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African press review 19 October 2018

Meet Rwanda's new foreign affairs minister. Learn how the poor are eating themselves into early graves. Why are Nigeria's security chief worried that things could be difficult in 2019?


Rwanda has a new foreign affairs minister.

According to regional paper the East African, President Paul Kagame yesterday appointed former East African Community secretary-general Richard Sezibera to replace Louise Mushikiwabo. She resigned following her election as the secretary-general of the International Organisation of French-speaking countries.

Sezibera is 54 years old. Prior to heading the EAC secretariat he was the Rwandan health minister and also served as presidential advisor on security in the Great Lakes Region.

Too much fat, sugar and salt killing the poor

The poor are eating themselves into early graves.

This is also in the East African.

Because of dietary imbalance, with an excess of fat, sugar and salt, African slum dwellers are facing a rise of diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart and respiratory conditions. They also suffer the adverse effects of lack of exercise and are more likely to smoke and drink excessive amounts of alcohol than  high- and middle-income households.

Sixty percent of Kenya's young rely on carbohydrates, mainly chips, as their main dietary component. Forty-six percent are smokers.

According to the World Health Organisation, while death rates associated with non-communicable diseases have declined by more than half in some developed countries, they have increased in many poorer nations.

Hard times for South Africa's threadbare army

The South African army can't afford to buy new uniforms.

This according to national army chief Lieutenant General Lindile Yam who has sharply criticised the government for the funding shortage, saying budget cuts have hampered the army's defence capacity at home and its ability to participate in foreign peacekeeping operations.

Yam claims that the South African defence budget was 28 percent of gross domestic product during apartheid, but has been whittled down to less than one percent of GDP by the African National Congress administration.

He says the army is struggling to buy uniforms.

Lieutenant General Yam estimates that the rand equivalent of three billion euros is needed to raise army standards to an acceptable international level.

South Africa's new Finance minister, Tito Mboweni, is due to present his mid-term budget statement next Wednesday.

Sweden to allow human rights questioning

The Swedish government yesterday decided to allow prosecutors to question one Swedish and one Swiss national over alleged human rights violations in South Sudan.

The two are executives of the Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum.

According to the story in this morning's Sudan Tribune, Swedish prosecutors in 2010 opened a preliminary investigation into Lundin’s activities in Sudan and South Sudan after a report by the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan said the company was possibly complicit in human rights abuses between 1997 and 2003.

Lundin Petroleum has been accused of aggravating the conflict. Among other things, it is argued that government forces used infrastructure built by the company to stage attacks that affected the local civilian population on a large scale.

Security worries in Nigeria

Things could get hot in Nigeria in 2019.

According to Punch newspaper, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met the nation’s security chiefs to assess the security situation.

At the meeting held behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the security chiefs reportedly raised concerns over the possible breakdown of law and order before, during and after the 2019 general election.

The Punch report says the meeting recommended the deployment of security agents to enable the elections to be conducted peacefully and to further douse tension created by the outcomes of the recent party primaries and the efforts by some desperate persons to sabotage the electoral process.

Also of concern, according to a security statement issued at the end of yesterday's meeting, is the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some disgruntled elements with a desire to take the law into their own hands at the slightest opportunity.

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