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African press review 3 December 2014

Kenya’s security chiefs are fired. SA sold arms to Compaoré’s Burkina Faso. Mugabe purges Zanu-PF. Angola and Nigeria find themselves on the losing side in Opec.


"The writing was on the wall for Kimaiyo, Lenku." That's the main headline in this morning's Nairobi-based Standard newspaper.

The story is in reaction to yesterday's sacking of Kenya's top police office and its interior minister in the wake of the latest terrorist massacre in the north-east of the country.

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Says the Standard, yesterday's resignation by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and the almost simultaneous sacking of Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku did not come as a surprise. Both have been under intense pressure for some time, as Kenya's security situation worsened.

Following numerous attacks and insecurity issues, including the Westgate shopping centre raid and the Kwale massacres, which the public felt the duo and the entire government did not handle properly, the recent Mandera massacres where a total of 64 people lost their lives, constituted the tipping point.

Apart from the human tragedy, the attacks have hit the Kenyan tourism industry, putting pressure on the shilling because tourism is a key source of foreign exchange.

The same story dominates the front page of sister paper the Daily Nation. According to the Nation, both public and the political opposition has been demanding the sacking of both Kimaiyo and Lenku for several weeks, accusing them of failing to crack down on crime or stop “terrorists”.

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Yesterday, according to the Daily Nation, the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shebab claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the recent wave of attacks targeting northern Kenya and parts of the Coast region were aimed at securing a Muslim caliphate in the region.

The time has come to choose between an open, free, democratic Kenya, which respects the rule of law, the sanctity of life and the freedom of worship, or to accept the terms of repressive, intolerant and murderous extremists, he said.

The president has named retired Major General Joseph Nkaissery to take over from Lenku at the interior ministry.

There are stories from Burkina Faso and from Zimbabwe on the front page of South African financial paper BusinessDay.

Apparently, armoured vehicles were exported to Burkina Faso in the months before the coup in October, according to the latest report from Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.

Radebe said 31 armoured vehicles were sold to Burkina Faso in the four months before the coup which ousted president Blaise Compaoré on 31 October.

Opposition Democratic Alliance defence spokesperson David Maynier said the Burkinabé sale raises serious questions about the scrutiny committee’s capacity to evaluate political risk and advise the National Conventional Arms Control Committee.

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe yesterday condemned "jostling" for power within his governing Zanu-PF party, as he deepened his purge of potential successors.

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This week's elective congress   to be attended by about 12,000 delegates   is expected to endorse 90-year-old Mugabe as party chief and his wife Grace as women’s league boss. Several other major players are likely to lose their posts after a purge in recent weeks targeting Vice-President Joice Mujuru and her allies.

The governing party is set to approve amendments to its constitution to allow Mugabe to personally appoint his deputies, says analyst Rushweat Mukundu of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.

"If there is going to be any competition," he says, "it will be among bootlickers fighting to earn the favour of the president."

BusinessDay also reports a split in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Opec.

At last week’s meeting of the organisation in Vienna, Austria, eight countries   including Angola and Nigeria   called for a cut in production, with a view to boosting world prices. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi led a group of four Persian Gulf nations who are opposed to any slowing of output.

Says BusinessDay, the push for a cut, which requires unanimous support, thus failed, leaving Opec’s daily output target at 30-million barrels and triggering a 10 per cent collapse in prices the following day. The disagreement cements the formation of two camps within Opec: the financially strapped nations pleading for a cut to trim the supply glut and boost prices and the fiscal powerhouses willing to accept lower prices in a bid to get US shale drillers to curb their expansion.

World oil prices have fallen 32 per cent since June.

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