposition group is demanding electoral reform.

According to the East African, the Rwanda Democratic Green Party, the country’s main opposition group, plans to challenge sections of the electoral law that restrict political parties from accepting foreign donations. They hope to see the situation changed ahead of the next parliamentary elections, due in September 2018.

The 2013 law governing political organisations and politicians prohibits political organisations from accepting donations or bequests from foreigners, foreign business companies, industries and organisations, or from bodies in which foreigners are shareholders.

The country’s leadership argues that such donations would likely to undermine the independence and integrity of the country.

President Kiir in push for South Sudan poll

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is pushing for elections to be held next year, despite unfavourable conditions.

President Kiir is said to fear for his legitimacy once the term of the transitional government expires in February. The August 2015 Peace agreement said that the Transitional Government of National Unity would last for 30 months after which elections would be held.

South Sudan has been in a state of virtual civil war for the past four years.

President Kiir’s chief rival Riek Machar   the leader of the Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Movement-In Opposition   is exiled in South Africa. The Juba government lacks funds to register voters and conduct elections.

The Sudan Tribune reports that rival forces in the South Sudan conflict have resumed clashes in Bieh state after armed opposition loyal to former first vice president Machar kidnapped a county commissioner and several officials.

Opposition accuses Ugandan police chief of treason

A Ugandan opposition leader has accused the head of the country's police force of treason.

This is the main story in this morning's Kampala-based Daily Monitor.

According to the report, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Winfred Kiiza, has labelled as treasonable the decision by General Kale Kayihura to order the arrest of Members of Parliament on Wednesday.

Ms Kiiza maintains that the act of ordering plain-clothed security officials into Parliament chambers to arrest MPs, for which General Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police, claimed responsibility, is treasonable.

On Wednesday afternoon, Parliament chambers turned into a boxing ring as MPs battled plain-clothed security officers deployed to throw them out after Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ordered them suspended for three sittings for disrupting proceedings the previous day as the house discussed proposals to change the constitutional age limit for presidential candidates.

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