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African press review 4 September 2012

A teachers strike in Kenya, questions over Uganda's growth prospects and lingering tensions within the South African mining industry dominate today's African papers.


The Kenyan Standard gives pride of place to the teachers strike, which began on Monday.

According to the Nairobi-based daily, the Government is banking on the courts and the anger of parents whose children are idling their time away to break the teachers’ strike.

Defeating the teachers would set a precedent in a labour market that has become increasingly restive as unions rally their members to take advantage of the new Constitution and demand better pay and allowances.

The paper says that, if the strike fizzles out, the government would in future negotiate with teachers from a position of strength and this would send a message to the unions. The labour organisations appear to have sensed that this could be their final chance to gain concessions from the State on their own terms.

Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo is facing a nightmare scenario as members of the University Academic Staff Union begin their strike tomorrow. They will be joined by members of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers.

The Daily Nation also led with the same story, saying that schools were paralysed across the country as teachers went on strike in support of their demand for more pay.

Today's Standard also reported suggestions that an unknown man worked on a helicopter just two days before it crashed and killed Internal Security minister George Saitoti earlier this year.

The Deputy Commandant and Chief Engineer of the Kenya Police Airwing made the revelation to a commission set up to investigate the crash. He said he does not know the identity of the man who conducted crucial repairs on the helicopter's engine, nor whether the man was qualified to do the job.

The story dominating the front pages in Uganda concerns the government's plans to reshape the country’s economy over the next three decades.

The “Vision 2040” plan predicts Uganda will be transformed from a peasant economy to a modern and prosperous country.

The National Planning Authority predicts the country will become a middle class nation over the next five years as services industries grow and the agricultural sector becoming less important.

Per capita income is expected to rise from 400 euros currently to about 7,500 euros by 2040, while life expectancy is predicted to increase from 51.5 years to 85 years.

However, Some MPs have criticised the plan for setting overly ambitious growth targets and questioned the method used to achieve those figures.

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The main story in regional newspaper The East African is headlined "Police retain top rank on East Africa corruption index".

According to the report, the 2012 edition of the East African Bribery Index ranked police in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda as having the highest number of officers engaging in corrupt practices, while those in Uganda received the highest bribes, at an average of 30 euros.

Uganda had the most corrupt police force, followed by Tanzania and Kenya. Last year’s highest-ranked nation, Burundi, came fourth, while corruption was lowest in Rwanda.

The editorial in today's edition of the South African financial paper, BusinessDay, says that the spread of labour action from the platinum industry to the gold sector suggests growing tensions within the South African mining industry.

Four gold miners were injured in clashes between workers and security guards at a mine east of Johannesburg. It followed dozens of deaths last month at the Marikana platinum mine in the country’s north-west.

BusinessDay's editorial says the inter-ministerial committee charged with investigating the violence lacks transparency and excludes public participation.

The paper says the government has three options. It can allow the existing labour relations structure to deal with the issue. It can also expand the terms of reference of the judicial commission to investigate not only the shooting but also the industry as a whole. Finally, it could call an "indaba", or a national conference of all parties in the mining sector.

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