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African press review 12 August 2015

A "full-blown colour war" breaks out at a South African school. Meanwhile, Nigeria's Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka urges "born again" President Muhammadu Buhari to apologise for his own wrong deeds.


Vanguard reports that President Muhammadu Buhari met members of the National Peace Committee led by former head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar at the presidential villa in Abuja on Tuesday.

President Buhari reportedly told the dignitaries, who include the Sultan of Sokoto, and the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria that his administration would not only ensure that stolen money stashed in foreign bank accounts would be returned but that the looters must be tried.

The Nigerian Tribune on its part says the prosecution of those who have stolen national resources will begin in a matter of weeks, stating that Buhari made the revelation during the closed-door meeting with members of the National Peace Committee.

The publication says that at the meeting the Nigerian leader also announced the establishment of a single treasury account for all federal revenue to ensure greater probity, transparency and accountability in the collection, disbursement and utilisation of national funds.

Punch reports breaking news that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission has directed the chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro, to refund 275 million naira (1.2 million euros) he is accused of swindling from the state.

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka does not seem convinced by President Buhari’s ability to win the war he appears to be waging against graft. In an interview with Zero Tolerance, a periodic publication by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Soyinka described Buhari as a “born-again” phenomenon on the Nigerian political landscape.

Soyinka noted that Buhari has not come out openly to apologise for his wrong deeds in the past, even though he has accepted the fact that he had made some mistakes. The Nobel laureate slams the press for not descending heavily on ex-president Goodluck Jonathan when he stated that stealing is not corruption. How can a public figure, an intelligent person like that, come out to tell the public that corruption is not stealing? This is what Soyinka wonders in the interview.

In South Africa, The Star takes up what a Gauteng education official calls a "full-blown colour war” at a Johannesburg primary school. The paper reports that on Tuesday, the row over the appointment of a black man as principal spilt over into a fist fight between angry parents from the mostly coloured community and an official from the Gauteng Department of Education.

On Monday, a member of the Gauteng Executive Council, Panyaza Lesufi, had vowed to close down the school permanently if teachers continued to be threatened with violence by parents.

According to The Star, black teachers have stayed away from school for a week, unprepared to subject themselves to either the intimidation or the risk to their lives. The paper says that the Roodepoort School has already been shut down twice after the teachers failed to respect an ultimatum given to them to return.

Angry parents were accused of arson attacks at the school, including the recent petrol bombing of the deputy principal’s car and firebombing the offices of the principal and her deputy, according to The Star.  

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