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African press review 07 January 2013

5 min

Mahama's swearing-in splits Kufour's party but Ghana's new president promises an era of unity. Arap Moi wants Kenyans to learn to live together. Presidential candidates promise peace at the polls but will there be a repeat of 2007's violence?


The front page of the Ghanaian Chronicle is, understandably, dominated by today's swearing-in ceremony for recently elected president, John Dramani Mahama.

Under the headline "Kufuor under siege" we read that the decision of former president John Kufuor to accept the invitation extended to him by state protocol to attend the swearing-in, in his capacity as a former head of state, has irked some young members of the New Patriotic Party.

According to The Chronicle, which is a privately owned paper, a meeting of the National Council of the New Patriotic Party, held in Accra last Wednesday, reaffirmed its backing for the petition filed by the defeated candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, at the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of the results of the 2012 presidential election.

The party's national council, which is the highest decision-making body of the party, also decided that the party should boycott the planned 7 January inauguration ceremony.

Though former president Kufuor was part of the national council that took the decision to boycott the swearing-in of the president-elect, he has since decided to attend the ceremony in his capacity as a former head of state and elder statesman, positions which rise above partisan politics. He has official party permission to attend today's ceremony.

A separate story in the Ghanaian Chronicle has a representative of the New Patriotic Party saying it is not only mischievous but also a cheap defeatist political tactic for some supporters of the ruling National Democratic Congress to peddle the rumour that, once Mahama is sworn in, there is nothing that anyone can do to change that.

The opposition party remains optimistic that, based on the evidence of fraud presented to the Supreme Court, the results of the presidential elections will be overturned.

The state-run Daily Graphic reports the president-elect's call for partnership in nation building. Delivering his state-of-the nation address before parliament in Accra on Friday, Mahama said that, despite challenges, Ghana was strong and facing an era of unity.

Mahama stressed that partnership, rather than partisanship must be the order of the day.

The Graphic separately notes that the Supreme Court will, on Thursday hear an application by the National Democratic Congress, the party of the president-elect, to be represented during the opposition case challenging the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as winner of the 7 December presidential election.

The Graphic also reports that the youth wing of the opposition New Patriotic Party, the Young Patriots, has withdrawn its earlier threat to protest against Kufuor's decision to attend today's swearing-in ceremony.

As Kenya heads towards its own presidential election in March, the Nairobi-based Standard reports that former President Daniel arap Moi has called for unity and peaceful co-existence among Kenyans.

The former head of state dismissed some leaders whom he judged to be campaigning on empty promises, saying they would not achieve anything if they did not involve all Kenyans in their plans.

Perhaps thinking of those very same empty promises, the main story in sister paper the Daily Nation is headlined "Top seat candidates pledge peaceful poll".

Presidential hopefuls intensified their campaigns in various parts of the country with a common message of peace ahead of the 4 March election, according to the Nation.

Dossier:  DRC elects a president

Cord Alliance candidate Raila Odinga addressed a rally in Nairobi, promising to tackle joblessness if elected.

Amani Coalition candidate Musalia Mudavadi and Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa were in Bungoma County where they urged the Luhya community to resist attempts to divide it.

Martha Karua of the National Rainbow Coalition was in Kayole, Nairobi, where she attended a prayer service and asked Kenyans not to elect leaders who had been tested and found wanting in the past.

Speaking of the past, an opinion piece signed by Makau Mutua in The Daily Nation suggests that the ghost of the 2007 election may come back to haunt the 2013 polls.

Mutua reminds readers what they say about history – that those who don’t learn from it are bound to repeat it. He believes Kenyans learned very little from the murderous violence which followed the 2007 election.

Among the writer's fears is the fact that the Kikuyu have produced two of Kenya’s three presidents. The Luo none. Members of the Luo community might feel a third Kikuyu president is too much to bear - especially if he bears the name Kenyatta.

Uhuru Kenyatta is facing trial before the International Criminal Court for his part in the post-election violence in 2008. His father was Kenya's first president after independence.

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