African press review 08 October 2014

Uhuru Kenyatta has a crucial encounter at the ICC. Kenyan police claims to have foiled a plan to attack a Nairobi shopping centre. SA gets a new top banker and could face Zimbabwe-style farm invasions. 


The front page of the Kenyan Daily Nation tells us that President Uhuru Kenyatta will appear before judges at the International Criminal Court later this morning in what the Nairobi-based paper calls "one of the most crucial encounters of his life".

Kenyatta faces five charges over his alleged role in masterminding post-election violence in 2007 and 2008 that left 1,200 people dead and 600,000 displaced.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

The Daily Nation says there are two key issues on the agenda at today's hearing.

The first is Kenyatta’s request to have the case thrown out for lack of evidence.

The second is chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to the Trial Chamber to postpone the case until Kenya provides information on the Kenyan president’s personal affairs. Bensouda claims that Kenyatta should be held responsible for the failure of the Kenyan government to comply with the court's requests.

Over at the Standard, the main story says the ICC status conference is already deadlocked.

Yesterday the prosecution insisted that the Kenyan authorities were guilty of non-compliance. Kenyan Attorney General Githu Muigai denied this, saying that the cooperation requests submitted by the international court could not be acted upon.

At the heart of the dispute is the prosecution's claim that the Nairobi government declined to hand over financial and telephone records that the prosecutors are banking on to keep their case alive.

Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked to be provided with Uhuru's detailed telephone, tax, land, trusts and vehicle records for the period preceding and after the post-election violence.

The Kenyan attorney general claims the government of Kenya is unable to provide the records required.

The Daily Nation also reports that Kenyan police yesterday arrested two terrorism suspects and said they were looking for three others.

They said the group was planning a major attack on a shopping centre in Nairobi today.

Further down the Standard front page we learn that pay talks between teachers and government collapsed yesterday after the Teachers Service Commission withdrew the counter-offer on pay proposed last week.

Sources at the meeting told the Standard that commission withdrew a proposal for a Sh50 billion pay hike to the shock of union officials.

The teaching unions are reported to have scaled down their demands for higher pay to between 100 and 150 per cent. This is down from initial demands for a 300 per cent increment on basic pay.

Slideshow Mandela

The fate of the upcoming national examinations remains uncertain as teachers may be on strike by the time the exams are due to start.

In South Africa the incoming governor of the Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago, is on top of page one of financial paper BusinessDay for the second day running.

According to the Johannesburg-based daily, one of Kganyago’s first priorities when he takes office next month will be to execute the South African central bank’s mandate to safeguard financial stability.

His other priority will be to make the Reserve Bank the first port of call for young professionals seeking a career in economics and finance.

He may have a tough time with that first priority, because BusinessDay also reports that the International Monetary Fund has cut South Africa’s economic growth outlook for the fourth consecutive time this year. The fund thus becomes the latest institution to lower gross domestic product forecasts as strikes, weak demand and energy supply constraints stifle the economy.

South Africa’s economy is growing at less than two per cent   a long way short of the five per cent per year needed to address high unemployment and poverty.

The IMF cut the country’s economic growth outlook for this year to 1.4 per cent from the July level of 1.7 per cent in its latest World Economic Outlook report, released yesterday.

BusinessDay also tells us that Zimbabwe-style land invasions could become "inevitable" if farm evictions persist and farmers resist change in land ownership regulations.

The slow pace of land redistribution in South Africa has led to sporadic land occupations around the country.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the Western Cape and the Bawsi Agricultural Workers’ Union yesterday threatened to bring farming to its knees if evictions continued.

Cosatu claims there have recently been "mass evictions" on farms throughout the country and especially in the Western Cape.

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