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African press review 13 June 2013

Allegations concerning South African soldiers serving in the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC, and scores in the Human Development Index published by the UN are both topics in today's Afican papers...


The United Nations has brought 93 cases against South African soldiers serving in the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Wednesday.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

The story makes the front page of this morning's financial newspaper, BusinessDay. The charges range from murder to drunkenness, but most were related to sexual misconduct.

The minister said that, in many of the cases, no evidence was brought forward to support the allegations. Twenty-three cases involve rape, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and assault of women. The alleged incidents occurred between 2003 and 2011.

One soldier, found guilty of murder, was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

The UN mission in Sudan has not brought any criminal or disciplinary procedings against South African soldiers, Mapisa-Nqakula said.

On its labour pages, BusinessDay reports that efforts to establish central bargaining in the platinum sector have collapsed, leaving unions negotiating with companies directly for wage increases, according to the General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, Frans Baleni.

Following the Marikana tragedy in North West last year, the government moved to form a centralised bargaining platform in the platinum sector in order to prevent further labour unrest in the industry.

But the biggest labour player in the sector, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, has rejected the process, stalling the talks.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which has replaced the National Union of Mineworkers as the majority union at Impala, Lonmin and Anglo American, wants to continue bargaining on a company-by-company basis.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is set to meet players in the mining sector tomorrow.

In its media section, BusinessDay carries the news that Anonymous Africa, an internet activist group, briefly shut down about 50 websites on Wednesday, including Independent Newspapers’ Independent Online.

Anonymous Africa said they decided on the shutdown because the website was "ignoring the genocide against the Ndebele people and for ‘supporting’ a dictator". The group was protesting against an opinion piece on the Sunday Independent website claiming that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was a heroic African leader.

Anton Harber, Caxton professor of journalism at Wits University, said this was "an attack on the rights to free expression" of those who support Mugabe.

"Freedom of speech means tolerating even - or especially - opinions one dislikes," says Caxton. "One can disagree, even protest, but vandalising a newspaper site and preventing the expression of different opinions is a thuggish attack on the freedom of expression."

According to theStandard, published in Nairobi, Kenya has been ranked 145th out of 187 nations surveyed in the latest Human Development Index survey by the United Nations Development Programme.

Despite impressive economic advances, according to the report, inequalities remain in gender, rural versus urban areas, and wealth distribution.

Kenya performed better than her East African neighbours. Uganda comes in at 161 of the 187 countries covered, Tanzania 152nd and Ethiopia 173rd. Rwanda and Burundi are ranked 167th and 178th respectively.

Norway, Australia and the United States lead the rankings, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo and drought-stricken Niger have the lowest scores in the Human Development Index’s measurement of national achievement in health, education and income.

Sister paper the Daily Nation reports that technological and other challenges experienced in the recent Kenyan elections taught the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission lessons it will apply in future polls, the commission chairman told the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in Washington yesterday.

Issack Hassan acknowledged that the commission took too ambitious an approach in managing the voting last March.

He cited widespread breakdowns of electronic voter identification devices and malfunctioning of the computer system for reporting results.

Hasan further acknowledged that some Kenyans "still have resentment and anger" over the results of the election, with many of them blaming the commission for what they view as an unfair outcome.

A US specialist in Kenyan politics noted that the election had cost $100 million, and that vote tallies are still not available on the IEBC website three months after polling day.

On its international pages, the Daily Nation reports that international mediators failed Wednesday to convince Mali's president to sign a deal with northern Tuareg rebels that would pave the way for nationwide polls next month, with the talks now expected to take several more days.



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