African Press Review 26 May 2014

Europe isn’t the only place in the throes of elections. They’re at it in Egypt too . . . where polling stations opened earlier this morning.

According to the Egypt Independent newspaper, a Foreign Ministry spokesman has said that it is unacceptable for the Carter Commission to cast doubt on the outcome of the presidential elections and issue prejudgments on the matter.

In a recent statement, former US president Jimmy Carter said that the forcible removal of Mohamed Morsey had stoked political instability.

“I am gravely concerned that Egypt’s democratic transition has faltered,” Carter said. “Egypt’s political transition has stalled and stands on the precipice of total reversal.”

The same spokesman insisted that the Egyptian government is keen on managing the electoral process with integrity and transparency.

“It was the government that invited regional and international organizations to supervise the elections,” he said. See South Africa return to the negative economic growth last seen in 2009.

The Cairo-based Daily News says Egypt’s economic crisis will be the first priority for the new president. The same paper notes, in a different story, that no fewer than 40,000 people have been arrested for involvement in political turmoil since Mohamed Morsi was ousted. The new man will have to give that striking statistic some thought too.

They should have had elction results by now in Malawi too, but the president decided to call the count off.

According to the front page of the Daily Nation newspaper, president Joyce Banda has thrown the country into political turmoil with her decision to nullify the presidential, parliamentary and local council elections which took place last week. She cited widespread electoral fraud and irregularities as reasons for her decision.

Legal and constitutional experts immediately asserted that the president has no mandate under the Malawian constitution to invalidate any poll.

The president has called for a re-run of last week’s vote within ninety days, saying that she herself will not stand as a candidate in the new election.

Unofficial results based on last week’s vote showed Joyce Banda trailing in third place in the presidential race.

Malawi’s High Court has since rejected the presidential decision, saying that the electoral commission had admitted some problems involving the electronic count but insisted the poll remained globally valid. Vote-counting is apparently continuing.

They’re having a spot of political turmoil in South Africa as well, where president Jacob Zuma yesterday pulled some surprises in his Cabinet appointments, shifting Pravin Gordhan out of the finance ministry and making new appointments in the critical areas of minerals, energy, police and telecommunications.

Nhlanhla Nene, who was previously Gordhan’s deputy, has been appointed minister of finance. He is considered to lack the political stature of Gordhan, or previous incumbent, Trevor Manuel, and so analysts are wondering if he’ll have the ability to counterbalance the powerful interests in government and the ruling ANC, with their frequently conflicting economic agendas.

Statistics South Africa will release the latest national growth figures tomorrow, with the four-month strike at platinum mines and its spillover to other sectors such as manufacturing the main reason behind an expected 0.4 per cent decline in economic growth in the first quarter of this year. Says BusinessDay, the continuing strike could see South Africa return to the negative economic growth last seen in 2009.

Source : Radio France Internationale