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African press review 25 June 2012

Reactions to the election in Egypt of Mohammed Morsi, security and politics in Kenya and worries that there might be renewed unrest in DRC ... all subjects covered in today's African dailies.


There are interesting contrasts on the front page of this morning's Egyptian Gazette, the pro-government Cairo daily.

Six headlines mention Egypt's new president Mohammed Morsi by name, but not always the same name. He appears twice as "Morsi" with an "i" at the end, and four times with a final "y". So much for brand recognition.

More significantly, one headline tells us that the "Arab world welcomes Morsi election in Egypt", while a separate story is headed "Islamists hail Morsy's Egypt victory, West cautious". And that last phrase is the crucial one: "West cautious".

Closely watched from Gaza to the Gulf, the article says, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate's win over former army general Ahmed Shafik was widely seen as an historic event with far-reaching consequences beyond Egypt's borders.

Islamists around the world have hailed Mohamed Morsy's election as Egypt's first freely-chosen president as a victory for their cause, while the West, several Gulf states and Israel have reacted with caution, wary of the new man's political agenda.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

The United States, which provides vast military aid to Egypt, welcomed the result but made it clear it expected Morsy to ensure stability and not to veer to extremes.

In Saudi Arabia, the world's number one oil producer, the government was silent. The Saudis have had poor relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, with many of the kingdom's officials accusing the party of backing demands for radical political change inside Saudi Arabia.

Israel expressed respect for Morsy's victory and the democratic process, but called on the new administration in Cairo to maintain the peace deal signed by Egypt's ousted leader, Hosni Mubarak, 33 years ago.

The Mombassa explosion obviously dominates this morning's Kenyan front pages, with The Daily Nation noting that the blast came just one day after US authorities warned of an imminent terror attack in the coastal city and pulled out American staff.

The Nairobi Standard says that earlier on Sunday, the Acting Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and the Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo had rejected the warnings and negative travel advisory by the US Government as alarmist, describing the alerts as acts of economic sabotage meant to scare away tourists.

The Nation also reports that pressure continues to mount on President Kibaki to reject controversial amendments to the Elections Act and the Political Parties Act passed by MPs last week.

The head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, a Cabinet minister and a professional body all warned MPs against making laws that divide the country as it moves towards the General Election.

John Cardinal Njue asked MPs to put the interests of the country ahead of their own when making laws.

Roads Minister Franklin Bett criticised the amendment requiring all those seeking election to have university degrees, saying it was tailored to exclude some popular candidates.

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya has criticised the general level of political integrity in the country, saying it plans to vet would-be candidates and calling on the president to refuse to sign the amendments passed last week.

The key change in the Political Parties Act will allow persons elected on a particular party ticket to move to a rival group, or set up their own party, without losing their parliamentary seats.

The High Court in Kampala is today expected to hear a case in which four gay activists are suing the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity and the Attorney General, accusing the officials of having “illegally” closed a gay rights conference in Entebbe early this year.

The four are seeking a court declaration that the actions of the minister in closing their workshop infringed upon their rights to assemble as enshrined in the Constitution.

The minister claims that the meeting was illegal, on the basis that homosexuality is contrary to the Ugandan penal code.

Regional newspaper The East African says that President Paul Kagame’s threat that he will release General Laurent Nkunda raises the threat of an explosion of unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo that could spill over into the entire region.

Rwanda is battling fresh accusations from the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DRC and the Congolese government, that Kigali is backing Bosco Ntaganda, Nkunda’s former chief-of-staff and successor.

Ntaganda is wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court to answer war crimes charges.

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