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African press review 10 December 2014

Is Zimbabwe becoming a monarchy? Kenyan police deny running a murder programme as the country gets its own Patriot Act. Tutu will miss a Nobel peace get-together for health reasons. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela takes Graça Machel to court over Nelson’s will. And a Ugandan minister comes under suspicion over a rail construction contract.


In Zimbabwe the privately owned paper NewsDay says there have been mixed reactions to yesterday's sacking by Robert Mugabe of vice-president Joice Mujuru and eight cabinet ministers.

Some analysts suggest Zimbabwe is now walking the path towards monarchy with disastrous consequences for the country. Others argue that Mujuru’s ouster was long overdue because of her alleged role in sabotaging government development programmes.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Mujuru was shown the door yesterday, after weeks of disregarding calls to step down by First Lady Grace Mugabe for allegedly plotting to unseat the president.

South Africa-based Zimbabwean media scholar and political analyst Trust Matsilele said Mujuru’s departure spells doom for Zimbabwe, although he went on to suggest that an alliance between her and the opposition could bring an end to Mugabe’s three-decades-long rule.

Matsilele says the ruling party is now being run by a tiny clique, which is unpopular both within the broader Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe at large.

The government-owned Herald warns that more heads are set to roll.

In Kenya the Daily Nation reports that the National Police Service has denied claims that it runs a secret programme involving the execution of terrorism suspects.

Reacting to allegations contained in a documentary aired by the international television channel Al Jazeera, outgoing inspector-general of police, David Kimaiyo yesterday said the force could not be blamed for the actions of people masquerading as police officers.

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Al Jazeera on Monday night aired an exposé in which individuals it identifies as Kenyan security officers confess to having executed terrorism suspects, including Sheikh Abubakar Shariff, who was shot in the street in Mombassa by unknown assailants in April.

The interviewees say they were trained by foreign security agencies, including the British MI5 and Israel's Mossad.

Also on the front page of the Daily Nation, a warning that Kenya’s parliament was yesterday asked to change security laws in ways which would limit the constitutional rights of citizens.

The Security Laws (Amendment) Bill is intended to empower the government and security agencies to fight terrorism.

But, says the Nation, some parts of the bill smack of the US Patriot Act which presumes that terrorism is best fought by creating a near-police state in which civil liberties are subordinate to the government’s quest for security.

According to the Nairobi daily, freedom of expression, the right to privacy and the independence of the media are all at risk under the provisions of the amendment.

Public hearings on the proposed legislation open this morning.

The front page of the Nairobi-based daily Standard warns that Kenya's schools may not reopen in January. This follows yesterday's resolution by the Kenya National Union of Teachers calling on all members to stay at home and await instructions if the government fails to make an offer on their pay demands.

The main claim by the teachers is for a pay increase of 150 per cent.

The main story in South African tabloid paper the Sowetan reports that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has cancelled his travel plans for the rest of the year for health reasons.

The cleric and anti-apartheid activist is about to embark on a new course of medication to manage the prostate cancer he's been living with for the past 15 years

Slideshow Mandela

Tutu's daughter said he would not be in a position to attend the Nobel peace laureates’ summit to be held in Rome this week.

Also in the Sowetan, a report that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela believes that former president Nelson Mandela's widow Graça Machel should not inherit the disputed property in Qunu in the Eastern Cape, alleging that Machel owns "a whole world in Mozambique".

In October lawyers for Madikizela-Mandela filed papers in the Mthatha High Court challenging Mandela's estate, seeking the rights to his Qunu home after it emerged she had been left out of the former president's will.

And in Uganda the main story in the Daily Monitor says that Minister for the Presidency Frank Tumwebaze put pressure on the defence ministry to award an eight-billion-euro contract for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway to a Chinese firm, according to the ongoing inquiry into controversies surrounding the deal.

A permanent secretary in the defence ministry says she was pressurised by Tumwebaze to award the deal to one of the two Chinese companies in competition for the contract, despite contrary advice from the Ugandan solicitor general.


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