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African press review 19 November 2016

There have been fatal clashes at a jail in Nigeria, with warders allegedly killing prisoners. Uganda has a new electoral commission, hand picked by President Yoweri Museveni. South Sudan thanks Russia for refusing the latest US embargo request. And east Africa is to get 194 million dollars (183 million euros) from the US government.


The top story in Nigerian daily paper Punch says warders in a prison in Kwara state have beaten six inmates to death.

The paper says the killings happened on Thursday in the Oke Kura Prison.

The daily quotes a source inside the jail as saying that 11 other inmates were seriously injured during the disturbances.

The prisoners, who were in the condemned wing, had protested about the substandard quality of food they were being served.

Museveni names new electoral commission

Uganda has a new electoral commission.

President Yoweri Museveni yesterday named Court of Appeal judge Simon Byabakama Mugenyi to head the commission, ending weeks of speculation about who would take over from Badru Kiggundu whose term expired on Thursday.

Museveni named the six new members of the commission in a letter to the speaker of parliament.

The president has again ignored persistent calls for a change in the method of appointing the Electoral Commission.

Critics have been calling for a change to the procedure that would limit the president’s powers in the appointment and firing of the team which supervises elections in which he is himself a contestant..

It remains to be seen how parliament will deal with the latest presidential list when the vetting process starts.

South Sudan thanks Russia for embargo rejection

South Sudanese officials yesterday praised the rejection by Russia of an American proposal calling on the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Juba.

Washington says South Sudan is on the brink of genocide.

Yesterday South Sudanese cabinet affairs and defence ministers dismissed the proposal to impose sanctions as part of the effort to frustrate the implementation of the peace agreement which ended the civil war.

Money, money, money

East Africa is to get 194 million dollars (183 million euros) from the US government, according to the top story in regional paper the East African.

The paper says this offers a lifeline to the cash-strapped regional body, the East African Community.

Inconsistent contribution by member states and dwindling support from donors and has hampered several projects.

Thirty million dollars (28 million euros) of the US contribution will directly support the EAC’s executive, while the rest will be used to strengthen trade and investment between member states and Washington.

The money will also be used on programmes to improve sustainable management of natural resources in the Lake Victoria Basin and Mara River ecosystems, and improving access to health services.

Do white males dominate the South African legal system?

The main story in South Africa's BusinessDay reports that the president of the Gauteng High Court has directed court staff to record the race and gender of every lawyer appearing in the motion court in the High Court in Pretoria.

This is to allow an assessment of the extent to which advocates of certain race and gender groups tend to dominate certain areas of litigation.

Last month the judge who issued yesterday's instruction to court staff pointed out that the unopposed motion court roll was overwhelmingly dominated by white men, while the "roll call court" was dominated by black practitioners.

The unopposed motion court deals with cases in which there are no disputes of facts and where there is no opposition. It is mostly applications by banks for default judgments against people who have failed to pay debts.

The "roll call court" deals with civil trials, often related to road accidents.

The data to be collected under the new directive will show which attorneys and which clients consistently brief white or male counsel and could settle the debate about whether it is true that certain types of litigation are dominated by certain races or genders.

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