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African press review 21 May 2018

Will Pierre Nkurunziza get a chance to serve five terms as president of Burundi? How many states should there be in South Sudan? And how has Cyril Ramaphosa done in his first months as South African leader?


The result of Burundi's referendum on constitutional reforms will be declared later today, according to a statement yesterday from the national electoral commission.

The proposed changes include a clause that could enable President Pierre Nkurunziza to stay in power until 2034.

Regional paper the East African notes that Burundi's political opposition has vowed to reject the referendum outcome.

On Friday the electoral commission said that provisional returns from all but one of the country's 18 provinces showed a majority in support of the reforms.

According to the East African, the changes will weaken constitutional constraints on Burundi's national intelligence agency and allow the revision of ethnic quotas which are seen as crucial to peace.

The new constitution would also scrap one of two vice-presidential jobs and shift powers from the government to the president.

Road collapse strands hundreds

Transport between Uganda and Rwanda has been disrupted following the collapse of a section of road linking the two countries.

This is also reported in the East African.

The paper says hundreds of travellers were stranded following the collapse of the Katuna-Rwanda road about three kilometres from the Rwandan border.

South Sudan ready to reduce local government

The government in South Sudan is considering holding a referendum on the controversial states created in 2015 by presidential decree.

Juba said the move would help to resolve a dispute among various armed factions which have never accepted the additional states.

South Sudan originally had 10 states but President Salva Kiir created 22 more in 2015.

Both the South Sudan Opposition Alliance and the splinter group of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement led by Riek Machar, described the move as illegal and called on the regional oversight body, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, to insist on a rerturn to the original 10-state framework.

Africans unite to fight for return of assets

Nigeria and other former British colonies in Africa have agreed to work together to repatriate billions of euros worth of stolen assets.

At a regional conference held last week in Abuja, the heads of anti-corruption agencies from around Africa met to discuss the recovery of the proceeds of crime and corruption.

Nigeria, the continent's largest oil producer, is ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world by anti-graft group Transparency International.

Ramaphosa comes under review

The performance of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa during his first few months in office will come under the spotlight this week during the budget debate in Parliament on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa's leadership and his handling of the collapse of the North West provincial government will be hot topics. The president is likely to take the opportunity to respond to his critics when he addresses parliament on Thursday.

According to the Johannesburg daily BusinessDay, the debate will also reveal the approach of opposition parties to the president and the ANC in the run-up to the 2019 general election.

While the opposition was united against former president Jacob Zuma, their stance towards Ramaphosa and the ANC has shifted since Zuma’s departure, especially given the renewed sense of optimism and hope that came with Ramaphosa’s election.

Call for an end to Jebel Marra fighting

The head of the combined UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur has called on the Sudanese government and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur to stop the fighting in Jebel Marra, the Sudan Tribune reports.

Yesterday Unamid chief Jeremiah Mamabolo called on both sides “to exercise restraint and consider the impact of renewed fighting on vulnerable civilians”.

There have been clashes since March between government forces and rebel fighters in several regions in Jebel Marra which spans North, Central and South Darfur states.

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