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Africa

African Press Review 13 January 2018

media

New ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa prepares to deliver a charged maiden speech to the South African ruling party faithful later today. Is South Sudan's former army chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan, planning a rebellion or is he not? And why are there so many asterisks on this morning's African front pages?

Later today the eyes and ears of South Africa will be fixed on the Buffalo City stadium in East London where ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is to deliver his maiden speech as party boss.

The Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay says Ramaphosa is expected to use the speech to attempt to restore public confidence in a party that has a dented reputation‚ following corruption allegations and governance scandals over the past nine years of President Jacob Zuma’s rule.

Ramaphosa’s speech comes a few months before the party launches its election campaign in preparation for the 2019 general elections.

Following Zuma’s announcement that a commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture is to be established‚ there are expectations that Ramaphosa’s speech will announce further measures to deal with the allegations and with corruption in the governing party in general.

There are also suggestions that Ramaphosa will elaborate on the contentious issue of land expropriation without compensation, a key resolution taken by the ANC’s national executive committee at its conference in December.

He might also shed some light on Zuma’s surprise announcement about fee-free higher education, a move which will cost the nation billions of euros every year. Insiders say Ramaphosa will use the opportunity to outline government plans to boost the country’s ailing economy. All of which sounds like a lot to pack into one speech.

We wish him luck.

Is Paul Malong Awan really a rebel?

Is South Sudan's former army chief of staff planning a rebellion or is he not?

The answer depends on which paper you read this morning.

Regional daily the East African reports that the South Sudanese government has said an audio recording which reportedly revealed that former army chief of staff General Paul Malong Awan had turned rebel is authentic.

Earlier this week President Salva Kiir accused his former ally of planning a rebellion and ordering attacks against the government.

Ateny Wek Ateny, the president's spokesman, said the leaked tape revealed Malong commanding his loyalists to attack the capital Juba and his hometown in Aweil.

Malong has refused to join forces with Riek Machar, another opponent of Salva Kiir, but the government claims that Malong has promised that if Machar gives him armed forces then he will use those forces against the government in Juba.

The government accuses Malong of being behind a series of attacks last week, in violation of a ceasefire agreement signed between Juba and a number of rebel groups.

Malong was sacked as army chief in May and placed under house arrest for fear that he would organise a rebellion against Kiir. He was released in November following mediation by Dinka elders but prevented from going to his home town of Aweil.

Is Paul Malong Awan really not a rebel?

The main story in the Sudan Tribune gives a different twist to the same material, with the news that Dinka elders have convinced Paul Malong not to rebel against the government.

According to the Khartoum-based daily, Malong will cease all subversive activities. In return Salva Kiir will guarantee the rights of Malong and close family members to their various properties in Juba and elsewhere in South Sudan. None of Malong's associates still serving in the army will be victimised. And Salva Kiir has promised to speed Malong's return to the government.

The Sudan Tribune quotes political analysts who say that the behaviour of the former army chief of staff has been part of a politically motivated scheme aimed at prompting the president to return him to government.

Trump's African slur causes consternation, and asterisks

US President Donald Trump’s use of the word "shithole" to describe African countries and Haiti has sparked fury across the continent and left media in many countries scratching their heads on whether to repeat the slur.

There are a lot of asterisks on this morning's front pages. The US leader used the word on the eighth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, which killed over 200,000 people.

The UN slammed Trump’s reported description of African nations and Haiti, saying it was “shocking," "shameful” and “racist”.

Botswana and Senegal both called in their US ambassadors to complain about the presidential remarks.

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