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African press review 5 September 2012

Deteriorating labour relations in Kenya, the killing of an Islamic preacher and a cow stuck in a tree are making today's headlines in Africa.

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In Kenya, sour labour relations continue to make front-page news.

The Standard reports the country faces total economic shutdown as the strike season intensifies.

The newspaper says the economy is facing a major setback as worker discontent grows just six months ahead of the next general election.

Pushed into a corner by relentless wage demands, cabinet ministers Anyang’ Nyong’o and Mutula Kilonzo now both appear to be digging in for a fight.

Primary teachers have been on strike since Monday. Secondary school teachers are set to join the nationwide boycott today. University lecturers who are members of the Universities Academic Staff Union will stop work tomorrow to demand the government honour a collective bargaining agreement on salaries and allowances.

The Standard also reports nearly 400 intern doctors at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi have been suspended by the Medical Services Minister, Anyang’ Nyong’o, for having “left patients to suffer”. The minister accuses the registrars and other striking interns of “blackmailing the Government and Kenyans”.

Kenya's The Daily Nation also leads with the teachers' strike. It reports the government has hit back at striking teachers, saying they will not be paid for the days they boycott classes.

However, their unions were unmoved, insisting there would be no return to work until their demands are met: a 300 percent wage increase and the payment of outstanding allowances.

Also in The Daily Nation, Kenyan police have reportedly distanced themselves from last week’s killing of Islamic preacher Sheikh Aboud Rogo, saying that the bullets used in the attack were not those issued to the force.

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

Sheikh Rogo was shot dead in Mombasa last week as he drove his wife to hospital.

The killing triggered riots in the port city, killing three prison warders.

Staying in Kenya, the regional paper The East African says a huge vacuum has emerged as key officers managing the economy leave the public service for politics. More than 100 senior government officers have quit their jobs to qualify for the general election set for 4 March 2013.

Officials who have left include the Nairobi Town Clerk, the chairman of the Communications Commission of Kenya, and the Higher Education Loans Board chief executive.

On a different note, The East African carries the remarkable headline: "Fire crew rescues cow stuck in tree".

The unfortunate bovine had to be rescued in northern England after it tumbled down a 30-metre river embankment and got stuck in a tree.

The animal was sedated by a vet before being winched to safety by firemen using special equipment.

As the school year gets underway in Uganda, the Kampala-based Daily Monitor reports that many schools do not have emergency doors, fire fighting equipment nor smoke detectors, contravening fire safety guidelines set by the country's ministry of education.

In addition, a report by the Education Standards Agency last year found that many public and private schools were operating unauthorised boarding sections that do not meet health, safety or security standards.

South Africa's financial paper, BusinessDay, carries an opinion piece suggesting that Africa’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, could substantially enhance the continent’s development prospects if they work together more closely.

It says mutual benefits could arise from a relationship that combines South African capital and business know-how with access to Nigeria’s burgeoning economy of 140 million consumers   the single largest market on the continent, and three times the size of South Africa’s.

Trade between the two countries has grown 10-fold since 1999 and they are currently each other’s largest continental trading partners.

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