African press review 24 February 2012
Kenya welcomes the results of the London conference on Somalia but wants to know where the boats are. Eritrea isn't so happy. Where is Joseph Kony? Why should Nigerians pay more for power?
Yesterday, several world leaders backed a plan to boost measures in the fight against piracy, terrorism and political instability in Somalia.
Kenya's Daily Nation reports that President Mwai Kibaki has welcomed the UN's efforts to fund African Union troops, which will save Kenya billions of shillings as the troops in place will effectively be "rehatted".
However, the president noted in his speech that there is no marine element in the plan and Kenya is still covering the cost of four naval vessels off the coast of Somalia.
Kibaki also noted that the refugee situation is an extreme burden on the country.
This is a story that the UN news service goes into in more detail. The world’s largest refugee camp, the Dadaab camp in eastern Kenya, is in its 20th year of existence.
According to the UN refugee organisation, when it was set up it hosted 90,000 refugees.
There are now more than 463,000, 10,000 of whom are third-generation refugees. So the protracted refugee situation means there are now generations who have never known life outside of the refugee camp. It is also causing environmental damage.
But not everyone is happy about the news coming out of the Somalia summit in London.
The Ugandan Daily Monitor reports that Eritrea, a country which borders Somalia, has criticised what it calls "foreign meddling" in Somali affairs.
In a statement issued by the foreign affairs ministry, it failed to outline any alternative plan. President Osman Saleh has been lobbying against UN sanctions and was in London three weeks ago lobbying UK officials, who reportedly made few concessions.
Eritrea is a very restrictive government and fairly paranoid about any foreign presence in the region, says the paper.
The Daily Monitor continues with Ugandan news about the hunt for the Lord’s Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony.
Despite the presence of 100 US troops, mainly special forces, the rebel leader remains elusive. He is said to be currently somewhere in the Central African Republic, a country about the size of the US state of California.
But there is also specualtion that he is exploiting the porous borders with Central African Republic, Uganda, Congo and South Sudan to avoid capture.
But what about his victims? The Daily Monitor’s editorial, poses the question.
They argue that the incarceration of former rebel Thomas Kwoyelo, in spite of a court order that he be granted amnesty for alleged war crimes, "highlights what it terms the dilemma presented by the end of two decades of civil strife in northern Uganda".
Six years after guns fell silent in Uganda, the question remains whether peace is possible without justice.
There is also the problem of who bears ultimate responsibilty: Is it the government, which failed to protect the people, the officers who reportedly did not want the war to end because they were profiteering from the chaos or the depraved rebel killers? asks the paper.
To Nigeria, where the main question of the day concerns energy. There are two stories on the topic.
The Vanguard reports that the federal government has said it will renew more oil licences held by the main oil companies. The Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Laison-Madueke, said that the lease renewal marks another milestone in Nigeria's hydrocarbon industry.
Meanwhile, the Daily Champion reports that a new electricity tariff will take effect in May. The chairman of the commission who has been examining new rates assured the public that the price hike would ‘only’ be about 11 per cent and not 88 per cent, as was being widely speculated. According to the paper, he also "spoke about the need for private sector investment".
In its editorial column, The Daily Eagles regrets the price increases. The paper bemoans the fact, saying that “to jack up electricity tariffs in the country is generally regarded by countless electricity consumers as insulting, unjustifiable, unmerited and absurd”.
According to the paper, inefficiency, corruption and downright waste of resources have been the bane of the industry.
And the figures cited are quite striking. Neighbouring Ghana, with a fraction of the population of Nigeria, manages to produce more electricity. And this has led to a situation whereby people are relying on their own generators. But these create noise pollution, fumes and even death through electrocution.
Despite these woes, the Daily Trust says that the biggest disadvantage of the irregular power supply is the efffect it has on the nation’s economic progress, as it has led some companies to relocate in Ghana.
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