African press review 27 January 2014
The state of democracy in Egypt, the platinum mining strike in South Africa and Kenyan fisherman filing a petition against the Ugandan government - all in today's papers.
Egypt faces a presidential election campaign under the shadow of continuing violence, and with an international organisation expressing doubts about the way the recent referendum was organised.
This morning's Egypt Independent gives pride of place to yesterday's announcement by Interim President Adly Mansour that presidential elections will be held before any parliamentary poll.
The Egyptian Constitution grants the president the legislative authority to determine which elections should take place first. Mansour said he made his decision after discussions with all interested parties.
Democracy International, the largest international observation mission which monitored Egypt's constitutional referendum, has released its preliminary findings, saying it has “serious concerns” about the political environment surrounding the referendum.
The organisation pointed to a climate of mass arrests of political opposition in the period leading up to and during the referendum, adding that the interim government never allowed those who opposed changes to express their dissent.
Although there is no direct evidence that these concerns swayed the public vote, according to Democracy International, they do risk the integrity of the voting process, especially in the future if an election is closely contested.
In South Africa, efforts continue to end the strike in the platinum sector.
According to one of the top stories in this morning's Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union will today resume government-brokered talks with the world’s top three platinum producers.
On Friday, the union and the mining houses agreed to mediation in the dispute over entry-level wages for underground workers by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
The negotiations are expected to go on for three days.
The main story in the Kenyan Standard this morning is a blunt warning to opposition politician and former prime minister, Raila Odinga.
The Standard reports that a group of Orange Democratic Movement MPs have warned that the party leader may lose the 2017 elections because he is surrounded by deceitful advisors.
The team, mainly MPs from South Nyanza, claimed the ‘advisers’ have been purporting to assist the former Premier in making decisions but with selfish interests at heart.
They also accused them of denying their colleagues from the Luo community an opportunity to compete for the post of party secretary general.
The Standard also reports that the International Criminal Court in the Dutch city of The Hague has received a petition filed against the Ugandan government by Kenyan fishermen living on Migingo Island.
The Nairobi-based daily newspaper says ICC’s prosecution office is currently analysing the seriousness of the information contained in the formal document prepared by hundreds of fishermen through the Africa Human Rights Bureau.
The fishing community operating on Migingo and Ugingo islands in Lake Victoria have claimed that they are the victims of arbitrary arrests, torture, rape, punitive taxation and confiscation of their equipment by Ugandan security personnel.
According to the Kampala-based Ugandan Daily Monitor, Lord’s Resistance Army rebel leader, Joseph Kony, has written to Ugandans seeking forgiveness and a resumption of peace talks to end the insurgency.
In his letter, Kony assures Ugandans that the LRA is committed to a sustainable peaceful political settlement of its war with the government of Yoweri Museveni.
“We are willing and ready to forgive and seek forgiveness, and continue to seek peaceful means to end this war," the letter continues.
The government-LRA peace talks hosted in Juba, South Sudan collapsed after Kony refused to sign the final peace agreement in 2008.