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African press review 23 April 2018

A bishop gets bashed in South Sudan. Jacob Zuma may have misused public cattle. And will Supra Mahumapelo keep his job as a South African regional premier?


The front page of regional paper the East African is a catalogue of gloom and disaster.

"Heavy rains wreak havoc in Kenya," is the main headline to a story about flooding in the Tana River delta. At least 1,800 people are reported marooned in the coastal region.

The Nairobi-based Daily Nation says at least 15 people have lost their lives in those floods.

Holy war in South Sudan

Further down the East African front page we read "South Sudan vice-president accuses clergy of incitement".

Speaking at All Saint Cathedral in Juba yesterday, vice-president James Wani Igga said some prominent clergymen had encroached on political terrain and were spreading hate.

He accused some religious leaders of using the pulpit to mislead the people with wild statements criticising the government and President Salva Kiir.

The Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Santo Laku Pio, for instance, has been a thorn in the flesh of the Juba government since the outbreak of war in December 2013.

The bishop has on several occasions criticised Kiir for failing to restore stability.

SADC leaders meet on DRC, Lesotho

Continuing the catalogue of grief, the East African reports that leaders of SADC, the Southern African Development Community, yesterday began an extraordinary summit in an effort to reslove crisis situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Lesotho.

The meeting, being hosted by Angola, involves the heads of state of the host nation, along with the leaders of Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, the DRC and Lesotho. The summit is due to end tomorrow.

The failure to hold elections to replace DRC President Joseph Kabila, whose mandate expired in December 2016, has sparked a series of violent protests in major towns across the country.

Political instability in Lesotho followed the killing of two senior army officials in 2015 and 2017.

Rwandan schoolbook sabotage

The East African reveals "How foreign firms sabotaged distribution of textbooks to Rwandan schools".

The report says delayed delivery of teaching materials that forced the Kigali government to postpone this year’s examinations under the new curriculum has been blamed on distribution glitches by publishers.

Several international companies with no presence in Rwanda are understood to have sought locals to help with the distribution of books which were printed abroad and later shipped into the country.

It has emerged that in most instances, the local representatives failed completely or made only partial deliveries to schools.

A source privy to the deal indicated that 10 of the 15 publishers contracted to supply books in the two initial phases of the curriculum implementation had challenges in delivering, while others stopped midway, citing numerous corrections and the lengthy approval process at the Rwanda Education Board.

More grief for Jacob Zuma

In South Africa, the Mail & Guardian looks at the latest scandal involving former president Jacob Zuma.

The report say that the Hawks, the special police anti-fraud unit, yesterday confirmed that an investigation is underway into allegations that North West regional premier Supra Mahumapelo gave Zuma cattle allegedly brought with over 100,000 euros of public money and intended for local farmers.

That confirmation follows a story published in the Sunday Times yesterday claiming that 24 cows and a bull, which were intended to be given to developing farmers in the area, were instead delivered to Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla in October 2016.

The report alleges Zuma signed off on the delivery himself.

A man with a herd of difficulties

Mahumapelo has other problems too.

The ANC’s national working committee is expected to deliberate on the North West premier’s fate today after protesters called for his immediate dismissal.

Parts of the town of Mahikeng went up in flames as residents protested for almost a week, demanding the removal of Mahumapelo as premier.

Later last week the protests spread to other towns in the province.

Mahumapelo has been linked to the controversial Gupta family and to alleged corruption involving the state-owned arms manufacturer Denel.

BusinessDay's news analysis pages say the way President Cyril Ramaphosa handles the removal of Supra Mahumapelo will show his true leadership qualities.

Ramaphosa last week cut short his visit to the Commonwealth heads of government meeting and returned to South Africa to deal with the crisis.


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