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African press review 3 May 2018

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta asks for forgiveness and calls for unity. Somalia has been told to speed up army reform. The South African rand is losing ground on international markets. And a Ugandan police officer is suspected of using an official vehicle to transprt stolen livestock.


Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta used yesterday's State of the Nation address to ask for forgiveness and call for unity in the wake of last year's fraught election campaign.

The Nairobi-based Daily Nation quotes the president as saying "If there was anything I said last year that hurt or wounded you, if I damaged the unity of this country in any way, I ask you to forgive me, and to join me in repairing that harm.”

You'll remember that, following a bitter and divisive campaign, it took two separate polls to reelect Kenyatta at the expense of opposition rival Raila Odinga.

Sister paper the Standard summarises the one hour, 22 minute speech in a headline which reads "Forgive me, let us make Kenya better".

The Standard says the president yesterday apologised to Kenyans for letting them down last year and pledged to forge a united nation in his final term.

Regional paper the East African also gives the top spot to yesterday's State of the Nation address, saying the president has promised nothing less than "a new Kenya".

Somalia army reform urgent

Somalia must accelerate reforms of its army, the country's main foreign backers said yesterday after discussing slow progress in transforming the military into a force capable of fighting the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants.

The statement from a donor summit in Brussels urged Somalia to work faster to address problems identified in a report last year by the government, the United Nations and the African Union.

That report described the Somali National Army as a “fragile force with extremely weak command and control” and comes as AU peacekeepers prepare for their departure in 2020, leaving the local military in charge of Somalia’s security.

Donors say the army should create biometric registration and electronic payroll systems to curb corruption.

AU peacekeepers save 10,000 Somali flood victims

Djiboutian peacekeepers in central Somalia have confirmed evacuating at least 10,000 residents from the flooded centre of the town of Beledweyne.

The commander of the Djiboutian contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia in the region, Colonel Abdurahman Rayale Hared, told the media that his forces would continue the rescue operation.

Beledweyne town, about 335km north of the capital Mogadishu, has been the scene of devastating flooding after the Shabelle River burst its banks due following heavy rainfall.

Strong dollar hammers shaky rand

The South African currency, the rand, is losing ground on international markets.

According to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, so-called "Ramaphoria" in the markets following Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as ANC leader in mid-December last year seems to have subsided with the rand’s latest retreat but the local currency is still trading above the levels it was at when he became party president.

The rand is, however, now weaker than it was when Ramaphosa was elected head of state in mid-February.

While the strength of the US dollar has played a significant role in that weakness, continuing strikes, a current account deficit and civil unrest have also contributed to the rand's decline.

Set a thief to catch a policeman?

A police officer has been arrested in Uganda, suspected of theft.

According to the Daily Monitor, the officer holds the rank of constable and doubles as a police driver.

It is alleged that the police officer colluded with two civilians and stole two cows and one goat in Kibambura village in Buliisa District where the officer is stationed.

According to security operatives, the constable loaded the stolen animals at night into a police patrol vehicle and drove away.

He subsequently refused to stop at a police checkpoint. He has since been arrested by the army and is in custody, awaiting trial. The stolen animals have been impounded by the army.

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