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African press review 2 April 2014

Riots hit Mombasa after Islamist's killing. Mozambique fails to rid itself of civil-war landmines. The AU abstains from raising cash from tourists. And a by-election for Kampala's mayor is called off.


The top story in Kenya is the killing yesterday of radical Islamic cleric Sheikh Abubakar Shariff, also known as Makaburi.

According to the Nairobi-based Standard, riots broke out in several parts of the port city of Mombasa following the shooting of Makaburi outside the Shanzu Law Courts.

Eyewitnesses told the Standard that at approximately 6.30 yesterday evening, men wearing white flowing robes opened fire on Sheikh Abubakar Shariff and five other unidentified individuals as the group waited for a bus after appearing in court.

Al-Shebab - who are they?

Just two days ago, Kenyan intelligence officials linked Makaburi to the 23 March killing of worshippers in a Mombasa church. Officials indicated at the weekend that the Anti-Terror Police Unit had concluded that Makaburi aided fighters allied to Al Hijra, an affiliate of al-Shebab in Mombasa, to procure guns and commit the 23 March church massacre, allegedly on the orders of a Kenyan Yemeni based Al-Qaida fugitive, Ahmed Iman Ali.

In July last year the UN Monitoring Group linked Makaburi to Al Hijra activities in Mombasa, Nairobi, Tanzania and Burundi.

The Kenyan Daily Nation points out that Makaburi is the third high-profile Muslim cleric to be shot dead in less than two years.

Ibrahim Omar was shot in Mombasa last October, while in July 2012, Sheikh Aboud Rogo was assassinated in the port city.

South African financial paper BusinessDay reports that Mozambique is likely to miss the deadline for ridding the country of landmines laid during the civil war that ended in 1992.

Mozambique was supposed to clear the last landmines by the end of this year but clashes between government forces and the revived Renamo rebel movement could make that impossible, according to the Johannesburg-based daily.

Renamo wants greater inclusion in the Frelimo-led government and an overhaul of electoral laws.

Mozambique is due to host the third review of the Ottawa Convention, which banned the use of antipersonnel landmines, in June.

BusinessDay also looks at the rejection by African finance ministers of a proposal by former Nigerian president Olesegun Obasanjo to levy hotel rooms and airline flights in an effort to fund the African Union.

Doing so, they argued, could damage the African tourism industry.

Obasanjo suggested a hotel tax of about two euros per stay, and a flight levy of eight euros. Some ministers proposed reexamining an earlier proposal asking member states to pay a percentage of their gross domestic products to the AU. This too was rejected.

South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, said countries should be able to choose their own means of raising revenue.

The cash-strapped African Union has had to forego a number of projects as it relies entirely on donor funding.

South Africa, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria currently provide about 65 per cent of the African contributions. The Peace and Security Department is entirely funded by non-African donors.

In Uganda the Daily Monitor reports that Attorney General Peter Nyombi has instructed the electoral commission not to proceed with the by-election for the position of mayor of Kampala.

Nyombi based his decision on last week's court ruling, allowing the capital's impeached lord mayor, Erias Lukwago, to resume work. Last week's decision also ruled that Lukwago was wrongly impeached.

The Monitor says the attorney general intends to appeal against last week's decision but has ordered the postponement of the mayoral by-election until that appeal can be heard.

In a separate development, Lukwago has filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking to reverse a different decision, issued on Monday by the Court of Appeal, that ordered him out of City Hall just hours after he resumed duty in the light of last week's ruling. I hope that's clear.

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