9 February 2017

African Press Review 9 February 2017

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Three presidents dominate this morning's continental front pages. Somalia's new man at the helm, sworn in yesterday, needs to undo three decades of political confusion; South Africa's Jacob Zuma can expect a noisy welcome from some opposition groups when he gets up to deliver his State of the Nation address. And Robert Mugabe is innocent.

Somalia's new president faces a tough job, according to regional paper the East African.

Former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, commonly known as "Farmajo", emerged the winner in yesterday's second round, despite not collecting the two-thirds parliamentary and Senate votes required to clinch the presidency.

Incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud conceded defeat, eliminating the need for a third round in which a simple majority would have seen the winner declared president.

According to the East African, Somalia now has to rebuild an effective central government after more than three decades of political confusion since President Siad Barre's military regime was overthrown in 1991.

Terrorism, clan rivalries, economy and food insecurity are among the top concerns of the Somali population of more than 10 million.

Economic Freedom Fighters promise to give Zuma a rousing welcome

South Africa's BusinessDay warns that another parliamentary clash between the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters and Jacob Zuma is likely today when the president delivers his State of the Nation address.

This will be Zuma's last such speech as ANC president.

The build-up to the address has been anything but smooth, according to BusinessDay. Instead of discussion about government policy and Zuma's questionable legacy, political attention has lurched from one controversy and confusion to another, with opposition parties and journalists raising concerns about parliamentary security.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, who have disrupted Zuma on several occasions in the past, have made it clear that they will interrupt the president's speech again today. The party says Zuma should not be allowed to speak.

Instead, the opposition group says, the occasion should be used to debate Parliament's inability to hold Zuma to account despite a clear ruling by the Constitutional Court that he had failed to uphold his oath of office.

Mugabe cleared by Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court

Zimbabwe's top court has thrown out a case against President Robert Mugabe.

Yesterday the Constitutional Court in Harare dismissed a case against Mugabe in which the president was accused of violating the southern African country's supreme law during protests last year.

Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980, was last year confronted by the biggest anti-government protests in a decade. Security forces responded with tear gas and water cannon.

Political activist Promise Mkwananzi said in his application that Mugabe's response and speeches in the aftermath of those protests "undermined national security and threatened citizens".

Yesterday the nine-member Constitutional Court bench dismissed the case, saying Mkwananzi had not followed proper procedures in making his application.

Egyptian ministers told to stay at home before cabinet changes

Egypt could be headed for a parliamentary reshuffle.

According to the top story on the front page of this morning's Cairo-based Egypt Independent, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said he is concluding preparations for the anticipated cabinet reshuffle and will give a detailed presentation to the Parliament on Sunday.

Sources within the government said the prime minister's instructions suspended all travel, conferences and seminars for cabinet ministers until the reshuffle is announced.

Informed sources told the paper that the reshuffle will most likely target the economy-related ministries.

Another day older and deeper in debt

Every man, woman and child in Kenya is in debt to the tune of 59,000 shillings, that's more than 500 euros, according to the main story in this morning's Daily Nation.

Under the headline "Kenya borrows, you pay", the paper explains that an explosion in public borrowing has seen the debt burden on each Kenyan grow 73 percent over the past five years.

Kenya's debt per capita is almost as much as the average monthly wage in 2015 and 10 times as much as the minimum monthly wage for unskilled workers.

Hospital doctors still on strike in Kenya

The Standard says there is no hope the Kenyan doctors strike will end any time soon despite a long meeting between representatives of the strikers and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions.

The strike, over pay and conditions, is now into its 67th day.

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