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Summary

  1. South African student body calls for drinking age to be raised to 21
  2. Row after "urine-filled bottles" found in Uganda's parliamentary chapel
  3. Influential Muslim cleric says Nigerian leaders should undergo drugs tests
  4. Zambia abandons recruitment of Chinese police reservists after outcry
  5. UK's Boris Johnson congratulates Ramaphosa on his win
  6. Steinhoff investors decide fate of firm

Live Reporting

By Natasha Booty and Farouk Chothia

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Tuesday's stories

We'll be back tomorrow

That's all from BBC Africa Live today. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the Africa Today podcast or checking the BBC News website.

A reminder of today's wise words:

Whoever steals a bicycle is on their way to the market to chase someone who stole a fish. "

A Bini proverb from Nigeria sent by Ameze Ogbeide in Edinburgh, UK

Click here and scroll to the bottom to send us your African proverbs.

And we leave you this photo of a dancing couple in Guinea-Bissau:

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Uganda MPs debate extending their term

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Uganda's MPs were locked in debate this afternoon over a proposed amendment to the constitution to extend their term in office from five to seven years.

Critics described the idea as a sign of the ruling party's greed, and said MPs should not be afraid of seeking re-election if they knew they had served their constituencies well.

Other opposition MPs said the plan to extend parliament's lifespan was intended to reward MPs who support moves to lift the presidential age limit so that President Yower Museveni, 75, becomes "life president".

But ruling party MPs argued that a longer term will give lawmakers enough time to serve their people and implement development projects.

A vote on the proposal is expected to take place tomorrow.

Earlier today, the speaker ordered an investigation into allegations that soldiers were camped in parliamentary chapels, and that plastic bottles of urine and food utensils were found in the places of worship.

See earlier post for more details

Oxford University scholars blast 'pro-colonial' academic

1821: A chain of slaves, flanked by men with spears, being taken from the African interior.
Hulton Archive
A 19th Century engraving shows European slave traders taking a group of African men

Academics at Oxford University have hit out at a colleague for allegedly "attempting to sanitise empire and justify ‘recolonialisation’".

The Oxford University African Society (OUAS) accused Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, of leading a wave of academics who promote "colonial apologism".

In an article last month for The Times, Professor Biggar said the British should "moderate [their] post-imperial guilt", calling the legacy of empire and colonialism "morally mixed".

The group of Africa specialists say Professor Biggar's article echoes pro-colonial arguments made previously by another academic, Portland University’s Bruce Gilley, whose recent "case for recolonisation" has attracted criticism.

The OUAS says it "will continue to challenge these grave distortions that eulogise colonial societies and promote myths of Africa and other colonial contexts as lawless places that were beneficiaries of Western saviourism".

Professor Biggar has defended his views on Twitter:

View more on twitter

Drop in journalist deaths

Kenyan media wearing bullet proof jackets and helmets film near Westgate mall in Nairobi on September 22, 2013.
AFP
Journalists now have better security training, media activists say

Sixty-five journalists were killed doing their jobs in the past year, Reporters Without Borders says, a lower number than the 74 deaths it recorded last year.

It says the five most dangerous countries were Syria, Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines.

In Africa, Reporters Without Borders says four journalists were killed in Somalia and one in South Sudan.

The campaign group credits the overall reduction of deaths to better security training for journalists as well as intensive lobbying of governments and international bodies to protect them.

But it also says journalists are abandoning countries that have become too dangerous, and says many have chosen to switch to a less dangerous profession.

Long fuel queues in Nigeria

Bukayo Atiba

BBC News, Lagos

A man stand with his foot on top of his jerrican waiting to buy some fuel in Lagos on April 6, 2016.
AFP
Many Nigerians are trying to stock up on fuel

With Christmas less than a week away, many Nigerians have plans to take long journeys by road and across the country to be with friends, family and loved ones.

But many of these trips are being disrupted as Nigeria’s goes through yet another fuel shortage. Fuel queues seemed to have eased off last week but have worsened again this week.

The exact cause of the shortage is unclear, but speculation is that the federal government intends to increase fuel prices.

However, the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) released a statement today saying that they have increased petrol supply to cities across the country and "assure motorists that normalcy will soon be returned".

For now, queues remain, as many petrol stations are not selling fuel, and some of those who are selling are doing so above the official price.

One man I spoke to said he had wasted four hours queuing and had heard rumours that some petrol stations were charging almost double.

Another man said he had been queuing since before daybreak and was worried that fuel attendants might not let him fill all three jerrycans he brought along.

