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Africa African press review Press review

Issued on • Modified

African press review 14 April 2017


There are plenty of heartaches this morning for South African president Jacob Zuma. The audit company checking the Kenyan voter register says it will get the job done on time. Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, warns that spending money on relief food might force the government to halt key infrastructure projects.

South Africa's president Jacob Zuma has struck back at his critics‚ saying his recent decision to reshuffle the cabinet was lawful and rational.

According to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, Zuma yesterday told the Constitutional Court that the president is obliged to exercise his powers within the law. But he said the Constitution does not require the consequences of such decisions to have a positive or negative outcome.

Zuma was responding to a court application launched by the centre-left opposition United Democratic Movement. The party approached the Constitutional Court on Monday after the Speaker of the National Assembly‚ Baleka Mbete‚ refused its request to have the pending motion of no confidence in Zuma conducted by means of a secret ballot.

That vote was to have been taken next Tuesday, but has been postponed.

And that's not Zuma's only concern this morning.

Zuma faces revolt in KwaZulu-Natal heartland

A separate article in BusinessDay says that, as South Africa faces its worst political crisis in a decade with thousands of protesters demanding Zuma’s departure, a key battle to determine who will succeed him is raging on his home turf.

The eastern KwaZulu-Natal region accounts for more than a fifth of the ANC’s members, the most of the nine provinces, and has been a springboard for Zuma’s rise to power. During his campaign to win the ANC presidency in 2007, some of his supporters wore "100% Zulu boy" T-shirts, a reference to the area’s dominant ethic group. Now faction fighting there is undermining his attempt to ensure his favoured candidate succeeds him when he steps down as party leader in December.

According to BusinessDay, the feud has weakened Zuma’s grip on the ANC and may help Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in the succession race. Ramaphosa’s main rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former chairperson of the African Union Commission and the president’s former wife, comes from the province and is herself a Zulu.

Independent auditor sure of meeting Kenyan electoral deadline

Speaking of elections, the company auditing Kenya's voter register is confident the job can be done in time.

According to the top story in today's edition of regional paper the East African, the independent auditor KPMG is required to verify each of the 19.4 million registered voters and hand over its findings to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission by 29 April.

KPMG chief executive Josephat Mwaura says the firm has engaged experts to check whether the voter register complies with the constitution and election laws, as well as the level of expertise of those recruited to register voters in all the 290 constituencies.

KPMG is also auditing the accuracy of voter details as provided in the register. The firm will check whether such details are in line with information held at the registrar of persons including death records and details contained in passports.

While the electoral commission last year conceded that there are 128,000 cases of double registration, the opposition led by the Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga claims that the register contains at least two million dead voters.

Uganda's hungry reminded they are eating roads, other infrastructure

Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, has warned that spending money on relief food might force the government to halt key infrastructure projects.

According to the Kampala-based Daily Monitor, Museveni told a rally of his National Resistance Movement that those who ask the government for money to buy food must remember that they are eating roads and electric wires. "This is because in order to buy food, we need to postpone a number of projects," the president explained.

Museveni criticised former presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye, and senior opposition party officials who were last week prevented by police from distributing relief food in Teso sub-region. The president dismissed the initiative as a cheap stunt intended to buy voter support.

The government has admitted that at least 1.3 million people in various parts of the country need food aid urgently after a dry spell destroyed harvests.