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African press review 6 November 2017

Is peace about to break out in Kenya? Will Pierre Nkurunziza still be president of Burundi in 2034? Why are Rwandan refugees in the DRC rushing home? And what's at stake in the latest diplomatic row between Egypt and several Western governments?


There's talk of olive branches in the Kenyan presidential election deadlock.

According to the top story in this morning's Nairobi-based Daily Nation, President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday invited opposition National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga for talks to end the current political stalemate.

But Odinga, while indicating that he was willing to meet with the president, insisted that the opposition would take part in talks solely aimed at addressing the injustices of the August and October elections and nothing else.

The president and his chief opponent were together yesterday during centennial celebrations for the Anglican Church of Kenya at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. They heard the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby say that reconciliation was the only way that Kenya could retain its status as a model nation for Africa and that disagreements can only be sorted out through understanding.

Deadline day for rerun complaints

A lobby is expected to file a petition at the Kenyan Supreme Court today challenging the validity of the 26 October presidential poll rerun.

Kenyatta was last week declared the winner of the poll that was ordered by the court.

The election was boycotted by opposition National Super Alliance’s Raila Odinga.

However, We-the-People, a group that describes itself as a citizens’ alliance, has argued that the poll was neither credible nor legitimate and will this morning petition the Supreme Court to once again annul the outcome.

Rwandan refugees rush home

Rwanda has seen a sharp increase in the number of its nationals returning from the Democratic Republic of Congo as the deadline for the ending of refugee status for Rwandan refugees draws closer.

Rwandan refugees have until 31 December to either secure legal residency in their current host country or return home. Otherwise they risk losing the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Repatriations from the Democratic Republic of Congo have increased from an average of 120 per week in 2016 to more than 2,000 refugees per week over the past month according to local officials.

While the number of returnees from the DRC has increased, numbers from other major host countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Congo Brazzaville remain low.

Burundi constitutional report ready for president

Pierre Nkurunziza could be president of Burundi until 2034.

Regional paper the East African reports that the commission appointed by the president earlier this year to look into the constitutional limit on presidential terms said its draft report was ready.

Apart from recommending that elections be held after seven years instead of five, the draft also says the president can serve for an unlimited number of terms but not more than two consecutively.

Assuming the amendment sails through parliament, Nkurunziza can start the first of a potential two terms in office after the next election in 2020 because the changes cannot apply retrospectively to take into account his three terms in office so far.

The draft could be presented to the president this month, paving the way for the amendment of the constitution early next year.

Obasanjo urges Nigerians to be patient

Nigeria’s economy is not booming yet. That's the opinion of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and it gets him onto the front page of this morning's Punch.

Obasanjo was speaking at a church service yesterday in Imorin, capital of Kwara State.

The former president urged Nigerians to be patient, saying that the current hard times would not last.

In September the National Bureau of Statistics announced that the Nigerian economy was out of recession, with GDP growing by about half a percent compared to the same period last year.

Cairo in human rights row

The war of words on human rights continues between Egypt and several European governments.

According to the top story in this morning's Egypt Independent, the foreign ministry in Cairo yesterday summoned several Western ambassadors to protest against the statement issued by five European countries on the circumstances of the detention of Ibrahim Metwaly.

Human rights lawyer Ibrahim Metwaly Hegazy was detained at Cairo airport on 10 September on his way to the UN Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances working group.

The embassies of Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands issued a statement on Friday saying that their respective governments are deeply concerned by the ongoing detention of the human rights lawyer.

Egypt criticised the statement as a blatant and unacceptable interference in its internal affairs and in the work of the judiciary.

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