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African press review 5 December 2017

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Will South African President Jacob Zuma end up in the dock like any charged criminal? Will Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma catch Cyril Ramaphosa in the race for presidency of the ANC? Who are the new men in power in Zimbabwe? And why is South Sudan spending millions on security drones and cameras?


Will South African President Jacob Zuma end up in the dock like any charged criminal?

The Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay reports that opposition leader Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance wants the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to announce the date of Zuma’s first court appearance so that charges can be read to him in line with standard legal practice.

The NPA says it will announce a decision on the criminal case against the president only after a team led by the KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions‚ Moipone Noko‚ has made its recommendations.

The president is facing 783 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering, money laundering and tax evasion.

Dlamini-Zuma still trailing Ramaphosa

Who is going to be chosen as the next president of South Africa's ruling African National Congress?

If you believe the figures carried by this morning's BusinessDay, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma bagged the bulk of the branch nominations from her home province KwaZulu-Natal yesterday but she still lags behind her main rival, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa extended his lead earlier in the day when his home province, Limpopo, handed him 391 branch nominations compared to Dlamini-Zuma’s 104.

A nationwide tally in the Mail & Guardian has Ramaphosa nominated by 1,862 branches ahead of Dlamini-Zuma’s 1,441.

The problem, as BusinessDay was explaining yesterday, is that the voting delegates at the ANC's elective conference don't have to follow their branch decisions because the vote is by secret ballot. So there could still be a big surprise.

Apart from the branches, the ANC’s Youth League, Women’s League and Veterans all have 60 votes each. The Youth and Women’s Leagues are expected to back Dlamini-Zuma, apart from a few dissenting members, while Ramaphosa can count on the backing of the Veterans.

In an opinion piece in the same paper, Tim Cohen suggests that Ramaphosa’s supporters are in it for personal advancement, while Dlamini-Zuma’s want to loot the state and to secure their precarious grip on the ladder of prosperity. If he is to be believed, South Africa will lose, whoever wins the ANC's top job.

Mnangagwa swears in military ministers

Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, swore in his cabinet yesterday, with allies defending him against criticism for giving top posts to the generals who helped his rise to power.

Air Marshall Perrance Shiri, who was handed the sensitive land portfolio, is feared and loathed by many Zimbabweans as the former commander of the North Korean-trained unit that played a central role in ethnic massacres in Matabeleland in 1983 in which an estimated 20,000 people were killed.

Another military figure is Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo, whom most Zimbabweans remember as the khaki-clad general who went on state television in the early hours of 15 November to announce the military takeover which ended Robert Mugabe's 37 years at the helm.

Kenyan opposition vows to oust Uhuru

There's no sign that the Kenyan opposition is giving up the fight against President Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to this morning's Standard, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) has vowed to continue with its plans to swear in opposition leader Raila Odinga as the “people’s president” despite the arrest of one of its key strategists.

David Ndii was arrested on Sunday over his role in formation of the people’s assembly and the ongoing push to have Odinga sworn in.

Nasa leaders promised to launch a programme of events later today, leading up to Odinga’s 12 December swearing-in at a venue that is yet to be announced.

Odinga is expected to address a press conference later today on the swearing-in programme.

South Sudan spends millions on security

Cash-strapped South Sudan has spent millions of dollars on surveillance drones and security cameras to fight rampant crime in the capital, Juba, according to the top story in regional paper the East African.

No precise price tag has been given for the project but the technology director at the interior ministry admitted it was costing "millions of dollars”.

Since the outbreak of civil war four years ago, South Sudan’s oil-based economy has all but collapsed, further impoverishing an already poor population. The ongoing conflict has uprooted a third of the population and pushed millions more to the brink of starvation.