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African press review 15 July 2011

The worsening famine and refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa dominates the news in Africa. Kenya Times reports that over 110,000 Somali refugees have reached a remote camp at Dolo Ado in south-eastern Ethiopia inside the so-called ‘triangle of hunger’ bordering Kenya and Somalia. 


The East African Standard warns that up to one third of Somalia’s population is now in dire need of food. There had been reports of divisions inside Kenya’s Grand coalition government over its response to the hunger and refugee crisis especially over a new camp for Somali refugees at Ifo II as an estimated 1,300 famine-stricken Somalis arrived at the Dadaab refugee camp every day.

The Daily Nation
reports that Internal Security Minister George Saitoti was on a “collision course” with his immigration colleague Otieno Kajwang’ over the issue. According to the paper, Saitoti, explained that he did not want al Shabaab militants to enter the country under the guise of refugees to execute terror attacks, a position which the immigration minister, found embarrassing.

The Kenyan newspapers welcome a unanimous vote at the UN on Thursday admitting South Sudan as the newest member of the world body. The Daily Nation reports that the world’s top club voted by acclamation to make Salva Kiir’s country the UN’s 193rd member. The paper underlines that the United States, China, Russia and the European Union, were among the first to recognize South Sudan, which despite its vast oil reserves is among the poorest in the world.

The East African, claims that western investors are now in a scramble for South Sudan’s fertile lands acquiring up to one-tenth of the country’s rural lands through leases with communities and government institutions.

The Standard warns that while the investments provide the much-needed impetus for post-conflict reconstruction, they risk becoming sources of food insecurity, instability, social unrest and conflict.

The South African papers take up renewed calls by the party of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for early elections this year. ZANU/PF’s spokesman Rugare Gumbo told the Herald newspaper that the decision was passed by a unanimous vote during a meeting in Harare Thursday.

The Johannesburg-based Mail and Guardian comments that the decision constitutes a rejection of a timeline that Mugabe’s own negotiators hammered out last week. The newspaper is referring to a meeting on 6 July where envoys from Mugabe's party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, agreed to hold the polls in 2012.

Libya’s state prosecutor Mohamed Zekri Mahjubi is pressing war crimes charges against Nato chief Anders Rasmussen. Mahjubi told foreign journalists in Tripoli that more than 1,000 civilians and wounded about 4,500 others since the Nato air strikes were launched in March.

According to South Africa’s Mail and Guardian,Tripoli also accuses Rasmussen of trying to kill Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and of murdering children and innocent civilians in a deliberate campaign of aggression.

The paper also publishes a denial by anti-Kadhafi forces of accusations by Human Rights Watch, that they have been responsible for looting, arson and abuse of civilians.

Friday’s South African papers reiterate Pretoria’s stance on the conflict: that a political, and not a military solution, was the only way out of the Libyan crisis.

Mail and Guardian quotes Foreign Minister Maité Nkoana-Mashabane, saying the African Union should be allowed to pursue its "road map", for a peaceful settlement led by the Libyans, through its ad hoc high level committee.

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