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African press review 7 August 2014

Liberia is paying a high price for the Ebola outbreak, Nigeria hopes for help in containing Boko Haram and political incorrectness in South Africa sparks controversy.


As you've heard earlier this morning, Liberia has declared as state of emergency over the Ebola outbreak.

And the papers are sounding the alarm too, saying many other diseases are going untreated too.

Front Page Africa says the health system is under considerable strain, and common illnesses like malaria and typhoid have been overshadowed by Ebola. So death tolls are rising elsewhere unneccessarily.

The paper warns that the outbreak is also undermining the economic stability of the country with a loss of millions of dollars in productive activities.

While some have turned to prayer and repentance in the hope of being delivered from the virus, others turn to violence.

Front Page reports on a clash on the border with Sierra Leone, where locals chased away two people infected by the virus, as they were waiting to be transported to the capital. Protestors are also blocking major roads to force authorities to remove infected bodies.

The Liberian New Dawn reports that national Senate elections due to be held in October are also likely to be post-poned.

The paper says the election commission is hesitant to deploy staff to prepare for the vote.
They want to put the process on hold, doubting that free, fair and transparent elections can take place while the country is in a state of crisis. Political rallies and campaigning would be a health risk, as they bring together crowds and expose even more people to infection.

And in northern Nigeria, the government is clearly struggling - and failing - to contain Boko Haram. The Nigerian Guardian says President Goodluck Jonathan is asking the international community for help. At the US-Africa summit in Washington, he called for a more effective crack-down on any countries or international organization known to fund terrorism.

According to the President, the conflict in the north of the country is a pan-African problem, which is why his government can not contain it on its own.

Though Nigeria's successes in terms of security may be few and far between, they are loudly advertized when they do happen.

Nigerian papers are reporting on a man dubbed the Boko Haram 'butcher.' Police paraded him in Abuja on Wednesday in Abuja after having arrested him last month. The Nigerian Tribune says this was so they could prove rumours wrong that he had managed to escape.

Quizzed on his activities in Boko Haram, the thirty-year old told the press it only took him two minutes to slaughter victims; thus making headlines across the country.

And the Nigerian Punch says that the Nigerian Air Force will be changing strategy in fighting the armed group. What exactly will change remains unclear, but the Punch reports that the Nigerian army will boost its training to be able to fend off Boko Haram, a group that often uses suicide-bombers and hit-and-run tactics.

And Uganda's New Vision is having a very feminine week - yesterday it was women in the army, today it's menstruation in schools.

NGOs are pushing schools to do a better job educating girls about their period. The paper says they want the schools to provide free pads and that a majority of school girls miss out on classes every month. The NGOs will be holding a conference on the issue next week.

In South Africa, the Daily Maverick reports on a blackface incident: two white used used shoe polish to paint their faces while dressing up as black domestic workers. The paper wonders: is this offensive? is this art? or just plain stupidity? The Maverick thinks of course white South Africans are allowed to don blackface, and others are allowed defend it. But just because we can eat ice-cream for breakfast doesn’t mean we should.

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