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African press review 6 January 2015

South African meat producers accuse their colleagues in the chicken sector of protecting their own interests and endangering national agriculture. Burundi's former defence minister pleads guilty to involvement in last year's coup. And the Bujumbura government will not take part in peace talks due to open later today.


South African financial paper BusinessDay reports a new twist in the country's "chicken war".

It appears that the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters yesterday criticised the South African Poultry Association for its "stubborn protectionism" of the local chicken industry.

The reason this is serious is, of course, because negotiation delays have led to the suspension of South Africa from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a trade deal with the United States which cuts import tariffs for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries.

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The meat industry alleges that the chicken men played a "disproportionate" role throughout the negotiation process with the US, insisting on unreasonable and extraordinary measures to protect the uncompetitive South African poultry sector.

South Africa was technically dropped from the list of African Growth and Opportunity Act qualifiers earlier this week, after the deadline for a deal expired. Negotiations, mainly on the conditions allowing US poultry products into South Africa, are understood to be continuing.

On its African news pages BusinessDay reports that former Burundi defence minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye and four other defendants have pleaded guilty to involvement in a failed coup last May.

At the trial before the Burundi Supreme Court in Gitega yesterday, Ndayirukiye and two other army generals and two police commissioners cited the violent repression of anti-government protests to justify their attempted takeover of power.

The five accused face life imprisonment if found guilty.

Burundi was plunged into crisis last April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced a controversial bid for a third term, triggering street protests followed by the attempted coup.

Coup leader General Godefroid Niyombare is currently on the run.

Burundi is also at the top of the front page of regional paper The East African.

There we learn that the Bujumbura government will not take part in peace talks with the opposition scheduled to open later today because the government holds some of the participants responsible for recent months of violence.

The report says the government is particularly opposed to the inclusion of Carine Kaneza, representing Burundian women, adding that the authorities do not recognise her role or the organisation she represents. Kaneza was fired from her job as secretary at the Burundian embassy to the United States last October.

Thacien Sibomana, the spokesperson for the opposition Uprona party, said they had not received an invitation to today's talks.

The talks in neighbouring Tanzania were announced last month as part of regional efforts to resolve the crisis triggered by Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in office.

Uganda, whose President Yoweri Museveni is mediating in the Burundi crisis, confirmed that the peace negotiations will not resume today. No alternative date has been suggested.

Also in The East African, a report that two-thirds of the 30 candidates contesting the presidential election in the Central African Republic have called on the authorities to halt the vote count and scrap the election which they claim was marred by fraud.

The group says the 30 December

presidential election was marked by several irregularities, including intimidation.

Partial results of the poll have been published with 34 per cent of the vote counted.

Former prime minister Faustin Archange Touadera was leading with 139,498 votes, followed by another former prime minister, Anicet Georges Dologuele, with 96,728 vote, according to national election authority.

Désiré Kolingba, son of former president Andre Kolingba, is in third position.

A second round run-off is expected and will take place on 31 January.

In the Kenyan Standard opposition chief Raila Odinga claims the Jubilee administration is plotting to rig next year's elections.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Raila claimed President Uhuru Kenyatta's government was keen on rolling back gains made over the years to return the country to the old imperial presidency.

The former prime minister said his opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy will go to court to challenge what Raila called "retrogressive amendments" that aim to hand the president powers to appoint and dismiss the chief justice and the inspector general of police.

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