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African press review 28 October 2017

Another twist to the Kenyan election saga as today's deferred elections are postponed. Burundi becomes the first country to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. Former president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki warns that corruption could kill the ruling ANC. And is there a serious risk of plague spreading from Madagascar?


Kenya's electoral commission has called off repeat presidential election votes in four counties in western opposition strongholds.

The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, said yesterday a new date would be announced later.

The commission postponed voting in Kisumu, Homa Bay, Siaya and Migori counties and some parts of northern Kenya until today after it proved impossible to hold the election rerun in those areas on Thursday.

Polling clerks failed to show up, claiming their lives had been threathened. Protestors barricaded voting centres to prevent delivery of election materials.

This morning there are reports of running battles between police and residents in Migori. And shots have been fired during clashes between the security forces and protesters in Kawangare.

Meanwhile the Kenyan Standard reports that the electoral agency may take longer than expected to determine the final tally of the repeat presidential election and declare President Uhuru Kenyatta winner.

By early afternoon yesterday only only 15 constituencies had released their final results.

The oppsition National Super Alliance has dismissed Thursday's repeat presidential poll as a “farce” and a shame to Kenya.

Burundi opts out of Hague-based court

Burundi has become the first country to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The authorities in Bujumbura accuse the ICC of deliberately targeting Africans for prosecution.

A court spokesman says the withdrawal will not affect the the ICC's ongoing investigations in the country.

Kampala court charges alleged kidnappers

Nine people, including seven senior police officers, were yesterday charged at a court martial in Kampala in connection with the kidnapping of a former aide of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The suspects, who include a Rwandan and a Congolese national, were also charged with espionage.

They are accused of conspiring with Kigali to kidnap and deport Joel Mutabazi, a former lieutenant in the Rwandan president's elite guard, in 2013.

Mutabazi, who was in a UN refugee facility in Uganda, was captured and handed over to Rwanda police in October 2013 to face trial over treason and terror-related crimes.

The former lieutenant was subsequently stripped of his army rank and sentenced to life in jail by the Rwandan military court after a year-long trial.

Mbeki's grim warning for the ANC

Former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, yesterday warned that the ruling ANC is on the brink of extinction.

In a speech to mark the centenary of the birth of ANC founding member Oliver Tambo, according to the Mail & Guardian, Mbeki took the opportunity to join a chorus of voices that have criticised the party under the leadership of current president, Jacob Zuma.

Allegations of corruption aren’t new to the party, Mbeki reminded his audience as he recounted the near-destruction of the ANC in the 1940s and again in the 1960s.

To move forward, Mbeki has encouraged ANC members to resist what he described as "entrenched rapacious and corrupt values”, which, he said, have become the norm in the ANC since 2007 - the year Jacob Zuma was elected party president.

Reasons not to panic about the plague

Having scared us yesterday with news that the World Health Organisation has warned that plague could spread from Madagascar to several countries, including South Africa, BusinessDay this morning gives several reasons why South Africans don't have to panic:

  • This is, indeed, the same disease that caused millions of deaths in 14th-century Europe, but that was before antibiotics. The plague is not antibiotic-resistant.
  • There hasn't yet been a single case outside Madagascar, where the epidemic has been raging since August.
  • If you don't visit Madgascar, you are unlikely to contract the disease.
  • If you do visit the island and feel ill on your return, see your doctor and start a course of antibiotics. You will be screened by medical authorities in transit, and may be identified as a sufferer even before you show any symptoms.
  • The National Institute for Communicable Diseases will follow up your diagnosis by contacting and checking all those with whom you have been in contact since your return.
  • Finally, you are far more likely to get malaria in Madagascar than the plague. The initial fever and the current panic may lead you to waste time treating the plague you don't have, while the malaria you do is killing you. Be careful.

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