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African press review 26 March 2015


In the Daily Nation, the top story is the controversy surrounding the Kenyan MP embroiled in a rape case. The paper headlines “Police roll out the red carpet for MP facing rape allegation”. Imenti Central MP Gideon Mwiti Irea, has been accused of kicking, punching and raping a woman in his private office. But the Nation is outraged that instead of spending a night in custody, he has had dinner with a top officer who is part of the team investigating the case.

The Daily Nation has been doing some digging about on the case and found that records show that on Monday - when he is alleged to have spent the night at Parklands Police Station - there were only two suspects locked up at the station. An equal number were held at Gigiri Police Station, which is investigating the case. None of those suspects was the MP. Investigations are ongoing and the MP is set to have his fingerprints taken later on Thursday.

Another of the top stories in Kenya relates to another court case: that of the International Criminal Court case against vice-president William Ruto and and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. The paper headlines: "Last ICC witness in Ruto - Sang case fails to testify for the third time." This would have been the 30th witness to testify in the trial and the evidence is described by the Nation as "crucial". We will find out later if the prosecution will be granted another few weeks to track down this witness.

Nigeria is looking ahead to its presidential election this Saturday and the Nigerian press in full of analysis on whether incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan or General Muhammadu Buhari will come out top. But one of the top stories in the Vanguard is more sinister. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, has raised alarm over a rumour that the Jonathan administration plans to hand over to the military if he loses. Obasanjo fears that this could plunge the country into chaos in the same way that the former President of Côte d’lvoire, Laurent Gbagbo did when he refused to hand over after he lost the election.

The Zimbabwean paper the Herald carries the story of the former National Assembly speaker who is wading in on the debate in South Africa about the remains of Cecil Rhodes. This is the story of the students at Cape University who are calling for the removal of his remains from campus and their repatriation to England. Rhodes - many will recall - was the founder of the southern African territory of Rhodesia, which was named after him in 1895. He was a businessman and politician who firmly believed in British colonialism. Northern Rhodesia is now Zambia whilst Southern Rhodesia is Zimbabwe.

Frene Ginwala, the former speaker in Zimbabwe, has denounced Rhodes as a "conqueror and a racist". She has emphasised the importance of inclusiveness, which formed the basis for the removal of thousands of symbols of apartheid and colonialism from parliament in South Africa. The South African Mail and Guardian in Wednesday's edition highlighted that this is not the first time that there have been calls for the removal of Rhodes' body - the last time was in 2012 - but that the grave is quite a money-spinner. Foreigners are charged $10 a pop to go and visit the grave at the“Worlds View”, a world heritage site in the Bulawayo national park.

The Mail and Guardian has another, more current matter as its top story. It headlines that 80% of South African schools are dysfunctional - according to an investigation by Africa Check, an investigative journalism website. The definition of dysfunctional relates largely to attendance of staff and students. 

And briefly, the Ugandan Daily Monitor leads with the story that 60,000 Ugandans are infected with tuberculosis every year. This according to the World Health Organisation which adds that only two out of three of those cases are diagnosed. The disease remains the main killer of those who have HIV and it disproportionately affects men.

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