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African press review 18 October 2017


South Africa has a new cabinet but there's no place for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The mother of Rwandan government critic Diane Shima Rwigara has denied genocide charges at her trial in Kigali. And there's more trouble in Kenya with just two weeks to go to the rerun presidential election.

There's been a cabinet reshuffle in South Africa. Blade Nzimande has been sacked but there's still no place for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Yesterday, according to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, President Jacob Zuma reshuffled the pack, replacing ministers in energy, state security and higher education.

This is the second reshuffle this year. The last was announced at the end of March.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was sworn in as an MP last month and who is the current president's choice to succeed him when the ANC elects a new leader in December, was not added to the inner circle of government.

Zuma has sacked higher education minister Blade Nzimande.

Nzimande, once a key Zuma ally, is the general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), which has called on the president to step down.

Ayanda Dlodlo, who was appointed communications minister in the last reshuffle, has been moved to home affairs after barely seven months in the communications job.

The surprise cabinet reshuffle, the 12th of the Zuma presidency, has provoked a chorus of criticism, including from its alliance partners   and from the ruling ANC's secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

Mantashe said the removal of South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande would cause further divisions in the tripartite alliance, the other members being the ANC and Cosatu, the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), when relations were already at an all-time low.

Cosatu and the SACP described the reshuffle as “factional”.

Mantashe said the ANC’s top six were merely informed about the changes, not consulted.

South Africa's currency, the rand, weakened against major global currencies shortly after Zuma reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday morning.

Genocide charges denied in Rwanda trial

The mother of Rwandan government critic Diane Shima Rwigara has denied genocide charges.

According to regional paper the East African, Adeline Rwigara this week told a Kigali court that she was a survivor of the 1994 massacre in which members of her family were slaughtered.

She is charged with inciting insurrection together with her two daughters, Diane and Anne Rwigara.

The prosecution told the court that it had evidence that Diane, who was barred from contesting the presidential election last August, had faked signatures during her presidential bid. She is also facing forgery charges.

It is alleged that some of the signatures are those of dead people.

Diane Rwigara denied the charges saying she was being prosecuted because of her political ambitions. She claims that some of her supporters are being threatened with imprisonment and torture.

More trouble for planned Kenyan election rerun

Preparations for the Kenyan presidential election rerun are not going smoothly.

The East African reports that mobs yesterday disrupted planned training sessions for electoral officials in three constituencies in opposition strongholds in western Kenya.

The attackers claimed the training is an illegal activity.

Police were also forced to guard another training session at a hotel in Migori after youths attempted to disrupt the preparations for the 26 October repeat presidential election.

They claimed there would be no elections and no preparations for polls unless the reforms demanded by the opposition National Super Alliance are put in place.

In Kenya itself the Daily Nation reports that a member of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Roselyn Akombe, has resigned from the poll agency.

In a statement issued yesterday, Akombe said the repeat election as planned cannot meet the basic expectations of a credible poll.

She was supposed to be part of a team that is in Dubai to monitor the printing of ballot papers. Her resignation yesterday was issued from New York.

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