Plan to spend $1bn on fighting Boko Haram condemned

Helen Oyibo

BBC News, Lagos

A man walks near the spilled crude oil on the shores and in the waters of the Niger Delta swamps of Bodo, a village in the famous Nigerian oil-producing Ogoniland, which hosts the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Nigeria's Rivers State on June 24, 2010.
AFP
Oil pollution has caused environmental degradation in Nigeria

Activists in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region are kicking against the government’s plan to spend $1bn (£749m) on the fight against Boko Haram.

In an interview with BBC Pidgin, activist Ann-Kio Briggs said the government did not need such a large sum to fight an extremist group it claimed it had technically defeated, at the expense of other regions.

“The Niger Delta region equally needs cash to fix its environmental problem, $1bn is not even enough to clean up the region of oil spills,” she said.

Last week, Nigeria's state governors approved the release of the money to help the government fight Boko Haram.

The $1bn will come from what is known as the excess crude account, which is a reserve of money earned from selling oil.

South African Twitter celebrates Ramaphosa win

Lebo Diseko

BBC News, Johannesburg

The hashtag #Venda has been trending on social media in South Africa after Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as president of the governing African National Congress.

It is the first time someone from the Venda ethnic group has been chosen to lead the party.

The Venda people are one of South Africa’s minority ethnic groups making up around 1.25% of the population

Historically, the ANC’s leadership has mostly come from the Xhosa or Zulu people, which are two of the largest ethnic groups in the country.

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Egypt football champions sacrifice ox for luck

After losing one match and drawing another, staff at Al Ahly in Egypt have sacrificed an ox and distributed the meat to the poor in the hope that it will reverse their fortunes.

The defending champions suffered their first league loss since June 2016 when they finished 3-2 away to Misr Al Makassa earlier this month.

Last Friday, they drew 1-1 with hosts Tanta.

Al Ahly are currently third in the Egyptian Premier League after 11 games - they are four points behind the leaders Ismaili who have played two more matches than Al Ahly so far.

Staff at Al Ahly in Egypt sacrifice an ox
Tarek Talaat
After the sacrifice the Al Ahly players handed the meat out to the poor

Kenyan police 'lock up children as young as four'

Children accused of stealing scrap metal have been held in a police cell in Kenya, the privately owned Daily Nation reports.

The news site says that five children, aged between four and 10, were taken to a police station in the central Nyeri County on Sunday night and kept in a cell for more than 18 hours after they were accused of theft by a local teacher.

Two of their parents were also reportedly detained.

The Daily Nation reports that the children and their parents have since been released and all charges against them dropped.

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Ramaphosa 'humbled' by win

New ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa during the 54th ANC National Conference held at the NASREC Convention Centre, Johannesburg , South Africa, 18 December 2017.
EPA
Cyril Ramaphosa has become the 13th president of the ANC

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is "humbled" by his election as leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC).

He made his first comments since his victory was announced during a walkabout at the ANC conference in Johannesburg, and a visit to an exhibition in honour of the late Ahmed Kathrada, a veteran anti-apartheid activist who was jailed on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.

The ANC elected six leaders at its conference - three of them, including Deputy President David Mabuza, were on the slate of Mr Ramaphosa's presidential rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The ANC has tweeted Mr Ramaphosa's comments:

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View more on twitter

ANC has 'regressed' on women's rights

Newly elected African National Congress (ANC) President and current South African deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) is congratulated by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the 54th ANC conference in Johannesburg on December 18. 2017
AFP
Cyril Ramaphosa thwarted Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's ambition of becoming the ANC's first female leader

South Africa's governing African National Congress has "regressed" on the issue of women's rights after electing only one woman in its top six leadership posts, the leader of the party's Women's League said.

"We cannot be proud of this outcome [because] patriarchy has once again reared its ugly head‚" Bathabile Dlamini said at a press conference.

The League's candidate for the presidency - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former head of the African Union Commission and the ex-wife of President Jacob Zuma - was defeated by Cyril Ramaphosa in the race for the presidency, while its candidate for the treasurer-general's post, Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, lost to ANC Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile.

Jesse Duarte was the only woman elected to the top six, beating another woman, Zingiswa Losi, in the race for the deputy secretary-general's post.

She served in the post in the previous leadership. Another woman, Baleka Mbete, served as ANC chairperson, the third most senior post in the party.

Watch the video below for public reaction to the new ANC leadership:

SA student body 'wants to raise drinking age'

A picture taken on January 31, 2012 shows some of the 200,000 liters (52,800 gallons) of alcohol confiscated from illegal bars, in a police warehouse in Alrode, 40kms from Johannesburg.
AFP
Alcohol abuse is a major problem in South Africa

A leading student organisation in South Africa has called for the age restriction on drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes to be raised from 18 to to 21, the local Times Live news site reports.

