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African Press Review 6 December 2018


A prodigal son returns to Liberia from a nighmare in Libya. The crackdown on corruption in Zimbabwe. And, will he stay or won't he? Jacob Zuma and the roller coaster ride of the South African rand.

Many readers will be familiar with what has happened and continues to happen to thousands of sub-Saharan Africans who arrive in Libya with the dream of crossing to western Europe and better lives.

In short, many are maltreated. More than a few are sold into slavery.

Liberia's Daily Observer explores the issue in an editorial headlined "We Are Thankful to the Liberian Prodigal Son’s Father."

The paper begins with the story of James T. Weleyon, a Liberian entrepreneur in Nimba County, recently received with open arms his estranged 23-year old son, Bill, in what the Observer says is a "classic example of the Biblical prodigal son."

The young man, who had been a student of the African American Episcopal University, made the journey to Libya, was mistreated, disappointed and regretted his decision.

The Observer is heartened by his return and his forgiving father.

Still; it reflects on the wider issues.

The slave trade ended in 1807, it reminds us. Here are we now, a little over 150 years later, and Africans are dying to get to Europe, literally "dying".

They are now being enslaved by their own African brothers, people of a lighter hue complexion, in particular Libyans and Algerians who consider themselves more Middle Eastern than African.

The paper calls on African governments to do all they can to practise better governance that caters to the needs of what it calls "our teeming masses of young people."

Teeming masses of young Africans which, incidentally, are predicted to increase by one-point-three billion by 2050.

The Observer hopes that newly elected President Gerorge Weah succeeds in his mission to “transform the Liberian masses,."

Then - the paper says - our people will be spared the perilous journey to Libya and beyond; for they will find, in this rich country of ours, greener pastures right here at home.

It is a sentiment that could be echoed across much of Africa.


In Zimbabwe - which also has a new President - the government owned Herald, the reliable cheerleader of whomsoever is in power, reports that "as the new dispensation’s anti-corruption dragnet spreads, former Foreign Affairs Minister Walter Mzembi and erstwhile Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge were yesterday arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on charges of abuse of office."

Mzembi’s lawyer said his client was facing allegations of donating to churches four television sets bought by the Government for the promotion of the World Cup in 2010.

Wow! Four TVs. Who knew corruption was so serious in Zimbabwe?


In South Africa, the two most read stories in Business Day are "Rand slumps after Derek Hanekom’s denial about move against Jacob Zuma" and "Rand surges on reports of the ANC wanting Zuma out."

Hanekom, by the way, is a former tourism minister.

To be fair, the two stories are a day apart - so it's not quite as daft as it looks.

They highlight how the Rand, and perhaps the wider economic picture, are inextricably linked to the fate of President Jacob Zuma.

In the first report - Business Day says reports that pressure is mounting on President Jacob Zuma to step down helped the rand strengthen to levels last seen in mid-2015.

What known as the "Ramaphosa rally" was given further impetus by a report in the Star which said Zuma had been given until Tuesday next week to step down as SA’s president.

Several ANC national executive committee members told paper that Zuma faced another motion of no confidence if he did not voluntarily vacate his position by next Wednesday.

In the 2nd report, Hanekom told the Citizen newspaper that he was not preparing a second internal ANC motion of no confidence against Zuma.

The Citizen added that "as a staunch Zuma opponent, Hanekom says he remains committed to his position that Zuma should resign as president."

Whether or not, the rand weakened against the US dollar.

The rand's roller coaster ride looks likely to continue for as long as uncertainty attaches to Zuma's tenure as President.