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African press review 3 April 2014

Were the bombings at Cairo University Islamist revenge? Is Zuma taking graft accusations seriously? Is the case against Uhuru Kenyatta running into trouble? And what has Rob Ford got against Nelson Mandela?


The main story in this morning's Egypt Independent has a Muslim Brotherhood activist claiming that yesterday's three explosions at Cairo University were in revenge for last summer's massacre in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adaweya, when police cleared supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi from the city square, killing at least 124 people.

One police officer died and another five were injured in yesterday's attacks.

The Independent quotes Muslim Brotherhood activist Abdel Rahman Ezz as saying that suicide attackers are ready to avenge the Rabaa deaths by targeting police and military units.

Tarek al-Zomor, chief of the Construction and Development Party, said that the Cairo University explosions would harm the peaceful revolution in support of Morsi.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

In South Africa financial paper BusinessDay gives pride of place to a suggestion that President Jacob Zuma appears to be compounding the controversy surrounding the taxpayer-funded multi-million rand security upgrade to his private residence in Kwa-Zulu Natal by saying he will wait for the Special Investigating Unit report before fully articulating his response to the public protector’s findings.

Yesterday Zuma technically met the 14-day deadline stipulated in the Executive Members Ethics Act by submitting to parliament a partial response to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report that found he had improperly benefited from the upgrades.

Zuma yesterday said he would give "full and proper consideration to all the matters before him and upon receipt of the Special Investigating Unit report will provide parliament with a further response on the decisive executive intervention that he would consider to be appropriate".

"The president remains concerned about the allegations of maladministration and impropriety concerning procurement in the Nkandla project, in particular the allegations about cost inflation," according to presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj.

The release of the public protector’s report, which found that Zuma had "unduly benefited" from what were supposed to be security upgrades to his private home, prompted the opposition Democratic Alliance to lodge a motion of impeachment against Zuma on the basis that he had misled parliament.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

The Standard in Kenya reports that judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague have severely criticised the prosecution’s investigations in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta with regard to the credibility of both witnesses and evidence. The three-judge panel yesterday said they had serious concerns regarding the thoroughness of the prosecution investigations.

At the same time as criticising ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the judges threatened to refer Kenya to the Assembly of State Parties if the Nairobi authorities failed to disclose the president's financial records. Bensouda claims those financial records will show evidence of payments to key figures allegedly behind the violence which followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election.

Uhuru Kenyatta is charged with complicity in the organisation of that violence.

Two crucial witnesses, both alleged members of the outlawed Mungiki sect, have been withdrawn from the case, severely damaging the prosecution’s case. One witness was removed from the original list after admitting that he lied regarding a State House meeting that he initially claimed he attended. It was at this meeting that Uhuru allegedly sanctioned retaliatory attacks in Naivasha and Nakuru. The other witness informed the prosecution late last year that he was no longer willing to testify.

The main story in sister paper, the Kenyan Daily Nation, says scandal-plagued Toronto mayor Rob Ford yesterday voted against naming a city street in honour of Nelson Mandela and then claimed he had cast his ballot in error.

Ford, who made worldwide headlines last year after admitting binge-drinking and smoking crack, has been stripped of most of his powers.

But the anti-tax populist still votes, usually against whatever the council is proposing, arguing that it will cost taxpayers too much.

When city lawmakers voted on whether a street should be named for late anti-apartheid icon Mandela, there was one vote against - from Ford.

He later requested a new vote, saying he had blundered. Which is certainly correct, one way or another.

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