African press review 30 July 2015

Is South Africa's economy booming? And Nigeria forms military alliance against Boko Haram with regional allies.


South Africa's unemployment rate has dropped, according to the top story in this morning's Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay. The news is still pretty grim.

The number of South Africans out of work fell to 25 per cent in the second quarter of this year from 26.4 per cent in the first quarter as the economy created jobs even though economic growth is weak and business confidence remains low, according to figures released by Statistics South Africa yesterday.

A total of 198,000 jobs were created in the second quarter, most of them in the formal sector, including community and social services, construction, and trade.

Jobs were shed in financial services, manufacturing and agriculture.

South African Police Minister Nathi Nhleko yesterday dismissed a letter linking President Jacob Zuma to the approval of upgrades at his private home in Nkandla as a figment of the imagination of a junior official.

The letter, released to the parliamentary committee inverstigating the spending of public money on Nkandla, says Zuma instructed that a building on his property used for police accommodation be incorporated into the homestead.

The committee yesterday questioned Nhleko on his decision that Zuma need not repay any of the money spent on nonsecurity features at Nkandla   a direct contradiction of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s finding that the president benefited unduly and should repay some of the rand equivalent of 20 million euros of public money involved.

Nhleko said that the letter was written by a junior police officer and asked why the president would communicate directly with someone at that level. The minister went on to say that the officer had since admitted to making up the contents of the letter.

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

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari began a two-day visit to Cameroon yesterday in a bid to soothe fractious ties between the West African neighbours and strengthen co-operation against Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Buhari’s first visit to Cameroon since his election in March comes as the militant group, which has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, has launched a fresh wave of attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have formed a military alliance against Boko Haram.

Tensions are running high in northern Cameroon’s after three suicide attacks in the past week killed at least 60 people, prompting the local government to announce the closure of some mosques, ban burqas and forbid street hawkers.

In Nigeria, suspected Boko Haram attacks have killed at least 600 people since Buhari took office two months ago.

An African Union-mandated, 8,700-strong regional taskforce, headquartered in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, was due to start operations at the end of this month but has been delayed by questions about funding.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

In Kenya, where the shilling equivalent of four billion euros of state money is missing without trace from last year's accounts, The Daily Nation reports that the anti-corruption commission investigated a total of 315 corruption cases in the last financial year but only 26 of them ended up in court, according to a report presented to the National Assembly yesyterday.

Another 76 cases are still under investigation and 44 files are under evidence analysis, according to the report prepared by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Another eight cases are awaiting a decision by the Director of Public Prosecution on whether he will charge the suspects in court.

Between June 2014 and June 2015, a total of 129 individuals were charged with corruption offences in Kenya.

The top story in regional paper The East African reports that Rwanda’s highest court has set a date for a decision on whether the court has jurisdiction to hear a petition seeking to block the process to amend the Rwandan Constitution to remove presidential term limits.

The Supreme Court has set September 9 as the date on which it will decide whether it has competence to hear the case in which the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, the country’s only opposition group, opposes the plans to amend the Constitution.

Paul Kagame has been president of Rwanda since April, 2000. The proposed changes to the constitution would allow him to stand for a third term in the next election, due in 2017.

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