Kenya: African Press Review 2 November 2012

A charm-wearing hit squad tries to assassinate a Kenyan minister. Raila Odinga hits the campaign trail. One in four South Africans is unemployed. A serial rapist faces one of his victims in court. Are Tsvangirai's marital disputes over and, if so, how many oxen did it cost him? Will Nigeria's government talk to Boko Haram?

In Kenya The Standard is reporting an attempt on the life of Fisheries Minister Amason Jeffah Kingi which left five people killed on Thursday evening.

Kingi was addressing a meeting in a remote village in Kilifi County when he came under attack by a charm-wearing hit squad. The Standard says one of Kingi's bodyguards bled to death after his hands were severed as he "blocked a machete intended for the minister's head".

The three assailants, believed to have come from Kwaleon the south Coast, were reportedly lynched by villages, according to the paper quoting eyewitnesses.

The Daily Nation has its eyes glued on a "tense battle for the Rift Valley vote" ahead of the 4 March 2013 general election. The paper reports that the campaign intensifies today with Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Nandi and Eldoret.

"Odinga will not have a monopoly of the vote hunt in the Rift Valley," according to the paper, as MPs allied to Eldoret North MP William Ruto are also mobilising support for their candidate in the same region.

In South Africa the papers are commenting on a survey showing that more than one in four citizens is out of work.

Mail and Guardian reports that the data published by Statistics South Africa on Thursday puts the total number of registered unemployed at 4,667 million - the highest figures in four years ago.

Business Day attributes the job losses to the trade, mining and private household sectors. Mail and Guardian underlines that while the ANC government has made job creation a priority, the rate has been stuck above 20 per cent for more than a decade, despite periods of strong economic growth, fuelling social unrest.

The Star narrates the ordeal of a woman testifying in the trial of a serial rapist Tebogo Phiri, who faces a total of 18 charges of rapes and aggravated robbery committed in a Johannesburg suburb.

The 26-year-old woman said that Phiri "smashed a brick against her head, landed a hail of punches on her face and then dragged her to the side of a road", where he raped and robbed her. The Johannesburg newspaper says Phiri carried out the attacks early in the morning when the women were waiting for transport to get to work or in the evenings as they disembarked from taxis.

Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper reports that Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reached an out-of-court settlement with an ex-lover whom he dumped to marry another woman.

The pro- Zanu/PF publication claims that Locardia Kari Matsenga Tembo had gone to a civil court demanding a 116,000-euro lump sum and three oxen in maintenance payments from Tsvangirai following his marriage to Elizabeth Macheka, but withdrew the case after accepting an undisclosed one-off payment.

Tsvangirai has publicly apologised for the affairs with the two women, saying he had "no intention to hurt them".

In Nigeria the papers are reacting to Boko Haram's offer to end its campaign of violence if the government agrees to attend peace talks in Saudi Arabia. The sect named former military leader retired general Mohammadou Buhari to head its five-man mediation team.

Punch says Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz, who acts as Boko Haram's second-in-command, made the offer at a radio conference with journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State, Thursday.

Vanguard quotes Buhari saying that he is yet to be formally contacted on the development.

The Nation notes that President Goodluck Jonathan's office in a swift reaction has welcomed Boko Haram's change of position and reiterated its commitment to peace and justice. More than 1,000 persons have been killed in attacks on places of worship, military and police facilities and drinking joints since the sect launched its war against the government in 2009.

The Nigerian Tribune reports that Cameroon's president, Paul Biya, on Thursday, sent a delegation to Jonathan in Abuja "offering his cooperation towards the amicable resolution of all areas of disagreement" between his country and Nigeria on the Bakassi peninsula.

The Tribune describes the Cameroonian move as an "olive branch" which opens the way for a meeting of the two leaders very soon.

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