African press review 8 March 2018

Who was to blame for the chaos surrounding last year's Kenyan presidential vote? How bad are the errors in the latest batch of secondary school textbooks in Kenya? Why is the Egyptian presidential poll good news for local children? Is South Africa's ombudsman, the Public Protector, up to the demands of her job?


Last year's double presidential election was a major setback for Kenya's democratic development, according to the US-based Carter Centre, making the top story in this morning's Daily Nation.

The election-monitoring organisation, founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, placed the blame for the outcome primarily on Kenya's top politicians.

Key political leaders repeatedly took steps that harmed the process, taking hardline positions, failing to seek common ground and using inflammatory and divisive political rhetoric, according to the 46-page final report on the 2017 Kenyan elections.

Scool texbuks ful of erors

Over at Kenya's Standard, the top story looks at errors which marr the latest delivery of secondary school textbooks.

Erroneous calculations, spelling mistakes, a mix-up in content ideas, shallow exercises for students, and poor arrangement of topics are some of the problems detected in the new books. Teachers said the mistakes are confusing learners and have compromised teaching

The errors affect topics in mathematics, Kiswahili, English, biology and physics.

Some teachers are avoiding the textbooks because of the mistakes and have reverted to books from other publishers. The texts were procured by the government at a cost of six million euros.

The Kenya Publishers Association described the errors as "minor" and asked teachers to correct them as they teach.

Election holiday for Egyptian schools

There's better news for schoolkids in Egypt.

According to this morning's Cairo-based Independent, Egypt’s education ministry yesterday declared that the days of the upcoming presidential election will be official off-days for all school students in Egypt, to encourage ministry employees to participate in the voting process.

The presidential election will be held between 26 and 28 March.

The election sees incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi competing against Moussa Mostafa Moussa, after all other presidential hopefuls either backtracked on their candidacies or, allegedly, were hindered by authorities from participating.

Newest nation applies to join Arab League

South Sudan has applied to join the Arab League, according to a report in the Sudan Tribune.

Juba's formal application was presented to the League's foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, yesterday.

The bloc's member states include countries in north Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.

If successful, South Sudan will join Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia as the League's ninth African state and 23rd member.

South Africa's public protector "incompetent, prejudiced and corrupt"

Busisiwe Mkhwebane is unfit to be South Africa's public protector. That's according to the editorial in this morning's BusinessDay.

In an unusually harsh article, the Johannesburg-based paper says that, in her 15 months in the job, Mkhwebane has shown she does not want to protect the public.

In the two main cases on which she has issued reports, she has done exactly the opposite. In one, she has actively protected those accused of corruption by refusing to investigate and in the other she has played an ugly political game, performing the bidding of her political masters for an ulterior motive, the paper claims.

The first case, a report on an apartheid-era bail-out of Bankorp, was designed not to get to the bottom of what happened but rather to land blows in the fight against "white monopoly capital", according to BusinessDay.

In the second, the scandal of the Estina dairy farm, in which funds from the Free State provincial government were siphoned off to pay for an elaborate Gupta family wedding, her agenda was even more transparent, it says. While she recommended subjecting government employees to disciplinary procedures, Mkhwebane did not mention the names of the Free State politicians involved   Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane   both of whom have been implicated in state capture, the undue influence of members of the business-owning family on executive decisions.

In the 15 months she has occupied the post, says BusinessDay, Mkhwebane has brought shame on herself and the institution. "In addition to her obvious political prejudice and her professional incompetence, she has no integrity. She is unfit to be the public’s protector," the article says.

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