28 November 2012

Egypt: African Press Review 28 November 2012

Egypt erupts in protest again. Tempers fray in Kenya but is alliance-building worth the effort?

In Egypt, the Cairo-based Independent gives pride of place to Tuesday's nationwide demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi's 22 November constitutional declaration.

Dozens of political and civil society groups called for the protests after Morsi's declaration last Thursday significantly expanded his powers and declared the Constituent Assembly and the upper house Shura Council immune from judicial review.

"The president succeeded in one thing - he unified the divided civilian powers for the first time," a military officer participating in the demonstrations commented.

The Independent also reports that protesters stormed the Muslim Brotherhood's office in Alexandria on Tuesday night.

Eyewitnesses said that the protesters threw furniture and equipment into the street. Witnesses added that there was no security presence in the area.

There were dozens of injuries in clashes in the Nile delta city of Mahalla. The Freedom and Justice Party's media spokesman in Mahalla told The Independent that 200 Muslim Brotherhood members were injured, alleging that anti-Brotherhood protesters had prevented ambulances from reaching the victims.

The director of the Mahalla Public Hospital said 15 wounded victims were treated for injuries including bruises and abrasions.

In a separate story, the State Council Administrative Court on Tuesday rejected a case demanding that ousted president Hosni Mubarak be moved to a military hospital from Tora prison hospital.

Mubarak is serving a life sentence in Tora, having been found guilty of failing to prevent the killing of protesters during the January revolution. His lawyers say he is not receiving proper medical treatment in the prison hospital.

What is happening in Kenya?

According to the main story in this morning's Nairobi Standard, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday withdrew an announcement stating that he had a pre-election deal with Eldoret North MP William Ruto, just three hours after releasing it because Ruto's United Republic Party protested that Uhuru Kenyatta had acted prematurely.

Ruto was reportedly furious with the manner in which the announcement was made.

According to The Standard, the release and recall of the alliance statement reveals the level of suspicion and distrust on both sides of the coalition.

Meanwhile, there are doubts over another pre-election pact. The Standard reports that attempts by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to forge an alliance are floundering after both refused to cede ground on their ambitions to be the presidential flag-bearer.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Eldoret North MP William Ruto are also attempting to charm Musyoka into joining their respective groups.

On its opinion pages The Standard wonders about the point of all these alliances anyway.

Conflicting signals by the political class regarding the so-called alliances and/or pre-poll pacts have thrown political analysts into a spin. So fluid is the political landscape that it is virtually impossible to make accurate forecast on their next move, says the article.

The big question is: are these people really driven by ideological consonance or by the raw survival instincts of Kenya's political elite?

The bad leadership that has been experienced in Kenya under successive regimes has been a result of selfish political groupings and alliances whose main agenda has been either to grab power or to retain power through a divide and rule system, the writer says.

A good leader will form alliances with other parties after being elected, the article concludes, and solely for the purpose of forming a strong government. Current alliances by politicians and political parties are selfishly driven and are of no benefit to Kenyans.

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