African press review 17 March 2014

Egyptian left-wingers call on the army to stay out of politics, foreign donors are set to halt aid to Kenya to protest at money-laundering and labour disputes continue in South Africa.


In Cairo the Egypt Independent reports that leftist activist Khaled Ali yesterday announced that he will not run for president, describing the upcoming elections as a farce.

Ali called on army generals to stay out of politics and went on to say that he is against theocratic and police states and supports social justice.

Former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Sami Anan announced last week that he would not run in the presidential race, either.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Following Khalid Ali's decision to withdraw, Hamza Zoubaa, official spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said the annoucement proves that the Egyptian political system is being manipulated.

Zoubaa said these withdrawals and the list of filler candidates make way for the current defense minister, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to reach the presidential post without competition.

An opinion poll in today's CairoDaily News shows that 51 per cent of voters say they will vote for Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with less than one per cent support for any other candidate. Forty-five per cent say they have still not decided who to vote for.

Also in this morning's Daily News, a denial by the Muslim Brotherhood that the group organised the killing of six military police at a checkpoint in the Cairo suburb of Mostorod on Saturday.

“The Brotherhood criticises the accusation of the army spokesman who wakes up each morning to ascribe every crime and catastrophe to the group without any investigation or proof,” the statement read. The Brotherhood offered its condolences to the families of the officers who died.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

In Kenya the Nairobi-based Standard newspaper reports that billions of shillings in aid money are at risk because of government disputes with the United States and the European Union.

According to the report, Kenya could lose 80 million euros in cash following delays by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government to sign crucial agreements with donor groups.

The Standard says that 40 million euros for civic education is at stake. Kenyan officials failed to sign the deal with the US Agency for International Development last month. The Government earlier accused USAid of working to destabilise President Kenyatta’s administration, a charge the US government denies.

The National Treasury has still to sign an agreement to access 35 million euros from European Union for projects in arid and semi-arid areas.

Yesterday the Council of Governors warned that some international non-governmental organisations funded by overseas donors have begun shifting base to Ethiopia and South Sudan.

In Uganda opposition figure Kizza Besigye has been urging political opponents of President Yoweri Museveni to re-organise.

According to this morning's Kampala-based Daily Monitor, Besigye, the former president of the Forum for Democratic Change, says the internal intrigues within Uganda's opposition parties will not end until the ruling National Rainbow Movement is out of power.

Speaking on a weekend radio talk show, Besigye said the NRM is aggravating the current divisions within the Forum for Democratic Change, the Uganda People’s Congress and the Democratic Party.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

The opposition needs to reorganise to save Uganda from turning into a failed state, says Besigye, adding that the country has been a single party state since 1986 when the National Resistance Army won the civil war against forces loyal to president Milton Obote.

In South Africa financial paper BusinessDay warns that the ongoing platinum strike is no run-of-the-mill wage dispute.

This is not a typical wage dispute, according to BusinessDay. Unlike most strikes, it is taking place without reference to the normal issues of affordability and sustainability of the companies involved.

The doubling of the basic wage, which the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has now said could be reached in four years instead of one, would amount to a compound increase of 30 per cent, according to the companies. And such an increase is unthinkable for the industry given the pressures it faces.

The striking union’s frame of reference is how little of the share of wealth mineworkers have gained over the past 20 years.

Workers are reported to be settling in for a long strike, with as many as half of them having departed for their rural homes where they have fields and livestock.

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