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African press review 23 March 2015

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance will not take part in a "secret process" to cover up President Jacob Zuma’s financial liability regarding the security upgrades to his private home in Nkandla. This was announced on Sunday by the Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane, and it gets him onto the front page of the Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay.


Describing the 17 million euros of public money spent on the president's private home as a "public crime," Maimane said the issue needed to be dealt with publicly, in a transparent and open manner.

In a report released in March last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma had unduly benefited from the non-security upgrades to his private Nkandla residence.

She recommended that he pay back "a reasonable percentage of the cost".

The president says he is under no obligation to pay back any money at all.

According to some South African papers, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete offered opposition party leaders a confidential briefing by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko in return for them agreeing to handle the Nkandla report in secret before an edited version is presented in the National Assembly.

South African public sector wage talks start on Monday after they were put on hold following the death of public service and administration minister Collins Chabane.

The previous three-year agreement between government and public sector workers expires at the end of this month. The new agreement is to be implemented from April 1.

Unions aligned to the Congress of South African Trade Unions have expressed concern about the pace of the talks. Already there appears to be tension between parties over the apparent downgrading of the government’s wage offer from 5.8 per cent to 4.8 per cent. The unions are demanding 10 per cent.

In Nairobi, the Standard reports that Kenya will this week start constructing a wall along the border with Somalia as part of efforts to stop terrorist attacks.

The 200 kilometre-long-wall will be built between Mandera and Wajir in an attermpt to reduce the number of uncontrolled border crossings.

Over at the Daily Nation, the main story warns that Kenyan prisoners will no longer eat free meals while serving their sentences.

Internal Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said that the government has been spending a lot of money to feed people who break the law and end up in jail.

Nkaissery promised to make recommendations that will see the prisoners engaged in the construction of roads so as to cut the cost of maintaining them.

The Lagos-based dailypaper, Punch reports that Nigeria is bearing the financial burden of the operations by multinational forces against Boko Haram insurgents.

The troops from Chad and Niger receive the naira equivalent of 700,000 euros each month as pocket and feeding allowances from the Nigerian federal government.

A separate sum is paid by Nigeria for fuel for operational vehicles used by the foreign troops.

There are currently 2,500 Chadian troops in Nigeria, and 750 from Niger.

In Kampala, the Daily Monitor reports that the head of the Muslim community in Uganda, Prince Kassim Nakibinge, has criticised the Uganda Police Force for clamping down on Koranic schools.

The prince’s comments follow the closure of several Muslim schools.

Police argue that most of the pupils found in the schools were being kept isolated from their communities and were being indoctrinated.

In Zimbabwe, the Herald reports that President Robert Mugabe is due to leave Harare on Monday at the start of a four-day visit to Algeria. Enhanced political and economic cooperation are said to be the main items on the agenda.

The security situation in Mali, and the Boko Haram insurrection in north-eastern Nigeria are also expected to be discussed.

Mugabe is currently chairman of the African Union and of the Southern African Development Community.

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