African press review 25 May 2016

DR
5 min

Burundi exiles and opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza say they are ready to take part in a new round of peace talks organised by Tanzania. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has repeated his concerns about the planned shutdown of Kenya's Dadaab refugee camps. And how much does it cost South Africa to keep Jacob Zuma's wives on the road?

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A Burundi opposition group that includes politicians in exile said yesterday it was ready to attend a new round of peace talks hosted by Tanzania, after a first round from which it was excluded.

This story is top of the front page of regional paper the East African.

The mediator, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, said the first round was more of a "monologue" by the government but that he would meet with those who did not attend and might have "positive contributions" to make.

Burundi has seen more than 450 people killed in the 12 months since President Pierre Nkurunziza pursued and won a third term. Opponents say his third mandate violates the constitution and a deal that ended a civil war in 2005.

A new round of peace talks was launched in the Tanzanian city of Arusha at the weekend, after previous discussions in Burundi and Uganda either collapsed or stalled.

Several opposition groups, including CNARED, an umbrella group that includes exiled politicians and former government officials, said the talks had little value as they and other leading opposition voices had been left out.

Ban worried about Kenya refugee proposals

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has repeated his concerns about the planned shutdown of Kenya's Dadaab refugee camps.

The UN chief pointed to the potentially devastating consequences of prematurely ending refugee hosting for hundreds of thousands of people.

Ban also recognised the extraordinary humanitarian role Kenya has played over the years as one of the world's foremost refugee hosting countries.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson are to visit Kenya in the near future to continue the dialogue on the future of the country's 600,000 refugees from Somalia.

Foreign diplomats worried about Kenyan violence

And 12 foreign envoys to Kenya have condemned the recent violence during demonstrations against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The diplomats, including the UK high commissioner, the US ambassador and the European Union ambassador, said in a joint statement yesterday that violence will not resolve issues regarding the future of the electoral commission or ensure that the 2017 elections are free and credible.

Border talks to resume between the two Sudans

Sudan and South Sudan are to resume discussions early next month on the demarcation of their common border and security aimed at easing tensions between the two countries, according to officials in Juba.

Sudan closed the border in March, accusing Juba of resuming its support for rebel groups fighting to depose President Omar al-Bashir.

South Sudan denies the allegations.

The well-wheeled wives of Jacob Zuma

In South Africa financial paper BusinessDay reports that 10 vehicles worth well over half a million euros were bought for the wives of President Jacob Zuma between 2013 and 2016 using the budget of the police department, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said in a written reply to a parliamentary question yesterday.

The minister said the purchases were necessary "to provide comprehensive protection of VIP spouses". Vehicles purchased for Zuma’s wives included Range Rovers, Land Rover Discovery all-terrain vehicles, five Audis and sedans.

The purchase of luxury cars for cabinet ministers themselves has been frowned on by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who has appealed for modest purchases as part of a general belt-tightening required by government in order for it to achieve its fiscal consolidation targets.

The opposition DA claims that the money spent on the cars could have funded 116 university students for a year, or 38 students for the full three-year degree programme. It could also have been used to hire an additional 61 police officers for a year or provide jobs for 1,315 workers on the expanded public works programme.

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