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African press review 7 October 2013

Clashes in Cairo, more on Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto's trial at the Hague, the constitution in Uganda and BMW in South Africa ... all in today's African papers.


The Egyptian papers are unsure how many people died in yesterday's clashes in Cairo between police and supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has blamed Egyptian authorities for murdering peaceful protesters during Sunday's demonstration, calling for an international investigation into the deaths and injuries of scores of protestors.

Security forces have meanwhile arrested 25 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members, accusing them of possession of over fifty explosive devices.

The suspects were arrested at a central Cairo metro station and have been referred for investigation.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Mohamed Nasr, head of the police investigations department, said on Sunday that the suspects tried to plant bombs inside the station to blow it up. They also fired at security personnel who were trying to apprehend them.

The suspects were also in possession of flyers inciting people to riot against the police and army.

In Nairobi, the daily Standard reports that the second prosecution witness is due to take the stand later this morning in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Ruto’s defence team concluded the cross examination of the first witness on Friday during a closed-door session.

According to the prosecution schedule, the second witness is a man who allegedly implicates the Orange Democratic Movement in the violence that engulfed the country after the disputed 2007 presidential elections results.

The witness claims the ODM paid gangs of youths who went on a killing spree in the Rift Valley.

Meanwhile, according to another Nairobi daily, The Daily Nation, analysts have downplayed fears that members of the African Union will embark on a mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court at the emergency summit in Addis Ababa which opens next weekend.

The two-day meeting called by the governments of Kenya and Mauritania will be dedicated to discussing the bloc’s relationship with the ICC.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Regional newspaper The East African gives the front page honours to Olive Beti Kamya.

Kamya is the leader of the opposition Uganda Federal Alliance, and has for 10 months now been leading a quiet campaign to collect signatures for a referendum to change Uganda’s current constitution, which she says is at the core of the instability that has dogged the country since Independence 50 years ago.

Kamya says the president simply has too much power as things stand.

She says the system encourages impunity.

Under Uganda’s Constitution, the president is the sole employer, provider and benefactor. He wields enough authority, power and influence to do almost anything he wants, especially with a unicameral parliament, and yet he cannot be taken to court, according to Kamya.

The law requires a petition to have the backing of 10 per cent of registered voters, the equivalent of 1.4 million people, to seek a referendum to amend the Constitution. Kamya says she is halfway there and plans to submit all the signatures to the Electoral Commission early next year.

The main headline in South African financial paper BusinessDay reads "‘Blackmail’ storm over BMW as strike ends".

The story goes on to explain that the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa on Sunday called off its strike in the vehicle parts sector, accusing German car giant BMW of "blackmail" and saying: "In China and Zimbabwe they would never be allowed to hold the country to ransom."

Numsa said its members were set to return to work today, ending a strike that has cost the sector about 14.5 million euros, slashed exports by 75% and dealt another blow to South Africa’s already bruised image among foreign investors.

The union, which represents 70,000 of the sector’s 300,000 unionised workers, settled for a 10% increase in the first year of the agreement, followed by increases of 8% in the next two years.

It had originally demanded 10% increases every year for three consecutive years.

The blackmail complaint arose from the union's perception that BMW put pressure on strikers by warning that it was putting its plans to expand capacity in South Africa on hold.

The union says BMW must remember that it is taxpayers’ money that subsidises the profits they make in South Africa.

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