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African press review 21 September 2011

There are charges of fake polling stations in Zambia, implosion on South Africa's political scene, Zimbabwe's MDC wants election arrangements overhauled and there's fury in Kenya over an ICC prosecutor's claims about apparent collusion between the Mungiki and Mwai Kibake.


Zambia first this morning, and The Post reports that members of the opposition Patriotic Front claim to have found a fake polling station in the eastern town of Chipata.

Chipata, by the way, is the birthplace of incumbent president, Rupiah Banda. He cast his vote there yesterday, in a real polling station at Nyakutwa Basic School.

The fake facility, complete with official booths and ballot boxes, had been set up in the local veterinary office. The Patriotic Front claims that the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy used fake poling stations to sneak in pre-marked ballot papers.

This is the second time unofficial polling booths have been discovered. The other case came to light on Sunday in Lusaka.

Apart from that, the privately owned paper says polls were marred by anomalies in a number of polling stations. The principal complaint was the delay in opening stations - in some cases by up to two hours - on account of the delayed delivery of election materials.

The other complaints concerned ballot boxes bearing the names of other towns being delivered, and the delivery of boxes without lids.

In South Africa, The Star leads with the news that the ruling African National Congress is imploding. According to a report from party secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, infighting between party leaders means the ANC will celebrate its centenary next year even more divided than it was in 2007, when factions supporting Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki ripped the party apart.

More than a quarter of ANC members are in arrears on membership dues, and the demographic profile proves that the ANC has failed to achieve its non-racial goals.

Mantashe also warns of the dangers posed by the "confrontational and aggressive" posture of Julius Malema and the rest of the party's Youth League.

Malema has already called for Mantashe to be replaced as party secretary-general.

According to Zimbabwe's NewsDay, Movement for Democratic Change president Welshman Ncube has called for an immediate reform of the Zimbabwe Election Commission saying extensive consultations should be made over the composition of the body ahead of elections.

Addressing a poorly attended rally of less than 300 people at Beit Hall in Mutare on Sunday, the law professor said his party was ready for elections, but would not be hoodwinked into badly managed polls.

Ncube also condemned bickering in the ranks of gevernment and political violence across the country.

The low attendance at Ncube's rally was a sharp contrast to the rival MDC-T meeting at Sakubva Stadium that drew nearly 20,000 people last month.

The Standard in Kenya wants to know what evidence does ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo have to back his claim that President Mwai Kibaki’s State House hosted the planning meeting for the Mungiki sect’s retaliatory attacks in the Rift Valley during the 2008 post-election violence?

That is the question that has dominated public debate ahead of today’s start of confirmation hearings at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, involving the three men considered closest to Kibaki at the time of the violence.

The Standard says the alleged meeting at State House is likely to overshadow the individual cases against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former police commissioner Hussein Ali.

All three face charges of murder, rape and false imprisonment for their alleged roles in the riots which followed the 2007 presidential election.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Ocampo claims that revenge killings in Naivasha and Nakuru in January 2008 were planned in State House, a claim President Kibaki has strongly denied.

The prosecutor’s evidence indicates that Uhuru and Muthaura attended a preparatory meeting with representatives of the outlawed Mungiki sect at State House on 30 December 2007.

During the meeting, Uhuru and Muthaura allegedly enlisted the services of Mungiki leaders and concluded plans for revenge attacks in Naivasha and Nakuru.

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