African press review 26 August 2011

The African press is dominated by reactions to the fall of the Libyan capital Tripoli into rebel hands.


Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper reports that Nigeria and the Republic of South Africa bickered over the Libyan situation on Thursday, with Abuja reiterating its support for the Libyan rebels that drove Moamer Kadhafi from power. The Federal Government was among the first members of the African Union to formally recognise the rebels’ National Transitional Council as the authentic governing force in the country.


South Africa broke ranks with Nigeria on the issue of the National Transitional Council’s legitimacy, preferring that the decision be left to the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa this Friday.

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian explains that President Jacob Zuma had complained that air strikes by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation went further than a UN resolution to protect civilians in Libya.

According to the paper, Zuma also said that Nato’s operations undermined Africa’s efforts to broker a ceasefire.

Mail & Guardian quotes International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane saying earlier this week that South Africa did not want "a state within a state".

On Tuesday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe accused Nigeria of jumping the gun in recognising the rebels.

Kenya’s Daily Nation underlines efforts by British Prime Minister David Cameron to get president Zuma onboard. The paper quotes a statement from 10 Downing Street explaining that Cameron called Zuma on Thursday.

Both leaders reportedly have "agreed that Libya now has the opportunity for transition to a peaceful, democratic and inclusive government". The Daily Nation says they also discussed how the international community "should actively and urgently support this process".

Kenya’s Business Daily sees Kadhafi’s fall as testing to Libya’s democracy. The Nairobi-based paper comments that conflicting media reports about the status of the capital city Tripoli may show that both sides in the war for national control are unreliable and that the reporters on the ground are gullible, but they also suggest that the end-game for Colonel Moamer Kadhafi is close.

According to the newspaper, whatever the rhetoric, it is likely that Gaddafi will surrender, be captured or be killed in the fighting. But what remains uncertain is the “identity, character and orientation of the next government”.

There is an editorial in Nigeria’s This Day newspaper criticizing due process, the rule of law and impunity. The paper welcomes the collapse of the dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya. It however notes that the developments have exposed the “double standards of the West” and revealed that “Western interests supersede any notion of consistency, rule of law”.

According to the Lagos-based tabloid, while the regimes in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria have also killed hundreds of defenceless protesters, Nato singled out Libya for military assault. This Day says the swiftness of UN resolutions to enforce "no-fly zones" over Libya seems to be “directly proportional to the amount of oil in the country and the history of past grudges”.

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