African press review 29 August 2014

Anti-Ebola efforts take a hit in Nigeria. SA papers want to know what Zuma’s been up to in Russia. Grace Mugabe enters politics. Uhuru loses a car and destroys a ship.


In Nigeria the Punch is reporting a setback in efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic with news that that another medical doctor has died from the disease in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, broke the news at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday. Punch claims that the doctor contracted the virus after treating an Ecoawas diplomat taken ill at a hotel in Port Harcourt.

Punch says the medic’s death is the first Ebola case outside Lagos and it is causing panic in Rivers State among health personnel and other stakeholders battling to stamp out the disease in the country.

The Vanguard reports that more than 100 people who made contact with the diplomat have been identified and placed in quarantine and the areas he visited have been decontaminated. The paper takes up a split within the Nigerian teachers’ union over the federal government’s decision to postpone the resumption of the new school year in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.

According to the paper, while some stakeholders believe that the move will restrict the spread of the disease, others argue that prolonged stay at home will do more harm than good.

The Nigerian Tribune investigates the situation in the remote town of Gwoza in the northern Borno state taken over by Boko Haram insurgents. The paper reports that the Islamists have declared sharia law, occupied churches and started organising forced marriages in the local government area.

In South Africa BusinessDay leads with President Jacob Zuma’s mystery tour of Russia which ended with a meeting - at last - with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The paper is particularly intrigued by the inclusion of “rest periods” and the extended duration of the week-long stay in Moscow and the news drought surrounding the programme of what had been expected to be a working visit.

Slideshow Mandela

The Johannesburg newspaper says the composition of Zuma’s delegation is raising eyebrows, too. He left presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj behind and is accompanied by State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Deputy International Relations and Cooperation Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo, instead of Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, who is in charge of investment issues. According to BusinessDay, the 71-year-old Zuma has looked increasingly gaunt in recent weeks with his aides blaming his punishing schedule.

A prominent issue of interest to the Sowetan is the shock entry into politics of Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe nominated as chair of the ruling Zanu/PF’s women’s league. The paper reports that the election of the 49-year-old former typist to the powerful position is a foregone conclusion, as it is scheduled to happen at the same crunch party congress in December which will decide if Mugabe continues at the helm of the party.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Potential successors have begun jockeying for power in anticipation of the departure of the 90-year-old Mugabe, who has been in power for close to 34 years, writes the Sowetan. It stresses a warning from the current Zanu/PF chairperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, of harsh action against party members who try to use the media to badmouth the veteran President’s wife.

Kenya’s Daily Nation leads with a scoop about the carjacking of one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s escort cars. The paper reports that police officer driving the bullet-proof limousine was ambushed, stripped naked and abandoned in a thicket by three gunmen around 8.00pm in Nairobi Wednesday.

The Digital Standard is following the destruction this Friday of a ship that docked at Mombasa port with 377 kgs of cocaine worth one billion shilling (about 8.8 million euros) on board. The destruction of the vessel seized in July was ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday when he warned that his government will not allow Kenyan ports to be used as transit points by drugs traffickers.

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