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African press review 29 June 2012

Egypt braces for more anti-military protests. Are splits appearing in the ANC over Zuma's succession? And did two middle-aged Zimbabwe women fly in a magic basket ... or do they need psychiatric help?


In Egypt the papers look ahead to mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square this Friday to demand the ousting of the military from Egypt's political life.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Egypt Independent reports that revolutionary youth coalitions and political parties have announced their participation in the demonstration.

Masry al Youn says a sit-in by some protesters rejoicing at the victory of Muslim Brotherhood President-elect Mohamed Morsi continued for the 10th day in the square. According to the newspaper, some wonder whether it is worthwhile carrying on the campaign for the cancellation of an addition to the constitutional declaration and the reinstatement of parliament.

Friday’s Egyptian newspapers also highlight a meeting between the president-elect and editors of the country’s media chiefs on Thursday.

Daily News Egypt reports that Morsi refuted a charge by one newspaper editor that his policies are those of the Muslim Brotherhood, explaining that while his passion is for the brotherhood, his policies are not.

Amid continuing polarisation of the political debate, Al Masry Al Youn argues in an editorial that some political space ought to be granted to the 39 per cent of voters who neither voted for the Moslem Brotherhood candidate nor for former crony of deposed president Hosni Mubarak, Ahmed Shafiq.

According to the Cairo-based paper that part of the electorate constitutes a “third bloc” the “revolutionary” alternative to the game of “Islamists v the Mubarak security apparatus” that paralysed Egyptian politics for decades.

In South Africa the press is all about a face-off between supporters of President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Mohlanthe at a policy conference of the ruling ANC party in Midrand.

The Mail and Guardian reports, that opposing factions sang songs and gestured at one another at the close of sectoral policy commissions. According to the paper, matters came to a head during Motlanthe's walk through the conference's progressive business forum.

For the Mail and Guardian, the stand-off could be interpreted as the first crack in the ANC's attempt to silence the succession debate.

Business Day comments about the rejection of a "second transition" policy concept, which Zuma has championed at the conference as a solution to poverty and unemployment.

The paper says the setback on the concept debate can be seen as a proxy for the ANC leadership battle will embolden members and leaders campaigning to replace Zuma at the party’s elective conference in December.

And The Sowetan takes up the stunning case of two self-confessed witches, who are to undergo medical and psychiatric examinations in Zimbabwe.

The paper quotes prosecutors saying that the two women were arrested earlier this month after they were found naked in the yard of a home in Chinhoyi, 110 kilometres north-east of Harare.

The middle-aged women claimed they were ditched in the yard by a magical grain-threshing basket which they were flying in after a naked night ritual nearby. Prosecutors at the Chinhoyi court have set another hearing for 11 July to examine the women’s medical reports and cross-examine tribal healers.

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