African press review 10 February 2014
The headlines on the front page of South African financial paper, BusinessDay, would leave you wondering just where the country is headed . . . The main story says South Africa will not reach this year's tax target, despite the revenue target having already been reduced by over 3 billion rand.
Increases in interest rates, price hikes and a weakening rand are blamed for the likely shortfall. The fiscal year ends on March 30. Of course, as another story on the same front page points out, a weak rand is not all bad news.
The headline reads "Weak rand makes exports a blessing, imports a curse," with the small print explaining that the tumbling rand has been a windfall for mining houses, but it has at the same time saddled domestic manufacturers and retailers with higher costs and weaker consumer demand.
It looks as if South Africa has lost the chance to produce the re-launched Datsun motor car. The Japanese company has decided to base its manufacturing in India, citing strikes and a turbulent labour situation as its main reasons for looking elsewhere.
This, says BusinessDay, is further evidence of how the labour standoff is costing South Africa much-needed foreign investment. It comes while the world’s top three platinum producers are embroiled in a strike costing nearly fifteen million euros every day, according to the Chamber of Mines.
Meanwhile, investors are being warned to steer clear of South Africa's mine sector, and last week's fatal accidents at Harmony, South Africa’s third-largest gold producer, will, according to BusinessDay, raise new questions about safety standards at the company.
In Kenya, the Standard reports that a new controversy has hit the fight against Muslim militancy in the coastal city of Mombasa.
A local family claims that a suspect captured during the February 2 police raid on the controversial Musa mosque has not been brought to court and cannot be traced at any police station.
Mombasa police have refused to comment on the whereabouts of a man the family and rights groups have identified as Hemed Salim Ahmed, amid claims that no fewer than six suspects captured in the raid could be undergoing interrogation at locations in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Meanwhile, Evans Wasonga, the officer investigating the 104 suspects arrested during that raid has sworn an affidavit dated February 7, claiming that some of the suspects were at an advanced stage of ‘executing a terrorist act at an unspecified target within the Republic of Kenya’. Wasonga said the State will oppose their release on bond on security grounds when the trial resumes this morning.
Also in the Standard, news that Kenya's ruling Jubilee administration will today press Parliament to investigate remarks by former International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo that foreign envoys had wanted him to prevent Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto from contesting elections.
Moreno-Ocampo, who left the ICC in 2012, revealed last month that foreign powers had wanted to use the cases against Uhuru and Ruto to block them from running for high office in the last General Election.
The former ICC chief prosecutor made the remarks in an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide at the end of last month.
The Kenyan Daily Nation reports that Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda will appear before the International Criminal Court this Monday.
The founder of the M23 rebel group, who surprised American officials last year when he arrived at the US embassy in Rwanda and turned himself in, faces charges ranging from rape and murder to using child soldiers.
The Hague-based court's judges have 60 days after today's hearing to decide whether the case against him should proceed to trial.
The main story in the Ugandan Monitor is not exactly news. We are told that the parliamentary caucus of the ruling National Resistance Movement has endorsed President Museveni to stand unopposed for the party presidency in 2016. According to the NRM Constitution, the party President automatically becomes the flag-bearer in the presidential elections.
Yoweri Museveni will celebrate his 70th birthday this year. He has been president of Uganda for the past 28 years.
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