In a statement, the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) said the two substances "make it hard for young people to achieve academic excellence" and have contributed towards students dropping out of school.

People below the age of 21 who smoked or drank alcohol should be prosecuted and given "harsh sentences... because they seek to destroy the future of South Africa”, Times Live quoted the statement as saying.

UK congratulates Ramaphosa after win

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has congratulated South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on his election as leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC).

He tweeted:

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The pro-business politician succeeded the scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma, who stepped down as ANC leader after two terms.

Mr Zuma is due to remain as president until the 2019 election, but Mr Ramaphosa may sack him early in the new year in order to regain the confidence of voters and the business sector ahead of the poll.

However, this could prove difficult as Mr Zuma's allies secured some of the other powerful posts in elections at the ANC conference in Johannesburg.

Mr Ramaphosa won on a pledge to fight corruption, defeating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former chairwoman of the African Union Commission and the ex-wife of Mr Zuma, in the battle for the ANC presidency.

She promised "radical economic transformation" to break the dominance of white-owned businesses in South Africa.

Mr Zuma's presidency has been marred by allegations of corruption. The courts have ordered that he should stand trial on 18 counts of corruption. He denies any wrongdoing, and is resisting moves to prosecute him.

Read: Ramaphosa - The man who promises to make South Africa

Debate resumes in Uganda after chaos

Our reporter in Uganda's capital Kampala, Patience Atuhaire, has tweeted that the debate in parliament over the presidential age limit has resumed after the speaker adjourned the session earlier over claims that soldiers had camped in chapels, and food utensils and urine-filled bottles had been found.

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She adds that one MP, Barnabas Tinkasimire, laid the offending plates and cups on the table, at which point the speaker ordered the items to be submitted as potential evidence for further investigation.

See previous post for more details

Scenes from Uganda's chaotic parliament

Ugandan media are sharing footage from parliament showing plates on the floor and officers inside the debating chamber:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The footage comes after a debate on the controversial presidential age limit bill has been put on hold as the speaker investigates allegations that soldiers are camped inside the parliamentary complex.

As we reported earlier, an opposition MP said they had been seen in a chapel. A ruling party MP said they were there to pray.

Some MPs also said the soldiers used plastic bottles to urinate in, and that plates and food utensils were found.

The ruling party is pushing for presidential age limits to be scrapped. The opposition says the move is intended to allow President Yoweri Museveni to run for a sixth term in 2021.

Mr Museveni is 73, and the limit for re-election is capped at 75, ruling him out as a candidate in the next election.

'No stalling for more than an hour or we tow your car'

A manlooks under a car bonnet in Nairobi in 2017
AFP
New rules on broken-down vehicles have come into effect

Any driver whose vehicle stalls on Kenya's roads must remove it within an hour or it will be towed away to the nearest police station at the owner's cost, says the country's National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA).

Many Kenyans are unimpressed by the new safety measures:

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View more on twitter
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Zambia U-turn on hiring Chinese police officers

Kennedy Gondwe

Lusaka

Police officers cut ribbon
Mwebantu Media
The Chinese nationals were welcomed into the police force yesterday

Police in Zambia have scrapped their decision to employ eight Chinese nationals as police reservists after a public outcry.

The decision comes barely 24 hours after the commissioning of the police officers amid fanfare in the capital, Lusaka.

Zambians had questioned the recruitment of foreign-born reservists, which they found puzzling given that a decision had been taken earlier this year to ban police officers from marrying foreigners for "security reasons".

In a statement, police spokeswoman Esther Mwata-Katongo said that police chief Kakoma Kanganja rescinded the appointment of the Chinese nationals because of the public outcry.

She added that "members of the public should be aware that the appointments were not done outside the Law but within the provisions of the Zambia Police Reserve Act".

Uganda age limit debate suspended amid chaos

Patience Atuhaire

BBC Africa, Kampala

Uganda's parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga has been forced to adjourn a debate about a controversial bill aimed at scrapping presidential age limits after opposition MP Lucy Akello raised concern that there were soldiers in a parliamentary chapel.

The speaker said the debate would resume at 14:00 local time (17:00 GMT) after the allegation was investigated

Some of the MPs who returned from looking at the chapel say they found plastic bottles with urine in them, which the soldiers were apparently using as toilets.

They also say they found used food utensils and left over food.

“The church is like a kraal. Even the music instruments are broken,” one MP said.

Some of the MPs tried to take the utensils to present them in the chamber when the session resumes, but security personnel grabbed them away.

It is quite tense in the parliamentary lobby and emotions are high as MPs say their places of worship have been violated.

