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African press review 04 May 2011

5 min

Did Bin Laden's daughter watch him die? Should the US tell us more about the operation? Do ANC leaders lack loyalty? Has Arab unrest reduced air travel? How will the Brazilians do in Ulundi tonight? Is the West still interfering in Africa? Have Ugandan police changed tack on walk-to-work protests?


The Star in South Africa is still leading with the aftermath of the bin Laden killing on Sunday.

Under the headline "Child saw Osama die", the Johannesburg daily offers a detailed account of the Al Qaeda leader's last moments, including the chilling fact that bin Laden's 12-year-old daughter was present when US forces shot and killed her father.

Also according to The Star, the United Nations' top human rights official called on the United States on Tuesday to give the UN details about Osama bin Laden's killing. Navi Pillay also emphasised that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.

Pillay, who is UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said thatbin Laden was a “very dangerous man” who had claimed “command responsibility for the most appalling acts of terrorism”, including the 11 September attacks on America nearly a decade ago.

Accepting that it was a complex situation, Navi Pillay said it would be helpful to know the precise facts surrounding the killing. The United Nations has consistently emphasised that all counter-terrorism acts must respect international law, she added.

On the local front, The Star reports that President Jacob Zuma yesterday warned against what he called “half-ANC” members, those who support the party only when decisions favour them.

In a visit to Sweetwaters, in Pietermaritzburg, the president also urged people to vote in large numbers to speed up service delivery by the government. Zuma said that by abstaining from voting, people excluded themselves from any decision-making process.

Local elections take place in South Africa on 18 May.

On its business pages, The Star reports that African air carriers saw passenger demand fall seven per cent in March, compared with the same period in 2010, as the turmoil in the Middle East and north Africa, as well as the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threat, cut international air traffic, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Releasing the latest international traffic results on Tuesday, the association said this was an improvement from the nearly 10 per cent drop recorded in February.

Globally, IATA said scheduled international traffic results for March showed that year-on-year growth in passenger demand had slowed to 3.8 per cent from the 5.8 per cent recorded in February.

On the sports pages, Mamelodi Sundowns skipper Esrom Nyandoro predicts a tough battle when the title contenders face AmaZulu in Ulundi tonight.

The Brazilians, as the Downs are called by real fans, are in third place and have a game in hand. A win will see them move into second place, two points behind leaders Ajax of Cape Town.

Downs ended Kaizer Chiefs' title hopes with their two-nil win over Amakhosi in Pretoria on Sunday, while Orlando Pirates are three points behind pace-setting Ajax.

The pro-government Herald in Zimbabwe gives pride of place to President Robert Mugabe. Yesterday, the president said that the forthcoming African Union Summit to be hosted by Equatorial Guinea is critical in light of what Mugabe called "the machinations of Western countries" in north Africa. The president said that the situations in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya proved that the former colonial powers were trying to move back into Africa.

The Herald says France has also been accused of playing a prominent role in the toppling of former Cote d'Ivoire president Laurent Gbabgo. The international community rushed to recognise Alassane Ouatarra as president before African leaders accepted the result of the polls.

Under the headline "Kenya's fear after Osama killing", The Standard in Nairobi looks at the security implications of the elimination of the Al-Qaeda leader. The paper reports that surveillance has already been increased at national borders, especially the frontier with Somalia.

Al-Shebab spokesperson Mohamed Osman Arus was quoted on Monday as saying the group would take revenge for Bin Laden’s death with what he called "destructive explosions".

Al-Shebab, which controls much of southern Somalia, has close links to al-Qaeda and last year carried out suicide bomb attacks in Uganda.

In Uganda's Daily Monitor, the Chief of the Defence Forces yesterday said the walk-to-work protests could have been handled differently over the last three weeks.

General Aronda Nyakairima defended the military’s involvement in quelling the demonstrations which were called in reaction to high fuel prices and the rising cost of living, but said last Thursday’s violent arrest of opposition leader Kizza Besigye could have been more civil.

The Monitor also reports the threat that non-governmental organisations which identify themselves with the walk-to -work protestors will not have their licences renewed.

Iganga Rural District Commissioner, Swaibu Wagwa Lubega, said district security officer had blacklisted several organisations after they discovered that some NGOs were persuading youth to join the walk-to-work protests.

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