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African press review 20 August 2018

African press mourns "visionary" former UN chief Kofi Annan, who passed away at the age of 80 on Saturday.


We begin with tributes to former UN secretary general Kofi Anan who died in hospital in a Switzerland on Saturday at the age of 80.

Several newspapers in Ghana report that President Nana Akufo-Addo announced a week of national mourning, calling Annan “one of our greatest compatriots”.

The Nigerian Tribune recalls that the Ghanaian national served as UN chief from 1997 to 2006 and is the only black African ever to hold the post.

In South Africa, Pretoria News publishes a statement from the ruling ANC expressing the party's profound sadness at the news of the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s death.

He was “an eminent and distinguished son of Africa and a great friend of the people of South Africa, who played an immeasurable role in shaping the global agenda in favour of the people of the developing South”, wrote the head of the ANC presidency, Zizi Kodwa.

Pretoria News notes that Annan was a member of the Elders, a group founded by Nelson Mandela that advocates peace and human rights.

Business Day hails Kofi Annan as the amiable UN chief with poodle tendencies. Annan, it claims, painfully discovered the ancient wisdom: that one needs a long spoon to soup with the devil.

In Kenya, the Standard hails him for leading the marathon Serena negotiations that ultimately brokered the Grand Coalition deal and ended the country’s 2007 electoral crisis.

As the paper puts it, Kenyans will celebrate the great African who braved seemingly insurmountable di­fferences to come to the negotiating table and solve the electoral dispute. Now that he is gone, Kenyans must reflect on the lessons learnt and go back to the drawing board, writes The Standard.

Kenyan government auction raises eyebrows

Another story making headlines in Kenya is a report by the country's Auditor-General Edward Ouko documenting shady dealings in the auctioning of ministry vehicles.

According to Daily Nation, Ouko's office found out that 17 top-of-the-range vehicles belonging to the Labour and Social Protection Ministry's fleet were disposed of for as little as 277 euros.

The auditor-general is quoted by the paper as saying that on top of selling some of the four-wheel drive cars below the bidding price, details of the auction were not produced for verification.

Daily Nation spoke to lawmaker Opiyo Wandayi, who chairs the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee.

“This was not an auction,” he says. “It was a scheme crafted for individuals to allocate themselves government vehicles at a throwaway price.”

“This must not go unchecked,” he warns.

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