African press review 24 November 2015

Text by: William Niba
5 min

President Uhuru Kenyatta's big bang against runaway corruption in Kenya; and in Nigeria, a warning from the press about the dangers of diabolising the secessionist agitations of ethnic Igbo groups clamouring for a sovereign Biafra State.


We begin in Kenya where the papers are all about President Kenyatta’s new measures to make graft a costly and painful affair.

Standard Digital reports that the new measures, which can largely be condensed to 10, are punitive in nature and promise a crippling effect on graft and its perpetrators. The measures include a five-year ban from any form of business for any company found to have crossed the line drawn on Monday by the private and public sector consortium.

Daily Nation claims that after weeks of apparent inaction, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday moved to stem the plunder of the nation’s wealth through fraudulent tenders.
He declared corruption a national security threat and threw a noose around private companies that enriched their principals by robbing taxpayers.

Unveiling a raft of measures to fight corruption, the president said all companies doing business with county and national governments will now be required to sign and adhere to a business code of conduct. Banks that break money laundering laws will lose their licences “at a minimum” and Kenya Revenue Authority and Immigration staff will be vetted for integrity and competency. Mr Kenyatta made the announcement during an address to the nation from State House, Nairobi, after meeting top business, national and county government leaders.

Kenyatta said bank directors and senior officials “will be pursued relentlessly, individually and collectively, in accordance with the law, should they succumb to the lure of breaking our anti-money laundering laws and regulations”.

In Nigeria, the Guardian takes up the agitation for Biafra, as a growing number of ethnic Igbo activists up the ante in their campaign to revive late Colonel Odumegu Ojuku’s project to secede from the Nigerian federation. The campaign has been marked by recent protests by youths of southeastern extraction, demanding the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kalu, the detained director of the pirate Radio Biafra.

In an editorial, the publication holds that the new uprising from the disenchanted interest groups is a fact of Nigeria’s democratic experience in the last 16 years.

But as the journal points out, contrary to the position of some informed commentaries denouncing the ongoing agitation for secession or self-determination as a rally of miscreants, the obviously expanding Biafran factions are gradually crystallising into a global clamour to bring about the Sovereign State of Biafra.

According to the Guardian, whatever the motives of this agitation, it must not be taken lightly.

Concerning the substance of the agitation, the paper claims that the veracity of a unified Biafran agenda is already being called to question by the absence of a clear-cut philosophy or any articulated strategy of effective social mobilisation; the result of which is the emergence of various factions in the Biafra cause.

The Guardian warns that allegations of sabotage, intimidation, pecuniary conflicts, which have seen a group of splinter organizations breaking away from the main Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), could facilitate the rise of extremism.

That according to the journal already seems to be the case as some MASSOB members have broken away to form the Biafra Zionist Movement, the Indigenous People of Biafra and another known as the United Eastern Congress.

For the Guardian, rather than shout down at agitators and wish them away with a wave of the hand, this Buhari government should find answers to the thorny issues that created this monstrosity in the first place.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning