African press review 30 December 2015

WHO declares Guinea Ebola free, but stigma remains; South Africa wins charm operation for millionniare tourists and tough times for Nigeria's TB Joshua as his agents hunt for wealthy parishioners.


We start in South Africa and Mail and Guardian's celebration of the good news from Guinea this New Year's eve. The declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday that the West African country had become free of Ebola.

The paper reports that more than 2,500 people died from the virus in Guinea, quoting an official of the national anti-Ebola taskforce as saying that the epidemic orphaned about 6,200 of the country's children.

A country is declared Ebola free 42 days after the recovery or death of the final patient and if there are no new infections.

Mail and Guardian says the rather high death toll and the damage the virus inflicted on Guinea's economy as well as the health and education sectors certainly explains why people in the capital Conakry greeted the WHO's announcement with mixed feelings.

The paper also says that the skepticism is possibly being fanned by the situation in nearby Liberia also declared as Ebola free in May and September, but placed under emergency due to a new outbreak.

Business Day on its part, pitched its lead story on the heart-warming revelation that South Africa was the most popular African destination for the super-rich in 2015, with about 11,000 multi-millionaires visiting the country, despite new tough visa rules.

This is according to a survey carried out by the New World Wealth, SA research group. But the paper also underlines the finding by the research group showing that 32,000 other multi-millionnaires prefered other destinations such as Mauritius, the Seychelles, Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana and Uganda.

And in Nigeria, Punch says the Synagogue Church of All Nations of controversial preacher TB Joshua is struggling for its life, months after the collapse of his six-storey guesthouse in Lagos in which 116 people, mostly foreigners, lost their lives.

Accordingto the paper, at both entries to the church premises are lodge agents – comprising men and women – hunting for customers with each of them persuading whoever comes to the church to spend days.

Punch found out that a night at the Synagogue lodge costs between 1,000 and 5,000 Naira, which is hardly affordable for the poor widows and elderly trooping around the preacher.

That is on top of a mandatory fee of 200 naira charged to anyone seeking to enter Joshua's church. A shocked reader of the paper says he doesn't understand why poor people have to pay 200 Naira to be authorized to enter the church where the evangeslist is said to distribute rice, money and clothes. Could it be TB Joshua's last days, he wonders.

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