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African press review 19 May 2015

The strike slowing construction work at a South African electricity plant appears to be losing steam. The African National Congress wants no truck with hostile journalists. Corruption is causing trouble in high places in Kenya and more support for Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian ex-president now on death row.


BusinessDay in South Africa reports that more than half of the 8,000 workers who embarked on an unofficial strike seven weeks ago at electricity company Eskom's Medupi plant are now back at work.

This, according to the daily, is the first positive sign in an eight-week row over completion bonuses, complaints about accommodation and a call for an end to staff cuts at the site.

Construction at Medupi is at least two years behind scehdule and estimated to be more than 2.5 billion euros over budget.

Elsewhere in BusinessDay, a report that Gwede Mantashe, the secretary-general of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), has warned that "hostile" and "reckless" journalists and publications will not be given interviews.

Last week the ANC alleged that the Daily Dispatch newspaper in the Eastern Cape was plotting to "tarnish and collapse" the Eastern Cape government led by ANC chairman, Phumulo Masualle. The newspaper denies any such plan.

On Sunday, Mantashe clashed with journalists who asked questions about whether the ANC’s executive had discussed the Farlam report into the Marikana massacre, a report which has still not been made public.

Corruption is making the Kenyan front pages, again.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

According to the main story in the Nairobi-based Standard, investigating agencies were locked in a row yesterday, with only six days to go to the end of the 60-day period set by President Uhuru Kenyatta for the conclusion of probes against top officials allegedly implicated in corruption.

The national anti-graft agency is investigating 175 cases listed in the report presented to parliament in March. At the time Kenyatta directed officials named on the list of shame to step aside and ordered that the investigating authority send case files to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) without delay.

Yesterday, however, the anti-corruption agency and the DPP clashed on the status of investigations, casting a dark shadow on the war against graft, an effort beset by apprehension, especially after all three anti-corruption commissioners were forced to resign as the investigations began.

The agency claims to have sent on 30 files, including those on several cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries. The Director of Public Prosecutions says he had received only 15 files by yesterday.

In Uganda The Daily Monitor reports that the Ugandan army has denied reports that one of its aircraft was gunned down in South Sudan.

Opposition forces led by former vice-president Riek Machar said yesterday that they had shot down a helicopter gunship on Sunday after it tried to bomb their forces near the Upper Nile state capital, Malakal.

However, the Ugandan air force says it is not engaged in any military operation in South Sudan.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people forced to flee violence in South Sudan could go hungry, with fighting interrupting the planting season and cutting off supply chains, the Red Cross warned Monday.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

Civil war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy  Machar of attempting a coup.

Deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi would be deeply touched by the front page of this morning's Cairo-based Egypt Independent.

The top story says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concern on Monday at an Egyptian court passed the death sentence on the former president.

On the same day the US State Department described the death sentence as "unjust" saying it undermined confidence in the rule of law.

Yesterday Hamdeen Sabbahi, the former presidential candidate who ran against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last year, said that “anyone who believes the death penalty is the solution is wrong.”

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