African press review 26 October 2018

Text by: Arnab Béranger
3 min

A boat headed to a funeral capsizes in Nigeria, smartphones for Ugandan farmers, and more stories from the African press.


Nigeria: boat accident, elections and UK fraud case

In a public meeting, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, urged the people of South-West Nigeria to vote for current President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 elections.

He was joined by the ministers of information, culture, transportation and water.

There are no less than 76 candidates opposing Buhari in next year’s poll.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports at least 13 people drowned in the Katsina Ala River in Benue state when a boat capsized.

The overcrowded boat was heading for a funeral.

State police say that rescue operations are still ongoing, and that the death toll may rise.

Oil also topped Nigerian headlines today, with the Premium Times featuring a lawsuit against oil firm Afren.

On Wednesday, Osman Shahenshah and Shahid Ullah -- two top Afren executives -- were found guilty of fraud and money laundering by a UK court.

They had received more than 17 million dollars in a financial operation involving Oriental Energy, a company founded by Nigerian billionaire oil magnate Muhammadu Indimi.

South Africa: towards expropriation without compensation?

Sowetan discusses a proposed constitutional amendment that will allow expropriation of land without compensation.

The far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party got into a heated debate in parliament on Thursday on the first day of talks, when its chief whip Floyd Shivambu questioned the legitimacy of a landless people representative present in the chamber.

The spokesman replied, "we are not funded by the VPS bank".

This was a reference to a story by the Nigerian Guardian, which reported a series of suspicious payments made to the EFF made by the bank. The payments, totaling more than 300,000 euros, were made between June 2017 and February 2018.

Zimbabwe: economic sabotage and luxury cars

Both the Chronicle and the Herald, government-owned dailies, talk about economic sabotage and uncontrolled prices set by private firms.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Thursday that the government would not allow businesses to increase prices without justification.

Neither would it tolerate saboteurs manipulating the market to create artificial shortage, Zimbabwe's new president said.

At the same time, while Mnangagwa spoke about economic sabotage, a revelation by privately owned The Standard turned out to be rather embarrassing for the party.

It appears that Mnangagwa's Zanu-PF party is buying luxury cars worth a staggering five million dollars for party executives.

It is reported that the cars were a gift to the party by a local tycoon with huge interests in the energy sector.

But Zanu-PF has denied receiving the vehicles, saying they had bought the vehicles on their own.

Uganda: smartphones for agriculture

The Independent reports that Ugandan institutions want to use digital tools to encourage farming communities to continue agriculture and not abandon rural areas.

The government hopes that, through smartphones, rural farmers will be able to communicate and receive payments and will no longer have to journey outside of their village to do so.

On one hand, digital technology will open up the world to rural farmers, the paper says. But on the other hand, it may isolate them and cut their social ties to surrounding communities.

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