African press review 27 August 2012

Anti-government demos and sex strikes in Togo and criticism of President Jammeh in Gambia are among the stories catching the eye in the African papers today.

Advertising

Liberte, the privately-owned Togolese newspaper reflects on the mass anti-government demonstrations in the capital, Lomé, on Saturday.

The leader of an umbrella organization for opposition groups, Zeus Ajavon is quoted as saying that the only way he will sit down with President Faure Gnassingbe is to discuss the leader’s resignation.

The article doesn’t make much of the sex strike that has been declared by a group of women protesting the arrest of demonstrators who were locked up by the authorities last week.

There is however, a cartoon devoted to the subject. It shows a man sitting on the bed in just his underwear, with the caption “Oh no, darling you’re still carrying on with that.” The man’s wife is wearing what appears to be a firmly-locked chastity device. She replies to her husband, “Us women are on sex strike. Haven’t you heard?”

Turning now to some of the tabloids around the continent to find out how they are forming the opinions of their readers on today’s news.

The Point is the only newspaper in Gambia that dares to oppose President Yahya Jammeh.

Its lead story prints the condemnation of the French and Nigerian governments about Gambia's president’s threat to execute all death row inmates by mid-September.

The statement by the French reminds Jammeh that Gambia has applied a de facto moratorium on the death penalty since 1981, according to the paper.

While Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria’s condemnation is more direct, apparently warning Jammeh that, I quote the paper “Such an act would mean genocide in Africa, after that of Rwanda.”

However, the paper does not confirm whether or not 9 death row prisoners were executed. No one is able to ascertain if those poor men and women are still alive, except perhaps members of the firing squad.

Turning now to Nigeria’s justice system, the lead story in The Sun Newspaper runs the headline, Oriyinde murder: ACN seeks probe of SSS over paraded suspects.

I can see those anachronisms need deciphering, but first let me explain who Olaitan Oriyinde is. He was a senior aide to the governor of Edo State in southern Nigeria. The paper assumes readers are familiar with the details of Oriyinde’s murder and so doesn’t explain. So let me. He was apparently murdered by unknown gunmen in front of his wife and children in the early hours of the morning on 4 May.

Now back to the anachronisms in the headline. ACN seeks probe of SSS over paraded Suspects. ACN is the rights group, Action Congress of Nigeria. The SSS are the dreaded State Security Services. The ACN are accusing the SSS of having duplicated pictures of suspects they paraded in front of the public back in March.

Bearing in mind that Oriyinde was murdered in May, it does seem difficult to believe that captured suspects accused of murder for a crime committed in March could have some how escaped the clutches the SSS, and gone on to murder another person.

The pictured suspects were said by the SSS to have murdered a British and Italian hostage in the far north west of the country.

All things considered by the article in Nigeria’s The Sun, things don’t seem to add up. Given the SSS’ record of extrajudicial killings – that’s according to Amnesty – it doesn’t seem wholly unbelievable that they could duplicate a photo of suspects for another crime.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning