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African press review 12 July 2016

The voice of Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia Trial is saved for posterity by France’s National Audiovisual Institute. More church leaders join protests against the rule of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. And Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye is still in jail.


The Sudan Tribune devotes most of its front page to the confused situation in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

The paper reports yesterday's declaration of a ceasefire between the warring parties, identifying them as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition loyal to First Vice-President Riek Machar.

The Sudan Tribune says hundreds of soldiers have been killed on both sides in four days of fighting but neither of the two leaders has been able to explain the conflict.

Announcing the ceasefire, President Kiir ordered all government forces to return to their units and barracks.

The order gives government forces until midday today to cease hostilities, stop roaming the streets while carrying military weapons and in uniform and return immediately to their barracks. The president warned that failure to adhere to the order would give rise to serious measures.

The paper reports a total breakdown of command to control the manner in which government soldiers have conducted themselves for the past four days. The main Jebel market, located south west of Juba, as well as Gudele in the west and markets in the residential areas inside Juba were ransacked by government soldiers using military vehicles to transport their loot.

Riek Machar on Monday evening said he agreed to the cessation of hostilities in Juba with immediate effect from 8.00pm local time yesterday evening.

Besigye remains behind bars

Regional paper the East African reports that Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye yesterday suffered a legal setback after the High Court in Kampala deferred a ruling on his bail application.

Besigye is currently on remand in Luzira prison, charged with treason for his alleged refusal to accept the result of Uganda's presidential election last February.

The 60-year-old has asked to be set free because of his age and because of the slow progress by the prosecution in preparing the case against him.

The court is now expected to make a ruling later today.

Rivonia trial recording saved for posterity

South African paper BusinessDay reports that French President François Hollande yesterday handed his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, currently on a visit to Paris, the digitised recordings of the Rivonia Trial, at which Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in jail.

The deteriorating audio recordings of the 1963-64 court case were restored by France’s National Audiovisual Institute.

The trial resulted in Mandela being sent to Robben Island, where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.

During his defence in the trial, Mandela made a speech that electrified the world and became the manifesto of the anti-apartheid movement.

It ended with the words: "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

"It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

Church leaders gang up against Mugabe

More church leaders in Zimbabwe have joined the ranks of those taking a stand against President Robert Mugabe’s administration over the deteriorating situation in the country.

In a sermon delivered on Sunday morning which has since gone viral on social media, one of the country’s most popular religious figures Emmanuel Makandiwa, the founder and "prophet" of the United Family International Church (UFIC) warned of more protests in the country.

He predicted a wave of demonstrations, saying that foreign peacekeepers will have to be called.

Makandiwa’s warning came as the country is gearing up for yet another shutdown scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday, again led by the citizens’ movement, fronted by Evans Mawarire, also a church pastor.

The government has warned that the military could be used to quell future protests.

The protests have been sparked by banks running short of cash, police extorting money from motorists at widespread road blocks, delays in the payment of government salaries and a ban on many basic imports at a time when the country is suffering from a severe drought that has left millions hungry.

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