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African press review 4 February 2016


Suspended South African Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says she's the victim of a witch hunt over her role in the 2012 Marikana massacre. Jacob Zuma has made a new offer to resolve the dispute over who pays for what at his private farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The opposition are not impressed.


Suspended South African police commissioner Riah Phiyega has described the investigation ofS of her role in the 2012 Marikana massacre as a witch-hunt. The story is on the front page of this morning's Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay.

Slideshow Mandela

Phiyega said the tragic events at Marikana that led to 34 striking miners being shot dead was a cause for deep reflection but  that she had been the victim of inexplicable and unclear personalised vendettas.

The police commissioner said Tuesday’s announcement by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate that charges were to be brought against her was "opportunistic" and a cause for concern.

She said she had not even been approached by the police oversight body and informed of the charges against her.

Also in BusinessDay, news that President Jacob Zuma’s attempt to resolve the Nkandla "pay back the money" saga by agreeing that the Treasury and the auditor-general determine how much money he repay for nonsecurity upgrades to his private home, were yesterday rejected by opposition parties as yet another attempt to outflank the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

In a statement late on Tuesday night the presidency announced that Zuma had written to the Constitutional Court proposing a way to resolve the continuing disagreement over paying back some of the money spent on Nkandla, as ordered by Madonsela.

Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane told a news conference yesterday that the DA, after taking legal advice, had decided to proceed with its case against the president before the Constitutional Court scheduled for next Tuesday.

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Several African papers carry the same report saying that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has repeated its offer to help sub-Saharan Africa's oil exporters cope with plunging crude prices and growing fiscal pressures but has not received any new funding requests from the region.

Chad already has a loan program in place with the IMF since before the oil price slump.

As we reported earlier this week, Nigeria and Angola have turned to the World Bank for assistance, even though the IMF is typically viewed as the world's go-to crisis lender.

This week, US crude fell below 30 dollars a barrel, half its price in June 2015 and down from 100 dollars a barrel two years ago.

The IMF says that, despite rising deficits, several of the countries facing oil-price-related difficulties still have adequate foreign exchange reserves and low levels of overall debt. This would suggest that a balance-of-payments crisis is not imminent.

The top story in the Kenyan Daily Nation reports that MPs from the ruling Jubilee coalition have warned that calls by opposition leaders to set up a parallel vote tallying system in the 2017 elections would be a recipe for chaos.

One MP said the proposals could lead to the announcement of two winners in the presidential poll.

The opposition Orange Democratic Movement has reportedly asked its director of elections to finalise talks with a German firm to provide a parallel poll system that will collect, transmit, tally and store presidential votes.

According to the Cairo-based Egypt Independent, violations of the rights of press and media personnel in Egypt doubled over the second half of 2015 compared to the preceding six months, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).

In its biannual report released this week, AFTE's media freedom programme documented 366 violations against journalists and media personnel in the second half of 2015, compared to 172 cases in the first half, a 112 per cent increase in violations.

Cases include preventing coverage, illegal detention, confiscation or breaking of equipment, beatings or causing injury, arbitrary dismissal, arrest, raiding a press institution, raiding homes and blocking the printing of a publication.

Security forces were responsible for most of the violations.

Egypt ranks close to the bottom of the list prepared by the France-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders of countries which infringe press freedom.


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