15 December 2017

African Press Review 15 December 2017

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Another setback for South African President Jacob Zuma as the ruling African National Congress gets ready to choose his successor. Rebel leader Riek Machar will not be attending the South Sudan peace talks due to open in Ethiopia. And Zimbabwe's new president promises free and fair elections in 2018.

South African President Jacob Zuma has failed in his effort to change the voting arrangements at this weekend's ANC national conference.

The proposal by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to change the voting process so that delegates vote for the party president and the deputy president separately, has been shot down by both sides.

The idea was first proposed by President Jacob Zuma at the national policy conference, when he suggested that the losing candidate should automatically become the party's deputy president.

But the ANC's national executive committee yesterday decided on a single election for all positions, including president and deputy president.

According to BusinessDay, the uncertainty over the voting process will affect the time at which the result of the presidential election is announced.

The same paper says the conference is being watched closely for potential policy shifts, but the most important signal will be who becomes president. The market favours Cyril Ramaphosa as it is believed he will restore good governance to state institutions and state-owned enterprises.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's campaign has upset investors, because of her stance on land, the Reserve Bank and mining.

Self-interest undermining South Sudan peace talks

"Fear of bribery ahead of South Sudan peace talks in Addis", reads the main headline in regional paper the East African.

The report suggests that the fear of delegates being comprised looms large as South Sudan groups prepare for next week's Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) peace talks in the Ethiopian capital.

The director of the Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice, Jackeline Naziwa, says bribery is one of the key stumbling blocks.

Naziwa blamed the parties to the peace agreement for intentionally bogging it down for their selfish gains.

Meanwhile, a letter from the Igad chairman, the Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn, indicated that the main armed opposition leader Riek Machar would not attend the forum.

Mnangagwa promises a new era for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday vowed to hold free and fair elections next year, warning his party that the contest would be closer than anyone expects.

Mnangagwa, who came to power last month after the military toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, told a meeting of the ruling Zanu-PF central committee that he is committed to reform.

Western countries, especially the US and the UK, have in recent days made it clear that they will not provide financial support to Zimbabwe until the new regime holds free and fair elections.

Zimbabwe has been isolated for over a decade due to allegations that Mugabe routinely rigged elections and violated human rights.

The European Union in 2014 removed sanctions on Zanu-PF officials, military chiefs and government-owned companies but the US has maintained a travel embargo on several ruling party stalwarts.

Kenyan elections marred by sexual violence

Widespread sexual violence marred Kenya's 2017 elections, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released yesterday, the East African tells us.

The 31-page report documents the physical, mental, social and economic impact of serious human rights abuses surrounding the recent elections.

HRW found that the Kenyan government failed to prevent election-related sexual violence, did not properly investigate cases, or hold attackers accountable and ensure that survivors have access to comprehensive, quality, and timely post-rape care. Many attacks were perpetrated by security forces.

The rights organisation calls on the Nairobi government to take urgent steps to protect women and girls, as well as men and boys, from sexual violence.

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