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African press review 20 June 2013

Reports of panic in the M23 movement in DRC, Kenya's teachers are angry and some good economic news from South Africa...

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Two very different stories from the Congolese daily L'Avenir.

The paper's main headline reads "Panic in the ranks of M23; Sultani Makenga hanging onto life by a thread".

Dossier:  DRC elects a president

L'Avenir claims that Sultani Makenga, the military leader of the rebel 23 March Movement, was seriously injured in Monday's clash between M23 rebels and another armed group, the Force for the Defence of the Interests of the Congolese People. Makenga was initially treated in Sambya hospital in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, but has since been transferred to an unknown destination. Eight M23 fighters, including the group's second in command, Colonel India Queen, have been confirmed dead by M23 sources speaking to local television reporters.

L'Avenir wonders if the fate of Sultani Makenga signals the end of a rebel movement infamous for its disrespect for basic human rights, or if Monday's battle was simply an indication of Rwanda's determination to re-impose its authority over an armed group that has become ever more difficult to control?

The same paper points out that forces loyal to Bosco Ntaganda, currently awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, are still active in the same area of Rutshuru. Many Ntaganda supporters regard Sultani Makenga as a traitor.

On its sports pages, L'Avenir reports on yesterday's first stage in the first ever cycling Tour of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 66 riders, representing ten nationalities, covered the 90 kilometres from Matadi to Songololo, with Rwandan Emmanuel Rudahunga taking the yellow jersey, and French rider Medéric Clain second. Two other Rwandans, Emile Bintunina and Hassan Mukundu, completed the top four.

Today's stage will take the riders over 94 kilometres from Kimpese to Inkisi.

The main story in this morning's Kenyan daily newspaper, the Standard, says that the Kenya National Union of Teachers wants the money set aside to buy laptop computers for primary school pupils diverted to pay teachers’ allowances.

The union warned of a nationwide paralysis of public schools next week if the government does not provide 40 million euros required to pay teachers’ allowances due since 1997.

A union spokesman yesterday demanded that the laptop billions be used to finance teachers’ house, medical and commuter allowances.

The other main Nairobi paper, the Daily Nation, reports that more than 40 people are feared dead while many others were wounded in tribal clashes that broke out on Wednesday in Sudan's western Darfur region.

The clashes erupted between Salamat and Missyria tribes in Sirbaka area, which is near Zalingi, the capital of Darfur state.

A reliable source from the United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur has confirmed the clashes without giving details of casualties.

There's good news on the front page of South African financial paper, BusinessDay. Under the headline "Rand surges as current account deficit narrows unexpectedly," we learn that the deficit on the current account came in much better than expected on Wednesday, narrowing to 5.8 per cent of gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2013. The deficit was 6.5 per cent of GDP in the final quarter of 2012.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Most analysts were predicting a deficit of seven per cent of GDP.

While the announcement by the Reserve Bank was greeted as good news by economists, they remained cautious.

The rand gained almost 10c against the US dollar on Wednesday morning.

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