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African press review 19 March 2016


Has the South African Constitutional Court given Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters a free hand to disrupt parliamentary proceedings? How much will the authorities in Zimbabwe pay to white farmers evicted in 2000? And guess what four-footed feline a Nairobi pedestrian met yesterday morning on the Mombassa Road.


There's a bit of good news on the front page of the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay for Julius Malema and his parliamentary colleagues in the South African opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Yesterday the Constitutional Court rejected a law that would have allowed the police to be called into Parliament to remove elected members for causing a disturbance.

The use of police to strong-arm Economic Freedom Fighter MPs out of Parliament during President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address in February last year was widely criticised.

The South African constitution gives MPs freedom of speech in the house and immunity from arrest for anything they say in Parliament.

Government and the Guptas

The main story in BusinessDay reports that the economy and local government elections are the two items on the agenda of this weekend's meeting of the leadership of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). However a debate on the influence of the politically connected Gupta family on President Jacob Zuma is likely to dominate discussions.

The national executive committee meeting comes at the end of a week in which a number of ANC leaders complained of the manner in which the Guptas, who have interests in mining, computing and the media, had attempted to influence them.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said a report of the national working committee will be presented to the meeting and will include feedback from a meeting between the Gupta family and the top six leaders of the party.

The national executive committee meeting concludes tomorrow.

BusinessDay also reports that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has been asked to investigate the controversial family and their rumoured involvement in state affairs.

Madonsela’s office said yesterday that the Dominican Order of Catholic priests made the request on Friday morning.

The order asks her to investigate "the involvement of the Gupta family in state affairs and the award of contracts to companies linked to the family".

According to Madonsela‚ the complaint will be assessed to determine whether her office has jurisdiction and grounds to investigate the claims   a process that takes about five days.

Zimbabwe mulls compensation for foreign farmers

Zimbabwe’s government has begun evaluating farms to determine whether their previous owners should be compensated after they were seized by the state.

Zimbabwean Lands Minister Douglas Mombeshora said last week that the government was considering ways to rectify the treatment of foreign farmers who were evicted from their land. Zimbabwe began taking over commercial farms in the year 2000, evicting about 3,500 mainly white farmers.

Lion mauls man in Nairobi

The East African reports that an elderly Kenyan man was mauled by a lion that was wandering along a busy road during morning rush hour in the capital Nairobi yesterday.

It is the third time in a month that lions have caused panic as they roamed outside the boundaries of Nairobi National Park, a 117-square-kilometre reserve that is now almost completely surrounded by the capital city.

The man was only slightly injured and the lion is now back inside the reserve.

Conservationists say lions predate people in the area and are not "escaping" the park nor "straying" into human settlements. It's the people who have moved into the lions' home ranges.

Bemba verdict due on Monday

The East African also looks forward to Monday when the International Criminal Court (ICC) is due to deliver its verdict against former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba, blamed for a campaign of rapes and killings by his private army in the Central African Republic.

Bemba is accused of failing to halt abuses by his Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) which he sent into the Central African Republic in October 2002 to help put down an attempted coup against then president Ange-Felix Patasse.

It is the first case before the ICC based on the principle that a commander is criminally responsible for abuses carried out by his troops, even if he did not order the violence.

Bemba pleaded not guilty to three counts of war crimes and two of crimes against humanity.

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