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African press review 16 July 2012

South Africa's electricity prices make headlines in African papers today, as does Dlamini-Zuma, who has become the first woman to head the African Union. And Archbishop Desmond Tutu accuses Britain of neglecting its human rights duties.


The main story in the Johannesburg financial daily, BusinessDay, concerns South African electricity prices.

Eskom’s planned tariff increases, although lower than in the past few years, threaten to erode the competitiveness of the manufacturing and mining sectors, stunt job creation and add to inflationary pressures, according to the business paper.

The state wants the economy to create up to five million jobs by 2020, with manufacturing playing a key role in meeting this target.

Yesterday, the state-owned power utility declined to confirm a report it had proposed to raise electricity tariffs by at least 14.6 percent over each of the next five years.

This would climb to 19 percent if the government introduced a carbon tax or agreed to build new power plants beyond those already under construction.

The other big story concerns South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who yesterday became the first woman to head the African Union Commission, beating incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon.

Dlamini-Zuma secured 34 votes in the fourth round of voting, giving her the margin needed to defeat Ping. The victory makes Dlamini-Zuma the first chairman from the Southern African Development Community, as well as the first woman to chair the commission in 49 years.

On its analysis pages, BusinessDay admits that Dlamini-Zuma's victory could intensify continental resentment against big countries. But the Jo'burg paper goes on to say that South Africa’s victory is a political coup for President Jacob Zuma, who is expecting the minister to improve the AU’s administration. Her victory is also expected to give South Africa increased indirect control of the AU.

South African diplomats claim that, unlike Jean Ping, she will be able to get the AU involved in conflict situations much more quickly and decisively.

An African Union mission to the east of the DRC could be Dlamini-Zuma's first chance to prove them right.

The chairwoman of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, has said that if the continent is to eliminate malaria, additional funding of three billion euros needs to be invested over the next three years.

At the African Union summit yesterday, it was announced that Africa’s most popular sport, football, is joining the malaria team through a new partnership involving the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, the United Against Malaria campaign and the Confederation of African Football.

The football body has agreed to make malaria a key social cause of the 2013 African Cup of Nations and is hoping to reach hundreds of millions of African football fans with information about malaria prevention.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused Britain of neglecting its human rights duties over a case brought by Kenyans allegedly abused by British colonial officials in the 1950s.

The case of three elderly Kenyans who claim to have been tortured during the Mau Mau uprising begins at London's High Court later this Monday.

Britain contends it is not legally liable for the alleged abuses, saying responsibility was transferred to the Kenyan government at thje time of independence in 1963.

Archbishop Tutu says that Britain's reliance on a legal technicality will undermine its reputation and authority as a champion of human rights.

At least 10,000 people were killed in the Mau Mau uprising between 1952 and 1960. Britain fears that today's case will lead to a deluge of other claims.

According to The Daily Monitor in Uganda, the daughter of Colonel Patrick Karegeya, the exiled former Rwandan intelligence chief, is stranded in Kampala after Kigali stripped her of citizenship and Uganda withdrew an alternative passport just one week after it was issued.

Twenty-three year old Portia Mbabazi Karegeya, claims that Ugandan immigration officials at Entebbe airport confiscated her Rwandan passport when she flew in from Kigali on June 5.

She was informed that Rwanda had cancelled her passport, rendering it invalid for travel.

Mbabazi says she has been caught up in the politics surrounding her father, who now lives in exile in South Africa, but who is wanted in Kigali in connection with alleged criminal offences.

In January 2011, a military court in Rwanda sentenced Patrick Karegaya, to 24 years in jail for threatening state security and spreading ethnic division.

Mbabazi is due to begin work for a master's degree in law at McGill University in Canada in September.

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