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African press review 9 February 2018

As Cyril Ramaphosa assures the ANC that he is not negotiating a deal to protect Jacob Zuma, people in the South African president's home town are divided over his fate. Burundi and the UN are at war over refugee numbers. And the military offensive launched last month by Congolese troops against Ugandan insurgents in eastern DRC is likely to force 370,000 people from their homes.


What's happening in South Africa?

According to the top story in BusinessDay, Cyril Ramaphosa is not negotiating a deal to protect Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa is the president of the ruling African National Congress and Zuma is the president of South Africa, currently struggling to avoid being sacked. Or, depending on which version of the story you believe, struggling to avoid jail once he is sacked.

Yesterday, says BusinessDay, Ramaphosa told the ruling party’s MPs that he is not negotiating any deal to protect Zuma from prosecution over corruption.

Ramaphosa told MPs that any discussion of immunity for Zuma would undermine the authority of government in running its own business and could also been seen as political interference in state affairs.

Current discussions on the transition are about ensuring the unity of the ANC and there is no question of deal-making‚ Ramaphosa assured his listeners.

The transition talks will, the ANC president added, be concluded in a matter of days.

Meanwhile, in downtown Nxamalala

The Mail & Guardian reports that even Zuma’s home town of Nxamalala is divided over his fate.

There are those for whom the embattled South African leader is a god but others are either indifferent or bitterly angry with him.

"For me it doesn’t really matter," one local is quoted as saying. "If he stays, we don’t get anything. If he goes, we don’t get anything.”

But another warned that there could be a violent backlash if the ANC sacks Zuma.

People in KwaZulu-Natal love the president, he said. If the ANC fires him, locals will vote for the Inkatha Freedom Party next time and the ANC will lose.

Burundi and UN in row over refugees

Burundi has accused the United Nations of inflating refugee numbers.

According to the front page of regional paper the East African, Burundi's deputy interior minister, Terence Ntahiraja, on Wednesday claimed that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refuses to recognise that some Burundians have returned home and is using inflated refugee numbers to seek aid.

Ntahiraja was reacting to this week's appeal by the UNHCR for 350 million euros to support 430,000 Burundian refugees in Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

In its recently published Burundi refugee response plan, the UNHCR said the situation “seems at risk of being forgotten” and has received only 21 percent of the required funds.

“The UNHCR is claiming that over 430,000 Burundian refugees went into exile since 2015 and live in refugee camps. The figure is wrong because over 200,000 of them have already returned home," according to Ntahiraja.

He added that some Burundians who fled the country were not refugees but economic and religious migrants, criminals or self-exiled politicians.

Congolese offensive risks huge new displacement

A military offensive launched last month by Congolese troops against Ugandan insurgents in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is likely to force nearly 370,000 people from their homes, the United Nations said on Thursday, according to the East African.

The fallout from a joint effort by Congo and Uganda to defeat the Allied Democratic Forces will compound Africa’s worst displacement crisis and further stretch meagre humanitarian resources, says the report.

Persistent conflict in Congo’s eastern borderlands with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and insurrection in the centre of the country have displaced 4.3 million people internally.

Last year the situation led the United Nations to declare Congo a level three humanitarian emergency - putting it on a par with Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Plane lands, emergency door drops off

And the Kenyan Daily Nation reports that a Nigerian airline has blamed a passenger after one of its aircraft doors fell off shortly after landing.

The flight from Lagos to Abuja was taxiing on the runway when the emergency exit door came away.

Dana Air denied that the situation was caused by a mechanical fault, and said the door could not fall off "without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it".

Everyone on board has denied tampering with the door.

In a statement, Dana Air denied there were any problems with the door during the flight.

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