10 January 2018

African Press Review 10 January 2018

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South African opposition figure Julius Malema says there'll be no judicial immunity for Jacob Zuma, not if he can help it. What did Tanzania's President John Magufuli and the main opposition leader Edward Lowassa talk about when they met yesterday for the first time since the 2015 elections. Railways, dams and schools mostly. Is the International Criminal Court prejudiced?

Julius Malema is in no mood to let Jacob Zuma off the hook.

According to a report in the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, the leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters claims that talks are already under way within the ruling ANC to secure the departure of the South African president before the 2019 election and that judicial immunity for Zuma and his family is one of the key conditions.

Malema says up with this he will not put.

"If they decide to give Zuma immunity we will take them to court again and we will win. Our law doesn't recognise giving people immunity," Malema says.

The opposition leader remains convinced that the Zuma administration will not last to the end of the current year.

Malema also says the newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa will be unable to resurrect the embattled party.

"The ANC is sick to the core. Placing a healthy head on an ailing body will result in the head being sick. That conference was a concussion. Cyril Ramaphosa doesn't have the potential to unite the ANC," according to Julius Malema, who used to be president of the ANC's youth wing, before being expelled from the party in 2012 for racist hate speech directed against South Africa's white farmers.

And while we're having a go at the ANC . . .

Incidentally, one of Malema's mates at the Economic Freedom Fighters, deputy party chief Floyd Shivambu, has criticised ANC national chairman Gwede Mantashe's argument that the new ANC president, multimillionaire Cyril Ramaphosa, will not rob the country because he is wealthy. Shivambu says the argument that the rich don't steal is ideologically sterile, intellectually lazy and offensive to the poor.

According to Shivambu, writing on the Daily Maverick website, all very rich people got where they are by stealing from the poor. He says that, contrary to mainstream propaganda, super-rich capitalists in South Africa are responsible for the reproduction of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

If anything, says Shivambu, Ramaphosa is more likely to steal public resources on an industrial scale because, like all capitalists, he knows which laws to relax or tighten to ensure that his businesses will thrive.

The new ANC president has been warned: the Economic Freedom Fighters are on his case!

Love-in for Tanzanian antagonists

Tanzania's President John Magufuli and the main opposition leader Edward Lowassa met yesterday for the first time since the 2015 elections.

This is the top story in regional paper the East African.

Magufuli said they talked about Tanzania's development projects, including the ongoing construction of the electric standard gauge railway from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, the Stiegler's Gorge hydroelectricity project, and free basic education.

Lowassa, a former prime minister, now leader of the opposition Chadema party, praised the government for its work.

The meeting comes against a background of rising criticism of the president's leadership style with critics, including Christian leaders, accusing him of being intolerant of dissenting views.

Bemba's lawyer criticises ICC as prejudiced

Jean-Pierre Bemba is also on the front page of the East African.

Yesterday a lawyer for the former Congolese vice-president criticised his conviction by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, accusing judges of "prejudice" and calling for the judgement to be scrapped.

Bemba is appealing the 18-year jail term handed down by the ICC in June 2016 after judges found him guilty on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in atrocities committed by troops under his control in the Central African Republic.

Bemba's lawyer yesterday told a hearing at the Hague-based tribunal that trial judges chose to ignore much of the evidence presented by the defence.

He specifically cited the testimony of a retired French military officer, Brigadier-General Jacques Seara, who told judges that Bemba was not in command of the troops when they carried out the crimes.

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