African press review 12 March 2013

6 min

Will Kenyatta be summoned to the Hague? Can SA's public service be fixed? And is there dirt to be dug in the mining sector?


According to this morning's Nairobi-based Standard, Kenya's president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta says his case at The Hague cannot stand without that of his co-accused, former head of the Kenyan civil service, Francis Muthaura.

Yesterday, the prosecution filed a petition at the International Criminal Court to withdraw all the charges against Muthaura citing insufficient evidence.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Uhuru insists that the two cases are intertwined since the prosecution has consistently framed its accusations on the basis of a common plan involving the two of them.

The two men were accused of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in organising the violence which followed the Kenyan presidential election in December, 2007.

According to the Standard, Uhuru's defence lawyers yesterday reminded the ICC that, according to the prosecution, both Uhuru and Muthaura made essential contributions to a common plan, which resulted in the realisation of the alleged crimes.

Following to the prosecution’s analysis, Uhuru and Muthaura colluded to exercise a level of control over the Mungiki and the police forces, so that the allegedly planned and coordinated post-electoral violence could take place.

The two roles are therefore interdependent, and the realisation of the alleged common plan necessarily relies upon the contributions of both accused. The alleged role of Uhuru cannot be considered in abstraction.

Uhuru also said that, in the absence of evidence that was given by ‘Witness four’ whose testimony has since been dropped, the prosecution’s allegations in regards to an alleged State House meeting and another at Nairobi Members Club, at which the violence was allegedly planned, are utterly unsubstantiated.

On the more recent Kenyan presidential election, representatives of Raila Odinga's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) says they are not hurrying to file their petition to contest Uhuru Kenyatta’s election.

Cord says they still have time, in accordance with the law, to file the petition and are currently preparing watertight evidence to prove their case before moving to the Supreme Court.

They have until Monday of next week to contest the results announced last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice, Dr Willy Mutunga, has assured Kenyans the Supreme Court is ready to hear any petition arising from the recent presidential election and will be impartial when delivering its ruling.

The swearing-in of Kenya's fourth president is due to take place at Nairobi's Kasarani Stadium on 26 March.

In South Africa Planning Minister Trevor Manuel yesterday listed fixing the public service as the first step towards prosperity, saying no economic policy would achieve the desired results if the "engine room" did not work.

Manuel was speaking at an economic summit in East London, where the National Development Plan was one of the key themes. The plan is the centre-piece of government policy and offers a blueprint to help South Africa eradicate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.

It identifies a series of targets that need to be met over the next two decades to achieve these objectives, including the creation of 11-million jobs and reaching average annual real gross domestic product growth of 5.7 per cent.

Last year, growth slowed to 2.5 per cent from 3.5 per cent in 2011.

Manuel said trade and other economic policies would not help South Africa if the public service continued to misfire. He made an impassioned call for tangible changes to the public service   where skilled people would be hired, employees barred from trading with the government, and corruption finally dealt with.

Also in South Africa, and reported in today's edition of the financial paper, BusinessDay, Mamphela Ramphele on Monday moved to deflect disapproval of her part in mining company Gold Fields’ much-criticised empowerment deal, describing it as an example of what the Zuma government has done to "destroy the credibility of mining companies".

The government, Ramphele said, shoved the list of some of Invictus Gold’s black economic empowerment shareholders down Gold Fields’ throat, with an ultimatum that if the preferred names were not taken on board, the company would be denied a mining licence.

The empowerment deal saw the politically connected Invictus Gold take nine per cent of South Deep mine at a cost to shareholders of 92.2 million euros in 2010. Gold Fields has not provided the names of all the 73 shareholders in Invictus, leading to questions over the "secretive" nature of the deal.

Among those known to have been involved in the Invictus deal are former deputy president and African National Congress chairwoman Baleka Mbete; Limpho Hani, wife of late South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani; Jerome Brauns, the senior councel who represented President Jacob Zuma during his rape trial; former Springbok rugby player Ashwin Willemse, and Mandla Msimang, son of ruling party stalwarts Mendi Msimang and the late Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

Ramphele became chairwoman of the Gold Fields board at about the time the deal was finalised. She insists, however, that the transaction "predates" her.

Ramphele recently resigned as Gold Fields chairwoman and now heads the new Agang political platform which aims to contest general elections next year as a fully fledged political party.

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