African press review 9 March 2018

Presidential elections in the DRC will, finally, go ahead as planned this year. Ousted Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe refuses to support the ruling Zanu-PF party. And a warning to African governments from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to read the small print carefully before signing any loan deals with China.


Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo to replace President Joseph Kabila remain on course for late December, according to the central African country’s Prime Minister, Bruno Tshibala.

Repeated stalling of the election has raised tensions, triggering street protests and encouraging armed rebellions.

Kabila was due to step down when his mandate expired at the end of 2016 but has so far refused to go.

Tshibala, a former leading member of Congo’s main opposition coalition, was appointed by Kabila a year ago to head a transitional "unity" government tasked with organising the election. He is expected to be the opposition candidate in the presidential race.

Opponents suspect Kabila, who has ruled Congo since his father’s assassination in 2001, intends to repeatedly delay elections until he can organise a referendum to let himself stand for a third term, as his counterparts in neighbouring Congo Republic and Rwanda have done.

Kabila denies those charges, saying the election delays are due to the challenges involved in registering millions of voters, and budgetary constraints.

Sit down, Bob, you're rocking the boat!

He may be gone, but he's not going to let himself be forgotten. Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe is still rocking the political boat according to reports emerging from Harare.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is gradually losing patience with his former boss as Mugabe becomes visible in politics once again, a few months before high-stakes general elections.

Mnangagwa‚ a close Mugabe supporter since the late 1970s‚ ascended to power with the help of the army‚ forcing Mugabe to resign in November last year. After the coup, Mugabe was confined to private life shuttling between his rural home in Zvimba and private residence in Harare’s richest suburb‚ Borrowdale.

But last month Mugabe met with African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki and told him that he was toppled by a coup. Since then he has openly opposed the Mnangagwa presidency‚ raising concern that the upcoming elections might not be free and fair.

This week Mugabe refused to work with the ruling Zanu-PF in its electoral campaign. Instead he is rallying behind an organisation called the New Patriotic Front and has also had meetings with other opposition leaders.

Speaking at a Zanu-PF youth league rally earlier this week‚ Mnangagwa said he was not happy and that there was an issue with the former president.

The high cost of compliance

South Africa spends more than Switzerland to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering laws according to a new study.

The story is in the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay.

The South African financial services sector spends an estimated two billion euros every year on compliance with anti-money laundering legislation, according to research published yesterday by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a company that sells risk management technology.

This is higher than the billion euros paid annually by the sector in Switzerland and equals the two billion paid by Dutch companies.

The South African study is based on responses from a sample of 59 banks, insurers and asset managers.

The report says the research underscores the hefty bills banks rack up to remain on the right side of financial sector laws.

Beware of Chinese bearing loans, Tillerson warns

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday warned that African countries should be careful about accepting Chinese loans.

Speaking at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Tillerson stressed that Washington was not trying to keep Chinese investment away from the continent.

He said, however, that it is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those agreements and not forfeit their sovereignty.

The African Union headquarters complex, where Tillerson held yesterday's press conference, was funded and built by China and is seen as a symbol of Beijing’s thrust for influence and access to the continent’s natural resources.

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