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African press review 18 June 2012

The situation in Nigeria and Egypt's elections are important topics in the African papers today...


In Nigeria, Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna State yesterday imposed a 24-hour curfew on the whole state. This follows the violence in the wake of a wave of bombings targeting christian churches.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

Thousands of people are trapped in different places of worship in the city and cannot go home because of the curfew order.

The Daily Trust newspaper confirms that at least 23 people lost their lives in the bomb attacks on three churches in Kaduna. These figures are from the three main hospitals and do not include those taken to private hospitals.

In addition, about 11 others have been killed in reprisal attacks across the town.

The blast at Christ the King Cathedral caused another 10 deaths.

The Abuja-based Daily Trust has Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan condemning Sunday's explosions, and calling on God to intervene.

Speaking at a Fathers Day mass, the president said he had consolation in God who is capable of handling every situation and healing the nation.

He called for the support and prayers of every Nigerian for peace and for the success of his administration.

In Cairo, The Egyptian Gazette reports that a showdown between Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling military is unlikely to turn violent, according to analysts, but the Islamists must avoid repeating previous mistakes if they want to stay in the political game.

On Saturday, the Islamist-led parliament received a notice saying Egypt's ruling generals had decided "to consider parliament dissolved," after a court ruling that annuled the house.

The move was swiftly rejected by the powerful Brotherhood, which had won 47 percent of the seats in the house, and called for a referendum on the decision.

The confrontation between the two political blocs came as Egypt was wrapping up a presidential poll pitting the Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi against Ahmed Shafiq, a former airforce chief and premier under deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

But analysts say the war of words is not likely to translate into violence.

Mustafa Kamel al-Sayyed, professor of political science at Cairo University, says comparisons with the situation in Algeria in 1991 are inappropriate. In Algeria, there was a civil war after the military took power to pre empt a likely Islamist legislative win.

"It was a different context, " says Sayyed. "In Algeria, there was violence from both sides. In Egypt, for the moment there have only been threats."

Ibrahim al-Houdaiby, an expert on Islamist movements, also dismissed the prospect of widespread violence between the Brotherhood and the generals.

"The Brotherhood will use a strategy of pressure to gain posts before finally adapting their policies," he said.

According to Washington-based political analyst Hesham Sallam, whoever wins, the military will maintain a strong degree of influence in Egyptian politics.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

In South Africa, the financial daily BusinessDay reports that axed national police commissioner Bheki Cele could continue to make headlines this week, after saying he would be approaching the courts in a bid to get clarity on the reasons for his dismissal.

President Jacob Zuma fired Cele last week, citing a commission of inquiry which found him to be unfit for office. The commission was set up to investigate lease deals for police buildings.

Bheki Cele last week said he wanted the courts to declare the report by the commission of inquiry "factually and legally unsound". He is expected to file his application by the end of this week.

The lobby group Business Unity South Africa has appealed to the government to implement the proposed youth wage subsidy, which it believes has the potential to create 400,000 jobs, mostly in small and medium enterprises.

In a meeting with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, the business lobby voiced its support for the policy, which aims to lower the costs of employing first-time workers via a subsidy for employers.

Busa’s appeal adds to the growing clamour around the policy, which was proposed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last year and was due to be introduced in April. But opposition from the Congress of South African Trade Unions blocked its progress.

The opposition Democratic Alliance, which last month marched on Cosatu headquarters to protest the union federation's opposition to the subsidy, is turning the deadlock into an election issue.

Cosatu’s objection is that the subsidy would be used to displace older workers and is just an excuse to increase profits.

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