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African press review 6 June 2012

Text by: Marjorie Hache
3 min

SA legislators try to close loopholes in sex assault laws. A psychologist tells us that women want to be bullied. A women wins high office in the East African Assembly. And Kenyan presidential candidates are caught fiddling their nomination papers.

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In South Africa two different yet somewhat conflicting reports have come out.

The first in the Mail&Guardian is about the country's parliament approving an amendment to the sexual reform act, a measure it says will prevent certain crimes from becoming impossible to prosecute.

The paper gives examples of flaws in the laws which highlight very different interpretations from one state to the next. Indeed some 29 described offences do not have prescribed sentences. Sentencing is therefore at the court's discretion.

The amendment won't be retroactive as this would "raise the spectre of rendering null earlier convictions for those crimes", one of the drafters, Lawrence Basset told the paper. It now has to be adopted by the National Council of Provinces.

While the Mail&Guardian has an article that may give hope to victims of sexual assaults, over in The Sowetan, it's a very different matter. "Women are hard-wired to want dominant men", one of its headlines claims.

Really?

"Forget women power, feminism, independence and all that," writes the paper. "Women love their men to be powerful and dominant."

A psychologist interviewed for this article explains that men and woman enjoy this submissive-dominant relationship.

"For a woman to feel womanish, she must be with a man who is masculine," she says. "When she is with a guy who is not dominant, she feels he is just another girl."

The psychologist also suggests that "some men who are dominated by their partners may have experienced abuse in childhood".

What a delightful generalisation for both sexes!

Considering the rape and sexual assault rates across the country is it really a good idea to publish such articles?

There are 341 comments on the online version of this article. Sowetan readers had a lot to say about this piece.

Further north, the East African Assembly has elected their first female speaker.

Her name is Margaret Zziwa and "she's a member of the Uganda ruling party the National Resistance Movement ", The East African tells us in a short article which describes the voting process. She's the third speaker and her predecessors were Abdulrahaman Kinana from Tanzania Abdirahin Abdi from Kenya.

Talking of Kenya, an MP there is one of the many to have been caught up in "party scams" reports the Daily Nation.

Mwalimu Mwahima is one of 300 Kenyans who have been registered as members of political parties without their knowledge or consent.

The paper describes how the Likoni MP has been listed as a member of Party of Action,  associated with presidential hopeful Raphael Tuju, even though he actually belongs to the Orange Democratic Movement. Some MPs were even declared partyless.

One consequence, explains the Daily Nation is that that some presidential candidates risk being disqualified because they were endorsed by non-party members. Such an offence is punishable by law and parties found guilty of committing it could be deregistered and penalised and fined.

By law, presidential candidates must present lists of at least 48,000 signatures of voters who are members of their party to be able to run for the presidency. The deadline to get these signatures in can be quite tight, says the Daily Nation, which may explain why some may resort to name-poaching.

Many parties have been quick to deny any involvement in the malpractice.

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