African press review 13 January 2015
Kenya's government digs in its heels in the face of a teachers' strike. Egyptian students have to be careful what books they are seen to be reading. Nigeria's government claims the toll of Boko Haram's victims has been exaggerated. And an archbishop calls for the same solidarity for murdered Nigerians as there has been for French cartoonists.
The Daily Nation is talking about the ongoing teachers' strike in Kenya. The Kenyan teachers are still refusing to go back to class - they've been asking for a hike in their salaries for more than a week now.
Today we learn from the Daily Nation that if the teachers demands for higher salaries are granted, the public wage would increase by more than 2.3 billion euros. That's why the government refuses to hear about any pay increase explains the paper.
According the the education ministry, Kenyan teachers are among the best paid in the region and Africa after South Africa and Morocco.
He added that "the teachers’ pay review should be pegged to productivity in future".
These comments will probably not satisfy the teachers' unions.
The situation is so tense, explains the paper, that Knut and Kuppet, the two rival teachers union in Kenya, issued a joint statement criticising the government’s handling of the pay dispute.
The Egypt Independent worries that there could be the beginning of a crackdown on books in the country. The newspaper explains that during the government of ousted president Hosni Mubarak it was "common to hear about students being arrested on charges of carrying a novel that threatened the regime".
One could have hoped that with the recent change of regime, things would get better.
But, as the Independent puts it, it seems these "limits in freedom of expression are back". Last year two students were arrested for carrying novels, one of them being novel written by Sayyid Qutb, the popular Islamist and an old leading member of Muslim Brotherhood.
The other on was George Orwell's 1984. Ironic isn't it?
So far the interior ministry has denied the student was arrested for possession of the novel. Instead the investigators are saying he was carrying USB drives with anti-regime notes. Human rights groups fear that his possession of the novel will be used as evidence against him during the case, explains the paper.
Last December Freedom House, the US-based observer of human rights, said Egypt’s decline in the 2014 freedom ranking designated the country as “not free”.
Nigeria's government is dismissing reports that 2,000 people were killed by Boko Haram last week, Vanguard reports.
According to Defence Minister Olusola Obada, no more than 150 people were killed last week, when the Boko Haram armed group attacked the Joint Task Force in Baga. Apparently that figure includes a number of Boko Haram members as well.
The Nigerian paper explains that, for the ministry, this is no time to debate casualty figures or numbers of deaths.
In South Africa's News 24 you'll hear about a Nigerian archbishop who called for the same international support to tackle Boko Haram as France has received since it was hit by Islamist attacks last week.
The comments came from Ignatius Kaigama, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jos, in central Nigeria. The country has suffered another bloody weekend, explains the paper, in which three female suicide bombers, including one thought to be as young as 10, killed at least 23 people.
"We need that spirit to be spread around, not just when it happens in Europe, [but] when it happens in Nigeria, in Niger, Cameroon and many poor countries, that we mobilise our international resources to confront the people who bring such sadness to many families," he says.
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