African press review 2 September 2011

Friday’s African press is dominated by the situation in Libya.


South Africa’s Mail and Guardian underlines the “conspicuous absence” of President Jacob Zuma from the meeting of world leaders in Paris on Thursday to map out Libyan reconstruction.

Business Day also reports that Zuma, currently on a state visit to Norway, declined an invitation to the Paris conference, stating that Libya's transition to a democratic state should be overseen by the UN, not a loose affiliation of interested parties.

Zuma blamed Western leaders for not respecting the AU's road map on Libya. The Mail and Guardian says he didn’t name names but his remarks were seen to be referring to France and Britain, who led the military strikes.

Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper says proponents of an African solution to the Libyan crisis had a point. The newspaper says the African road map would have safeguarded Libya from becoming the turf of interference by extra-continental powers.

Libya has in fact become a victim of western international manipulation, according to the Guardian.


It comments that African countries like Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa, were short sighted, when they voted for an ambiguously-worded UN resolution, authorizing the use of force against a sovereign African state.

Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper says the Libyan rebels have thrown the African Union “into a tailspin”. The newspaper regrets that the AU has been behaving like a “headless chicken”, as the 42-year old regime of Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi falls.

The 53-nation bloc, it argues, was a “Tower of Babel”, as members squabbled over adopting a common position on Libya, which, under Kadhafi, had towered over the organization in a manner unlikely to be replicated by any other country.

The Nairobi-based paper, warns of “more confusion” ahead of the AU Peace and Security Council which is charged with enforcing bloc decisions.

The Nation says the key decision now would be how to recognize the rebels “fashionably” while saving face, after being relegated to the sidelines by the Nato alliance.

Reports that one of Moamer Kadhafi’s sons is negotiating his surrender, receive wide coverage in the Egyptian newspapers.

Al-Ahram reports that Kadhafi’s third son, Saadi, has offered to reveal his father’s whereabouts in exchange for a post in the rebels’ leadership.

The paper claims that the trade-off by the former captain of the Libyan football team, who commanded Libya's Special Forces, could be “manna from heaven” for the rebels.

Al-Ahram says the political future of Libya now hinges on Saadi’s fate. If he surrenders and joins the ranks of the NTC then there is hope for a smooth transfer of power.

Al-Ahram Weekly comments in an editorial that the new state remains hard to demarcate.

The Cairo-based newspaper explains that the National Transitional Council faces multiple challenges and will have to learn lessons from previous experiences (Tunisia and Egypt), in order to avoid certain errors.

Al-Ahram also underlines that Libya not only awaits a new political system, but a redistribution of its vast wealth to benefiting countries.

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