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African press review 9 December 2013

The African press is still dominated by tributes to Nelson Mandela, Kenya worried about its cross-border problems with Ethiopia, and Uganda focused on a drama at Iganga Police Station.


I was intrigued by the headline of one article in South African financial paper, BusinessDay.

The article was written by Jonny Steinberg, who teaches African Studies at Oxford University, and the headline reads, 'Thanks to Mandela, it is possible for us to give the bicycle back’.

Steinberg remembers Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993, talking about what it means to apologise. "If you steal my bicycle," he said. "It is not enough that you say sorry. You must give the bicycle back."

Slideshow Mandela

And he goes on to say that, despite the serious problems still to be resolved, if you cast a cool eye over the past 20 years, you will see that today's South Africans are doing what Mandela made possible   they are giving the bicycle back.

Tabloid paper TheSowetan notes that special trains will be available to take thousands of mourners from all over Gauteng to tomorrow's memorial service at the FNB stadium. The trains will be free.

In northern Kenya, according to the front page of this morning's Nairobi-based Standard, leaders of the Borana community have accused the Ethiopian military of fueling the conflict in the border town of Moyale.

Clashes between Borana people and members of the Gabra and Burji tribes were blamed for the deaths of at least ten people last week.

This morning, a local MP says that about 400 Ethiopian militiamen fighting the separatist Oromo Liberation Front in Kenya were behind the anarchy in Moyale.

The MP further claimed that the Kenya Defence Forces, deployed to stop the inter-clan clashes, were collaborating with the Ethiopian military and the militias.

Also in Kenya, The Daily Nation reports that health workers have threatened to go on strike from tomorrow over plans to devolve their services.

Last week, the health professionals issued seven-day strike notice in their push to continue under the control and administration of the central government. They argue that the county governments are not competent to run the health service.

The practitioners say they are happy to work with the local authorities, but want all questions concerning salaries, training, transfers, promotions and retirement to remain with the national government.

The two sides are to meet later today in an effort to resolve the situation. If they fail, says the Nation, the country's health sector will face a major crisis.

In Uganda, the Kampala-based Daily Monitor reports that here was drama at Iganga Police Station last Friday when a woman, who was being held in the police cells for allegedly stealing a cow, started mooing like one.

According to officers at the station, the suspect had arrived at the station with the animal from Bugiri District and asked them to buy it.

The district police commander, Mr Herbert Nuwagaba, told the Daily Monitor that the officers ordered the woman to leave the station after she failed to produce proof of ownership, but she declined, forcing them to place her under arrest.

The woman, however, reportedly sent fellow inmates into a panic when she went on her fours and started mooing like a cow, forcing them to raise alarm, compelling the police officers to intervene.

When police officers brought her out of the cells, she started eating grass and mowing alongside the suspected stolen cow that had been tethered in police station compound.

The police officers were still waiting for anyone to report theft of a cow or to claim it.

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