Johannesburg – South African officials for the first time Saturday confirmed the seriousness of Nelson Mandela’s illness – pneumonia – as the former president prepared to spend a fourth night in a hospital.
Mandela, 94, who has a history of respiratory problems, had a pleural effusion, or fluid in or around the lungs, which had been drained.
“This has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty. He continues to respond to treatment and is comfortable,” presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said. His statement was the first suggesting that Mandela had experienced difficulty breathing in recent days.
Mandela, who helped lead the rebellion against apartheid rule in South Africa, is revered as a symbol of peace and reconciliation in a nation often plagued by racial divisions.
He contracted tuberculosis while imprisoned for 27 years by the white minority government, and has suffered from respiratory problems since.
Kenya election results upheld
Nairobi, Kenya – Kenya’s Supreme Court on Saturday upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country’s next president and the loser accepted that verdict, ending an election season that riveted the nation with fears of a repeat of the 2007-08 postelection violence.
Jubilant Kenyatta supporters flooded the streets of downtown Nairobi, honking horns, blowing plastic noisemakers and chanting.
But supporters of defeated Prime Minister Raila Odinga angrily protested after the verdict and police fired tear gas at them outside the Supreme Court as well as in the lakeside city of Kisumu, Odinga’s hometown.
Two young men participating in riots were fatally shot in Kisumu, police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi said, although it was not clear by whom, and residents there said they could hear gunshots late in the night.
Outbreaks of violence by Odinga supporters were also reported in some Nairobi slums.