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African press review 22 May 2018

Voters in Burundi support reforms which give Pierre Nkurunziza a chance to serve five terms as president. East African economic growth slows but remains impressive. South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance finds Cyril Ramaphosa's first hundred days as president "underwhelming"!


Voters in Burundi have overwhelmingly supported constitutional reforms bolstering President Pierre Nkurunziza's powers and giving him the option to stay in the top job until 2034, according to official results released yesterday.

This is the top story in regional daily paper the East African.

The election commission said 73 percent had voted "Yes" in the referendum to change the constitution, with 19 percent voting "No."

The turnout was 96 percent.

The results are provisional and must be validated by the constitutional court within nine days.

The reforms, which include measures giving more power to Nkurunziza and his ruling CNDD-FDD, will change term limits to seven years, meaning the president, currently serving his third five-year term, could start again from scratch in 2020.

Regional economic growth slow but steady

Drought, a decline in commodity prices, political instability and civil conflicts have weakened east African economies in the past two years.

This is also on the front page of the East African.

A report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa shows that the region’s economies dropped from an average growth rate of 6.65 percent between 2012 and 2016   higher than the African average and nearly three times better than the global average of 2.5 percent   to a still respectable 5.5 percent because of a sharp decline in agricultural performance in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Ethiopia overtook Kenya as the largest regional economy. The five largest economies, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC and Uganda, account for 88 percent of the regional Gross Domestic Product.

South Sudan's contribution to regional GDP shrank from 9 percent in 2011 to just 1 percent in 2016, mainly because of severe recession caused by political unrest and a sharp fall in crude oil production.

DRC civilians die in Ugandan rebel attack

Ten civilians were killed on Sunday night in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in an attack being blamed on Ugandan rebels.

The raid was carried out by militia of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), according to Jonas Kibwana, administrator of the Beni region in the DRC's North Kivu province.

The ADF   created by Muslim radicals to oppose the rule of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni   is one of a number of armed groups fighting over the region's rich mineral resources.

Is South Africa's president "fragile" and "compromised"?

South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa comes in for a bit of stick on the front page of the Johannesburg-based daily BusinessDay.

According to Mmusi Maimane, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Ramaphosa is governing on a fragile, compromised mandate and may not be able to effect the changes the country needs.

Ramaphosa reaches his first 100 days in office on Thursday, and the opposition leader says the president’s tenure so far has been "underwhelming".

"We remain stuck in a jobs crisis, while our country is not safe from crime and our politicians continue to commit acts of corruption and nepotism," says Maimane. "Taxes are up, jobs are scarce, petrol prices are increasing and food is becoming unaffordable."

The opposition leader says Ramaphosa is a compromised president whose powers are greatly restrained by his political party and by the individual and interest groups that got him elected.

Government militia in Sudan refugee clash

One woman was killed yesterday and two others injured by the government militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF) at Khams Dagaig camp for Internally Displaced Persons near Zalingei, the state capital of Central Darfur in Sudan.

This is the top story in today's Sudan Tribune.

A member of the IDPs and Refugees Association Idris Salih told Sudan Tribune that five vehicles carrying RSF fighters attempted to enter the camp but the IDPs prevented them.

He claims that RSF fighters opened fire on the refugees killing a woman and injuring two others. The alleged perpetrators then headed towards Zalingei.

Salih called on Central Darfur authorities to arrest the culprits and bring them to justice, saying the IDPs marched towards the headquarters of the government in downtown Zalingei to protest against the attack.

He warned that the situation remains tense in Zalingei.

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