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African press review 6 February 2012

The fate of ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema, a possible ban on foreign newspapers in Zimbabwe and who should decide when Kenya's elections take place are some of the stories making headlines in Africa's press.

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"Last Chance for Julius Malema" reads the main headline in South Africa's BusinessDay.

The report explains that the suspended leader of the African National Congress Youth League now has to argue for a lesser sentence after his suspension from the ANC was upheld.

An ANC spokesman said Malema was stripped of his titles and party membership with immediate effect.

Malema has two weeks to argue against a five-year suspension for various disciplinary breaches, including bringing the ruling party into disrepute and calling for regime change in neighbouring Botswana.

The Sowetan reports that the ANC Youth League has been thrown into disarray after the confirmation of the guilty verdict against Malema. Some provinces are lobbying for early leadership elections.

While the Eastern Cape and Western Cape have pledged their support for Malema, other provinces are divided, with some warning that his time is up.

In Gauteng, members have started discussing 'leadership options', saying that waiting until the Mangaung elective conference would be "suicidal" for the league.

KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo have seen a surge in anti-Malema sentiment and ANCYL members say the "discontent" is spreading.

The front page of this morning's Star wonders if Malema is on his way into the political wilderness or whether he will continue to wield power.

It's a rhetorical question of course, with no one expecting Malema to become a full-time farmer as he threatened at the time of the original suspension. The crucial factor is how the Malema affair will affect the superficial unity of the ruling party.

The BusinessDay analysis pages say that this will be a decisive week in South African politics.

The ANC national executive committee is, among other things, expected to consider the report on nationalisation which, if adopted, could be made public over the next few days.

The committee’s endorsement of the report, which rejects nationalisation, will deal another blow to Malema's youth league which has been clamouring for nationalisation to become official policy.

BusinessDay also reports that the authorities in Zimbabwe have threatened to ban South African newspapers. According to the Johannesburg daily, Zimbabwe’s media commission plans to institute a ban on all foreign newspapers.

The publisher of one of the independent Zimbabwean newspapers, said the ban by the state-controlled media commission was aimed at preventing negative coverage of President Robert Mugabe in the run-up to elections planned for either this year or next.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who joined Mugabe in a unity government three years ago, has vowed to abolish the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which bars foreign journalists from working permanently in Zimbabwe.

The 2002 act forced media organisations and journalists to register with a government body and has been invoked to arrest independent journalists.

You might remember that the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, last year cancelled his intended trip to South Africa to attend Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday. This was because the Dalai Lama was refused a visa.

Opposition groups, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Congress of the People, alleged that it was unconstitutional for the government not to have granted the visa. That claim has now been dismissed by the Western Cape High Court.

The government’s failure to grant the visa last October sparked a public outcry, with Desmond Tutu accusing President Jacob Zuma’s administration of being "worse than the apartheid government".

According to The Daily Monitor in Kamala, the Ugandan oposition says it will boycott today’s events marking the beginning, in 1981, of the National Resistance Army guerilla war that eventually brought President Museveni to power.

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament said the Uganda People's Defence Force has digressed from its constitutional obligation of being national and non-partisan, and instead indulges in political efforts to entrench Museveni’s rule.

The opposition accuses the army of brutalising peaceful demonstrators, and of detaining, torturing and killing opposition activists.

In Kenya, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has challenged Prime Minister Raila Odinga over the General Election date, saying the decision on an election date is not the preserve of an individual.

Speaking in Mombasa on Sunday, Musyoka said only Kenyans can decide when the elections will be held.

Odinga said in Machakos on Saturday that he would like the polls to be held this year.

Raila Odinga and President Kibaki were handed the task of deciding the General Election date after the High Court declined to set a definite date.

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