African press review 19 November 2015

6 min

Kenya continues to arm-wrestle with the International Criminal Court; the authorities in Egypt accept that a bomb caused last month's Sinai plane crash; an American politician advises Ugandans to sell their votes to the highest bidder, then go and vote for the candidate of their choice.


"Kenya steps up war to suspend ICC 'Rule 68'." That's the main headline in regional paper The East African.

The ICC is, of course, the Hague-based International Criminal Court. And Rule 68 is part of the court's founding statutes, covering the protection of witnesses. It basically allows the judges to consider prior recorded evidence, even if the person who gave the testimony subsequently decides not to cooperate with the court.

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According to The East African, Kenya’s delegation to the Assembly of States Parties has vowed to ensure the controversial rule allowing use of such recanted evidence at the International Criminal Court is debated.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said protests by the ICC should be ignored.

Kenya maintains that the rule should not have been applied in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang, who are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the court.

Amina Mohamed says Kenya also wants an audit into how the court sourced its witnesses in the two cases.

The Assembly of States Parties meeting brings together representatives of all countries that recognise the ICC, the court's financiers and the UN Security Council. It opens today in the Dutch city of The Hague.

According to one of the main stories in this morning's Cairo-based Egypt Independent newspaper, the bomb which destroyed a Russian plane over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt last month was placed in the aircraft's main cabin not in the cargo compartment, as reported earlier.

The newspaper, citing a source close to the investigation of the crash, said the explosion appeared to have been at the rear of the cabin near the tail section.

According to a preliminary version of events, the bomb, which may have been concealed in a soft drinks can, could have been laid under a passenger seat by the window. Its operation led to the depressurisation of the cabin and damaged the aircraft's structure.

All 224 people on board were killed.

The Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay reports that South Africa continues to feel the effects of drought, with figures showing the country is still importing maize. A drought earlier this year caused production shortages.

Food prices are expected to rise in coming months as the effects of the weak rand and the drought become more apparent.

Food inflation accelerated significantly to 4.9 per cent year on year in October from 4.4 per cent in September, according to figures released by Statistics South Africa yesterday.

The Monitor in Uganda gives pride of place to a warning from a US human rights envoy.

According to the Kampala-based daily, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski said corruption in elections and the buying of votes is rampant even in the most established systems in the world but that should not stop people from voting leaders of their choice.

Malinowski advises those who are offered money to vote for a particular candidate to take the money and vote for whoever they want. He says that when people realise they can do that, monetisation of politics becomes unsustainable.

Malinowski, who visited Uganda earlier this week, also added that picking their leaders is the obligation of Ugandans and they should not expect intervention by the international community.

However, he added that the world will be looking closely at events in Uganda in the run-up to the 18 February polls.

And the main story in the Nigerian Guardian reports that hostilities between the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) resumed yesterday as the opposition party alleged that close associates of the president have recruited a killer squad to hunt down perceived political opponents.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh claimed that Tuesday’s attack on the convoy of the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu was part of the plan by the APC to use violent means to muzzle opposition and so facilitate President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid for re-election in 2019.

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