African press review 12 March 2016


Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos says it's time to go. But will he? There's outrage in South Africa at the news that Chris Hani's killer is to be released on parole. And the Kenyan electoral commission misses its own registration target by three million voters.


Angola's veteran leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos gets the front-page honours at regional paper The East African.

Dos Santos has announced his decision to quit power after 36 years in office, just one month short of Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema for the title of Africa's longest-serving head of state.

He's not going immediately. Dos Santos will retire when his current mandate ends in 2018.

Critics accuse dos Santos of presiding over corruption, misrule, arbitrary arrests and intimidation.

As head of the military, police and cabinet, the Angolan leader has an iron grip on all aspects of power in Africa's second-biggest oil producer.

He names the senior judges and has ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) allies in all public agencies, including the supposedly independent electoral commission.

Paula Roque, an expert on Angola at Oxford University quoted by The East African, says that the unexpected announcement offers "no assurance that one of Africa's longest heads of state will finally step down".

"What he is saying by announcing that he will step down in 2018 is that he will run in the next poll and then decide if the country is stable enough to enable him to step down," according to Roque.

Roque believes that dos Santos could be grooming one of his children to succeed him.

Hani parole judge accused of racism

The impending parole release of the killer of anti-apartheid hero Chris Hani has been met with outrage in South Africa as the Justice Department now mulls mounting an appeal against the High Court’s decision.

The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday ruled that Janusz Walus must be released within the next two weeks after spending 23 years in jail for killing Hani in 1993.

Hani’s widow, Limpho, accused the white judge who handed down the ruling of racism.

The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) said the move was very surprising as one of its members was still serving time for a murder committed in 1989.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has said it will push for Hani’s killer to be deported to his native Poland if he is released on parole.

Hani was the leader of the South African Communist Party and the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe.

The Department of Home Affairs says it has noted reports relating to the citizenship status of Chris Hani’s killer and that it wishes to place on record that Janusz Walus was granted South African citizenship in 1987.

South African citizens have a constitutional right to enter, remain or reside anywhere within the republic.

Mbabazi’s lawyers win a battle

The Monitor in Uganda reports that the Electoral Commission has complied with a Supreme Court directive to provide Amama Mbabazi’s legal team with copies of district vote tally sheets.

Mbabazi, a defeated presidential candidate, petitioned the Supreme Court seeking to annul Yoweri Museveni’s victory in the 18 February election, which Mbabazi says was a sham.

Voter registration shortfall in Kenya

According to the front page of the Kenyan Daily Nation, the first phase of the ongoing mass voter registration exercise by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has failed to reach its target despite massive voter education drives by the commission and political parties.

The IEBC says it will miss its own target by 70 percent after registering just slightly under one million people against the intended four million by the close of the third week.

As a result, close to three million of the targeted voters will be left out of the process that ends on Tuesday.

According to the commission, less than 30 percent of the potential voters targeted in the exercise had turned up to be listed in preparation for next year’s general election.

The commission said the reduced funds allocated by the National Treasury for the exercise had affected voter mobilisation and the distribution of registration kits.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning