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African press review 19 June 2018

There's still no agreement on a venue for tomorrow's South Sudan peace talks between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. The African free trade agreements hits another snag. Is Egypt's new cabinet up to the job of economic reform?


South Sudan has rejected the venue for the face-to-face talks between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) had proposed to hold the meeting, scheduled to take place tomorrow, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

South Sudan's Information Minister and government spokesperson, Michael Makuei, says the historic meeting must take place in a neutral country.

“There are competing interests among Igad member states such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya,” Makuei said.

All three countries had offered to host the Kiir-Machar meeting.

Makuei said President Kiir would rather travel to South Africa to meet Machar.

Riek Machar has been under house arrest in South Africa since November 2016.

Motor problem slows free trade deal

Member countries of the African Tripartite Free Trade Area will have to wait a little longer to benefit from the deal, following a dispute over levies on motor vehicles.

The three trading blocs involved in the deal   the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the Southern African Development Community   hope to create a market of more than 600 million people.

But the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) have yet to reach agreement on tariffs for the automobile sector.

Regional paper the East African suggests that the EAC is unwilling to open up its market to car imports from the South African bloc, as it is protecting the growing Kenyan and Rwandan motor vehicle sectors.

Corruption drive or witch-hunt?

Two Kenyan MPs have described the government's drive against corruption as a political witch-hunt.

According to the Nairobi-based Daily Nation, the two opposition lawmakers have dismissed a presidential directive for a lifestyle audit of all public servants, describing it as a political witch-hunt targeting individuals from one community.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and Belgut MP Nelson Koech warned that the war on corruption was doomed to fail because it has been personalised.

While the two men said they supported the war against corruption, they expressed misgivings about the approach which they claim is aimed at settling political scores, while ensuring that the real criminals go free.

Bishops call for pardons in murder case

The World Council of Bishops has written to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, pleading for a pardon for five young men sentenced to death by a court in Adamawa for the killing of a herdsman.

This is reported in the Nigerian Guardian.

A Yola High Court in June sentenced the five men to death by hanging for murdering a herder in retaliation for several killings in the area.

In the letter, the bishops noted that Nigeria “has suffered untold bloodshed from killings, maiming, traumatisation of innocent citizens around the north eastern, north central and Middle Belt states, as a result of frequent attacks by militia herdsmen.”

They have requested a pardon.

Five major changes in Sissi's inner circle

The Cairo-based Egypt Independent says the country's new government is clearly chosen to enforce tough economic reforms and improve security.

Cairo, Washington’s key regional ally, is set to enact more austerity measures in coming years in efforts to bolster investment and create jobs in an economy that was battered by unrest after the 2011 Arab uprisings.

The cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly, includes new ministers of defence, interior, trade, finance and agriculture.

It is the broadest government shake-up since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was first elected in 2014.


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