African press review 19 August 2017


We begin in Nigeria and breaking news in the Tribune that President Muhammadu Buhari is returning to the country this Saturday, after a 105-day medical leave in London.

According to the newspaper, the news is contained in a statement issued by Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina in Abuja.

The Tribune quotes Adesina as saying that President Buhari, who has fully recovered from his illness, is due to speak to Nigerians in a broadcast by 7 am on Monday.

It’s worth recalling that President Buhari left the country on May 7, this year, after handing over power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who has functioned as Acting President since then.

Punch leads with a trending decision by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to sponsor legislation classifying hate speech as treason.

The paper reports that Osinbajo spoke his mind in his address to state governors at the opening of the National Economic Council on security at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

According to Thisday, Osinbajo described hate speech as another form of terrorism, which employs violence and intimidation to achieve certain political objectives, vowing that the federal government would henceforth treat it as an act of terrorism.

And in Kenya, Daily Nation leads with the news that 24 official of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will face prosecution over election-related offences. The paper names the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko as the source of the news.

Tobiko is quoted as saying that the group is among up to 85 individuals who are due to stand trial for poll offences, such as bribery, failure to perform official duty, illegal possession of ballot papers, impersonation and murder.

Standard Digital reports that Raila Odinga’s has hired a team of 25 lawyers to plead his case filed at Kenya’s Supreme Court, contesting Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election. The paper says they plough through 25,000 pages of IEBC date before finalizing the election petition.

Standard reports that Odinga’s party built its case on anomalies found in more than 5,000 forms 34A which account for over one million votes and would reduce President Uhuru’s victory to below 50 per cent plus one.

South Africa where, Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe still waits to know her fate after allegedly whipping a young woman with an electric cord when she found her in the company of her sons in a Johannesburg hotel.

Several local papers report that the South African government has received legal advice indicating that, despite travelling on a diplomatic passport, the Zimbabwean First Lady does not qualify for diplomatic immunity and may be arrested for allegedly assaulting a Johannesburg woman.

The Star however quotes a senior government source as saying that there was “no way” the 52 year-old Grace Mugabe, would be arrested, because as he put it ,  because South Africa would weigh the need to seek justice against the diplomatic fallout.

In a column entitled “Letter from Zimbabwe with “disGrace”, Mail and Guardian predicted that with President Robert Mugabe in Pretoria for a regional southern African summit, Grace could still have the last laugh.

That will be if her request for backdated diplomatic immunity is granted, or South Africa’s powers decide neighbourly relations are too important to be spoiled by some hotel-room rage.

Times Live has been monitoring the lifestyle of the Mugabe boys, Russell Gorereza, 33, Grace’s son from a previous marriage, Robert Mugabe Jnr, 24, and Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe, 20, branded by the paper as a “ticking public-relations timebomb”.

The paper reported this week that the siblings, who have been living and partying in Johannesburg since earlier this year, are regular features at Harare nightclubs with an entourage of women and friends.

Times Live says that someone recently shared on social media a US$3000 bill the big spenders rang up –  three times the annual income per capita in cash-strapped Zimbabwe observes the publication.

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