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African press review 22 October 2018

Missing Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu resurfaces in Israel, vows never to reappear before "kangaroo" Nigerian High Court trying him for treason.


We begin in Nigeria where the sudden reappearance of Biafra separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu in Israel is causing a buzz.

Punch reports that the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, who had been standing trial for treason at the Federal High Court in Abuja disappeared before the military invaded his Abia State residence on September 14, 2017 for flouting the terms of his bail.

This Day says Kanu resurfaced in Jerusalem on Friday where he claimed in a statement broadcast via Radio Biafra, that the Nigerian court he branded as a kangaroo tribunal lacked the capacity to try him.

Premium Times reports that the live broadcast, monitored on the ‘Radio Biafra’ Facebook page, comes two days after social media went agog over a video showing the IPOB leader praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem 13 months after his disappearance.

According to the newspaper, his lawyer, who had repeatedly accused the Nigerian Army for his client’s disappearance, had confirmed the video, saying he had received a direct statement from Kanu saying it was not doctored.

Daily Post underlines the assertion by Nnamdi Kanu that he is a British national who owes his survival to the State of Israel.

Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB labelled as a terrorist organization by Nigeria since it broke away in 2009 from the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), enjoys limited support from the ethnic Igbos according to Premium Times.

In Kenya, the appointment of opposition leader Raila Odinga as the African Union's special envoy for infrastructural development is an issue of hectic comments in the papers.

Standard Digital says President Uhuru Kenyatta played a key role in the appointment which makes Odinga the first holder of the new office established to promote integration, cross-border trade and regional projects, including railways and roads as well as in the energy sector.

The Standard quotes Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma as saying that the deal was struck in April when the chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, visited Uhuru in Nairobi.

According to the newspaper, that was a month after the then two major political protagonists, Uhuru and Raila, called a truce and pledged to work together after the famous handshake.

The March 9 handshake between Uhuru and Raila caught many Kenyans by surprise, considering the bitterly contested General Election and the resultant protests that were crowned by a mock swearing-in of Raila as ‘the people’s president’ on January 31.

The Kenyan Star names Vice President William Ruto as one man who has been secretly celebrating Raila's appointment as AU special envoy.

The paper reports that at a rally in Eldoret on Sunday, more than 20 MPs loyal to Ruto urged Raila Odinga to quit local politics and focus on his new role as an AU envoy, some of the legislators opening breathing a sigh of relief that William Ruto’s route to succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022 was now clear with Raila’s ‘exit’.

And in South Africa, Times Live relays a warning from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni that public sector wages are draining the public purse, with R8 out of every R10 spend by the government going to the salaries of civil servants.

According to the newspaper, Mboweni put the amount of money spent annually by the treasury on the wages of the country's more than 2.56 million civil servants  was in the tune of R587bn (35 billion euros ).

Times quotes the Finance Minister as saying that the spending could have serious repercussions on government's ability to provide basic and essential services such as health care, education and policing.

Tito Mboweni reportedly hinted that the burden of civil servants pay cheques would be one of the issues he would address in his maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, which he is due to deliver on Wednesday.

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