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African press review 29 January 2018

Egyptians have been asked to boycott the upcoming presidential election, in which there will be only one contender. Germany refuses to pay compensation to the families of Namibians killed under colonial rule. And who is really behind the so-called "herder/farmer" clashes in Nigeria?


Egyptians have been asked to boycott the upcoming presidential election, regional paper the East African tells us.

According to the report, five public figures, including two former presidential hopefuls, yesterday called for voters to boycott the March presidential poll after the withdrawal of all candidates but the incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi, who has been in power since 2014, appears set to run unopposed after all other presidential hopefuls were either jailed or announced they would not take part in the March election.

In Cairo itself, the Egypt Independent reports that the former chief-of-staff of the Egyptian army Sami Anan is being held in a military prison, five days after the presidential hopeful was arrested.

Anan’s presidential campaign team announced his arrest shortly after a statement from the Egyptian Armed Forces accused him of forging documents he submitted to the National Elections Authority in support of his candidacy in the presidential elections scheduled for March.

Berlin objects to Namibian reparations claim

The German government has asked a US court to throw out a lawsuit brought by indigenous groups from Namibia seeking reparations for genocide committed under German colonial rule.

On Friday a New York court heard Germany's first formal response to the class-action suit launched by the Herero and Nama people last year over the tens of thousands killed in massacres between 1904 and 1908.

Berlin claims that the complaint is inadmissable because of the principle of state immunity.

Germany has acknowledged that atrocities occurred at the hands of German colonial authorities but it has repeatedly refused to pay direct reparations.

Berlin has argued that its development aid worth hundreds of millions of euros since Namibia’s independence from South Africa in 1990 was "for the benefit of all Namibians".

The next hearing of the case in New York is set for 3 May.

A giant step for African air transport

The African Union yesterday launched the Single African Air Transport Market in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The project aims to create a unified air transport market and liberalise intra-Africa travel as a key component of the AU's regional economic integration and development agenda.

In a press briefing at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, currently underway, the commissioner for infrastructure and energy Abou-Zeid Amani said that the intra-Africa air transport market will see the creation of 300,000 direct and two million indirect jobs.

In October last year the International Air Transport Association estimated that airline passenger numbers in Africa will more than double in the next 20 years, with growth rates already outpacing the global average of 3.6 percent.

Herders or bandits?

Clashes between herders and farmers continue to make front-page news in Nigeria.

According to this morning's Punch daily, the committee set up by the National Economic Council to find lasting solutions to killings by herdsmen across the country has recommended increased military presence in Benue and other states affected by the attacks.

After yesterday's meeting of the nine state governors and vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, it was revealed that a special military force will be deployed to end the attacks.

The government also stated that bandits and mercenaries, rather than herdsmen, were responsible for the killings.

Museveni calls for South Sudan elections

Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has called for elections in South Sudan to achieve peace and stability.

According to today's Sudan Tribune, Museveni made the remarks while speaking to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the African Union Heads of State summit.

The two leaders, according to officials from both parties, mainly discussed issues regarding peace and stability in the Great Lakes region and the reforms being undertaken by the world body, especially on the question of peacekeeping.

On achieving peace and stability in South Sudan, the Ugandan leader repeated his position on the need to hold elections so that the population can choose a legitimate leader.

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