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African press review 13 May 2015

Text by: William Niba
4 min

Nigeria's Patience Jonathan sends her critics giggling again after convening a last African First Ladies' summit, while her husband fine tunes his exit from power ahead of Muhammadu Buhari's inauguration on 29 May..


Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan chaired his last Council of state meeting before he hands over to President-elect Buhari.

Punch reports that Buhari and ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo were present at the meeting held at the Presidential Aso Rock Villa which brings together the president, the vice president, all former heads of state, the present and past chief justices of Nigeria, president of the Senate, speaker of the House of Representatives, all state governors and the attorney-general of the Federation.

ThisDay reports that during the meeting the Council approved the official programme of Buhari's inauguration. The handing over of documents from the outgoing president to the incoming president will take place on 28 May, the eve of the inauguration.

The paper quotes a top official of the Buhari team as saying that both transition committees had concluded their work and were set for the inauguration of the new president. "Invitations have been sent out to all the presidents of African countries, including presidents and prime ministers of the G8, multilateral heads like the United Nations, Commonwealth, ECOWAS and African Union. We expect a beautiful ceremony on the 29th," according to ThisDay.

There is a buzz in the Nigerian press about an alleged attempt by controversial outgoing First Lady Patience Jonathan to steal the limelight from the president-elect’s wife, Hajia Aisha Buhari.

Punch reports that Mrs Jonathan hosts a summit of the African First Ladies Peace Mission on Friday, an event during which new executive members are expected to emerge. The summit was originally scheduled to be held in July and the papers suspect she brought the meeting forward to enjoy a last hoorah under the cameras before her husband ceases to be president.

The election of a black man, Mmusi Maimane, as the new leader of South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance party continues to inspire a series of comments from the press.

The Sowetan says Maimane is due to face a roast during a Twitter Town Hall this Wednesday, with his followers excited he has taken to the social media site to “give South Africans an opportunity to get to know more about him and his vision for South Africa”.

Reaction on Twitter was swift following the announcement with @mwelimasilela suggesting a change in the hashtag “from #AskMmusi to #AskObamaOfSoweto !!”‚ while @vuyo–10 tweeted: “I smell a roast coming tomorrow‚ with this #AskMmusi thing”. This was echoed by @NasiphiQM: “I have a feeling this #AskMmusi thing won’t end well (.–.”)”.

Some Twitter users want answers to serious questions‚ with @––Zokwenzani asking: “If u were the Prez of the republic how would u deal w/ the unprecedented influx of foreigners from all over the 3rd world into SA? #AskMmusi”; and @Harold–Ferwood wanting to know: “Has any news networks from #BRICS countries had interviews with @MmusiMaimane since becoming @Our–DA leader? #Justasking #AskMmusi”.

BusinessDay argues that while he will have to create a new majority for a new reality, a big question that remains unanswered is whether Maimane’s election is a turning point for the party, the country or both.

Mail and Guardian lists 10 things which the DA’s new black leader should keep in mind. Keep it fresh, it says. For the Johannesburg paper Maimane needs to grow the party’s youth wing, so that the movement’s congresses are not packed with hundreds of elderly men and women who can’t dance to save their lives.

According to M and G the DA leader must get a theme song, change the party’s playlist and grow the party’s presence in the rural areas, which have so far been dominated by the ANC. Mentioning his mother’s Cofimvaba roots during his acceptance speech was a good start, the paper says.

Mail and Guardian believes Maimane is on top of needs to visit all provinces, without Mama Helen Zille, to cement his new leadership status. But he must stop plagiarising Barack Obama’s catch phrases and start dreaming his own dreams instead of Martin Luther’s, it says.

The paper loves Maimane’s tailored suits and his skinny pants, saying tuxes and well-fitted jackets can’t hurt in this world where looks mean a lot. The Johannesburg journal beckons on the new DA leader to perfect his dancing skills. If he can’t “pantsula”, how could he ever run the country, Mail and Guardian wonders.

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