Both the Catholic and Protestant chapels are said to have been used by the soldiers.

Fighting first broke out in Uganda's parliament back in September over the contentious age bill:

Steinhoff investors decide fate of firm

Investors are meeting in London on Tuesday to decide the fate of South African-based household goods giant Steinhoff.

The firm owns 6,500 retail outlets in 30 countries, including in the the UK and the US. .

After revelations of accounting irregularities, Steinhoff's shares collapsed and executives resigned.

Now, shareholders must decide whether to keep Steinhoff afloat or sell off assets to recoup some money.

One person in the spotlight is Christo Wiese - one of South Africa's richest businessmen and Steinhoff's former chair and its largest shareholder.

Graphic
BBC

Steinhoff owes creditors as much as $21bn (£15.68bn), and several global banks are facing the prospect of substantial losses.

The firm is also in talks with its third biggest investor, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which is Africa's largest fund manager and administrates South Africa's government pensions.

The pension schemes of millions of South Africans are on the line, but the PIC insists it "remains financially healthy because of its diversified nature".

Read the full BBC story here

ANC meeting over '68 missing votes'

Senzo Mchunu in the parade ring prior to the running of the Grade 1 Durban July during at the 2014 Vodacom Durban July races at Greyville Racecourse on July 5, 2014 in Durban, South Africa.
AFP
Senzo Mchunu played a key role in Cyril Ramaphosa's campaign

A meeting is under way in South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) party to probe the alleged disappearance' of 68 delegates’ votes, the Johannesburg-based News 24 site reports.

Of 4,776 delegates attending the party conference only 4,708 voted in elections for the top six leadership posts, it adds.

News24 says the issue has been raised by supporters of Senzo Mchunu, the candidate for the powerful post of secretary-general on new ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s slate, who lost by 24 votes to Ace Magashule, a strong ally of defeated presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Mr Magashule beat Mr Mchunu by just 13 votes.

One journalist believes there is a simple explanation for the fact that 64 fewer votes were counted:

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Zambia recruits Chinese police reservists

Kennedy Gondwe

Lusaka

AFP
Mwebantu Media
Critics say the recruitment is unconstitutional

The Zambian police have appointed eight Chinese nationals as part-time officers.

The move has sparked outrage after police chiefs earlier this year banned officers from marrying foreigners for “security reasons”.

The reservists, who were yesterday commissioned by the head of the Zambia police, are believed to have already started working.

Dickson Jere, a lawyer and former presidential spokesman, said the appointments violated the constitution which clearly stated that any Zambian who has dual citizenship cannot join the defence and security forces.

He added:

So you stop your own citizens from joining the police because they have dual citizenship, and yet you allow Chinese who have no links whatsoever to this soil to be part of the same police service....food for thought."

Zambian police spokeswoman Esther Mwata-Katongo defended the appointments, saying the reservists were screened before their appointments and they worked under the supervision of regular officers.

She told the Lusaka Times news site:

We had Indians who were police reserves and people were okay with it. Why should the Chinese be discriminated on race? We are using the Police Reserve Act which does not segregate on race.

When it comes to the marriage our standing orders are clear. We do not use emotions but the law.”

Emir of Kano calls for mandatory drugs test

The emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II speaks shortly after receiving staff of office during his coronation as the 57th emir of the ancient Kano emirate on February 7, 2015 at the newly built Coronation Hall near the Kano state governor's office.
AFP
The emir is known for ruffling feathers

One of Nigeria's most powerful Muslim clerics, the Emir of Kano, has called for a law to compel politicians and religious leaders to undergo a drugs test, saying they were deceiving themselves if they refused to acknowledge they were "part of the problem".

Speaking at a conference on drug abuse in the northern city of Kano yesterday, Muhammad Sanusi II said he was prepared to take a test and "if I am found not worthy of being emir I will quietly resign".

It was hypocritical for “a governor or senator or any big political office-holder” to condemn drug abuse while having “highly drugged thugs as his bodyguards", he said.

The emir added:

Today, it is better to be a drug baron on the payroll of a political leader than to be a legally recognised security man, which means we must clean our acts before trying to achieve anything."

Read: The emir with a modernising approach

Today's wise words

Our African proverb of the day:

Whoever steals a bicycle is on their way to the market to chase someone who stole a fish. "

A Bini proverb from Nigeria sent by Ameze Ogbeide in Edinburgh, UK
A man rides his bike man riding his bicyle next to taxis parked outside the central market in Diffa, southeast of Niger. Residents of Diffa, located near the Lake Chad and the border with Nigeria, live under the constant threat of attacks by the Islamic group Boko Haram.
AFP

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