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African press review 31 January 2017

Did the Kenyan candidate lose the African Union Commission chair because certain neighbours failed to keep their promises? A woman explains why Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is not the ideal person to lead the ANC and South Africa. And striking Kenyan doctors are due back in court as the dispute drags on.


The Daily Nation in Nairobi says Kenya's Amina Mohamed lost this week's race for the African Union Commission chair because of abstentions and broken pledges.

Mohamed lost to Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat after seven rounds of voting.

The Nairobi-based paper blames the refusal by Uganda, Djibouti and Burundi to vote for Kenya for the shock loss.

In the end, says the Daily Nation, Kenya was let down by its neighbours.

During earlier lobbying Mohamed had been endorsed by eastern African countries, but these pledges were not honoured at the ballot.

The entire Southern African Development Community region, representing 15 countries, boycotted the vote, in protest at the fact that their candidate from Botswana failed to make any progress in the preliminary rounds.

SADC had argued they still deserved one more term because the current occupant from South Africa, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, had chosen not to run for a second term.

Is another Zuma the answer for SA?

And that's not the only mention of Dlamini-Zuma in continental papers

On BusinessDay's opinion pages, Professor Susan Booysen of the School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand says South Africa could certainly do with a woman president but top contender Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is not the answer.

Booysen agrees that the rise of a high-calibre woman leader for the ruling ANC would signal a turning of an important page and lead to a rejuvenation of South African politics. But sadly, she says, for every accolade about the woman touted to be the next party president after Jacob Zuma ends his second term, there are questions, queries and lots of red flags.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is an ambiguous, ambitious figure, an operator and bureaucrat. She reads the currents, positions herself and collects the benefits, according to Booysen.

She was part of the freedom struggle, she has plenty of political experience.

But . . .

The crucial problem for Booysen is that the new Zuma will simply continue the failed policies of the current one and force South Africa to accept more of the same.

She is certainly intelligent, assertive, controlling, and takes no prisoners, characteristics of many strong leaders.

Listing Dlamini-Zuma's shortcomings, Booysen notes that the two phrases used regularly to describe her   "uncommunicative" and "not people-friendly"   hardly evoke images to fit the bill of a leader ready to open the party to a younger generation.

Digging deeper into the Dlamini-Zuma enigma, there is scant evidence of inspirational leadership, of qualities that will help restore respect for the presidency of South Africa.

Striking Kenyan doctors to petition Parliament

Kenyan doctors will today present a petition to Parliament on their demands as agreed in the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Strikers will join seven leaders of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union at the Labour and Employment Relations Court where they are expected to update the judge on how far they have gone with the negotiations, even as they face a possible jail term.

This follows a reprieve on Thursday last week when the court suspended their looming jail sentence for five days to allow them participate in talks aimed at ironing out the stalemate that has now lasted for two months.

Twenty-four candidates for Somali presidency

The Somalia presidential electoral committee has cleared 24 candidates to vie for the top seat, according to regional paper the East African.

The committee, composed of members of the lower and upper houses, also announced that the election will take place in Mogadishu on 8 February. The combined houses will vote to choose the new president.

The candidates include incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, former transitional president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and former transitional PM Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

The only two women candidates, Faduma Dayib and Anab Dahir, have withdrawn from the contest.

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