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African press review 2 June 2018


There are rumblings in Zimbabwe as that southern African nation prepares for its first post-Mugabe polls. And is former President Jacob Zuma on his way back to the top job in South Africa? How bad is corruption in Kenya? Why are three Aids sufferers suing ousted Gambian President Yahya Jammeh?

There's political trouble on the horizon in Zimbabwe, according to a report in this morning's South African daily paper BusinessDay.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition parties yesterday called for protests next week to demand a series of electoral reforms before the country votes on 30 July in the first ballot since Robert Mugabe stepped down as president.

An alliance of opposition parties led by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wants access to the voters’ roll, an explanation for the increase in the number of polling stations and equal access to the media, party spokesman Tendai Biti told journalists yesterday. MDC leader Nelson Chamisasaid his party would "shut down" the capital, Harare, unless the reforms are implemented.

The alliance announced plans to hold a march on Tuesday to the office of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Harare.

Mnangagwa, who came to power with assistance from the army after Mugabe’s resignation, will stand as the presidential candidate of the ruling Zanu-PF. His main opponent will be Chamisa, who took over the MDC leadership following the death of its former leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February.

Zuma on the way back?

Another South African paper, the Mail & Guardian, give the top of the front page to a report that a lobby group backing Jacob Zuma is pushing ahead with a plan to form a new political party aiming to weaken the ruling ANC sufficiently at the polls to enable the former president to return to power.

The report goes on to say that the move ends several months of speculation that some of Zuma’s backers were planning to undermine President Cyril Ramaphosa by “punishing” the ANC in next year’s poll and forcing the governing party into holding an early national general council to remove Ramaphosa from the presidency.

The pro-Zuma lobby is made up of religious and business bodies, traditional leaders and taxi operators. It plans to launch the party, apparently to be called the African Transformation Congress, in the next two weeks. The religious grouping alone claims a combined membership of 6.8 million people.

Kenyan corruption compared to colonialism

Corruption is, once again, making front-page news in Kenya.

Yesterday President Uhuru Kenyatta said more senior government officials will be arrested in the war against corruption that has rocked his administration.

The president likened graft to the scourge of colonialism. He went on to describe those accused of the theft of public money as “predators”, saying their actions have robbed ordinary Kenyans of critical public services and development.

Two senior officials of the Kenyan Youth Ministry appeared in court earlier this week on charges connected with a financial scandal at the National Youth Service.

Other prominent cases are the fraudulent payments for maize supplied to the National Cereals and Produce Board and tender irregularities at the electricity utility Kenya Power.

The president was speaking at celebrations marking Madaraka Day, commemorating self-rule in Kenya, achieved in 1963 after seven decades of British colonialism.

Gambian Aids sufferers sue former president

Three people living with Aids in Gambia are suing former president Yahya Jammeh, alleging he detained and abused them as guinea pigs to test his supposed cure for HIV infection.

Jammeh, who has lived in Equatorial Guinea since January 2017 when armed intervention helped end his 22-year rule, claimed to possess a range of mystical gifts, including the power to cure asthma, epilepsy and sterility as well as Aids, using plants and chants.

The Aids patients who have gone to court are two men of 63 and 64 years old and a woman of 51.

Jammeh allegedly kept the patients locked up during six months of treatment until July 2007, brushing aside their objections to being filmed during the alleged therapeutic sessions. They later learned that videos featuring themselves had been broadcast on state media.

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