African Press Review 23 November 2012

Is a new era of tyranny opening in Egypt? Is there anyone but Zuma? And who's got Nigeria's missing millions?

Egypt's papers react to the decision by President Mohamed Morsi to make his decrees immune from being challenged by the courts.

The Egyptian Gazette reports that Morsi on Thursday also sacked the country's general prosecutor and ordered the retrial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and other officials accused by protesters of orchestrating violence against them, during last year's uprising.

The online publication Aswat Masriya describes the presidential move as the start of a "new era of tyranny".

Morsi is becoming Egypt's new pharaoh, headlines Daily News Egypt. Egypt Independent reports that the judges' club has slammed the declaration as an assault on the rule of law and judicial independence, "which pushes Egypt back to the prehistoric era".

Al Masry al Youn and other papers highlight the angry reaction of Egypt's top opposition leaders such as Mohamed ElBaradei, Ayman Nour, George Ishaq, Hamdeen Sabbahy and Amr Moussa. The papers report that they held a press conference on Thursday evening and called for mass protests in Tahrir Square on Friday to protest against the constitutional declaration.

South Africa's Mail and Guardian reports that President Jacob Zuma is in no danger of being unseated during the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung next month, despite his growing unpopularity. The paper is citing a new report by a loose alliance of anti-Zuma members of the ANC, known as the ABZ or Anything but Zuma.

According to Mail and Guardian, the group has campaigned for wholesale change in the party's leadership and for deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Zuma as ANC chief. The paper says that party rebelshave concluded that, while the likely retention of the Zuma status quo is the problem, the alternative - anyone but Zuma - looks no better.

Zuma has been the subject of renewed scrutiny from lawmakers, who believe he used illegal funds to renovate his Nkandla home. According to documents from the department of public works cited by the press, Zuma's contribution to construction costs is not 78,000 euros, as he claims, but in the region of 869,000 euros.

Business Day says the ANC must note that Zuma comes back as a package of problems. According to the paper the little white cloud of "suspicion and scandal" around the president has now billowed into a dark "cumulonimbus".

In Nigeria the Tribune is awaiting the verdict due in today in a case concerning an estimated 61-million-euros-worth of oil proceeds believed to have been lost through shady dealings with multinationals over decades. The paper reports that the Socio-Economic and Accountability Project (Serap) filed the case under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Tribune says the legislation imposes a legal duty on public institutions and agencies to render account and allow access to public documents.

Punch reports outrage of lawmakers over the excesses in the proposed budget for the Economic and Financial Crimes Unit. The Senate committee is particularly shocked by the lines pertaining to the graft agency's travel budget of 2.2 million euros and its plan to spend over 985,000 euros for training. The chairman of the Senate panel examining the budget warned that it was imperative for an agency fighting corruption to assure transparency, according to the paper.

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