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African press review 12 February 2015


If you buy a newspaper in South Africa this morning, you'll find it hard to avoid Julius Malema.

The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters opposition political party dominates the front page of the Sowetan, with a thought-provoking headline which reads "I refuse to wrestle with a pig in the mud".

This observation, and the concluding wisdom "because the pig will always win," was wrung from Malema by a long letter from Gayton McKenzie, a former bank robber now motivational speaker and businessman.

In the letter McKenzie accuses Malema of a number of personal and political misdeeds, including using EFF party funds to pay for personal purchases.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Malema says he will not get involved in a mudslinging match.

He also says he has no intention of breaking the law later today when President Zuma delivers his state-of-the-nation address. The Economic Freedom Fighters say they will ask the president when he intends to pay back the public money spent on building works at his private home.

The editorial in financial paper BusinessDay ignores the possibility of EFF disruption in the face of a far more serious threat.

The Johannesburg-based daily says the ruling African National Congress is well aware of what needs to be done to get the economy back on track, avoid looming public insurrection, restore the process of racial reconciliation, and reverse the growing inequality that is rapidly taking SA back to the madness of the 1980s.

The problem, says BusinessDay, is that the ANC has proved to be unable to choose a team capable of leading South Africa according to a set of rational policies.

An article on the front page of The Star says the president's best chance this evening is that Malema and the Economic Freedom Fighters do disrupt his speech.

That, according to The Star, will save the South African leader from having to appear optimistic about electricity blackouts, a worsening economic situation, deteriorating race relations and a population more and more frequently in revolt.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

The main story in the Cairo-based Independent says an Egyptian court yesterday ordered the retrial of 36 supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood who had been sentenced to death.

The 36 were among 183 sentenced to death by a criminal court in the southern province of Minya last June.

The court gave no reason for the retrial.

According to the front page of the Kenyan Standard, lawyers are demanding the shilling equivalent of nearly six million euros in legal fees from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee yesterday questioned the huge bills owed to lawyers, most of which have been pending since the last General Election.

The commission told the committee it had already paid lawyers who represented it during the disputed presidential election and that the currently pending fees were for other petitions in which the commission had been represented.

The opposition in Uganda is split over the question of a boycott of next year's elections.

According to the front page of this morning's Kampala-based Daily Monitor, opposition MPs will meet today in a second attempt to agree on what action to take if the government refuses to carry out electoral reforms which would guarantee a free and fair poll in February next year.

The opposition want the Electoral Commission abolished to pave the way for the appointment of an independent electoral body. They also want a new national voters’ register and a radical revision of the role of the security agencies in the electoral process.

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