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African press review 10 December 2012

5 min

Mandela, Mugabe and Ghana's elections are widely covered in today's African dailies


The main story in South Africa's financial paper, BusinessDay, says the Presidency on Sunday continued to keep a tight rein on information about former president Nelson Mandela’s admission to hospital at the weekend, urging the media to respect the 94-year-old statesman’s privacy.

The Presidency has issued two brief statements since Mandela was admitted to hospital on Saturday, but by late Sunday had provided little extra information.

The first statement, issued on Saturday afternoon, said he was undergoing tests in a Pretoria hospital, while the second, issued on Sunday morning, announced that President Jacob Zuma had visited Mandela and found him to be comfortable and in good hands.

The Presidency said it appreciated public concern about the health of South Africa’s most famous citizen, but appealed for Mandela’s privacy to be respected.

BusinessDay also reports that 33 prominent business figures from leading South African companies on Sunday called for unity among businesses to arrest a decline in confidence in South Africa’s future, warning the country could "unravel" if challenges in education, corruption and unemployment were left unresolved.

In an open letter published on the eve of the African National Congress’s electoral conference in Mangaung, where major policy decisions on South Africa’s economic trajectory will be made, the chairmen and CEOs offered their assistance to the government but challenged it to implement its policies and the National Development Plan.

Also in BusinessDay, news that Zimbabwe’s long-serving President Robert Mugabe vowed to fight like a 'wounded beast' to retain power in elections due next year after his party formally endorsed him on Saturday as candidate, despite his advanced age and reports of ill health.

Mugabe, who turns 89 next February, has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980. He denies that he has been receiving treatment for prostate cancer in Singapore over the last two years.

Closing the two-day Zanu-PF annual conference that, as expected, named him as its top candidate for presidential and parliamentary polls which must be held by next September, Mugabe urged his party to overcome the rival Movement for Democratic Change of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Southern African Development Community has pledged 4,000 troops to attempt to restore peace in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but there is uncertainty about who will pay and when and where the force will actually be deployed.

M23 rebels seized the regional capital of Goma for 12 days at the end of last month, withdrawing with a warning that they would be back unless Congolese President Joseph Kabila agreed to direct talks about their demands. The rebels want to be re-integrated into the national army, and have also called for political dialogue at the national level.

In Ghana, The Daily Graphic declares President John Dramani Mahama, candidate of the National Democratic Congress, as the winner of the weekend presidential election.

The President Elect polled 5,574,761 of the valid votes cast, representing 50.70 per cent.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate of the New Patriotic party and closest challenger of the president elect, polled 5,248, 898 of the votes, representing 47.74 per cent.

Turn out was nearly 80 per cent.

The state-run Graphic also reports that New Patriotic Party supporters on Sunday afternoon gathered at the premises of the Electoral Commission in the Ghanaian capital.

The paper describes the NPP sympathisers as "angry" and reports that police had to push them back with tear gas and barricades.

The NPP leadership earlier laid a litany of accusations against the Electoral Commission and the National Democratic Congress, alleging their connivance to alter electoral figures in favour of the NDC.

The New Patriotic Party has called on the Electoral Commission to suspend the declaration of results and conduct an audit of the collated figures as well as the counts from the biometric verification machines before the electoral results are finally released.

The NPP claims to have uncovered systematic “substantial discrepancies” in results from various collation centres as compared with official tally figures from the Electoral Commission.

Meanwhile, the Head of the AU/Ecowas Observer Mission, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, has described Ghana's election as free, fair and peaceful.

In Kenya, The Standard's main story is headlined "Mudavadi, Uhuru head for Tuesday showdown".

The small print explains that Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi will on Tuesday week, December 18th, battle it out for the so-called Jubilee Coalition’s presidential ticket. Delegates of the three main coalition parties will vote in Nairobi. Expect trouble.

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