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African press review 4 April 2012

The political crisis in Mali remains the top story from the continent and there are fears for the world's heritage in Timbiktu. A new Joseph Kony video is coming. There's more political tension in Zimbabwe. And is Mbeki doing any good in Sudan?


The South Africa Business Day financial paper reports that Malians were yesterday queuing up at petrol stations in the capital, Bamako.

The residents are worried about the economic sanctions which are to be imposed by neighbouring state of Côte d’Ivoire and which will potentially reduce the flow of fuel to the capital. Much of Mali’s oil comes from Côte d’Ivoire.

This is a potential shortage to the news that influential neighbouring countries Côte d’Ivoire and Niger, as well as the east African trading block, have moved swiftly to launch sanctions against Mali.

And the paper wonders wether, if the trade emabargo takes full effect, it could start to strangle Mali’s economy.

The leaders of the coup d'état are inexperienced as economists and politicians. For their part, they have reacted by reiterating their intentions to hand over to a civilian government soon. But they have given no indication of when that might be.

In addition to Mali’s political woes, the Tuareg and Islamist rebels in the north appear to be gaining ground.

Kenya’s Daily Nation reports that the UN in worried about the “outstanding architectural wonders” of northern city Timbuktu. Unesco, the UN’s cultural agency fears that as the fighting advances on the city, these could be damaged.

Timbuktu has been a Unesco World Heritage site since 1988, in recognition of its prominence in the 16th century as a trading town, although its history stretches back to the fifth century.

Unesco’s director general called on the rebels to preserve the city’s heritage, which she says is essential to the identity of the Malian people.

To news from Uganda, South Africa’s Mail and Guardian reports that the NGO Invisible Children is to release a sequel to the film about Joseph Kony which went viral.

This video was designed to put pressure on politicians to capture warlord Joseph Kony and received over 100-million internet hits in a week.

However, it prompted fierce debate and criticism for its oversimplification of the situation.

This new video will supposedly include more details about Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army and has more interviews from African experts.

What is quite interesting about this news is that is comes from a meeting in Hollywood with some high-profile directors. International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was also in attendance and said that he loved the work that Invisible Children was doing to raise the profile of the Kony case.

So it’s quite a bizarre story on how international justice and celebrity have been hobnobbing on this issue.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

South African Mail and Guardian is keeping an eye on neighbouring Zimbabwe. It reports that Prime Minister Tsvangirai has rejected fresh calls by President Robert Mugabe for polls this year.

It headlines by quoting Tsvangirai telling Mugabe to respect the constitution.

At the weekend media reported that Mugabe would call the election date unilaterally if a referendum on the new constitution was held in May.

Tensions between the two rumble on, as they have done since they formed a coalition governement in 2009 after the 2008 presidential election ended in bloodshed.

And one final story The Sudan Tribune reports that the South Sudan government has voiced frustration with the mediation of former South African President Thabo Mbeki. He is mediating to ease tensions between South Sudan and Sudan, who have clashed over the past five days.

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