African press review 30 June 2017


The fifth national policy conference of the South African ruling party, the ANC, opens today in Johannesburg.

According to the Mail & Guardian newspaper, delegates have been warned against speaking to the media‚ leaking information or sharing documents.

Insulting and derogatory communications on social media have also been banned.

Journalists will be allowed to attend only the opening and closing sessions of the conference.

Other rules to be enforced prohibit booing, howling, whistling or the singing of derogatory songs against ANC or alliance leaders and their guests. Sounds like it’s all going to be pretty dull.

No delegate will be allowed to speak for more than three minutes. That, at least, is good news.

A party in panic, enemies everywhere

The Mail & Guardian‘s opinion pages say that the documents released ahead of the ANC conference expose a panicking party that sees enemies everywhere. While previous conferences addressed real issues, according to the Johannesburg daily, all energies are now focused on retaining state power as the leadership faces damning claims of manipulation by a kleptocratic elite.

The article condemns the ruling party for its “deepening paranoia and an increasingly authoritarian tendency”.

The conference will end on 5 July.

Crisis in Burundi continues

Regional paper the East African reminds us that the crisis in Burundi has not gone away, even if it no longer warrants attention from world media.

In the more than two years since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to seek a disputed third term, Burundi has suffered a period of unrest marked by extrajudicial killings, a failed coup and ethnic division.

And the tragic situation continues, says the East African.

Burundi’s population continues to face armed violence, civil and human rights abuses, while food insecurity and economic hardship persist. People are still fleeing to neighbouring countries: the United Nations predicts the number of Burundian refugees will top 500,000 by the end of the year.

Earlier this month, the Commission of Enquiry on Burundi set up by the UN Human Rights Council reported that violations such as the excessive use of force, disappearances and arbitrary detention by security services   which all surged in the crackdown against street protests in the weeks after Nkurunziza’s April 2015 decision to stand again   have been continuing.

Dwindling food supplies have left more than a quarter of Burundi’s population, 2.5 million people, in a state of severe food insecurity. Some three million Burundians require humanitarian assistance.

Market prices of basic foods are reported to be between 30 and 50 percent higher than in the same period last year.

According to government figures, some 720 people have lost their lives since the start of the crisis. Human-rights workers put the number at around 1,200.

South Sudan peacemakers to visit Riek Machar

Officials from South Sudan’s National Dialogue Committee have arrived in South Africa to consult with the exiled former First Vice-President turned rebel leader, Riek Machar.

This is the main story in today’s Sudan Tribune.

The report says the delegation has yet to arrange how and when it will meet Machar in coordination with South African authorities.

Machar has been under a vague form of house arrest since he left Sudan for South Africa. His departure was decided by the Igad group and backed by the American administration. However, South Sudanese officials say his expenses are being paid by the authorities in Juba.

Riek Machar has repeatedly said he believes that the national dialogue cannot replace talks on the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

Petrol price increases spark rows in Egypt

They’re fighting on the streets in Egypt.

According to the Cairo-based Egypt Independent clashes occurred yesterday between citizens and drivers of microbuses and other transportation vehicles after the operators raised fares following an increase in the price of fuel, without waiting for the official fare prices to be announced by the government.

The official increase is expected to see transport charges rise by between 25 and 30 percent, but the new fare prices have yet to be finalised.

A number of drivers have announced a strike until the new fares are announced by the cabinet.

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