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African press review 18 November 2016

Another South African trade union calls on President Jacob Zuma to stand down; the opposition Democratic Alliance accuse Zuma of lying to parliament. Will Donald Trump switch off an Obama power project in Africa? How many dead people are being paid state pensions in Uganda? And how many Egyptian pounds do you need to buy one US dollar?

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Another South African trade union has said it's time for Jacob Zuma to stand down as president.

According to Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, the Communication Workers Union yesterday became the second member of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions to come out publicly and say it is time for the president to leave office.

Earlier this month the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union, once Zuma’s strongest labour movement ally, also called on him to resign.

Maimane says Zuma lied to parliament, in writing

The president won't take any comfort from another story in BusinessDay, this one reporting the claim by opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane that Zuma lied in his response to a written question in Parliament about about Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas being offered a job by the Gupta family.

The Guptas, close friends of Zuma and his son, Duduzane, are alleged to have been allowed to influence cabinet appointments and the awarding of state tenders.

Will Trump pull the plug on Obama power project?

Regional paper the East African is worried about Donald Trump.

According to its report, some US analysts are suggesting that the new president may take aim at a project that Barack Obama sees as the centrepiece of his legacy in Africa.

Power Africa, launched in 2013 with the aim of trebling the sub-Saharan region’s electricity-generating capacity, is generally seen as Obama’s bid to craft a project equivalent to the Bush and Clinton administrations’ signature programmes in Africa. But there are growing fears that president-elect Trump might unplug Power Africa.

Trump warned via Twitter soon after the launch of the programme in 2013 that “every penny of the seven billion dollars sent to Africa by Obama will be stolen   corruption is rampant!”

That, according to the East African, was the only time Trump mentioned Africa in his election campaign, suggesting that his presidency might come down on corrupt regimes in Africa. The regional paper then admits that Trump's concern for security suggests a continuation of the status quo, where the US closes its eyes to the domestic excesses of regimes that are key to its national interests.

Are dead people being paid pensions in Uganda?

There's another public service pension scam in Uganda, according to the main story in this morning's Daily Monitor.

The Kampala-based daily reports that officials from the Ministry of Public Service have failed to account for the shilling equivalent of nearly six million euros.

According the two reports by the auditor general, the money was paid to claimants without proof of life certificates.

The suggestion is that the money was siphoned out of the system by being "paid" to pensioners who are already dead.

The auditor's report says that a total of 17,593 people have received pensions in the past two years under mysterious circumstances.

US calls for arms embargo on South Sudan

The Daily Nation in Kenya gives pride of place to a report saying that the US yesterday launched a bid at the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan following warnings that the country could descend into genocide.

US Ambassador Samantha Power said a draft resolution will be presented to the council in the coming days to ban weapons sales to the African country and impose sanctions, setting the stage for a clash with Russia, which opposes an arms embargo.

Of the council's permanent, veto-wielding members, Britain and France backed the proposed arms embargo but Russia reaffirmed its opposition and China expressed reservations.

The move followed a recent report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who warned that South Sudan faces a risk of mass atrocities and that the 14,000 peacekeepers deployed in the country would not be able to stop the potential bloodbath.

The US-drafted text calls for a one-year ban on all sales of weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment.

Floating Egyptian pound still struggling against dollar

The Central Bank of Egypt announced yesterday that the US dollar soared to its highest official level ever against the Egyptian pound this week.

The official Central Bank rate for the dollar yesterday was 15.5 Egyptian pounds, according to the Egypt Independent.

The banking sector has suffered from a lack of dollar liquidity over the past two years because of the decline in tourism and Suez Canal revenues as well as a slowdown in remittances by Egyptian expatriates.

These factors led to an increase in the exchange rate for the US currency before this month's decision by the Egyptian government to allow the value of the Egyptian pound to float.

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