19 November 2012

African Press Review 19 November 2012

The Kenyan papers are dominated by yesterday's grenade attack on a commuter bus in the busy Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh.

The toll is reported by The Standard as seven dead and dozens injured.

The same paper says that at least 18 people were rushed to various hospitals last night with multiple wounds following clashes between groups of young people in Eastleigh following the bus attack.

Police said the clashes began after some youths started to accuse local Somalis of being behind the blast.

Those rushed to hospitals were suffering from knife wounds. Several shops, specifically those belonging to Somalis, were targeted in the clashes.

The Standard also reports that today will see the start of the registration process for Kenya's estimated 18 million voters.

President Mwai Kibaki will launch the exercise at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's eyes trained on the shrinking timelines to the next polls, now barely 100 days away.

The Daily Nation says the process could be marred by protests by Kenyans ordinarily resident outside the country. They complain that they have not been briefed on the exercise.

The electoral commission suspended registration plans for members of the diaspora last month to establish the number of Kenyans living abroad who are eligible to vote and also await a court ruling on a case filed against the exercise.

On Sunday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission official in charge of the diaspora vote, said the case, which was filed by some Kenyans in the diaspora, had disrupted the commission's plans for voter registration abroad.

Kenyans in the United States will be able to register at the Embassy in Washington DC, the United Nations mission in New York and the consulate in Los Angeles. But on Sunday, according to The Nation, the Kenyan Embassy in Washington said it was still awaiting direction from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

In Uganda, The Daily Monitor reports that one more person succumbed to the Ebola virus yesterday, bringing the death toll in the latest outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in the country, to five. The latest victim died in hospital 30 kilometres from the capital, Kampala.

In Luweero, a burial team set up by the District Ebola Task Force to ensure that bodies of those confirmed or suspected to have Ebola are handled and buried by a special team, yesterday narrowly escaped lynching by mourners who snatched a body from the local cemetery.

According the Luweero District disease surveillance officer, the mourners armed with clubs, sticks and stones accused the special burial team of violating Muslim burial rites by wrapping the dead body in a bag. They insisted on washing the body before burial as part of the Islamic rites.

The bodies of the deceased are regarded by medical experts as still infectious. The virus is normally transmitted through bodily fluids.

The main story in South African financial paper Business Day reports that South African platinum mining companies are hoping to ramp up output from their operations in Zimbabwe as production at home falls to an11-year low. The decline in South African production is blamed on the recent strikes, other work stoppages and a growing burden of red tape.

By contrast, Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week that his country's mining sector had become the "driver" of Zimbabwe's economy, with the potential to generate up to 12 billion euros a year.

Zimbabwe and South Africa account for 75 per cent of the world's platinum reserves, but South Africa's industry has been undermined by labour unrest, high costs, poor infrastructure and increased government intervention. Foreign investor sentiment has also taken a knock, especially with nationalisation still on the agenda.

BusinessDay also reminds us that the African National Congress conference nomination process is set to heat up this week, as branches scramble to meet a November 30 deadline to nominate candidates for the ruling party's top jobs.

The ANC's national executive committee on Sunday emerged from its final meeting before the national conference in Mangaung elects new office bearers next month.

Former home affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's report into alleged ANC candidate selection fraud ahead of the local elections last year was presented to the committee at the meeting. Further details on the report and the nomination process are to emerge from a media briefing later in the week.

The Sunday Independent reported yesterday that Dlamini-Zuma found the selection of candidates was fraught with irregularities and manipulation. The ANC is said to be considering disciplining and firing those implicated.

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