African press review 21 February 2014
The Nigerian central bank governor is in hot water and the markets are not happy. Official Zimbawe prepares to pay tribute to Mugabe but Zanu-PF appears divided over salarygate.
The suspension of Nigeria’s central bank governor Lamido Sanusi on Thursday by President Goodluck Jonathan is attracting a flurry of comments from the country’s papers.
Malam Sanusi, who was due to end his term in June, had been presenting evidence to parliament which he said showed the state oil company Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation had failed to remit around 14 billion euros it owed to federal government coffers. Deputy governor Sarah Alade was appointed acting governor, according to the Jonathan's spokesperson.
Nigeria’s Punch newspaper published Sanusi’s first reactions to his suspension. He says he has no regrets; no ill-feelings and was absolutely proud of what he had done. The paper quotes Sanusi as reminding the Jonathan administration that "they can suspend an individual but they can’t suspend the truth”.
Vanguard lists the many sins committed by the ex-governor. They include his persistent refusal to comply with the public procurements act, the unlawful expenditure by the CBN in intervention projects across the country and recklessness.
ThisDay claims that Sanusi’s tenure at the Central Bank had been haunted by problems of accountability. It cites a study by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria which points to breaches in the bank's mission and the anxiety generated in both local and foreign media.
Premium Times reports that the security services have seized the former Sanusi’s passport, adding that the House of Representatives has rejected his removal, dismissing the president’s action as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
In South Africa, BusinessDay observes that the decree takes out an increasingly outspoken critic of the government’s record on tackling rampant corruption in Africa’s leading energy producer. According to the paper, several dealers said Nigeria’s foreign exchange, bond and money markets had all stopped trading because of the uncertainty and volatility the suspension created.
Zimbabwe’s official Herald says all is set for the 21 February Movement celebrations at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera on Sunday with Mashonaland East province ready to host the big event.
More than 50,000 local and foreign delegates and supporters of President Robert Mugabe are expected to attend the annual commemoration, which is held to celebrate the life of the man it brands as a “revered nationalist". In an editorial the state-owned paper says the milestone coming at a time when some detractors have been spending sleepless nights hoping that nature would do for them what they failed to do politically makes it all the more meaningful.
The independent Standard newspaper focuses instead on what appears to be a dispute at the helm of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Vice-President Joice Mujuru was placed in an awkward position at the Zanu-PF politburo meeting on Friday after a perceived attempt to shield cronies named in the "salarygate" scandal. Mujuru branded the investigation of some parastatal bosses close to her as the work of enemies allegedly trying to destroy Zanu-PF from within.
Kenya’s Daily Nation recalls an occasion when Mugabe himself marvelled at his ability to live this long. According to the paper, Africa's oldest leader has outlived most of his younger fellow presidents and most of his political foes.
The Nation notes that Mugabe once quipped he would rule his country until he turned 100. After winning a new five-year term last year and more than three decades in power he is not far from reaching that goal, says the paper.
It notes that the country's new constitution could see the man who first came into office as prime minister at age 56 serve as president until he is 99. The Nairobi-based Nation notes that after three turbulent decades at the helm of the former British colony, the firebrand leader has gone from a darling of the West to international pariah.