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African press review 20 March 2013

South Africans find out where Cyprus is. Zimbabwe's new constitution gets a lukewarm reception. Uhuru tells Raila to stop bitching and wait for the law to judge the Kenyan election. And the country's banks are stacking up the bad loans.

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Three international stories dominate the front page of South African financial paper, BusinessDay.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Pride of place goes to Europe, under the headline "Cyprus lawmakers reject bank levy; bail-out in disarray." The small print explains that the rejection, with 36 votes against, 19 abstentions and one absence, brings the Mediterranean island to the brink of financial meltdown.

European Union countries said before the vote that they would withhold 10 billion euros in bail-out loans unless depositors in Cyprus shared the cost of the rescue and the European Central Bank has threatened to end emergency lending assistance for teetering Cypriot banks.

Zimbabwe's new constitution is also making front-page news in South Africa.

BusinessDay laments the fact that less than half of registered voters bothered to make their voices heard but suggests that the huge level of support for change may have made many voters feel the result was a foregone conclusion.

The newly adopted draft constitution can be amended, says Paul Mangwana, co-chairman of the constitutional parliamentary committee mandated to produce the draft constitution and a member of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

He added that there are things that can’t be changed, such as the Bill of Rights and the land issue but any other provision simply requires a two-thirds majority in parliament and can be amended.

And then there's the new Roman Catholic Pope, Francis.

He inaugurated his papacy on Tuesday with an address calling for the defence of the poor and the environment, saying that otherwise the way was opened to death and destruction.

Addressing an estimated 200,000 people and many foreign leaders gathered in St Peter’s Square, the Argentine pope emphasised that the church’s mission was to defend the poor and the disadvantaged.

The

Standard

in Kenya reports that president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta has asked Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who came second in the disputed 4 March presidential race, to

stop complaining about the polls

and wait for the Supreme Court ruling on the election result.

Raila, who is the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) leader, said he would not keep quiet about the outcome and legal petition because they were part of the political process.

Raila filed a petition on Saturday at the highest court in the land seeking to nullify the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission’s announcement of Uhuru as the winner.

Yesterday, Uhuru accused Raila of politicising the petition claiming the Cord leader had embarked on a public campaign to influence the outcome of the Supreme Court petition.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

In a separate story in the Standard, it is reported that the Rail Odinga is now demanding a forensic audit of the entire electronic system used in the 4 March elections.

In a new application filed under a certificate of urgency, Raila argues that the audit of the system is crucial to his petition challenging the results of the poll.

The six Supreme Court judges who will hear the petition are to hold a special session this morning to discuss the case.

The main story in regional newspaper the East African is about bad loans in Kenya’s banking sector, which shot up by over 13 per cent last year due to the prevalence of high interest rates.

The banking regulator said that in the fourth quarter of last year there were new expectations of increased bad loans in the first quarter of 2013 in the trade, tourism, transport and communication and real estate sectors as a result of an increased political risk arising from the March elections.

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