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African press review 12 November 2018

Text by: Brian Eads
3 min

Tracking ill-gotten Kenyan wealth hidden overseas. Elephants without tusks. Child labour in Uganda. Retirement woes in South Africa. And, remembering, or forgetting, South Africa's contribution in the First World War.


The Daily Nation in Kenya reveals that the Government has written to at least seven countries seeking details on billions of shillings suspected to be stashed abroad by influential individuals, including prominent politicians and businessmen.

The paper calls call it "a decisive step that marks renewed efforts after previous failed attempts to recover money hidden abroad."

It quotes senior officials as saying there will soon be nowhere to hide for those who have attempted to avoid scrutiny of local bank accounts by hiding money in foreign countries, some of which have a reputation as safe havens for ill-gotten wealth.

We've heard pledges like that before, of course. So, we'll believe it when it happens.


The Star has an intriguing story claiming that Elephants are evolving to not grow their tusks after years of being hunted and killed by poachers.

Almost 90 per cent of African elephants in Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park were slaughtered for their ivory to finance weapons in the country's civil war.

Around a third of females, the generation born after the war ended in 1992, have not developed tusks, recent figures suggest.

Male elephant tusks are bigger and heavier, but with increased poaching, hunters began to focus on females.

In South Africa 98 per cent of the 174 females in Addo Elephant National Park reportedly did not grow tusks in the early 2000s.

One wonders if endangered Rhinos will follow suit.

Child labour

The Daily Monitor in Uganda reports that this week the International Labour Organisation this week gave Uganda and Malawi 10.8 million dollars to combat child labour.

Child labour almost always abuses children’s rights to education, rest and leisure. Funding to stop this abuse is, therefore, welcome, the paper says.

The paper hopes the money will go into investigating the most affected areas, which are already well known. Notably farms, mines and quarries.

Its worry is that the money will become yet another figure in the "misused funds column, a sanitised word for stolen funds." Which sounds as familiar as loot stashed overseas by prominent people.

Retirement woes

An editorial in BusinessDay in South Africa reflects on worrying news for people already in or heading for retirement.

A survey of more than 2,000 retirement funds representing more than one million members found that only 5 per cent of retirees are able to maintain their standard of living.

"The sad state of retirement savings in SA is only getting worse," the paper laments.

Remembrance Sunday

I might have overlooked coverage elsewhere but the Jo'burg Star seems to be the only South African paper giving coverage to Remembrance Sunday yesterday.

Tens of thousands of soldiers from Europe's African colonies fought and died in the First World War. They included more than 146,000 whites, 83,000 blacks and 2,500 mixed race and Asians who served in the South African military. More than 20,00 were killed or wounded.

For example, in September 1914, in what became known as the Battle of Delville Wood, after six days and five nights of ferocious fighting in northern France there were only 750 survivors out of 3,433 soldiers of the South African Brigade.

The Star reports that respect was paid at the Cenotaph in Jo'burg to those who fought and died. The monument was recently scrubbed and cleaned after it was defaced with spray-painted graffiti last month.

In the words of Laurence Binyon's oft quoted poem ”For the Fallen" : “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them”.

Unlike some other papers, the Star didn't forget.

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