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African press review 9 February 2015

Football tragedy in Egypt, postponement of national elections in Nigeria and President Zuma’s state of the nation address in South Africa are all topics in today's African papers.


The death toll from the Egyptian football tragedy has now risen to 27. According to the Cairo-based Daily News, the supporters were killed when police attempted to disperse fans trying to get into the Air Force Stadium in the capital on Sunday

The match, between Zamalek and Enppi, was the first game in ten months to be open to the public. Last March, the interior ministry banned supporters of the three biggest clubs, Al-Ahly, Zamalek and Al-Ismaily, from attending games in the national league, citing security concerns.

A police statement says tens of thousands of fans without tickets attempted to enter the stadium. In clearing the crowds, security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets.

Witnesses said people were crushed in the resulting stampede. The Egyptian authorities have suspended all football league matches indefinitely.

Click here for our coverage of Africa Cup of Nations 2015

In Nigeria, the papers continue to mull over the implications of the postponement of national elections.

According to the Lagos-based Guardian, President Goodluck Jonathan okayed the decision but pledged that the May 29 handover date remained sacrosanct.

The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Major-General Muhammadu Buhari endorsed the shift but urged the authorities to guarantee the March 28 rescheduled date for the general elections.

The United States, the Conference of Political Parties and other human rights groups have condemned the postponement.

The same story appears on the front page of South African financial paper, BusinessDay.

There, we read that Buhari's All Progressives Congress party described the decision as "a major setback for Nigerian democracy" and "highly provocative."

Closer to home, South Africans will be wondering what's likely to happen during President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address, due to be delivered on Thursday night.

Will the Economic Freedom Fighters disrupt the proceedings by asking Zuma when he is going to pay back the taxpayers’ money spent on his Nkandla residence? Will rebellious EFF MPs wear their red overalls, despite the ruling party’s attempts to outlaw them?

The speech itself is keenly awaited for details on government programmes for the year and plans for dealing with the country’s energy crisis.

But we might be left waiting. A separate story in BusinessDay has the Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema predicting that President Jacob Zuma will not be given the time even to clear his throat when he takes to the podium to deliver his state of the nation address.

Malema told a meeting on Sunday that the black people of South Africa had nothing to lose when they rebelled against the African National Congress. He called Zuma the country’s "number one thug".

The Daily Monitor in Kampala reports that the United Nations has named four Ugandan companies as being involved in smuggling gold from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the daily, if the UN Security Council finds that the companies are violating the UN resolution on smuggled gold from DRC, their directors will face sanctions.

Barnabas Taremwa, whose company Westcorp is mentioned in the report as a buyer of smuggled gold from DRC, dismissed the claims in the UN report. 

“This is rubbish and intimidation of the highest order," he said. Taremwa says the UN has a huge presence in Congo. He counter-accuses the UN of being the biggest culprits in trading in illegal gold in DRC.

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