15 August 2012

African Press Review 15 August 2012

Zuma is accused of corruption. Why does Nigeria Boko Haram going onto the US's terrorist list? Did Hillary Clinton's vist help? And how does Gambia's president keep the voters sweet?

South Africa's Business Daily comes down hard on president Jacob Zuma. In an editorial headlined "An African anachronism", the author accuses the president and his inner circle of corruption.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

The article tells the story of former president Nelxon Mandela, who used to invite businessmen for breakfast and extract a promise to build a school in a remote area of the country by the time the meal arrived.

This behaviour, claims the paper, "were never resented for the simple reason that the effort was entirely selfless".

But this tradition has been perverted under President Zuma, accuses the paper. According to the editorial, "the development of Mr Zuma's home town of Nkandla has become a kind of passport to presidential favour".

The editorial blasts the excessive public funds flowing into Zuma's hometown. Not only have six million euros been spent on ther president's personal residence but millions of euros in public funds are being channelled to "lavish attention on president's pet project" of "making Nkandla a bustling metropolis".

The author calls Zuma an "African potentate, who really can't distinguish between his own needs and desires and those of the nation".

Nigeria's Vanguard leads with the reasons behind the country's resistance to American plans to classify Boko Haram as a "foreign terrorist organisation". According to the paper, Nigeria is opposed "because it will elevate the status of Boko Haram and embolden them".

Nigerian officials fear that classification could also pave the way for the US to use its unmanned drones to attack the group. Drone attacks which might lead to destruction of villages and people who are "not directly involved in the activities of Boko Haram".

The article quotes the Nigerian ambassador to the US who believes that Nigeria has the capacity to contain the Boko Haram threat - a doubtful claim since the rest of the article features the latest series of Boko Haram bombings.

Nigerian papers are still commenting on Hillary Clinton's visit to the country.

"After Clinton, what?", asks The Nation.

It says that the secretary of state's visit highlighted the government's inability to deal with Boko Haram. It features a letter that the Nigerian Christian community wrote directly to Clinton, protesting at the destruction of "700 churches and the systematic massacres of hundreds of Christians". The letter underscores the Christian community's lack of faith in President Goodluck Jonathan's ability to rein in the Boko Haram attacks.

The paper says that during the visit Clinton promised unprecedented security assistance to the country to help it fight Boko Haram.

But the editorial concludes, "President Jonathan must prove himself worthy of the huge mantle on his shoulders. He must show leadership. It is after demonstrating competence at his most basic task of solving the security problem that any foreign assistance would make any sense."

Here's a good recipe to win the hearts and minds of your citizens. Give them bags of sugar. At least that what Gambia's president did to win the favor of his Muslim constituents.

To mark the end of ramadan His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh donated 4,000 bags of sugar to the inhabitants of North Bank Region

In response, he received hundreds of letters expressing the gratitude of the population. Here are some best quotes:

"This gesture ... clearly demonstrates the value of caring and sharing which you so much preach."

"We send you salutations and prayers for Allah (SWT) to reward you abundantly and accordingly for this magnanimous and humanitarian gesture."

"I and all party militants of the APRC Party in North Bank Region shall remain steadfast behind you at all times in your endeavours in developing this country to higher heights."

Western presidents have never really grasped the power of sugar in political survival. President Jammeh has been in power for two decades and counting ...

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