African Press Review 6 November 2012

Kenyans await the results of the US presidential elections, where Barack Obama has roots. Also, a look at women's standings in poor countries and gay rights in Malawi.

There is one country in Africa that is passionate about the US presidential elections. "Kenyans anxiously wait for results of US presidential poll," says the editorial in Kenya's The Standard.

With US elections underway, Kenyans are on the edge of their seats to see if US President Barack Obama, who calls Kenya "the land of my grandfather," will be re-elected, says the paper.

For Kenyans, the Obama win four years ago was a matter of great pride, given his ancestral roots in Kenya.

That is why his re-election (if it happens) would rekindle memories of his first victory, an exceptionally joyous occasion.

In another story, The Standard gives a prominent place to the results of a study on women in poor countries. "Women constitute more than 50 percent of society, yet they generally have lower literacy rates than men, are victims of all types of violence, are the majority of those living in poverty and have experienced the least improvement in their quality of life," says the report, called Rapid Gender Assessment.

This means women are likely to miss out on business, industrial and social development opportunities arising from globalisation, notes the paper.

With its title, "Historic step forward", Malawi's Nyasa Times proudly reports the findings of Amnesty International's report on the country's treatment of gays and lesbians.

The article refers to the decision by the country's justice minister Ralph Kasambara to order the police to not arrest homosexuals until parliament has debated on whether to repeal the anti-homosexuality laws.

In an interview with Nyasa Times, Amnesty International's southern Africa director said that he hoped the government's decision was "the first step towards ending discrimination of and persecution based on real or perceived sexual orientation."

The paper reminds us that at present, homosexual acts carry a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

Tanzania's The Citizen celebrates the country's tourism industry. The newspaper proudly reports that Condé Nast Traveller Magazine has recognised Kirawira Serena Camp in Serengeti as one of the top 100 hotels and resorts in the world. The article concludes that being included in the exclusive list has lifted Tanzania's tourism industry into the international limelight.

The King aims to purge "violent" Zulu spirits, says South Africa's The Times. Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini wants to cleanse the men of his nation of the spirits that breed violence.

The recent spate of political murders in the province has led to the king's hosting of a series of meetings with political, cultural and religious leaders, with the aim of bringing an end to the bloodshed.

The monarch wants to halt the wave of political violence that has plagued KwaZulu-Natal by performing a traditional ceremony - but it is not clear whether all Zulu men will be required to take part in the ritual.

Zulu scholar and historian Professor Jabulani Maphalala said people are still fighting in the province because they have iqungwa - the urge to kill. "The king is the only person that can put a stop to these killings and perform rituals because he has nothing to do with politics," the historian told the paper.

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