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African press review 16 September 2014


The Dalai Lama is on the front page of South African financial paper, BusinessDay.

This is because fourteen Nobel Peace Laureates have asked President Jacob Zuma to grant the Tibetan spiritual leader a visa to South Africa.

The Dalai Lama was to attend a summit of Nobel peace prize winners in Cape Town next month, the first-ever meeting of its kind in Africa.

But, according to an aide, he cancelled after Pretoria denied him a visa in a bid to avoid angering China, which regards the Buddhist monk as a campaigner for Tibetan independence.

The Dalai Lama has applied three times in the last five years to visit South Africa. He was unsuccessful each time.

China is South Africa’s biggest single trading partner, with two-way trade worth more than 20 billion euros each year.

The Dalai Lama shares the BusinessDay front page with Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Kenyan president yesterday signed into law a 5 per cent capital gains tax that investors say could deter investment in property, equities and the country’s growing oil and mining sectors.

The finance bill approved by parliament in late August will take effect on January 1 next, changing how taxes are applied in East Africa’s biggest economy.

The plans for a capital gains tax were first announced in the 2013 budget, and lead to a sharp decline in Kenyan share prices.

The Nairobi government says the move is to help raise funds for development projects which will spur economic growth and create jobs.

Capital gains tax was dropped by Kenya in the mid-1980s to attract foreign and local investment.

The front page of the Kenyan Standard has more pressing matters to attend to.

The Nairobi-based paper's main story reports that Kenyan taxpayers will have to part with the shilling equivalent of approximately 34 million euros every year to provide sex workers with a daily HIV and Aids prevention pill.

Al-Shebab - who are they?

This according to an expert budgetary report prepared for the Government. The Standard notes that anti-Aids medication for Kenya's prostitutes has the same annual budget as the national free maternity scheme.

Another headline on the Standard's front page reads "Fury over State's mosque closure threat".

Muslim leaders have protested against weekend threats to shut down what the State says are mosques that promote radical teachings, saying this would undermine the war against terrorism.

Last Sunday, the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Kenyan police announced a plan to close mosques he claimed were preaching extremism and promoting al-Shebab ideologies.

The Standard also reports that a witness has been paid one million shillings by the International Criminal Court since the middle of last year for his preparations to testify against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.

The two men are being tried for alleged complicity in organising the violence which followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election

Witness number 604 has received ober ten thousand euros in cash from the Office of the Prosecutor and the Victims and Witness Prosecution Unit of the ICC, since June last year. The witness described the money as "fantastic" and "wonderful", saying it was the reason he agreed to make false statements against Ruto and Sang. The money was intended to cover his transport, food, communication and accommodation while waiting to give his testimony at The Hague.

In the Daily Nation, the main story has President Kenyatta accusing western countries of being slow to act to contain the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

The president said the response to the outbreak of the disease in West Africa is “not the kind of response we would have seen if this happened somewhere in Europe or America.”

He said the global response to the Ebola outbreak was a wakeup call to African leaders to set up their own fund to tackle emergencies on the continent.

The president was speaking at yesterday's UNESCO international award presentation in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

In Uganda, the Monitor gives pride of place to the fact that Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, will later today assume the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly.

Critics say the honour of the one-year job will cost the country about 770,000 euros, much needed elsewhere.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kampala says the expenditure is "good value for money".

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