African press review 26 August 2016

Violent clashes between Zimbabwe riot police and anti-government protestors, the hospitalisation of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Nigeria are among the main stories in today's African press.

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South Africa's Financial Gazette reports that Zimbabwe Police and protestors have clashed in the capital Harare during anti-government protests.

The clash came during a protest against state corruption and police brutality by the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.

The rally degenerated into chaos as riot police engaged in "running battles" with protesters, says the paper.

The police used tear gas, water cannons and batons to disperse the crowds while opposition protesters threw teargas canisters and rocks at the police, in an exchange that lasted for hours, outside the MDC's headquarters.

During the protest, a supermarket owned by the country’s vice president was looted, a police car torched, and a van set ablaze.

Protestors call for Mugabe to quit office

Earlier, the demonstrators marched through the streets of the capital denouncing the police for beating up protesters and called on President Robert Mugabe to step down, accusing him of running a dictatorship.

The rally came two days before a planned march by all opposition parties to try to force Mugabe to implement electoral reforms before a general election in 2018.

A spokesperson for the MDC says police had refused to sanction the march, saying it would degenerate into violence.

Over the past few months, Zimbabwean police have crushed several major demonstrations against high unemployment, acute cash shortages and corruption.

Desmond Tutu hospitalised

In other Africa news, Desmond Tutu has reportedly been admitted to hospital according to Cape Town's News24 wire.

The Anglican Archbishop was admitted to a hospital in Cape Town yesterday to receive treatment for a recurring infection, it says, with Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille wishing him a speedy recovery.

Nigeria a US priority

According to Nigeria's Daily Trust the country "is a priority" for the US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry met with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday at the presidential palace in Abuja during his Nigeria visit.

The paper says Kerry pledged American support for President Buhari's anti-corruption efforts and in particular the fight against the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Meeting Buhari at a closed-door meeting at the Aso Villa, Kerry applauded the Nigerian government's efforts in the fight against extremists.

"You inherited a big problem," he said "and we will support you in any way we can".

He also pledged to assist in tackling the humanitarian challenges in the country's north-east the paper reports. And said that the US would call on the United Kingdom, France and others "to boost the support."

Kerry also talks of massive corruption toll

Meanwhile Nigeria's Premium Times reports that Kerry said the world is losing over $2.6 trillion euros annually to corruption.

Kerry made that comment while visiting the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar III, in his palace in the country's northwest.

Kerry said the money being lost to corruption across the world was enough to provide a decent livelihood for all people.

"This is money that can be used to improve the living standard and provide decent livelihoods for them," he said. "Corruption is not only a crime, but very dangerous and it must be tamed."

Peace talks in South Sudan endangered

Finally the East African reports that South Sudan's future is even more uncertain as the former vice president Riek Machar looks set to pull back from a peace deal.

Machar and his allies, it says, are planning to withdraw from the August 2015 peace agreement, "throwing prospects of stability in the country into further uncertainty".

Sources close to Machar said he would be planning a review of the involvement of his party - the Sudanese Peoples' Liberation Movement-in-Opposition - in the transition government, once he recovered from injuries sustained last month.

A representative for Machar's movement in Kenya, Lam Jok, said recent attacks by President Salva Kiir's forces "demanded a fresh approach to the implementation of the peace agreement."

Machar arrived at a hospital in Khartoum on Tuesday afternoon from the Democratic Republic of Congo, after being accepted for treatment in Sudan on humanitarian grounds.

The "rebel leader" as the paper calls him was consulting Igad before making his decision known. 

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