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African press review 12 March 2014

Paralysis in Kenya's education system, Ethiopia and Egypt are at loggerheads over the Nile and Ugandan lawmakers rally for President Yoweri Museveni's sole candidacy in the 2016 election lead today's headlines in African media.


On an inside page of today's Cairo-based Egypt Independent, the satirical TV presenter Bassem Youssef, who was a vocal critic of deposed president Mohamed Morsi’s regime and of the Islamists, says Egypt in the Morsi era was more democratic than it is now.

Under Morsi, Youssef was hauled before the courts repeatedly, accused of insulting the president and blasphemy.

Saying that his satirical comments will not impede Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the current defense minister, from winning the up-coming presidential election, Youssef goes on to point out that the existence of a vocal satirical opposition is one proof of a real democracy.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

His show has been suspended since late last year following comments mocking the pro-Sisi campaign.

Ethiopia and Egypt are still trading diplomatic blows over the Nile's Renaissance Dam project.

An Ethiopian official yesterday claimed that Egypt is using the dispute over the dam as a means to appease its internal problems. He said Cairo did not want to take advantage of the dam in a fair way.

Egypt fears the Ethiopian hydro-electric project will reduce its annual Nile water quota of 55.5 billion cubic meters. Egypt is also concerned about its security if the dam were to collapse for any reason.

The main story in the Ugandan Daily Monitor reports that, despite the official cloud of secrecy which shrouds what transpired at Monday’s meeting of the parliamentary group of the ruling National Resistance Movement, sources confirmed yesterday that it was agreed that party MPs would set off on a countrywide campaign to drum-up support for President Yoweri Museveni’s sole candidacy in the 2016 elections.

The exercise is reportedly scheduled to start on 20 March.

The decision comes against a background of accusations from some MPs that the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi had built a network of supporters at grassroots level, a charge he denies. Last week, the Prime Minister said he will not run against Museveni.

According to the Nairobi-based Standard, Kenyan higher education faces countrywide paralysis if lecturers and non-teaching staff in public universities make good their strike threat today. Over 30,000 public universities staff are expected to boycott duties this morning after the Education ministry failed to broker a deal in the pay dispute between unions and vice chancellors.

An estimated 500,000 regular and self-sponsored students will have no teachers if the strike goes ahead.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

An earlier meeting between the sides failed to resolve the dispute.

The Standard also reports that there's been a mixed reaction to President Uhuru Kenyatta's ambitious austerity programme for the state wage sector.

Some analysts argue that corruption and a bloated public service must be addressed to tame the spiraling wage bill.

President Kenyatta on Monday dared those unwilling to have their salaries reduced to seek legal redress.

The Kenyan Daily Monitor gives front page treatment to the bizarre fate of two Ugandan women, who ended up in jail for wearing mini-skirts.

Prosy Nasuna sued Jane Nabukenya over an allegedly unpaid debt. When the pair appeared at Bukomansimbi for the court hearing, both found themselves behind bars.

Presiding magistrate Catherine Baguma ordered their arrest for contempt of court.

She said the court was unable to proceed with the case while the two were dressed in miniskirts.

Justice Baguma then sentenced the women to three hours in prison and postponed their case.

In South Africa, financial paper BusinessDay reports that Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, confirmed yesterday that his party would pay the forty thousand euro deposit required by the Independent Electoral Commission before the party can contest national elections on 7 May, even though he claimed it did not have the money.

Malema made the announcement after the North Gauteng High Court dismissed an urgent application by the party for temporary exemption from paying the deposit on the basis that the EFF do not receive funding from Parliament.

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