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African press review 19 December 2012

5 min

SA businessmen like the ANC leadership line-up, as Zuman tightens his grip on the party. But have he and his friends now got too much power?  There's discord in Kenya's Jubilee Alliance. And will all the voters in the forthcoming election be alive?


Jacob Zuma is the main man in the South African papers this morning. That's not too surprising, given that he was comfortably reelected as president of the ruling African National Congress yesterday and is thus virtually certain to serve a second term as South African leader.

According to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, the republic's commercial community, through Business Unity South Africa, has welcomed the ANC’s newly elected top six leaders, praising the blend of continuity and the introduction of new faces.

The head of Business Unity South Africa, Nomaxabiso Majokweni, warned that the country, and the ANC, face serious challenges, including declining confidence among investors, high and escalating levels of corruption, and increasing levels of inequality, joblessness and poverty.

South Africa has an unemployment rate of nearly 26 per cent.

In its editorial, BusinessDay notes the emphatic nature of Zuma's victory; the president won with 75 per cent of delegates supporting his candidature. Roughly two-thirds of the delegate body voted for him at the ANC’s previous conference at Polokwane. So the president has clearly strengthened his grip, despite widespread criticism.

The election does, however, come with costs, the BusinessDay editorial continues. Since it was fought on a slate basis - with voters choosing a leadership bloc - and since Zuma’s slate has won so comprehensively, his control over the party is now emphasised.

This is particularly noticeable since his old friend from KwaZulu-Natal, Zweli Mkhize, will now take over the party’s finances and his former chief operating officer, Jessie Duarte, becomes deputy secretary-general. Whether that concentration of power is a good thing remains to be seen.

Perhaps one of the larger problems for the party, illustrated by the top six posts, is the lack of a generational mix. As Business Day points out, none of the top six is younger than 55, despite the rallying call of Zuma opponents. For the ANC Youth League, yesterday has to be seen as a major setback and for the League's charismatic former leader, Julius Malema, the result is particularly dire.

We're no closer to clarity in the Jubilee Alliance saga in Kenya.

According to the main story in this morning's Standard, Musalia Mudavadi yesterday said he was lured into joining the alliance by a deal signed with Uhuru Kenyatta, handing the presidential ticket to Mudavadi.

But not so fast. The main headline in The Daily Nation reads "Uhuru disowns poll deal with Mudavadi".

According to the Nation, Kenyatta admits that there was such an agreement and that he presented it to his Alliance Party for approval. It was rejected.

Kenyatta’s TNA and Eldoret North MP William Ruto’s United Republican Party have agreed to stage a rally next Saturday in Mombasa to name their preferred presidential candidate. The Mudavadi camp sees that as a further indication of the pair's determination to dump Mudavadi.

Voter registration closed yesterday in Kenya. Preliminary statistics show that 12.7 million registered, representing 71 per cent of the 18 million target set by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

According to The Daily Nation, there is an indication that the final registration data could arrive at the same level as the 2007 voter roll that stood at 14.3 million.

According to the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the last General Election, the number of registered voters in 2007 represented 71 per cent of the 19.8 million people aged over 18.

The commission pointed out that the old electoral register had a low and biased coverage.

Women were significantly under-registered, with females representing only 47 per cent of the voter register.

Also under-registered were the young people aged between 18 and 30 years whose proportion of registered voters was 32 per cent.

The commission also noted that the figures of the 2007 roll included some 1.2 million people who were, in fact, dead.

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