African press review 26 August 2017


South Africa's first online rhino horn auction is a major talking point in this morning's newspapers, as well as a petition to remove Grace Mugabe's diplomatic immunity. Elsewhere, a judicial strike has brought Uganda's courts to a standstill, and one of Sierra Leone's top politicians is embroiled in a bribery scandal...


Business Day brings us the story South Africa’s first online auction for rhino horns, which concluded yesterday.

The figures aren’t out yet, but bidders paid over 6,000 euros just to register.

The horns on auction were not from illegal poaching, but from farming.

The sell-off was organised by John Hume, the owner of the world’s largest rhino farm.

He harvests the horns by tranquilising the animals and cutting them off   a technique he says is humane and wards off poachers.

But conservation groups oppose the practice, arguing that the sale would fuel poaching and undermine a 40-year global ban on the rhino trade.

Their protests and legal challenge delayed the auction for two days.

Business Day says it was organised after the Constitutional Court lifted an eight-year moratorium on the domestic trade of rhino horn in April.

The government has not commented on the auction.

A bid to remove Grace Mugabe's immunity

There’s also more news of the Grace Mugabe affair in the South African press.

The Mail and Guardian reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) party has applied for direct access to the Constitutional Court to have her diplomatic immunity set aside.

The Zimbabwean First Lady was accused of beating a young woman with an extension cord in Johannesburg on the 13 August.

The DA party is arguing that the International Relations and Co-operation Minister’s decision to let Mugabe off the hook was “hasty, embarrassing, and illegal”, and should therefore be declared invalid.

Ugandan courts at a standstill

The main story in Uganda is about a major strike by judicial officers, which is paralysing courts across the country, according to the Daily Monitor.

At Buganda Road Magistrates Court in Kampala, 20 cases had to be interrupted yesterday, according to the paper.

At an anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, a session had to be aborted, and inmates escorted back to prison, without getting dates for the next hearing.

The same thing happened in dozens of courts in Uganda, where litigants were left stranded.

In July, the Uganda Judicial Officers Association decided they would stop working by the 23 August.

More than 400 judicial officers want the government to increase their salary, give them vehicles, medical insurance, housing allowance and security guards.

According to the Daily Moniter's report, prisons are hit worst, as normally 1,500 inmates go to court on a daily basis.

On average, 500 of them get released.

The spokesperson of the Uganda Prison Service described the strike as a crisis, as far as his institution is concerned.

Sierra Leone bribery case

In the Sierra Leone, a leading presidential candidate has been embroiled in an international bribery scandal.

Standard Times Press brings us the story.

It says the Australian mining company Iluka Resources discovered bribe payments after it acquired one of the world’s largest Rutile mines.

They came with the takeover of Sierra Rutile Limited for over 300 million euros in December.

The multi-millionaire John Sisay, one of Sierra Leone’s most powerful men, is accused of overseeing the 100,000 euros bribe payment.

He’s a cousin and close associate of President Ernest Koroma, and is currently campaigning to become the country’s next leader.

One cabinet minister, Diana Konomanyi, has also been implicated, after it was discovered that Sierra Rutile spent more than 40,000 euros to provide her with international flights.

Standard Times Press says she was considering becoming Mr. Sisay’s running mate in the presidential campaign.

Kenya's post-electoral struggle

In Kenya, there’s a lot of ongoing speculation about the Supreme Court’s impending decision on Raila Odinga’s petition against the election of Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Daily Nation is going over the key issues that could decide the petition.

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