African press review 11 February 2016
Issued on: Modified:
Just how easy is it to impeach a South African president? The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters say they intend to find out. But first, the feisty Fighters are likely to make a bit of noise in parliament tonight when Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address.
South African opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters were in feisty form yesterday, promising to continue their campaign to impeach Jacob Zuma over the Nkandla scandal in which public money was used to upgrade the president's private home.
This morning's Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay has bad news for the feisty Fighters.
Under the headline "Easier said than done," we are reminded that no South African president has ever been impeached and that the process is not a simple one.
Section 89 of the Constitution provides for the removal of a president with a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament on three possible grounds: a serious violation of the Constitution or the law; serious misconduct; or inability to perform his official functions.
BusinessDay says the process of impeachment is essentially political rather than judicial. Given the ruling African National Congress’s large parliamentary majority, the Economic Freedom Fighters are likely to have a tough time pushing it through.
Of course the same opposition party has another battle closer to hand since EFF members have threathened, once again, to disrupt Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address, due to be delivered in parliament tonight.
The party wants the president to explain why he fired former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene. Nene's dismissal caught the country by surprise and resulted in billions of rand being wiped off the market.
The EFF has in the past used repeated points of order and privilege to delay the proceedings. Points of order can be used by MPs to protest things such as a departure from the speakers’ list, or a departure from the order paper that lists the business in the house for that particular day.
For Zuma’s address, there is only one point of business and that is the president’s speech, which will make sustained points of order difficult to sustain.
But, wonders BusinessDay, is barring anyone from speaking unless allowed by the presiding officer hampering freedom of expression in the chamber?
The top story in regional paper The East African reports that Kenya has nearly doubled its electricity exports to Tanzania and Uganda on the back of increased geothermal power generation. But the paper says local consumers are still waiting to see their power bills decrease.
Kenya Power, the electricity distributor, sold 47 million kilowatt hours to the two countries last year, up from 27 million a year earlier, according to official data.
The country also cut its power imports by almost half following the arrival of geothermal power on the national grid.
Cheaper geothermal energy has helped to reduce the use of expensive thermal power.
But electricity bills have remained unchanged as the expected benefits were wiped out by tariff increases in June 2014.
The main story in the Kenyan Standard says opposition leaders have raised concerns about inadequate preparations for voter registration and alleged attempts to weaken independent institutions.
During a meeting with the European Union's pre-election mission yesterday, opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang'ula cited financial constraints facing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and difficulties with the distribution of biometric voter registration kits among concerns that could undermine the credibility of next year's polls.
The opposition claims that the electoral commission is using underfunding as an excuse to exclude people and not to provide sufficient time for registration. The opposition allege that the government is doing this deliberately to deny people their right to register.
Raila Odinga warned that if serious steps are not taken to restore the confidence of Kenyans in the electoral body, then the situation surrounding the 2017 polls will become "unpredictable".
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