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African Press Review 19 January 2018

Will the ANC's national executive committee discuss the question of Jacob Zuma's survival as South African president at its ongoing meeting? Why is Kenya not too worried about Donald Trump and the "shithole" saga? And look what's happened to the Egyptian Cabinet!


It appears that Jacob Zuma's future as South African president will not be discussed at the ongoing meeting of the ruling ANC's national executive committee.

The party general secretary Ace Magashule is quoted this morning in the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay as saying that the meeting will discuss the resolutions taken at the December ANC conference and the implementation of those policies. These include resolutions such as the expropriation of land without compensation.

The NEC will also discuss the issues of the ANC’s leadership in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal following court judgments that nullified the terms of the provincial executive committees.

But the president's future is not an issue on the table, according to Ace Magashule.

Over at sister paper the Mail & Guardian, we are assured the opposite: Zuma's future as South Africa's leader is expected to dominate debates at the NEC, according to that daily's political staff.

But ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is unlikely to support calls by his supporters to remove President Jacob Zuma from office with immediate effect as that could compromise efforts to unite the party before the 2019 general elections.

Although talking tough on corruption before and after the ANC’s elective conference in December, the new ANC president appears to have adopted a conciliatory approach towards Zuma.

Kenya excludes itself from Trump denigration

Kenya says it is not taking US President Donald Trump's description of African countries and Haiti as "shithole countries" personally.

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe yesterday told journalists that Trump's remark was not necessarily directed at Kenya.

The same spokesman however said Kenya supports the statement made by the African Union condemning Trump's comments.

Last week opposition National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga waded into the debate, saying the comment was “disparaging, troubling and greatly unfortunate”.

“The remarks are deeply hypocritical as they conveniently ignore the fact that US corporations have set up tents in the same African countries that President Trump is disparaging and are making billions of dollars that they repatriate back to the US,” said Odinga.

Some African nations like Botswana, South Africa and Nigeria summoned US ambassadors in their countries over the remarks.

The African Union chairman Moussa Faki last week said he was alarmed by the comments.

Jobs to be lost as GSK cuts back in Africa

The pharmaceutical multinational GlaxoSmithKline is cutting back operations in Africa.

The move, which a company spokesman says will result in an unspecified number of job losses in sub-Saharan Africa, follows disappointing sales for many pharmaceutical companies in the region.

Five years ago forecasters predicted annual African drug sales would reach 45 billion dollars (36 billion euros) by 2020. Today, the same experts suggest the market is more likely to be around 25 billion dollars (20 billion euros).

The company said the changes, which were agreed at the end of last year, would not stop it working with governments and multilateral agencies like the World Health Organisation, Unicef and the vaccines group Gavi.

“Patient access to medicines and vaccines will not be affected by this change,” it said.

Two new women ministers in Egyptian government

Following the recent reshuffle and new ministerial appointments, the Egyptian cabinet now boasts six female ministers, making up 17.6 percent of ministers, today's Egypt Independent informs us.

The chairwoman of the Egyptian Feminist Union, Hoda Badran, said that the increased representation of women in the Egyptian cabinet is a positive step and called for a continuation of the policy to ensure that women will occupy one-third of cabinet posts in the future.

Sudan arrests opposition figure in bread war

The Sudanese security service yesterday arrested the secretary-general of the opposition National Umma Party, Sara Nugadallah, over calls to escalate protests against the government decision to cut the bread subsidy.

The Sudan Tribune reports that Sudan’s largest opposition group on Wednesday called for a protest in Omdurman against the increased bread price, one day after a first call by the Sudanese Communist Party to take to the street to protest the hike.

In a statement released yesterday evening, the Umma Party said Nugdalla was arrested at her house in Omdurman in the afternoon describing the arrest as "an escalating step by the regime".

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