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African press review 03 January 2013

Stories making news in Africa: former political allies in Kenya continue their pre-election dispute; fines for people who don't register their mobile phone sim cards; and a crucial meeting between the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan.


The main story in the Kenyan Standard continues the well worn theme of pre-election dispute between former allies.

Under the headline "Mudavadi's revenge against Uhuru, Ruto", The Standard explains that not only has Musalia Mudavadi withdrawn from the Jubilee Alliance, he has set in motion a legal process that could see the coalition led by Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto battle for the right to use the coalition name.

Seething with anger because he was duped into the coalition with the unfulfilled signed promise by Uhuru and Ruto that he would be the presidential flag-bearer, Mudavadi is now pushing for the dissolution of Jubilee, according to the Nairobi-based paper.

The Standard says the fate of the Jubilee alliance remained unclear last night.

Another story in The Standard warns Kenyans who have not registered their mobile phone SIM cards that they have until tomorrow to do so or else they risk a jail term of three years.

The Information and Communication Ministry also says unregistered subscribers will face a Sh300,000 fine in addition to the sentence.

Mobile operators who do not switch off unregistered lines will also pay a Sh300,000 fine per SIM card.

Those are serious fines. Three hundred thousand Kenyan shillings is the equivalent of 2,645 euros

According to the Communication Commission of Kenya, there are a total of 31 million active SIM cards in the country, and 80 per cent of them are registered.

The front page of the Kenyan Daily Nation is dominated by road accidents: 32 people died on Wednesday in a series of horrific crashes. That brings to 54 the number of fatalities recorded on Kenyan roads since December 31.

On its political pages, the Nation says Jubilee Alliance defector Musalia Mudavadi has already agreed a new election pact with Pambazuka   the party associated with current Justice minister, Eugene Wamalwa.

Mudavadi's United Democratic Forum and Wamalwa's Pambazuka said the deal will be announced tomorrow, when the parties hold a joint national delegate conference.

The main story in regional newspaper The East African reports that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has agreed to attend a summit tomorrow with his South Sudanese counterpart to push forward stalled economic and security deals.

The meeting is to take place in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, and will be the first since Bashir and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in September signed the deals which they hailed as ending the conflict but which have not been put into effect.

Sudan’s presidential press secretary says the meeting will discuss ways of speeding up the implementation of issues agreed upon at the summit between the two presidents three months ago.

Khartoum accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels inside its territory, which has been a major obstacle to implementing the agreements.

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The South, in turn, says Sudan backs rebels on southern soil.

In Uganda, The Daily Monitor claims that the Forum for Democratic Change, Uganda’s largest opposition party, ended 2012 in a somewhat chaotic state.

The problems are related to the retirement of party founder, Kizza Besigye.

Besigye, says The Daily Monitor, built a support base among which he enjoyed a near-cult following and fears of the party disintegrating with his departure were widespread.

The party now has a new leader, Besigye’s former bush war comrade, the retired Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, but his election by a narrow margin has left the FDC torn down the center.

There are two good news stories on the front page of the South African financial paper, BusinessDay.

Last year's South African school leavers secured a record pass rate of 74 per cent in the matriculation exam. However, questions remain about the ability of the higher education sector to meet the growing demand for further study, and the preparedness of the candidates for higher education and work.

Dropout rates in tertiary education are close to 40 per cent.

The other good news is that the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's all share index surged past the 40,000-point barrier for the first time on Wednesday as world markets staged a relief rally in the wake of the 11th-hour US tax deal.

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