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African press review 10 February 2015

Zuma’s not nervous. Economic Freedom Fighters MPs are ready to break ranks. Egypt winds down film censorship, except for porn and atheism. Rich Kenyans and Ugandans are caught up in the HSBC tax-dodging scandal. Kenyan teachers are told to wait for a pay rise.


In South Africa tabloid paper the Sowetan reports that President Jacob Zuma is not nervous, in fact, that he has never been nervous in his life.

Zuma is scheduled to deliver his annual state-of-the-nation address in the South African parliament on Thursday.

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Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters opposition group have vowed to disrupt the presidential speech, unless a special sitting of the National Assembly is scheduled before then to enable the president to answer questions about the spending of public money on upgrades to his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

So the battle lines are drawn.

"Parliament acts according to a set of rules," the president says. "I have never been nervous in my life."

Zuma accused the Economic Freedom Fighters of using the controversy over spending at his Nkandla home for cheap politicking.

The president is scheduled to answer questions in the National Assembly in March.

Even if he's not worried about Thursday's threatened disruption, Zuma may well be scared at the prospect of seeing Julius Malema in his birthday suit.

The Economic Freedom Fighters have threatened to appear naked in the National Assembly if their members are barred from wearing their trademark red overalls, gumboots and maids' uniforms. Parliament has attempted to tighten the rules governing the dress code for MPs. The Sowetan reports that it is unlikely that the new rules will be finalised before Thursday.

Over at South African financial paper BusinessDay there's a related report to the effect that a group of Economic Freedom Fighters MPs, describing themselves as the defenders of the party's constitution, have promised to prevent Malema from disrupting the state-of-the-nation address.

They say the EFF’s campaign to pressure Zuma to pay back some of the money spent on his private residence in Nkandla is a "personal" battle between Julius Malema and the president.

Malema says the dissenters in his party are ruling party "moles".

There's good news on the culture pages of the Egyptian Independent. There we learn that from next April no more scenes will be cut from foreign or locally produced movies.

The role of the restructured censorship authority will be to classify films according to the age at which their viewing is considered suitable.

“Only pornographic movies and films that promote atheism will be banned,” according to the head of the authority.

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) tax shelter scandal has spread to Kenya and gives the Standard its main story this morning.

The article begins by telling us that billionaires in Kenya stashed away the shilling equivalent of 500 million euros in HSBC accounts based in Switzerland.

Only one Kenyan account is named. It is linked to wealthy gemstone dealer and Machakos senator, Johnston Muthama. He says his account is now closed.

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The Swiss bank lists give details of 742 clients associated with Kenya, with a third of them having a Kenyan passport or nationality. One Kenyan account has a balance of 30 million euros.

Teachers are back at the top of the front page of the Kenyan Daily Nation.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission has opposed a raise in teachers’ basic salaries in documents filed in court yesterday.

Instead, the government's pay commission supported a recommendation by the Teachers Service Commission that the review of salaries and benefits be shelved until a job evaluation covering the entire public sector is carried out.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers have rejected job evaluation as a delaying tactic.

The teachers are demanding a salary increase of between 200 and 300 per cent.

Hong Kong and Shanghai banking badness is the main story in the Kampala-based Daily Monitor. The bank has, or had, 57 Ugandan clients, according to the daily paper, and they have, or had, a total of 80 million euros salted away in Switzerland.

Uganda ranks third in the East African Community and 105th in the world among the countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files, says the Monitor.

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