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African press review 21 July 2014

South Africa calls on Israel to cease violence, Nigeria's political scandal unfolds, Rwanda needs to dust off its electric circuits and Uganda harnesses the sun to light its streets.


South Africa's Business Daily reports on President Jacob Zuma's reactions to escalating violence in the Middle East.  Zuma joined international calls for an immediate ceasefire, condemning Israel and urging it to withdraw from Gaza immediately.

Zuma called Israel's operations a "senseless invasion." South Africa is worried that continued violence will foil recent attempts to increase Palestinian unity. Zuma warns against political forces using the current situation to further undermine the Palestinian National Authority.

Nigeria meanwhile is buzzing with a political scandal.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

TheTribune has the latest: the government has threatened to arrest top opposition leaders it suspects of bribing lawmakers.

They allegedly attempted to dissuade lawyers from impeaching Murtala Nyako last week with a handsome sum of equivalent to roughly 1 million euros.

Why so much money? Nyako, a North-Eastern governor, is also a major political leader.
And the press has been reeling with news about his impeachment since last week, with some hailing the decision as fine example of fighting impunity, and others seeing it as a sure sign that Nigeria is descending into vengeful fascism. Nyako was an influential figure in the current leading party before changing sides and joining the opposition.

A recent string of fires has ravaged homes in Rwanda, and the New Times says it's high time for more security. Until now, fire management has been a joint effort led by police and private firms, but even these recognize the need for a governmental body dedicated specifically to this issue.

Dossier: Rwanda remembers genocide 20 years later

According to the Interior Ministry, poor wiring accounts for the majority of blazes, with over half caused by short-circuits and the rest by negligence. Two of the latest fires hit prisons, causing a major security issue for prisoners and civilians as well. Investigations are still underway, but according to the Times, fears of terrorism can safely be set aside.

And Uganda's Daily Monitor has some bright news: Kampala has been fitted with a hundred new solar street lamps, courtesy of the Chinese government.

The Monitor reports that the project cost the equivalent of nearly 600 000 euros - that's 6,000 euros per lamp. That may seem pricey, but the project is meant to help the city save money as it has been struggling to foot high electricity bills.

The paper is worried about theft, saying that the lamps or parts of them could easily be stolen. No plans were mentioned about expanding the solar street lamps to the rest of the city, but Uganda can expect more Chinese investment in infrastructure soon.

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