13 December 2012

African Press Review 13 December 2012

Is KFC being picky about Zimbabwe? Will Egypt's referendum be fair? How much is Kenyan soldier's life worth? How many metaphors can you mix in one single sentence?

There it is on the front page of the sober and dependable South African financial paper, BusinessDay: "Zimbabwe insists on indigenised chicks."

Before you decide that they've lost it completely in Harare, mixing rampant nationalisation with sexist rhetoric, I have to tell you it's a paltry poultry story.

The small print explains that a quarrel over duty tariffs on chicken imported from South Africa could delay fast-food chain KFC's reentry into Zimbabwe.

Country Bird, which has KFC franchise rights for Zimbabwe, is the biggest importer of chicken into the country.

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti drastically increased import duties in his 2013 national budget. Chicken importers now pay 1.15 euros/kg or 40 per cent, whichever is the higher of the two.

KFC outlets in the capital, Harare, and Bulawayo were closed at the height of Zimbabwe's economic crisis in 2007.

Country Bird said it believed Zimbabwe's economy had recovered sufficiently to support the chicken franchise and it hoped to reopen KFC outlets early in the new year. But the company's request for a waiver on chicken import duties has ruffled the feathers of Zimbabwe's poultry industry, which had welcomed the new duty regime.

The Cairo-based Independent reports that 13 Egyptian human rights organisations have warned of the dangers of fraud in the referendum on the new draft constitution. The statement followed the announcement yesterday by the National Council for Human Rights that organisations interested in monitoring the referendum must obtain prior authorisation from the council.

The human rights groups also warned that the climate in which the referendum is being held does not inspire confidence.

They said in a statement that the will of the people was bypassed by a document crafted by a Constituent Assembly that does not represent all sectors and political forces in Egyptian society. This was compounded by rushing to a referendum without giving people time to discuss the draft.

The Standard in Kenya reports that the Somali insurgent group Al-Shebab is offering a bounty of up to about 7,000 euros for every Kenyan security forces officer killed, according to the Garissa County Commissioner.

Al-Shebab - who are they?

The main story in The Standard is headlined "Kibaki lauds his 10-year tenure as he prepares exit" and the first paragraph wins the press review prize for mixed metaphor of the century.

"President Kibaki stood on the threshold of history as the sun sets on his tenure to declare the pillars of his legacy and personal satisfaction at what he considers his achievements," it reads.

In his last address to the nation on Jamhuri Day, the national holiday celebrating the 1964 establishment of the republic, Mwai Kibaki not only took stock of his rule but also mapped out the challenges for the fourth president to be elected next year.

The Daily Nation says that Kenyan security agencies are on high alert following intelligence reports that Al-Shebab militants are planning a series of attacks during the festive season.

This comes in the wake of the arrest of six suspected Al-Shebab fighters on Tuesday in the Ruka area on the Kenya-Somalia border.

Kenya has recently suffered a series of grenade attacks in which more than 50 people have been killed and scores injured. Al-Shebab has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, saying they were in retaliation for Kenya's decision to send its troops to Somalia.

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