African press review 29 October 2012

Does SA need handouts from foreigners? Is the ANC approaching tipping point? Should Togatt Hulett hand out a few sweeteners in Zimbabwe? Is somone gunning for Buthelezi? Will staff transfers bring chaos to Kenya's election? Will Muslims protest in Mombasa after weekend shootings? And how the Nairobi marathon will help fight blindness.


South African financial paper BusinessDay reports that African Union commissioner Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma got a rude awakening on her first week in office when she discovered that 97 per cent of the Union’s programmes are funded by Western donors.

Calling for increased self-reliance, Dlamini-Zuma said donors were even footing the bill for African institutions to develop the continent’s strategic agenda, a fundamental task in what has been dubbed the African century. The rocketing value of mineral resources over the past decade has given the continent unprecedented opportunities to shape its own future.

Compulsory contributions to the body’s annual budget are blithely ignored by many African governments. As a result, Western donors currently pay for peacekeeping, health and educational programmes, as well as staff salaries.

In the same BusinessDay Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says next December's Mangaung conference represents a tipping point for the African National Congress. The South African ruling party needs to restore public confidence in its ability to lead the country out of a rut and formulate good policies.

In a transcript of an interview published by the London-based Financial Times this Monday, Motlanthe warns that the party needs to get its house in order and come up with policies that will work for South Africa.

Motlanthe is seen by many as a potential successor to President Jacob Zuma.

He says investors will look to the ANC conference for clues on the country’s political and economic outlook. If the expectations of outsiders were not met on policy issues, he said, the negative outlook on South Africa’s political and economic trajectory would be strengthened. South Africa’s sovereign rating has been downgraded by two international agencies, according to Mothlante, essentially because of the uncertain political terrain.

Also in BusinessDay, news that the South African food company Tongatt Hulett’s sugar operation in Zimbabwe has been given a 14-day ultimatum to comply with the Harare government’s contentious indigenisation policy or risk being kicked out of the country.

The law, first promulgated in 2007, has been widely criticised by investors and economists, who say that the 51 per cent mandatory shareholding stakes the government is demanding from foreign-owned companies are too high.

Al-Shebab - who are they?

The Zimbabwean government wants the company to immediately cede shares to two schemes, one involving the company’s employees and the other encompassing the community around the area in which the sugar plant operates.

Still in South Africa, The Sowetan reports that the Inkatha Freedom Party claims to have unearthed a plot to assassinate its leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Blessed Gwala, a Freedom Party parliamentarian in KwaZulu-Natal, says security around Buthelezi has been trimmed, a move intended to expose him to attacks.

He claims the authorities have reduced security apparatus around Buthelezi to just two unarmed policemen who do not even have a car.

The ANC has rejected the accusations as outlandish.

According to The Standard in Kenya, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is grappling with yet another internal crisis.

In the wake of the confusion surrounding the biometric voter register kits, due to arrive in Kenya this week, the commission now has a staff problem.

Last month the IEBC shuffled 210 constituency coordinators and employed 80 for newly created constituencies. This administrative decision, officially explained as intended to cut political and business links the staff might have developed in their former stations, has presented fresh problems.

Apart from setting off an internal crisis with staff who feel they were unfairly sent to work in far-off and unfamiliar stations, there is also the fear that this could have a negative impact on the planning process as they need time to know their new stations before the elections which are now just a little over 100 days away.

Also in The Standard news that police authorities in Coast say they recovered three live grenades, a pistol, 36 rounds of ammunition and communication gadgets in the wake of the weekend shooting dead of two terror suspects near Mombasa.

The deceased were taken to Coast General Hospital Mortury where Muslims gathered and demanded to be handed the bodies for burial, saying they were not interested in post mortem results.

Tension is high in the area over fears of protests.

On its sports pages The Standard reports local triumphs in a local race. Wesley Kibet emerged the winner of the 10th Standard Chartered Nairobi international marathon in the men’s category with Salome Biwott toping the women’s category.

Abraham Keter finished second and Moses Kigen, winner in 2009, came third in the men’s race.

In the women's event Alice Chelagat and Mercy Chemutai finished second and third respectively.

As many as 19,000 athletes from 70 nations were registered to compete in the Nairobi marathon, with the proceeds going to the Seeing is Believing project that seeks to end avoidable blindness in Kenya.

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