African press review 21 January 2014
Allegations over last year's General Elections in Kenya, the trial of deputy president William Ruto at the International Crinminal Court in The Hague and the conflict in South Sudan fuelled by 'dividends' of freedom, dominate the front page stories of African dailies.
Past elections dominate the front page of this morning's Nairobi-based Standard newspaper.
The main story says the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission yesterday rejected claims by opposition leader Raila Odinga that the military were involved in the theft of votes during last year's General Election.
The commission challenged Raila to substantiate his claim or withdraw and apologise.
While addressing a political rally at the Kenyatta Sports Ground in Kisumu at the weekend, Raila alleged that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto used military personnel to eject Coalition for Reform and Democracy supporters from the national tallying centre for the presidential count, and this enabled the Jubilee alliance to clinch victory.
The commission has described the allegations as false and untimely, saying they should have been raised during the court petition immediately following the election.
Further down the front page of The Standard, it's the 2007 presidential election that comes under scrutiny, as the trial of deputy president William Ruto continues at the International Crinminal Court in the Dutch city of The Hague.
Yesterday, a prosecution witness alleged that members of the Kalenjin community who did not support Ruto's party had their property destroyed in the violence which followed the disputed election. Ruto is accused of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in organising and motivating the disturbances in which more than 1,000 people died.
The witness, who testified in private session to protect his identity, claimed that houses and other property belonging to Kalenjin who supported former President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity, had their houses burned down.
In the Kenyan Daily Nation, the main story warns of a looming power crisis, we're talking electricity, not politics.
According to the Nation, electricity supplier KenGen says the effect of the failure of the short rains last year, which were both late and depressed, is already being felt, with water levels dropping by six metres of their spilling mark behind most of the country's hydroelectric dams.
A review of rainfall released by the Kenya Meteorological Service shows that the October-December 2013 seasonal rainfall was generally poor over several parts of the county.
Continuing generation will depend on the resumption of the long rains due in March and April.
Also in The Daily Nation, a report that the conflict in South Sudan is being fuelled in part by “dissatisfaction with the dividends of independence,” according to a senior United Nations official.
Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary General for human rights, cited “a stark discrepancy between the availability of resources and the quality of life for the people” of South Sudan.
Reporting on his fact-finding visit to the country last week, Simonovic noted that South Sudan's average annual income of 1,400 euros is more than that of neighbouring countries, with 80 percent of South Sudanese revenues coming from oil sales.
Despite the relatively high income, indicators of social development are extremely low.
South Sudan has a 51 per cent poverty rate, 47 per cent of the population suffering malnutrition, 75 per cent illiteracy, 75 per cent with no access to toilets of any kind, and the world's second-highest maternal mortality rate.
“A girl 15 to 19 years of age in South Sudan has more likelihood to die in childbirth than to finish high school,” Simonovic said.
In Uganda, the former Forum for Democratic Change president, Dr Kizza Besigye, has told Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to stop thinking that he is in the queue to replace President Yoweri Museveni.
Dr Besigye, a three-time presidential candidate, advised Mbabazi to join the military if he wants his political aspirations to materialise.
Besigye claims that the only person in the queue is Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, President Museveni’s eldest son. Brigadier Muhoozi is the commander of the Special Forces that guard President Museveni.
A Presidential spokesman yesterday said there was no queue in the ruling party.
South Africa's financial paper BusinessDay reports that claims of internal strife and dissent have rocked the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, raising questions about the trade union’s ability to carry out a strike at platinum mines later this week.
At a briefing on Monday, five mineworkers from Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum, who say they are Amcu shop stewards, berated the union’s leaders as dictatorial. They also raised doubts about the union’s ability to realise the objectives of the planned strike.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said yesterday that the individuals at the briefing were no longer members in good standing with the union.