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African press review 20 August 2015

Accusations of sectarianism, suicidal ministers and a couple who prove that love isn't blind, are some of the stories topping the African papers. And in South Africa we look at why it's become easier for students to cheat.


The build-up to Uganda's presidential election has spawned new hysteria. In the Daily Monitor President Yoweri Museveni urges resident district commissioners to arrest any politicians found spreading sectarianism.

Although the it might be a clever tactic to get rid of his opponents. Museveni already tried to do so last month when police arrested his former prime minister Amama Mbabazi for obscure reasons, along with another main rival leading opponent Kizza Besigye.

So, if district commissioners start cracking the whip and arresting politicians at the slightest whiff of extremism even if it remains to be proved,  then at least it will save Museveni the trouble.

But what appears to have rattled the president this time is the notion that some politicians are supposedly exploiting their religion and tribe to try and woo more voters. He says the politics of sectarianism has no room in Uganda, given its past history.

This is a country still haunted by the Lords Resistance Army. Its leader Joseph Kony, reknowned for his twisted understanding of Christian and pagan beliefs, waged a bitter insurgency here for 20 years. Yet the Daily Monitor suggests that Museveni may just be fear-mongering for political gain.

Elsewhere in the country, shadow finance minister Geoffrey Ekanya attracted a lot of attention after he tried to strangle himself with a neck-tie. This, in protest at the government's refusal to give his constituency a new district.

It took two MPs, one of them a woman, to prevent Ekanya killing himself.

The Daily Monitor writes that Ekanya was kicking and crying on the floor of Parliament while narrating the trauma the people of Tororo went through in their quest for a new district. A quest that has been hijacked by one man: the Local Government Minister Adolf Mwesige.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Ekanya and other lawmakers in Tororo district hoped that a new area would ease ethnic tensions between the Iteso and Jopadhola populations. Tororo is no stranger to bizarre antics by its MPs, in 2005 John Ojim Omoding, stunned Museveni when he ate a rat to demonstrate the community’s desire to get a district.

In Kenya  the opposition has called on people to boycott milk products from a firm linked with President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Daily Nation reports. This in protest over the "cheap sugar" deal with Uganda. We've seen this ongoing sugar crisis for days now and it could really sour relations between the two countries.

Why? Because Kenyans say local sugar farmers will suffer as a result of “cheap sugar” importated from Kampala. In retaliation, the opposition now wants to hold the president to ransom, so to speak, by cutting off his financial supply, although it's unlikely to bankrupt him entirely.

Staying in Kenya, a couple from Narok County give a new look to the notion  that love is blind, according to the Standard.

Ntutai Siokino and Peresian Namanu from Narok County, were left blinded for years after an accident. But, thanks to a team of eye surgeons sponsored by an Australian NGO, their eyesight has been restored. Speaking after the treatment, the couple said it was simply a miracle.

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In South Africa the Mail and Guardian looks at the growing trend of plagiarism in universities. In the past students would cut and paste text from books or copy a friend's assignment . But today it's even easier to cheat. All you have to do is log on to one of the paper or essay mills that litter the internet and buy a completed assignment to present as your own.

The problem is these sites can't be shut down and, worse still, is that they're thriving because demand is so high. A phenemenon, unlikely to please students who worked their way through school, when there were easier and less expensive ways to get good grades.

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