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Kenya Press review South Africa

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African press review 17 July 2017


Tanzania's main opposition party offers a boost to Kenya's incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta, ahead of next month's election. The Kenyan polls could be among the world's most expensive on a cost-per-voter basis. Is the South African electricity company running out of money?

There's a boost for Kenya's incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta, ahead of next month's election.

According to the Nairobi-based Daily Nation, Tanzania's main opposition party, Chadema, has endorsed Kenyatta's reelection.

Chadema leader Edward Lowassa says the current Kenyan president is the right candidate for the job and a better choice for democracy in the country.

Chadema’s support for Kenyatta is believed to be due to the close relationship between Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga and Tanzania's President John Magufuli.

The party is reported to have been dismayed by Odinga for having supported Magufuli during the presidential campaigns in the 2015 General Election, something the party leadership considered as an act of betrayal.

Kenyans go to the polls on 8 August.

How much does it cost to cast a vote?

Regional paper the East African reports that those Kenyan elections are likely to be the second most expensive election in the world.

The cost per voter in Kenya is now estimated at 29 euros, a long way behind Papua New Guinea where the last election cost nearly 70 euros per voter.

In the region, Rwanda's polls next month will cost just over one euro per voter. Ghana's 2016 presidential election was run for about five cents per voter.

The East African says the security budget for the Kenyan election is the biggest drain on the exchequer, with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission swallowing up the rest.

Is Eskom running out of money?

The South African electricity company Eskom is back on the front page of the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay.

Eskom’s annual results, to be presented on Wednesday, will be closely watched after it was reported that the state company is facing a severe cash crisis.

Yesterday the Sunday Times published an article saying that, on the basis of financial statements it had seen, Eskom had enough money to continue functioning for approximately 90 days. The power company has strenuously denied this, saying it has sufficient money to support its operations.

Eskom is at the centre of the allegations about non-political interference in the running of South African government, which have severely dented the credibility of President Jacob Zuma’s administration and resulted in paralysis in the state and the governing party.

Zuma has announced that he intends set up a judicial commission of inquiry into so-called "state capture" as revelations on the extent of the Gupta family’s influence over his government continue to be exposed through leaked emails. The Guptas are big movers in the construction, distribution and publishing sectors.

However, the president has not yet done so, despite a call by the ANC for the inquiry to be set up urgently.

The state capture revelations have also damaged the ANC's credibility, resulting in the South African Communist Party at its national congress deciding to contest elections on its own. The move could spell the death of the alliance between the communists, the trade unions and the ANC, which has governed South Africa since 1994.

Zuma vote decision soon

Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete will also be closely watched this week for a possible decision on whether she will allow an open or secret ballot during the motion against Zuma, which is scheduled to take place on 8 August.

Mbete in a statement confirmed receiving submissions from nine of the 13 political parties in parliament. She said the ANC and the opposition Democratic Alliance had said they would abide by her decision, while the remaining seven political parties had requested a secret ballot.

Mandela Day tomorrow

South Africa will mark Mandela Day tomorrow, to commemorate the former president’s birthday.

The United Nations officially declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in November 2009.

Cairo clashes lead to injuries

The Cairo-based Egypt Independent reports that security forces withdrew from al-Warraq Island near the capital yesterday afternoon after their presence provoked clashes with the locals.

The forces were deployed to the island in the early morning to oversee demolition orders for buildings illegally established on state land.

A source from the Giza governorate told the Egypt Independent that the demolition orders have been withdrawn indefinitely but did not elaborate.

A medical source at the Health Ministry said that 11 people were injured during the clash, eight of whom are security officers, the rest civilians.

Protesters say one person died in the clashes.