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African press review 16 December 2016

Negotiations to end the doctors' strike in Kenya break down in confusion. South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar is not under house arrest in South Africa. President Paul Kagame proposes a deadline beyond which Rwanda will stop relying on donor funding. And the University of Pretoria will stop teaching courses in Afrikaans next year.


The latest bid to end the Kenyan doctors' strike has collapsed. That's the top story in the Nairobi-based Daily Nation.

The report says an attempt to end the 11-day strike ended in chaos after union officials were “chased out” of a meeting called yesterday by the Labour Ministry.

The doctors maintain they have been “ridiculed, belittled and disrespected by the government” but the Health Ministry claims the medical personnel are unwilling to negotiate.

Striking nurses have already signed a deal and have returned to work. The doctors continue to insist on their rights to substantial pay rises.

In the Kenyan Standard, the governor of Kisuma State says the collective bargaining agreement at the centre of the doctors dispute was signed in error.

Jack Ranguma, who is chairman of the governors' health council, claims that the clause granting the doctors a 300 percent salary boost had been suspended before the final document was signed in June 2013.

Machar still in South Africa, free to move as he pleases

The South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar is not under house arrest in South Africa, and that's official.

According to this morning's Sudan Tribune, the South African government yesterday dismissed as "nonsensical" media reports that Machar is under house arrest in Pretoria.

The statement from the South African department of international relations and cooperation goes on to confirm that Machar is still in South Africa and that the South African Government is taking care of him.

Machar has committed no crime in South Africa and so is free to move around like any citizen.

Kagame calls for an end to Rwandan aid dependence

President Paul Kagame has proposed a deadline beyond which Rwanda will stop relying on donor funding.

This is the main story in this morning's regional paper the East African.

Currently, Rwanda finances about 66 percent of its budget, with lenders and donors making up the rest.

At the opening of the two-day national dialogue yesterday in Kigali, Kagame said that relying on others to pay for things that benefit Rwandans had to be stopped.

The report gives no details of concrete measures which would replace aid income, nor is any timeline indicated.

In late 2012 to mid-2013, Rwanda's economic growth suffered after donors cut aid on the grounds that Kigali was supporting rebels in the eastern DRC. The funding was later restored.

Total wants part of the Ugandan oil refinery project

The East African also reports that French oil company Total has offered to take a 10 percent stake in Uganda’s oil refinery project, subject to government approval. Total, which controls one third of Uganda's current oil production, has also offered to provide technical expertise.

The project, intended to allow Uganda refine some of its own crude oil output, is expected to cost four billion euros.

No more teaching in Afrikaans at University of Pretoria

South African financial paper BusinessDay reports that the University of Pretoria got the green light yesterday to phase Afrikaans out as a medium of tuition next year.

The High Court in Pretoria rejected an application by lobby group Afriforum to reverse the university’s new language policy.

The University of Pretoria adopted a new language policy in June 2016, with a view to establishing English as the sole medium of instruction.

University statistics show a sharp drop in the number of students wanting to be taught in Afrikaans, from 88 percent of intake in 1990 to just under 18 per cent this year.

Afrikaans was the university’s only language of instruction from 1932 to 1993 when English was introduced.

Rights bodies criticised by Egyptian ministry

And the Cairo-based Egypt Independent says that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has denounced statements by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in the wake of the cathedral blast last Sunday in Cairo.

The bomb attack at Cairo's largest Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded 49, many of them women and children, attending Sunday mass.

The Foreign Ministry said that the two organisations had taken advantage of the incident to support a biased and politically motivated discourse about sectarian tensions in Egypt, claiming that there had been a security failure to protect Egyptian Copts.


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