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African press review 6 May 2016

DR

The authorities in Uganda are getting edgy in the lead-up to next week's swearing-in ceremony for President Yoweri Museveni. The live coverage of opposition protests by local radio and TV stations has been banned. And DRC opposition politian Moise Katumbi is under house arrest in Lubumbashi, one day after announcing his intention to run for the Congolese presidency.

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The authorities in Uganda have banned the live broadcast of opposition protests.

The story is on the front page of regional paper The East African.

The Information Ministry yesterday warned that any media house that violates the new order risks having its license revoked.

The government argues that the protests are illegal after the Constitutional Court issued an injunction against the opposition's so-called "campaign of defiance" last week.

The government claims that the demonstrations by the opposition Forum for Democratic Change party led by Kizza Besigye, are intended to stop the swearing-in ceremony of President Yoweri Museveni due to take place on May 12.

Media in the middle

The Monitor in Kampala gives front-page prominence to the same story, saying that yesterday's announcement has put the media at the centre of the fight between Museveni and Besigye.

Peter Mwesige, executive director of the African Center for Media Excellence, said he hoped the media would defy what he described as "this ridiculous and unconstitutional ban on free speech and expression".

Mwesige went on to stress that the political opposition is free to challenge the Museveni's reelection and that it is up to Ugandans to decide whether to embrace "defiance" or accept "no change”.

The journalists' leader went on to say that the media were not the instigators of the defiance campaign and that that campaign is, in any case, completely legal under the guarantee of freedom of expression enshrined in the Ugandan constitution.

Presidential candidate under house arrest

Democratic Republic of Congo Justice Minister Alexis Thwambe has ordered a probe into the alleged use of foreign mercenaries by opposition politician Moise Katumbi.

Katumbi hit back at the allegations describing them as a "grotesque lie" intended to harm him.

A coalition of opponents of current DRC President Joseph Kabila announced last Sunday that they had chosen Katumbi as their candidate to run against Kabila in the next presidential election, due in November.

Thwambe yesterday claimed to have proof that several former American soldiers are currently in the south-eastern province of Katanga in the service of Katumbi.

The minister said seven other former American soldiers and at least two South Africans had been staying in residences belonging to Katumbi, "for reasons that the inquiry will clarify".

South African paper BusinessDay reports that security forces yesterday surrounded  Katumbi's home in the DRC's second city, Lubumbashi, one day after he declared his candidacy in the presidential elections.

At least three opposition coalitions have thrown their support behind Katumbi, who is trying to unite other opposition parties to present him as a single candidate and improve his chances of beating the long-serving incumbent.

Joseph Kabila took over power after his father, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in January, 2001.

The country has never had a peaceful transition of power.

Jacob Zuma embarrassed by parliamentay antics

South African president Jacob Zuma has called the behaviour of MPs in parliament an embarrassment and has asked the Speaker Baleka Mbete to "get the House in order".

In his presidency budget reply‚ which took just 30 minutes earlier this week in the absence of most opposition parties‚ he said when he travelled in the rest of Africa‚ "people ask me embarrassing questions about this parliament".

He said people also complained that the "drama‚ theatrics and antics" were changing perceptions of the country as a leading example of constitutional democracy.

Zuma's reply to the angry debate on his budget vote turned into an anticlimax when eight opposition parties boycotted the sitting and he addressed largely empty opposition benches.

The boycotting parties said in a statement that, as representatives of the people of South Africa, they could not in good conscience listen to the empty speech of a discredited and illegitimate president.

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