African press review 11 January 2017

What is the Women’s League of South Africa's ruling ANC determined to stamp out? Why does gold cost so much right now? And why is Christine Mukirania, the 82-year-old queen mother of Rwenzururu, worried about her son's future?


The South African ruling ANC Women’s League is defiant about backing a woman for president.

According to the Johannesburg-based BusinessDay, the Women’s League is unapologetic about its decision to endorse outgoing African Union commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Jacob Zuma as party president, and does not believe it was ill-disciplined to do so.

The ANC chastised the Women's League for making its announcement on the eve of the 8 January rally where Zuma, on behalf of the national executive committee, called on members of the party to stop making public pronouncements.

Women’s league secretary-general Meokgo Matuba said yesterday that the league would not deviate from its position on the ANC succession and its decision to endorse a woman candidate. Matuba said the patriarchal system had to be exposed and dismantled.

The ANC on Monday accused those who pronounced on their preferred candidate, before the succession debate was officially opened, of further dividing the party.

The ruling party presidential election is due to be held in December.

Gold prices hit monthly high before Trump news conference

BusinessDay also reports that the price of gold rallied to its highest level in more than a month yesterday as the dollar dipped ahead of today's news conference by US President-elect Donald Trump.

The market is looking for more clues on Trump’s spending plans in his first speech since his shock win in November.

The pound and stocks also slid on fears of a "hard" Brexit after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was not interested in Britain keeping "bits" of its EU membership.

Queen mother of Rwenzururu warns Kampala

The African pages of the French daily Le Monde devote space to Christine Mukirania, the 82-year-old queen mother of Rwenzururu and real mother of the traditional king, Charles Wesley Mumbere, who has been in a Ugandan jail since last November.

Accused by the authorities in Kampala of planning to declare his western kingdom independent, Mumbere was ordered to disarm and disband his personal bodyguards. When he didn't, a detachment of the Ugandan Defence Forces arrived at the royal palace and at least 87 people died. The king was hauled off to jail and is awaiting trial on charges of treason and murder.

His mum has already asked President Yoweri Museveni for a pardon. That was refused. Earlier this week, the case was due to have been heard by a judge in the eastern town of Jinja with a view to a release on bail. But the hearing was postponed, without explanation.

Christine Mukirania says she's worried for her son's safety. And she's also worried about the possible reaction of her Bakonzo people if their king is sent to jail. The queen mother has already seen the defeat of the colonising English and of local bad guys Idi Amin and Milton Obote. The Bakonzo officially gave up the separatist fight in 1982.

The queen mother refuses to say if there really is a separationist movement in the kingdom right now but she doesn't deny it either. She just warns both sides that any change should come about by following legitimate channels, not through another bush war.

You have to wonder what Yoweri Museveni will make of that.

It's all happening right now in Kasese

Interestingly, regional paper the East African reports that several nations in the Great Lakes Region will at the end of this month set up a military intelligence base in Kasese, Uganda, to monitor what are being called “negative forces” in eastern Congo. Kasese is, of course, the site of the royal palace of the kingdom of Rwenzururu.

According to the East African report, 12 military intelligence officers from all the countries of the Great Lakes Region will be based at the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda to monitor the Ugandan rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces, which has been accused of recruiting from the entire region after forging links with terror groups al-Shebab and Boko Haram.

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region claims that efforts to get rid of negative forces in eastern DRC have suffered because of lack of permanent intelligence and monitoring.

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