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African press review 20 November 2013

5 min

Algeria weaves World Cup magic. In Uganda Besigye dodges the cops but Lukwago doesn't. The US beefs up its east African bases. Kenya says no to ICC video links and falls out with the UK. And Nairobi has a new newspaper. 


Last night Algeria joined Ghana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup finals.

That story dominates the front page of independent daily Le Soir d'Algérie. It took just one goal to end the hopes of Burkina Faso and send the Algerians to their second World Cup in succession, their fourth finals in all.

Magic Bougherra got the vital goal. What's in a name?

In Ouagadougou the same story is reported with regret verging on bitterness.

"We had one foot and four toes in Brazil," laments the front page editorial in daily paper Le Pays. "The scorer, Bougherra, should have been sent off for his murderous tackle on Charles Kaboré. Questions must be asked about the quality of the refereeing."

Dossier: Africa Cup of Nations 2013

They're playing a different kind of game in Uganda, where the main front page headline in The Daily Monitor reads "Besigye beats police surveillance again as Lukwago is rearrested".

The small print explains that the security forces are still trying to figure out how former Forum for Democratic Change leader Kizza Besigye beat the 24-hour surveillance at his home to appear in the middle of Kampala’s Central Business District yesterday.

Witnesses told the Daily Monitor that Besigye emerged from a shopping arcade on Ben Kiwanuka Street at around midday. According to the Monitor, a stampede ensued as traders crowded around him, cheering.

Noticing the commotion and deafening cheers, the police swung into action and spent close to 40 minutes clearing the crowds and towing Besigye’s car to the central police station. The police fired teargas canisters.

While Besigye was on his way to police headquarters, embattled Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago was being hauled to an unknown destination after the police arrested him at his home in Wakaliga, accusing him of planning to join Besigye in the city centre.

Yesterday evening it was not clear where Lukwago was being detained.

A Kampala police spokesperson said the two politicians are being held on charges of inciting violence.

Lukwago has been in the news after a government tribunal found the mayor guilty of abuse of office, misconduct and incompetence, recommending his removal from his post.

Hours after the tribunal report was released last Thursday, Lukwago and Besigye held a press conference where they announced that they would hold a series of rallies this week to “explain” the tribunal report to Kampala’s masses. Lukwago claims that President Yoweri Museveni is using underhand methods to disenfranchise the Kampala electorate.

The main story in regional paper The East African reports that the United States is responding to the increasing security threat in east Africa by strengthening military bases in Kenya and Djibouti.

The Pentagon is building air-support facilities, which can accommodate giant cargo planes, at Manda Bay in Kenya. The US installation in Djibouti, known as Camp Lemonnier, has become the nerve centre for Pentagon operations throughout the Horn of Africa.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

In Nairobi the main story in the Standard reports that there has been a cold reception from Kenya for Britain's proposal that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto participate in their International Criminal Court trials at The Hague through video links.

The British proposal is being interpreted in Nairobi as designed to scupper Kenya’s backing of the African Union push for immunity from prosecution for sitting heads of state.

Says The Standard, the tough line being taken by Kenya suggests further confrontation at the ICC state parties conference which opens today in The Hague.

A separate story in the same paper says last week's vote at the UN Security Council that defeated a bid by Kenya to have the criminal cases against its top leadership deferred sank the country’s relations with Britain to a new low.

The focus has now shifted, says the Standard, to the implications of lost love between the two nations on the economic front, British firms having massive investments in Kenya.

There's a new paper on the streets of the Kenyan capital this morning.

The Nairobi News, published by the Nation Media Group, is an English language newspaper which will exclusively focus on Nairobi County news and will cover crime, courts, business, personal health and fitness, entertainment and sports in the capital.

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