African press review 22 April 2016

Text by: William Niba
5 min

Zambian President says "sorry" to foreign nationals hit by ritual killings attacks in Lusaka. Nigerian military says routed Boko Haram is hiding outside battle zones; the ANC's strange prayer for unity at a funeral, and tributes to Prince, "the kid who tranformed music".


We begin in Zambia where President Edgar Lungu has apologised to foreign nationals chased out of their homes in the wake of suspected ritual killings in some parts of Lusaka.

The Times of Zambia
President Lungu issued his "we are sorry" message during a meeting with some 200 foreigners at a Catholic mission hall where they have sought refuge after local militias ran amok ransacking their houses and shops in various townships around the capital.

The Times says the President denounced the "shameful act perpetuated by some criminally-minded Zambians". The paper says that the Zambian leader also announced to the refugees that his Government had set up a mechanism to ensure that they can return to their various townships and continue their lives safely.

The Zambian Post

The paper reports that the army has began patrolling Lusaka’s high density residential areas which had been rocked by riots and looting of foreign-owned shops. The leader of the country's main opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) party, Edith Nawakwi told the Post newspaper that those who took advantage of the riots to loot did so because they are hungry. "They are depressed and are dying under the yoke of poverty and destitution" Nawakwi is quoted by the paper as saying, adding that "the flaring tempers posed a serious national security threat to the country".

Nigerian Vanguard,

The paper relays a warning from the army that hundreds of Boko Haram insurgents are taking refuge outside battle zones, following the massive decimation of their activities in the North East. Vanguard quotes the army as saying that the terrorists are surreptitiously fanning out of their last enclaves in Sambisa to cause havoc or seek refuge elsewhere. Vanguard relays the military's appeal to the people to be "more vigilant and security-conscious to enable them clear the remnants of these terrorists wherever they might flee".

South African Times

"Can a tragedy become a blessing?" This, according to Times Live, is what leaders of South Africa's ruling African National Congress prayed for on Thursday at memorial services for 10 of the party's members who died in the tragic bus accident in the Free State at the weekend. The paper reports that the officials were on the way home from the ANC’s launch of its election manifesto for the coming local government elections. Times says the ANC leaders attending the funeral couldn't contain themselves, like the party's secretary general Gwede Munthase who invited mourners "at this stressful moment for the party, to use the death of their comrades to unite the party".

Mail and Guardian

With local government elections a few months away, the Johannesburg newspaper raises an "intriguing cardinal electoral question" which it claims political scientists and the media have not paid adequate attention to. "Why has the ANC failed to secure a simple majority of the coloured vote in the country since 1994?, wonders the daily.

Mail and Guardian blames the fallout to the "big political and strategic mistake the ANC made in 1992" to disband the powerful United Democratic Front, two years before the landmark non-racial general elections that brought an end to apartheid rule.

Mail and Guardian explains that the UDF acheived under apartheid what no other party did before it: substantial unity in action of coloured and African working-class communities around a wide range of common political and socioeconomic demands.

According to the publication, that the ANC lost in the birthplace of the UDF - which was overtly pro-ANC - was a massive and tragic irony, and the most damning paradox in post-apartheid South Africa. The Johannesburg publication also points to a pervasive sense of disgruntlement within the coloured community of having not benefited adequately from affirmative action, employment equity and black economic empowerment policies.

Some African papers pay glowing tribute to Prince the talented black virtuoso and pioneer of danceable funk who died on Thursday at the aged of 57. South Africa's Times remembers the innovative and influential singer and songwriter whose music combined jazz, funk and disco." Kenya's Daily Nation mourns the passing of the"Kid who transformed pop music.

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