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African press review 3 February 2014

Text by: Anna Polonyi
4 min

Today in African headlines: South Africa sees last week's hopes for a solid opposition dashed, Rwanda looks to Paris for justice, Kenya’s top politicians have new reasons to dread The Hague, and Uganda’s government may be suffering from dehydration.


South Africa is frustrated this morning with the country's prominent figure Mamphela Ramphele. Last week, she joined the main opposition party the Democratic Alliance to be presidential candidate in this year’s general election. This week though, Business Day says, she's changed her mind and ditched the party.

The papers are all running with the same message: Ramphele can no longer be trusted. That’s what the head of the dumped opposition party Helen Zille says, after Ramphele backed out of the deal.

According to Ramphele though, there never was a deal to speak of. The media just got confused. Either way - leading papers will be all ears today at her press conference where she has promised to clarify her plans.

Meanwhile, Rwanda’s looking ahead this week to France. The New Times reports on former intelligence chief Simbikangwa’s trial opening here in Paris tomorrow. The paper says the captain will be tried over the role he played in the 1994 Genocide. Simbikangwa is accused of providing weapons and ordering militia to massacre of Tutsi in Rubavu.

It's an important trial, the Times admits, but Rwanda would rather be playing host. The government and survivors want to have genocide suspects, especially those in France, tried at home. The paper states foreign language as the main reason for concern despite the fact that French is one of Rwanda's official languages. France is home to nearly two dozen Genocide-related cases pending trial.

And in other justice news – Kenya’s Daily Nation reports that more top officials may be prosecuted in The Hague. The International Criminal Court plans to open new cases against senior Kenyan politicians for orchestrating violence in the 2007 elections. President Uhuru Kenyatta is already on trial, but has asked for the case to be thrown out. His request will be heard on Wednesday, after the ICC postponed the trial due to insufficient evidence.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Though Kenyatta’s administration has pledged cooperation with international justice, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has been having trouble rounding up reliable witnesses. The Nation reports that Bensouda is unlikely to be able to gather more evidence against Kenyatta. Kenyan administrative red-tape, the Nation says, has frustrated the ICC and witnesses have been hostile to Bensouda or unwilling to testify, feraing for their families.

And finally, Uganda's Water Ministry is,  ironically enough, short of water. The Daily Monitor reports that for a week now various government ministries have seen their water cut because they didn’t pay the bills. The paper says officials have resorted to coming in for half a day and there seems to be a spat on which governmental body is supposed to pay the 200 million Ugandan shillings worth of debt. That’s a whopping 60,000 euros. Not sure what Ugandan ministers have been up to, but long showers at work look like they won't be happening any time soon.

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