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African press review 30 January 2017

4 min

More trouble brewing in Kenya as the hospital doctors strike continues. At least Nairobi is hoping for stronger ties with the United Nations. Are the military in South Sudan protecting the people or robbing them? And why has South Africa's suspended national police commissioner gone to court?


State governors in Kenya say they will in future employ doctors on a three-year renewable contract as opposed to the current permanent work terms.

The county bosses have threatened to sack doctors who have been on strike for the past two months, saying they have run out of patience.

The Council of Governors health committee chairman yesterday told the Nairobi-based Daily Nation that even when the striking doctors agree to return to work, they will have to apply for their jobs before being allowed back. At that stage they will be offered new contracts for periods of two or three years.

How this latest development is going to affect the negotiations to end the strike is anyone's guess but it's probably not going to be much to the strikers' liking since it will mean a major change in their employment status.

The doctors are demanding better pay and working conditions.

The strike has now gone on for 57 days, paralysing Kenya's public hospitals.

Nairobi hoping for better relations with the UN

Kenya is at least hoping to improve relations with the United Nations.

According to regional newspaper the East African, the strained relations between Kenya and the UN are set to improve following a bilateral meeting in Ethiopia.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met yesterday in Addis Ababa where the 2017 African Union summit is taking place.

The meeting, the first in a series of between the UN chief and African leaders, focused on peacekeeping, peace and security and the situations in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Burundi.

South Sudan military fingered in US graft probe

Meanwhile, the same regional daily reports that a US anti-graft agency claims there is massive corruption in the South Sudan military.

The Enough Project says in its latest report that there is rampant corruption in the army, despite the widespread suffering of the people of the world’s newest country.

The report is entitled Weapons of Mass Corruption.

It identifies such corrupt activities as procurement fraud, irregular spending and bloated troop rosters, featuring thousands of “ghost” soldiers.

Last year, the Enough Project released a report accusing South Sudanese leaders, including President Salva Kiir and now rebel commander Riek Machar, of profiting from the war by diverting state assets to foreign countries.

South African police commissioner continues fight

In South Africa suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega has slammed the board of inquiry investigating her fitness to hold office.

According to the top story in this morning's Johannesburg-based paper BusinessDay, Phiyega says the board not only exceeded its mandate and made irrational findings‚ it also changed the findings of the Farlam report into the Marikana masacre in an effort to find her guilty.

The board found Phiyega guilty on three of the five allegations President Jacob Zuma instructed it to investigate.

She is accused of direct responsibility for the tactical decision to send armed police to confront striking miners, resulting in the deaths of 34 strikers on a single day of clashes. A total of 47 people, including several police officers, died during violence associated with the strike

Phiyega is further accused of having deliberately concealed from the president the fact that there were shooting incidents on the day of the massacre and of releasing a press statement to that effect.

Finally, the board considered that her testimony at the Farlam commission was not in keeping with the office which she holds.

Phiyega was found not guilty of misleading the commission and not guilty of undermining the inquiry.

She now wants the High Court in Pretoria to review the entire report, claiming that the proceedings were designed to prejudice her.

Gaza crossing from Egypt open again, briefly

And the Cairo-based Egypt Independent reports that Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to travellers from both sides for the second day in a row yesterday.

The border crossing is scheduled to remain open until Tuesday evening for humanitarian cases, students, bearers of Egyptian passports and patients who have scheduled treatment in Egypt.

Egypt has kept its border with the Gaza Strip closed since Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted as president three years ago.

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