African press review 14 October 2011

Friday’s African press starts in Kenya where the papers examine moves by the Treasury to calm financial markets and shore up the depreciating shilling. The Kenyan currency slid to 107 shillings to the dollar - its worst performance ever.


The Nation newspaper reports that Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Thursday the government was immediately entering into talks with the International Monetary Fund for additional loans. Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta had been barred from participating in parliamentary business until he presents a statement on the depreciation of the Kenyan shilling against the dollar.

The Standard reports that Kenyatta wants ministries to cut back on spending to reduce pressure on the shilling. Banks and investors have been investing in T-Bills because of their high interest rates, which has had a negative effect on the stock markets, according to the paper.

The Standard blames failed leadership for the threat and wonders why Kenyans are being served generous helpings of economic uncertainty, anxiety and shenanigans every time elections are due in the country.

The Standard also takes up reports about mass resignations from one of the country’s top hospitals. At least 130 doctors and nurses have resigned from the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Nairobi over the last three months, according to the paper. A report by stakeholders cited low morale as the main reason.

The Standard says the health workers have sought alternative employment as the facility faces financial challenges. An audit revealed that suppliers were owed two million euros at the end of September, and have since stopped delivering drugs to the facility, once ranked the best referral hospital in East and Central Africa.

The South African papers react to findings by the governance unit that the country lost billions of rand to graft and bad governance. The head of the Special Investigating Unit told lawmakers in Pretoria on Thursday, that an estimated 2 billion euros disapears every year through corruption, incompetence and negligence in the public service.

Cape Times reports that the findings were contained in the SIU’s annual report released on Thursday. The paper notes the figures represents 20 per cent of the government’s procurement budget alone. Cape Times found out the money went down the drain each year, as officials stuck their fingers in the till, overpaid for products and services or simply failed to monitor how money was spent.

President Jacob Zuma’s denial that his government is “kowtowing” on foreign policy also attracts comments in Friday’s South African newspapers.

President Zuma spoke at a public lecture at the University of Pretoria on Thursday, in the wake of criticism over the government's delay in granting the Dalai Lama a visa to attend celebrations marking the 80th birthday of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.The Mail and Guardian says Zuma’s remarks were clearly in response to what critics say was a bid to appease China.

Business Day looks at Zuma’s appraisal of the relationship between the African Union and the United Nations. He told his audience that ties between the two agencies were under strain due to the issue of Libya, and the AU belief that the UN undermined its work in Libya.

City Press and Sunday Independent revealed that high-ranking officials of the African National Congress visited China this week. The two newspapers hold that the trip, led by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, was to express the party's unreserved support for Beijing.

City Press notes that two weeks ago, China pledged to invest 1.8 billion euros in South Africa during a visit to Beijing by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

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