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Press review Africa

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African press review 12 July 2017


More questions about President Buhari's health as Nigeria's acting leader flies to London for a surprise meeting with the ailing leader and Zambia's parliament votes "massively" without the opposition to extend President Lungu's state of emergency.

We begin in Nigeria, where the papers lead with comments about a surprise trip to London by acting president Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday for a meeting with ailing President President Muhammadu Buhari.

Punch says the meeting at Abuja House, the Nigerian High Commission in London, late on Tuesday was the very first between President Buhari and his deputy since he travelled to the UK for medical treatment two months ago.

The publication says it is able to confirm that the trip was made at President Buhari's request.

According to the respected Nation, Osinbajo travelled to London to brief Buhari about the order of government business, especially about issues of insubordination by some members of the cabinet to the acting presidency.

The Nigerian Nation holds that Osinbajo needed to consult the President on urgent matters including a minor cabinet reshuffle, to replace the late labour minister, James Ocholi, who died in a car crash, and environment minister Amina Mohammed who resigned to become Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

Speculation had been rife in Nigeria about Buhari's imminent return home. This, after his wife Aisha, who is with him in London, alluded to his recovery in a Facebook post on Monday.

“God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals" she wrote on her page, adding that "the hyenas and the jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom.”

Vanguard recalls that Buhari left Abuja on May 7 and handed over power to his deputy to allay concerns of a void at the top of Africa’s biggest economy.

In Zambia, the Daily Mail leads with the controversial vote by parliament Tuesday approving a 90-day state of emergency decree signed by President Edgar Lungu to deal with what he describes a string of arson attacks by the opposition intended "to create terror and panic in the country.

The paper says that opposition lawmakers staged a walk out as the House voted "unanimously" to extend the period in which the measures under the proclamation will apply from seven days to three months.

Kenya's Daily Nation says the laws grant President Lungu extended powers to order the arrest and detention of suspected arsonists adding that Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the country main opposition party, who lost narrowly to Lungu in the last election has been jailed since April.

Finally,  in Uganda, Daily Monitor addsxa sarcastic note to growing disenchantment with plans by the ruling National Resistance Movement to remove the age limit of 75 from the constitution so President Yoweri Museveni can stand for a 5th consecutive term.

Under the country's basic law the veteran leader born in 1944 and in power for 31 years will be above 75 in 2021 when the next Presidential election is scheduled.

The paper says that while many people are furious about the scheme, some are cracking jokes on social media. The Monitor picked out one that is trending on WhatsApp.

"It will be easier to amend Museveni’s date of birth from August 4, 1944 to 1968 so that we do not tamper with the Constitution", wrote one Ugandan on his wall.

"This would save us lots of money and less headaches", he argued, adding that "changing one’s date of birth doesn’t require constitution amendment”.