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African press review 25 November 2017

4 min

The Egyptian president promises a muscular security response to the Sinai mosque attack in which more than 230 people lost their lives yesterday. South Africa got deeper into the junk ratings yesterday following a downgrade by Standard & Poor's. And Zimbabwe's new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, praises his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, but says it is time to turn the page on corruption and poverty.


The Egypt mosque attack dominates front pages in north and east Africa.

Regional daily the East African describes the gun and bomb attack, in which at least 235 people lost their lives, as one of the deadliest in recent memory.

The report says an explosion ripped through the Rawda mosque roughly 40 kilometres west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish before gunmen opened fire on worshippers gathered for weekly Friday prayers.

The Islamic State armed group's Egypt branch has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, and also civilians accused of working with the authorities, in attacks in the north of the Sinai peninsula over the past four years.

They have also targeted followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Sunni Islam as well as Christians.

A tribal leader and head of a Bedouin militia that fights the islamic terrorist organisation says that the mosque is known as a gathering place for Sufis, considered to be heretics by the Islamic State armed group.

Sisi promises to react with brute force

The main story in the Cairo-based Egypt Independent confirms the death toll at 235, saying that 109 others were injured in the attack.

The Independent names the mosque as Al-Rawada, and even as Al-Rawaady.

The Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has declared three days of mourning for the victims and yesterday vowed to retaliate with “brute force” against the perpetrators.

Al-Sisi said that the attack was intended to spread doubt among Egyptians about the capacity of the state to protect its citizens, but affirmed that the armed forces and police will be responding to restore security in north Sinai.

South Africa sinks deeper into the junk zone

South Africa plunged deeper into the junk zone yesterday.

According to the top story in the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, Standard & Poor's Global Ratings cut the country’s local currency rating to sub-investment grade. The only good news is that the outlook has improved to stable from negative.

Moody's were in more generous form.

BusinessDay says South Africa got off the hook when the third of the three big international agencies announced that it continues to rate both local and foreign currency government bonds as investment grade.

But Moody's have warned that South Africa is heading for a downgrade.

New man promises to fix Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's newly sworn-in president Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to fix the economy and fight corruption.

He told the thousands who attended his inauguration in Harare that he would work to create jobs and reduce poverty.

He also praised his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, saying the sacked president had led the struggle for national independence and had assumed responsibilities of leadership at a formative and very challenging time in the birth of the nation. "That is to be lauded and celebrated for all times," he told listeners.

Mnangagwa pledged that his country would service all its debt obligations - a nod to the investors he hopes to attract.

Court reverses Mugabe decision to sack successor

And in a related story, NewsDay reports that a Harare court yesterday  nullified the decision by former President Robert Mugabe to fire his deputy and successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In an urgent application filed just one day before his inauguration as the new president of Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa said his sacking from his former post was a violation of his constitutional rights and as he urged the court to declare the whole process null and void.

Justice George Chiweshe wisely agreed.

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