African press review 27 December 2016

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian has an opinion piece that asks “how can a divided ANC win back the support it has lost”.

It starts by saying “Where to now for the ANC” – after the party’s devastating defeat in three key cities and other smaller municipalities in the 2016 local government elections.

The article adds that it is going to be a struggle for ANC leaders all over the country to regain the trust of the people and at the rate that things continue to deteriorate, the paper says it is hard to see how the governing party can reverse the electoral decline ahead of the 2019 general elections.

And the first test will be to overcome the division in the party at  the ANC’s elective conference in December 2017 where a successor to President Jacob Zuma will be picked.

The paper says the party is not oblivious to the reasons behind its decline, including perceptions that it is “arrogant‚ self-serving‚ soft on corruption and that it has become increasingly distant from its social base”.

The campaign for Zuma’s successor will last until December next year. This means the new ANC president will have just over 12 months to unite ANC factions and, at the same time, campaign for the party to win the 2019 elections.

Following up on yesterday’s headline about the electoral process in Kenya, the Daily Nation leads with Raila Odinga, the member of the Cord party, who has given the government an eight-day ultimatum to review the controversial electoral law passed last week in the National Assembly. If this is not done, he said, the Opposition will call for nationwide demonstrations.

Odinga said the festive season had delayed the onset of the protests over the controversial law but that this would also give Jubilee time to review its position on the law, which provides that the electoral commission can use manual system to identify voters and transmit results if electronic gadgets fail. Odinga has protested that this would give room for dead voters to cast their ballots and other election irregularities.

He ends up saying that the Jubilee Coalition had panicked and had resorted to dictatorial rule which included coercing its MPs to pass laws that would provide a flawed 2017 election. This time, he concluded, he will not let them rig the elections.


The Standard covers this issue as well, and loooks at changes this new law implies. Constitutional lawyer and former Committee of Experts member Bobby Mkangi says regardless of the changes, the big issue is rather the environment in which the changes were made.

He says the main change – the controversial one – is a formality, but the constant lack of trust is why the opposition wants to take it to the streets.

Nigeria’s Vanguard leads with an opinion piece that headlines: “Nigeria crisis: It is not about Jonathan or Buhari”.

The author says that “It is a not difficult to understand that a wound covered by bandage without any medication would continue to fester and become gangrenous. The pain of today will always be worse for the wounded than the pain of yesterday.

He says people unwittingly set Buhari up for immolation by building unreasonable expectation in the old man whom Nigerians now expect to come and wave the magic wand.

The papers says people with sufficient depth countered that narrative by saying Jonathan was not the problem and Buhari was not the answer.

That the crisis in Nigeria was systemic and that the way Jonathan was a victim of the crisis, Buhari could also be suffering from the same fate.

Another piece leads with the Federal Government’s budget to make the country peaceful and ensure unhindered oil production. Meaning the sum of nearly 900 million euros, should be used to counter insurgency, militancy and other forms of threat to national peace in its 2017 budget.

Under this budget, of the Defence Headquarters and the Nigerian Air Force, the Federal Government plans to acquire new platforms for counter-air, counter-surface and air operations as well as materials for strategic effect and air support operations in Nigeria.

Source: rfi afrique