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African press review 24 October 2018

First live coverage of a South African rape trial lives the country divided. And Amnesty International releases damning report about countless deaths of poor untried detainees in Madagascar's prisons.


We begin iwith shocking revelations about prison conditions in Madagascar where Amnesty International documented the death of 129 prisoners in 2017.

South Africa's Mail and Guardian reports that by October last year, 55% of the Island's 11 000 detainees, had yet to stand trial.

According to the publication the new Amnesty International report, titled ‘Punished for Being Poor’ reveals how “economically and otherwise disadvantaged people … are subjected to unjustified, excessive and lengthy pre-trial detentions”.

Amnesty also notes in the report that most of the detainees its researchers interviewed were too poor to pay for a lawyer, some not even knowing what a lawyer does.

In Nigeria, the papers take up Federal government plans to introduce birth control in the country.

Punch reports that new Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed disclosed at an economic summit in Abuja on Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari's government was working hard to come out with a policy that would limit the number of children that a mother could have in Nigeria.

According to the newspaper Mrs. Ahmed described Nigeria's growing population which stands at 190.9 million at the moment as one of the greatest challenges in the Federal Government's economic recovery and growth plan.

Also in Nigeria, Vanguard has a big splash on a quote from recent remark by the opposition PDP movement's Presidential running mate Peter Obi. He says people are celebrating corruption in the country everyday as Nigeria moved from 36 to 48 position in the corruption index.

The corporate banker who was picked by PDP Presidential flag bearer Atiku Abubakar as his running mate is quoted as saying at a function on Tuesday that even Pastors are praying that God should give him more even when they know it is corrupt money.

And in South Africa, Times Live takes up the rape trial of Nigerian televangelist  Timothy Omotoso which it claims remains a big talking point on social media in the country.

The paper reports that Cheryl Zondi aged 22  touched the hearts of many with her testimony at a Port Elizabeth High Court about how Omotoso had raped her since the age of 14.

Kenya, Daily Nation says Zondi's revelations at the trial broadcast live on television pushed angry crowds to storm Omotoso's church in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, forcing his followers to lock themselves up inside the building.

The Nation says Miss Zondi had received death threats ahead of the first prominent rape case to be broadcast live

According to the Kenyan publication, Zondi's suit is raising difficult questions about victims' rights, impartiality and whether justice is best served by having television cameras in courtrooms in a country where more than 100 rapes are reported to the police each day.

The Port Elizabeth Herald reports that the trial could be in for a long delay after the televangelist’s lawyer High Court judge Mandela Makaula to recuse himself, after accusing him of being biased in favour of state witness Cheryl Zondi.

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