African Press Review 20 December 2017

An offer from Washington to mediate in the standoff between Kenya's political heavyweights. And, the South African papers consider the challenges facing new ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa.


Kenya first where the Daily Nation reports on the latest act in the Presidential pantomime.

The paper tell readers that the United States of America has warned Nasa leader Raila Odinga that he risks ruining his hard-won legacy if he goes ahead with his plans to be sworn in as the “People’s President”.

Urging Odinga to drop his plan - Donald Yamamoto - acting assistant secretary for African Affairs in the Trump’s administration - promised to bring together the former prime minister and President Uhuru Kenyatta for negotiations on political and electoral reforms.

Odinga has in recent days asked the government to stop issuing death threats to National Super Alliance leaders over the planned swearing-in ceremony, and warned that he is not afraid of death for “treason”.

In a teleconference with Kenyan reporters, Yamamoto said President Kenyatta had expressed commitment to bring about electoral and judicial reforms - the Nation says.


The Standard - meanwhile - gives pride of place to Odinga's stubborn defiance.

Speaking at a funeral yesterday - the Standard reports - Odinga said he was ready to die in his bid to liberate the country from what he called 'dictatorial leadership'."

It reminds readers that the Attorney General has warned that swearing in the National Super Alliance leader would attract treason charges - punishable by death.

Melodramatic - yes. Though Odinga must know that no-one has been executed in Kenya for 30 years !


In South Africa - the papers reflect on the election of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as leader of the ruling African Nation Congress - a stepping stone of the Presidency of the nation in 2019 - if not before.

Business Day declares that "Investors like Ramaphosa’s win   but the hard work is yet to come."

"Ramaphosa, a businessman and trained lawyer who has become one of SA’s richest black citizens, endeared himself to investors with pledges to carry out market-friendly reforms and curb corruption within the government," the paper says.

Still - says Business Day - "the difficulty of Ramaphosa’s task was underscored by members of rival camps getting half the six positions on the ANC’s governing body, including that of deputy President - won by David Mabuza - a supporter of President Jacob Zuma, whose administration is mired in allegations of corruption and mismanagement."


The Sowetan reports joy unconfined in Soweto with delirious locals singing "We are ready for Ramaphosa!"

On bread and butter issues - the paper says the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse is cautiously optimistic at the election of Ramaphosa as president of the ANC‚ "as we believe he is more likely than any other candidate to tackle state capture‚ corruption and gross maladministration within government".

"Ramaphosa’s win does not mean that the fight against corruption is over‚" the paper cautions.

“His first real test in the anti-corruption war will be the appointment of a National Director of Public Prosecutions. This will give a clear indication of Ramaphosa’s ability and willingness to clean up‚” OUTA's CEO tells the paper.


The Star reports that a clampdown on corruption has already begun.

On Monday - the Road Traffic Management Corporation - in a joint operation with the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit, the police’s Organised Crime Unit and Gauteng Traffic's Compliance Unit - arrested four employees of a private roadworthy testing centre after uncovering a scam, says the Star.

Allegedly - the identity document of a 64-year-old bed-ridden man was used to fraudulently process roadworthy certificates for hundreds of vehicles which were never examined.

The four were due to appear in court today on charges of corruption and fraud.

Not exactly fat cats - but Ramaphosa's election offers hope for the future.

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