South Africa: African Press Review 17 December 2012

South Africa's ANC national conference is the main story in many of the continent's papers today..

In South Africa, the ruling ANC's 53rd National Conference dominates front pages.

In financial paper BusinessDay, columnist Steven Friedman writes that the African National Congress has severe problems. He says it will take more than conference resolutions to mend the organisation.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe pointed to one of those problems when he bemoaned the rise of factionalism which, Mantashe says, seems to have become institutionalised in the party.

In his speech, President Jacob Zuma called for an end to corruption. He also spoke about alliance politics, Marikana and what Zuma called the 'alien practices' like factionalism and ill-discipline which are harming the ruling party.

Zuma acknowledged the "relevant and crucial" role still played by the various ANC leagues and its alliance partners, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. He warned that the relationship between alliance members had to be handled with care, and that they had to avoid public disputes.

The front page of The Star gives a different picture of the ANC meeting, with a main headline reading "Cyril dumps Zuma" . . . a reference to the decision by millionaire businessman Cyril Ramaphosa who has declined Zuma's offer of the job as ANC deputy president.

And The Star's other front-page story is headlined "Malema issues ultimatum". According to the small print, the sacked Youth League leader has demanded that the conference immediately reinstate him as president of the ANC's youth wing, or else face the consequences.

In Kenya, The Standard reports that nine people, including eight Yemeni nationals, have been arrested in connection with Sunday night's grenade attack in Eastleigh in which two people were injured.

The main story in The Standard looks at confusion in the Uhuru, Ruto alliance.

Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta's and Musalia Mudavadi's parties have disagreed over how to pick the Jubilee Alliance candidate for the presidency.

Mudavadi wanted the process to be negotiated away from the National Delegates Conference, but he will now have to contend with the fact that 5,000 delegates drawn from the three leading partner parties will make the decision tomorrow at Kasarani.

So serious were the disagreements, says The Standard, that at one point it appeared as if the planned National Delegates Conference would not take place at all.

According to The Daily Nation, the number of Kenyan registered voters is edging towards the 11 million mark, with only two days to the Tuesday midnight deadline. An estimated eight million people have still not been registered.

The Nation reports that the Jubilee coalition on Sunday failed to agree on the mode of picking its presidential candidate, just a day before the nominations.

The coalition is locked in a stalemate as to whether the flagbearer should be picked through consensus, as advocated by the United Democratic Forum or a secret ballot, which is preferred by National Alliance and some United Republican Party members.

By last evening, the technical team working on the nomination rules was still holed up in a meeting and was expecting to hand over its report to coalition leaders Uhuru Kenyatta (TNA), Musalia Mudavadi (UDF) and William Ruto (URP).

Meanwhile, the Ugandan Daily Monitor reports that talks between M23 rebels and the DR Congo government are expected this week to enter plenary session after four days of separate and closed-door meetings. The talks will proceed against a background of allegations by the rebels that the Kinshasa regime is massing troops in Goma in preparation for an offensive.

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