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African press review 13 September 2012

5 min

The killings in Tana River County continue to dominate the Kenyan front pages.


The main story in the Nairobi-based Daily Nation is headlined "Fear of The Hague holding back police in Tana".

A Police spokesman yesterday said the force needed Cabinet approval to avoid putting police officers at risk of being tried by the International Criminal Court. The police do not want a repeat of the ordeal suffered by former police commissioner, Major General Hussein Ali, who was called before the Hague-based court to answer charges connected with the 2008 post-election violence.

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Charges against Ali were dropped by the ICC pre-trial chamber, but the experience appears to have created a climate of fear within the force.

The police said yesterday that there was no need to deploy the army to Tana Delta as the police would be able to end the skirmishes that have claimed 116 lives, provided they were given Cabinet support.

The main headline in The Standard reads "Parliament approves motion to send KDF to Tana", the KDF being the Kenyan Defence Forces, in other words, the army.

During yesterday's debate, one MP accused local politician Dhadho Godana of being behind the attacks, less than a week after Acting Internal Security Minister, Yusuf Haji, made the same accusations.

Also during the debate, it was pointed out that the Tana River killers were well-organised, well-armed, and were clearly sponsored by powerful individuals.

In a separate story, The Standard reports that Dhadho Godana became the first politician to be charged in court in connection with the Tana River clashes. Godana, who is an assistant minister and the MP for Galole, one of Tana River's three constituencies, was charged with two counts of incitement to violence.

Godana appeared in court, denied the charges, and was released on bail. His case will be heard in October.

In South Africa, the troubled mining sector is still making headlines.

According to the main story in the Johannesburg-based financial daily, BusinessDay, the rand weakened two per cent against the dollar and the price of platinum reached a five-month high on Wednesday as unrest in South Africa’s platinum sector spread to Anglo American Platinum, which suspended operations at its Thembelani mine in Rustenburg.

The world’s largest platinum producer is the latest miner to halt production in the North West in the past six months. Aquarius Platinum and Lonmin have also come to a standstill.

Amplats said it was taking precautionary measures to protect its workers from intimidation by "outside" parties. It said its workers were being intimidated by the threat of violence.

The price of platinum rallied to nearly 1,284 euros/oz on Wednesday, a price last seen in April, and some analysts now expect it to reach 1547 euros/oz within nine months, a price last seen in 2008.

On its Politics pages, BusinessDay carries a story headlined "Top Cosatu man blames Marikana unrest on ANC strife".

The story explains that the events unfolding at Lonmin’s Marikana mine and spreading through the mining sector are the culmination of a "systematic, orchestrated, long-time plan" by people within the African National Congress, with expelled youth league president Julius Malema as their front man . . . this, according to Sdumo Dlamini, president of Cosatu, the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

The main point of this plan, says Dlamini, is to weaken the National Union of Mineworkers, the largest single Cosatu member.

Dlamini said in an interview on Wednesday that Julius Malema and his backers in the ANC are hoping to plunge South Africa into "chaos" in a bid to remove President Jacob Zuma as president of the party in December.

Meanwhile, the South African National Defence Force is seeking legal advice on what charges it can bring against expelled African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema after he yesterday addressed 40 of the more than 1,000 soldiers suspended after a protest at Pretoria’s Union Buildings in September 2009.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said political interference in the defence force was "dangerous" and the African National Congress said Malema was guilty of "mutiny".

Malema said military discipline did not mean soldiers should keep quiet when things went wrong. "That is military stupidity," he said. He said marriage, not soldiers, was the priority for President Jacob Zuma.

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