Kenya: African Press Review 5 July 2012

More on the African Court of Justice, Kenya's cancelled oil deal with Iran and teachers in Uganda who say no to jobs in rural schools...

There's lots of oil on this morning's Kenyan front pages.

First, the good news that even more reserves have been discovered in Turkana. Oil has been found at the Ngamia 1 well, nearly 400 metres closer to the surface than had been hoped. That means there's probably more crude than expected in the well, and that it will be less technically difficult to get it out of the ground. Further investigations are now planned to determine the viability of the find.

There are two versions of the other oil story.

The Standard's headline reads "Kenya cancels oil deal with Iran due to sanctions". The Daily Nation says "US kills Kenya oil deal".

The basic facts are clear enough: Kenya has cancelled an agreement under which the African nation was to have imported four million tonnes of Iranian oil each year.

The US has, indeed, cautioned against trading with Iran, stating countries that do so could face serious consequences. But The Standard says the deal fell through before the American warning was issued.

The Permanent Secretary at the Energy Ministry said the deal was cancelled because it was not favourable, coming with no price discount and a credit period of only 90 days.

According to government sources, the agreement was first signed in 2009 and then in 2010 but both lapsed because Kenya could not find a bank to secure the deal.

An Energy Ministry spokesman admitted that the international embargo on Iranian oil had influenced the decision.

According to the politics pages of the Kenyan Standard, Africa's final assault on International Criminal Court is scheduled next week at African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and on it rests hopes for referral of cases against four Kenyans.

Heads of State are expected to approve amendments which will expand the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice. The changes are designed to facilitate the take over of cases facing top African leaders at The Hague-based International Criminal Court.

The summit intends to endorse recommendations by Africa's Ministers of Justice and Attorney Generals to extend the African court's mandate to include prosecutions for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Besides stamping a seal of approval to the amendments, the leaders attending the 19th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union will also endorse what is being called "the African common position" regarding the ICC.

That common position is basically a demand for African suspects to be tried by Africans. The document includes a resolution that the UN Security Council acts on requests by the African Union for deferral of proceedings against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the cases against four Kenyans due to go to full trial at the ICC in the Dutch city of The Hague.

The editorial in regional newspaper The East African says assertions by some members of the Kenyan Parliament that the helicopter crash that killed Internal Security Minister, George Saitoti and his assistant Orwa Ojode, three weeks ago was an assassination organised by drug barons could cause panic, especially given that some prominent politicians have already claimed that their lives are in danger.

A section of MPs has claimed that the government frustrated experts from South Africa who were supposed to be investigating the accident and forced them to return home without doing any work. Earlier in the week, lawyers acting for theSaitoti family complained that the investigations were proceeding too slowly and without due care.

In Uganda, The Daily Monitor reports that at least 3,000 teachers face possible dismissal for working in both government-aided and private schools.

The discovery could be central to one of the major challenges facing public education as earlier reports have pointed to teachers who seek enrolment on the government payroll but refuse postings to rural schools to enable them to stay and work in urban private schools while still earning a government salary.

Dropout and repetition rates are currently estimated at 10 percent of total enrolment. At least 75,000 students benefiting from the free secondary education scheme were found to have dropped out over the four year secondary school cycle. The report blames the problem on the high incidence of HIV/Aids among both learners and teachers.

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