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Africa

African Press Review 18 December 2017

media

The government-owned Zimbabwe Herald is in optimistic mood. The editorial page leads with the headline proclaiming that Zimbabwean president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa is off to a good start, praising his modesty, and setting it next to the ego of fomer president Robert Mugabe.

Many theories have been advanced as to Mugabe's dramatic plunge from grace, says the paper, and though many zero-in on the disastrous influence the then-First Lady Grace Mugabe, the paper puts some of the blame on the deification of Comrade Mugabe by the likes of former Youth League chairperson Kudzanai Chipanga.

Chipanga was known to have referred to his then-president as the Angel Gabriel.

Such blasphemous statements and the many songs composed and sung about Mugabe led to a serious cult of personality that put the former President above party organs, says the Herald.

War songs or the national anthem

The paper was delighted to hear incumbent President Mnangagwa advising party supporters not to deify him and saying if they were to sing any songs they would have to be liberation war songs or the national anthem.

Such modesty had the Herald in raptures over the man. "In that simple statement President Mnangagwa proved his strength of character and political acumen in advising party supporters to go back to source by prioritizing the legacy of the liberation struggle and the nation above personality politics," said the paper. "We hail President Mnangagwa for reminding Zanu-PF to go back to its source."

Certainly no chance of another personality cult starting there, then.

ANC Financials in bad shape

There are party leadership changes afoot in South Africa, where the ANC started voting today to pick a new head. Jacon Zuma has led the party and the nation since 2007 but will step down ahead of national elections next year.

Ahead of the vote, the South African Mail & Guardian has obtained a copy of the party's financials, which it says are not in a good state.

"The internal battles of the ANC are a risk to the ruling party's struggling financial state," says the paper.

"Fundraising for the ANC is a political program dependent on the public appeal of the 'BRAND ANC' " the financial report claims.

"As such, challenges of infighting, factionalism, misconduct and ill-discipline, perceptions of corruption, arrogance and various other ills have a negative effect on the support the ANC receives."

The financial woes were not due to a lack of donors. Around 521-million Rand was raised in the year ended March 2017 – that's about 34 million Euros.

Nevertheless the party was almost 50 million Rand in the red as a result of rising expenses, the salaries of its members and their travel costs.

It remains to be seen whether that spending could or would be curbed by whoever is named the party's next leader.

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