African press review 18 April 2014

There’s confusion over the fate of kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. SA prepares for a post-Zuma ANC.


The Nigerian media are irritated by confusion over the fate of more than 100 students abducted by Boko Haram Islamist insurgents from a secondary school in Borno State

The army reported on Wednesday that about 80 of the girls had been released. Punch reports that the pncipal of the college has denied claims by the Defence Headquarters that only eight of the pupils had yet to regain their freedom.

Slideshow Mandela

The Nigeria Tribune shares the anguish of the school’s principal who told the Associated Press on Thursday how she mistakenly handed over 129 schoolgirls to Boko Haram gunmen, who posed as military men. According to the paper, the principal said that the insurgents dressed in military fatigues arrived at the school after midnight and told her they needed to move the girls for their own safety. She says they then loaded the students on to the back of a truck and it was when they started shooting, as they left the campus that she realised her mistake.

The Guardian reports that Defence Headquarters has confirmed the principal’s account noting that only 14 out of the 129 girls have been freed.

This Day claims that the 14 of the students were able to escape when one of the trucks in which they were being carted away broke down. And Daily Trust says that the parents of the teenage girls have joined the search efforts in the dreaded Sambisa Forest to try to find their daughters.

In South Africa the press is following the campaign trail ahead of the 7 May general election. The Mail and Guardian hints that the battle for the post-Zuma ANC has begun well before the country holds the crucial poll. The paper claims that once the president sanctions his new cabinet, those he over looks will look for new alliances as the focus turns to who will lead the party in 2017.

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The Johannesburg Star has already identified former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and former health minister Nosizwe Madlala-Routledge among the disgruntled former ANC stalwarts who have started looking for a different political godfather. It reports that the two rebels from the Limpopo constituency launched a “Vote no!” campaign on Tuesday to show disquiet at the plague of corruption bedevilling the ANC, accusing Jacob Zuma of opulence that smacks of Mobutu Sese-Sekoism.This over the security upgrades at the president’s private home in Nkandla.

City Press says Limpopo residents yelled and signalled for officials to go away and even pelted a few cars on a nearby road briefly plunging a packed Malamulele stadium into chaos as Zuma addressed an ANC campaign rally.

The Sowetan hails a victory for freedom of expression after the elections complaints and compliance commission ordered the public SABC broadcaster to air six campaign adverts prepared by the opposition Democratic Alliance with immediate effect. The paper explains that the television advert and five radio ads were pulled off air after being blighted by the SABC for two days on grounds that they were packed with personal attacks.

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