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African press review 28 July 2014

Concern over the Ebola virus grows in Nigeria, Liberia worries about a future war crime tribunal, and South Africa wants to pass on the housing hot potatoe.


Nigeria's Tribune reports that all border crossings have been placed on red alert after the first Ebola case in the country was reported last week. Officials have confirmed that a man died from the virus after arriving in Lagos on a flight from Liberia.

The Tribune says investigators are currently tracking down other passengers who were on the same flight. Surveillance has also been stepped up at airports and ports.

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According to an op-ed in the Punch, the virus is “out of control” and spreading rapidly across the coast like a wild harmattan fire. The paper worries that by reaching Nigeria, the Ebola crisis has hit new proportions.

Nigeria will struggle to contain the outbreak as disaster menagement is lethargic at best and health care remains inadequate, especially with frequent doctors’ strikes.

The author points out that Nigeria is one of the last African countries still coping with the polio virus, even though vaccinations are now readily available.

He also warns against a roadside staple: 'bush meat' - especially bats - can carry Ebola, which leaves animals unharmed. Sales have been banned in other critical countries. But some Nigerians have not yet given up their taste for wild street food.

Liberia's Front Page Africa is also concerned with surveillance along the border, but this time not because of Ebola.

The US have recently refused entry to three Liberian officials, stoking national fears that they will be prosecuted for war crimes dating to the Sierra Leone Civil War.

The US declared a national economic emergency in relation to Liberia back in 2004 - this meant the President was free to regulate commerce with Liberia.

Front Page reports that President Barack Obama has just renewed this emergency.

In a statement quoted by the paper, he declared that Liberia has made significant advances to promote democracy. But former head of state Charles Taylor and others have left a legacy of destruction that still threateans the country's recovery.

According to the daily, the recent visa denials have caused a stir as Liberia remains divided over how to handle the issue of accused war crime perpetrators still in power.

In Kenya, top officials are allegedly colluding behind the President's back in a scramble to control UN funding. The Standard reports that the money in question is 193 billion shillings - roughly 1.6 billion euros - from climate change funds.

Counties are struggling to claim a chunk in the wake of recent job cuts. The Standard is concerned, amongst other things, that the scramble could potentially expose the country to ridicule.

South Africa makes a final push to provide low income housing. It then hopes to steer clear of the issue altogether. Human Settlements Ministry said it would deliver about 1.5-million houses to reduce half of the estimated backlog in housing.

According to Business Day, the state would like to step away from providing housing for the poor on a large scale. The Ministry claims this only creates a syndrome of dependency. Does this mean it's shying away from its responsibilities? Business Day says it will be focusing instead on providing homeowners with long-overdue deeds.
Instead the Ministry will focus on a drive to provide homeowners with title deeds. Some people have been living in their homes since before 1994 without their property being officially recognized in their name.

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