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Africa

African Press Review 23 November 2017

media

The "Old Man" who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years has finally shuffled off stage, but there's still plenty for the African papers to get their teeth into. Not least, warnings about his successor and some of the dirty linen in his closet.

The editorial in Kenya's Daily Nation pulls no punches.

The peaceful ouster of Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe marks a melodramatic closure to one of the worst chapters in Africa’s recent history, the paper says.

Mugabe ascended to the Presidency with strong credentials and for a while was a towering figure until power and greed got the better of him, turning him into one of the most loathsome leaders of his generation.

He orchestrated the forcible takeover of white farmlands under the guise of indigenisation, encouraged his loyalists to exploit the public and deployed brutal force in dealing with opponents.

The Daily Nation reminds us that Zimbabwe's economy tanked with stratospheric levels of hyperinflation, commodity shortages and mass unemployment.

Zimbabwe must make a complete break with this sorry past.

All indications are that sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president.

This must also be a source of discomfort, the Daily Nation warns, given that the man known as the crocodile might not be different.

Still, the paper concludes, Zimbabwe is a lesson for the African continent.

Oppressive and despotic regimes can no longer hold. Neither do military coups have a place in this day and age.

Africa must embrace democracy and respect for human rights.

Positive thoughts, but don't hold your breath!

=======

All politics is local, political scientists tell us and plunging into Kenya's political bear-pit, the Standard observes that "Monday’s dismissal of two petitions against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s October 26 election victory marked another turning point in Kenya’s turbulent politics."

It brings to an end uncertainty about the country’s leadership and opens the door to the more urgent task of national healing.

The Standard believes "Kenyatta is the person best placed to start the arduous process of remoulding Kenya back into one nation. He has to find a way of healing the rift between his supporters and the Opposition’s, restoring confidence in our national institutions and opening the way for dialogue to end the economically destructive boycotts by the Opposition and generally make Kenya work again."

Good luck with that.

=======

In South Africa, the Sowetan quotes a Zimbabwean activist who believes Emmerson Mnangagwa, Robert Mugabe's successor in waiting, cannot steer the country in the right direction.

At a media conference in Johannesburg, Maureen Kade-maunga, founder of the Women for Women Zimbabwe movement said Mnangagwa needed to address the sins of his past.

"He was the chief architect of the Matebeleland Massacre in the 80s and I don't see how he will be able to facilitate a process of national healing and reconciliation when he is also one of the perpetrators," she said.

During the massacre‚ thousands of people were tortured and murdered while women were raped in the army-led clampdown.

We might hear more about this and other dirty linen in the weeks and months to come.

========

For a second day running Business Day has Grace Mugabe in its cross-hairs in a story headline "Mugabe’s power trip cut short by Gucci Grace."

The paper explains how Mugabe’s allies, the group known as G40, went head to head in the race for the Presidency with another faction Lacoste led by Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"How it came about that the G40 faction, which earlier in November had come within an arm’s length of power, was driven out of the country can be explained in the missteps of Grace," says Business Day.

For Grace, Mnangagwa represented the last of the liberation fighters in Zanu-PF who could stand up to her, hence the vicious attacks, similar to those she aimed at vice-president Joice Mujuru in 2014, which led to her being sacked from the party.

As we know Bob and Grace are now in the dustbin of history.

Though she may have had, if not the last laugh, a parting chuckle.

In her final days as first lady, the paper reports, she went on a property buying spree in Johannesburg and Harare and took ownership of a new Rolls-Royce.

 
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