Article published the Tuesday 11 December 2012 - Latest update : Tuesday 11 December 2012

African press review 11 December 2012

By Michael Fitzpatrick

The latest developments in Egypt and the wait for results after Ghana's election are both stories on the African continent today.

Egypt first this morning, and the Cairo-based Independent reports that the Armed Forces on Monday began to deploy troops nationwide to secure polling stations for Saturday’s constitutional referendum.

At the weekend, President Mohamed Morsi gave the military the authority to arrest civilians until the result of the referendum is declared.

The Salafi Nour Party has meanwhile announced its participation in Tuesday’s mass demonstration in support of President Morsi and the constitutional referendum.

The protest is planned to take place in front of two mosques in the Cairo district of Nasr City.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Opposition parties and movements are preparing for the constitutional referendum on 15 December, with the April 6 Youth Movement mobilizing voters to reject the draft while the National Salvation Front is to decide later today whether to call for a boycott or a “no” vote.

The April 6 group launched their campaign on Monday to educate citizens on the failures of the draft constitution and the dangers of rushing into a national referendum.

They are urging citizens to vote against the new constitution on 15 December, because it contravenes the revolution’s demands for pluralism, a real transition of power, and social justice.

The April 6 Movement claims to be a counter-campaign to that of the Islamists.

The Independent quotes Amr Moussa, leader of the Egyptian Conference Party, as saying that the National Salvation Front will make a decision between a boycott of the referendum or a no vote after today’s demonstrations.

The Wafd Party has said that the referendum should be cancelled or postponed until it is agreed upon by all national forces.

There's not much news coming out of Mali this morning. The site of the privately-owned Info Matin is unavailable, while the web version of state owned Essor has not been up-dated since 11.45 yesterday morning.

So there's no mention of the fact that the Prime Minister, Cheik Modibo Diarra, was detained on Monday at his home in Bamako, reportedly on the orders of Captain Amadou Sanogo, the man who lead the March coup. The prime minister has since announced his resignation, and that of his entire government.

Tensions between the soldiers who led the coup and the civilian prime minister they were forced to appoint have been mounting, notably because Diarra supports plans to send a west African intervention force into the occupied north of the country.

The prime minister had been due to leave the country for a medical check up in France.

The main story in the privately-owned Ghanaian Chronicle is headlined "Uneasy calm as results delayed".

The story says that yesterday, the Acting Director of Public Affairs of the Electoral Commission, told the nation that following the extension of voting in some constituencies from Friday to Saturday, it might not be possible for the commission to release the results within 48 hours, as previously promised.

Consequently, official results in the presidential election are likely to be released today.

The announcement has doused the likely celebration by members, supporters and sympathisers of the National Democratic Congress, which believes that its candidate, John Dramani Mahama has won the presidential vote.

At the time of going to press, projections indicated that 269 out of the 275 constituencies have had their results declared. John Dramani Mahama, the candidate of the NDC, was in the lead by 50.66 percent to 47.76 percent by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, leader of the New Patriotic Party.

The Nairobi-based Standard reports that only 8.6 million Kenyans have registered as voters, with a week remaining to next Tuesday’s deadline.

This represents slightly fewer than 50 per cent of the estimated 18 million Kenyans targeted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The Standard says the figures indicate that voter apathy is still high in most parts of the country.

Sister paper, The Daily Nation, reports that Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka on Monday accepted the Wiper Democratic Movement’s nomination to vie for the presidency. He pledged to fight poverty and create jobs if elected.

Musyoka is currently part of the Cord alliance, alongside Prime Minister Raila Odinga who was endorsed as the Orange Democratic Movement's presidential candidate last Friday.

Party activists have urged Musyoka and Odinga to enter into a gentlemen’s agreement to decide which of them runs for the presidency.

tags: African press review - Egypt - Elections - Ghana - Kenya - Mali - Mohamed Morsi - Press review
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