9 January 2018

African Press Review 9 January 2018

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Anti-corruption nets should target big fish in Zimbabwe. "Thieves, semi-thieves and pseudo saints" in the ANC. And, Jacob Zuma : "Rocket Man"?

As you may have seen in the news, the main anti-corruption body in Zimbabwe says it is investigating how former first lady Grace Mugabe, the wife of the country's former President Robert, was awarded a PhD by the country's leading university in record time.

It begs the question of the direction of the new President Emmerson Mnangagwa's promise to tackle corruption.

Newsday seems less than convinced.

In a story headlined "Anti-corruption nets should target big fish," the privately-owned daily reports that "The number of arrests for alleged corruption continued growing last week."

But many of them are linked to the what remains of what's known as the G40 group.

The G40 is characterised as "Grace Mugabe's faction of the ruling ZANU-PF party," which conspired against Mnangagwa.

"When the military intervened, they said they wanted to deal with "criminals" surrounding former President Mugabe," Newsdat recalls.

"It is, therefore, rather questionable that people are being arrested over "small crimes" like beans, rice and television sets.

"The anti-corruption crusade now resembles a political witch hunt, more than a legitimate anti-graft campaign."

"If the authorities continue only prosecuting perceived former adversaries," Newsday concludes, "the anti-corruption drive will be seen as nothing more than a charade"

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If you believe Zimabawe's government-owned daily the Herald, everything in the garden is rosy. In an editorial entitled "Let magnanimity reign in politics," the paper says that on Friday President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited ailing opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai who has been diagnosed with colon cancer.

"We commend President Mnangagwa for his magnanimity and showing not only his softer side, but also political maturity in reaching out to Mr Tsvangira," the paper coos.

"President Mnangagwa is showing that politics can be humane. He is showing that politics can be inclusive and that political opponents are not enemies that must be crushed and not be pitied or cared for."

Which will no doubt comfort members of Grace Mugabe's G40 faction.

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On the opinion pages of the Sowetan in South Africa under the no-nonsense headline "Thieves, semi-thieves and pseudo saints hold the beloved country to ransom," we're told that "many South Africans feel as though 2017 left a big political question hanging in the air.

"There was a great expectation that the ANC conference would provide clarity and direction.

"Many thought victory by Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma would mean the end of the ANC as a governing party in 2019. Others believed Cyril Ramaphosa could save the ANC, the paper says.

With Ramaphosa at the top, most South Africans are still not sure if the ANC, or the country, will be saved.

"This is because ANC delegates decided to elect a combination of thieves, semi-thieves and pseudo-saints," the Soweatn declares.

The first test of strength, it says, is what to do with the national liability called Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa wants Zuma out, but the thieves know that Zuma will not go to jail alone.

The thieves in leadership will fight tooth and nail to keep Zuma - to show Ramaphosa that his wings cannot fly.

Welcome to 2018.

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Business Day runs a wacky story which begins "Elon Musk's SpaceX launches secretive Zuma space mission. Could this be a metaphor for the pending departure of the South African president, for the political wilderness?"

The story - datelined Miami - says the rocket carried "a secretive US government payload known as Zuma, a mission whose nature and the agency behind it remains a mystery."

After deploying its mysterious payload - SpaceX returned the tall portion of the rocket to Cape Canaveral.

"Cheers erupted at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California," we're told, "as the rocket glided seamlessly down to ground."

BusinessDay is having a laugh and engaging in a little wishful thinking at the same time.

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