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African press review 17 September 2013

Growing dissent in South Sudan, Rwanda's military deployment on its border with Democratic Republic of Congo are among the subjects in the African press today...


South Africa's financial paper, BusinessDay, reports that South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, is facing dissent as Africa's newest state stumbles.

According to the Johannesburg-based daily, the performance of the former bush fighters as rulers has fallen short of even the most modest expectations.

President Salva Kiir is facing growing dissent from the streets and from inside his ruling party. Critics say the newborn nation is facing the same ills that plagued the old Sudan - corruption, a lack of public services and repression of government opponents and the media.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

While no one regrets secession from the North, says BusinessDay, half the population feels South Sudan is heading in the wrong direction, with poverty and crime on the increase. The absence of a real opposition party means widespread grievances find no outlet through the political system.

At least half of the 10 billion euros earned in oil revenues since the 2005 peace deal with Khartoum has been stolen by government officials.

Also according to BusinessDay, Rwanda has responded to regional criticism of its military deployment along the frontier with the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, saying its territory has been repeatedly hit by cross-border shelling.

Rwanda’s ambassador to South Africa, Vincent Karega, told BusinessDay on Monday that 34 shells exploded inside Rwanda in a recent 10-day period. Ambassador Karega went on to suggest that the shelling was not accidental but a ploy to try to suck Rwanda into the conflict between Congolese troops, supported by United Nations peace keepers, against the Rwandan-backed Congolese rebels known as M23.

Rwanda first complained about the shelling during August’s intense fighting in areas north of the eastern Congo city of Goma. The M23 rebels were forced to retreat and there have been no reports of cross-border incursions by Rwanda’s army.

Rwanda is concerned that only M23 fighters are being targeted, while the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda - exiled remnants of the former government army in Rwanda that helped to commit the 1994 genocide - are being left untouched.

The border deployment by Rwanda was criticised at a special summit of the Southern African Development Community in Windhoek, Namibia, last Wednesday, where the possibility of a Rwandan invasion of the eastern DRC was deplored. Rwanda is not a member of the Southern African Development Community.

In South Africa itself, the rand is continuing its remarkable turnaround from its lows against the dollar last month, and on Monday traded at its strongest level in five weeks.

Confirmation that former US Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers is out of the running for the chairmanship of the American Federal Reserve boosted confidence that the Fed will maintain its soft stance for longer, thus helping emerging market currencies, including the rand.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

In Kenya, The Standard reports that Deputy President William Ruto will today face his accusers as his trial resumes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The first prosecution witness to take the stand is expected to be a woman who survived the attack at Kiambaa where 30 women and children were burnt to death inside a church on 1 January, 2008.

The 37-year-old woman is expected to testify about planning meetings allegedly attended by Ruto at a prominent politician’s home in the Rift Valley where she worked as a cook.

There's bad news on the front page of The Daily Nation, where it's reported that Kenya is one of the countries that will not achieve key goals on health and child mortality by 2015, according to a UN agency report.

The study says that Kenya’s pledge to attain the Millennium Development Goals on health, especially those on preventing the death of children, are far from being realised.

The report, jointly released on Monday by Unicef, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank, says that despite a reduction in the number of children dying before reaching their fifth birthday, the decrease is not enough to achieve the goals set in the year 2000.

Pneumonia, premature birth, asphyxia, diarrhoea and malaria are cited as the leading causes of death among children. The reports says a child born in sub-Saharan Africa faces more than 16 times the risk of dying before his or her fifth birthday than a child born in a high-income country.

In Uganda, the strike by teachers is the big story.

According to The Daily Monitor, the first school day for the year’s third term yesterday was characterised by padlocks on classroom doors and general inactivity as teachers and learners spent hours doing nothing.

The Monitor says a majority of teachers seemed to be supporting the strike over government failure to increase teachers' pay by 20 percent.


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