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Africa Press review

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African press review 13 April 2017


Anti-Zuma protesters stage giant protest at Union Buildings in Pretoria, but Zuma says he celebrated his 75th birthday without the stress of being forced out of office. Hectic season in Kenyan politics opens today as parties pick their candidates for this summer's general elections. And a Nigerian whistle-blower leads agents of the anti-graft agency to a cache of 38 million dollars and thousands of pounds hidden in a politician's home in Lagos.

We begin in South Africa, where an estimated 100,000 people marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.

City press claims that opposition parties and civil society organisations participating in the march, which had initially gathered at Church Square before heading to the Union Buildings, were united in their call.

This was the third such mass gathering as pressure mounts for Zuma to quit for presiding over a corrupt system which no longer serves the interests of South Africans.

The protest went ahead as Zuma celebrated his 75th birthday with “no stress”, according to the Johannesburg newspaper.

City Press culled the phrase from remarks the President made at a birthday rally in Soweto, where he told thousands of supporters that this was just a tip of the backstabbing by cowards in the ANC he has seen during his time.

Zuma reportedly remained defiant, claiming that it would take a lot to hurt him. He added that the “stress is with his political foes” trying to oust him from office.

Rebellion is on the march against Zuma. But will it be enough to oust him, wonders Mail and Guardian, as it contemplates the shrinking core of hard-line supporters within the ANC.

Yet the publication says that given Zuma's uncanny ability to outvote, outflank and outmanoeuver his opponents and rivals, it’s quite possible that he will retain his position as president of the ANC until his terms ends in December.

Mail and Guardian also believes he might even hold onto the job as president of the country which would, under normal circumstances, end after a general election scheduled for 2019.

Times Live says moves to oust Zuma received a boost on Wednesday evening when National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete finally agreed to postpone a special sitting to debate a motion of no confidence in the President. The paper says the decision will allow the Constitutional Court to first decide whether the vote can be done by secret ballot.

Times reports that the main opposition Democratic Alliance has welcomed the postponement of the parliamentary debate, expressing hope that it would give ANC MPs time to reflect on their commitment to South Africa.

In Kenya, Standard digital marks an important milestone in the 2017 election calendar, as political parties start picking candidates for various seats ahead of the final showdown in August.

The paper reports that fights for the 47 governors’ seats across the counties is expected to be fierce as the current county chiefs seek to retain their jobs against other political heavyweights. Parties are required to nominate their candidates for various seats between today and 26 April, according to Standard newspaper.

In Nigeria, Vanguard leads with the stunning discovery of large amounts of cash in foreign currencies at a private home in Lagos, found by agents of the country's anti-graft agency. According to the paper, the stash of 38 million dollars, 27,000 pounds and 23 million Nigerian naira in the home belonging to an unnamed Abuja politician was found thanks to a tip-off by a whistle-blower.