5 April 2013

South Africa: African Press Review 5 April 2013

Zuma's government is under fire over CAR intervention. Does Kenyatta have new laws up his sleeve? Will Jonathan amnesty Boko Haram? And how many Nigerians have accounts in tax havens?

In South Africa the press headlines with a row in parliament Thursday over alleged government lies about the deployment of the South African National Defence Force in the Central African Republic.

The standoff broke out as the government said it was investigating reports that dozens of South African soldiers were missing or killed in the battle for Bangui.

BusinessDay says Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula refused to answer questions about reports of a build-up of South African troops in the countries surrounding the Central African Republic (CAR).

The minister was briefing parliament's joint standing committee on defence on the circumstances that led to the deaths of 13 South African soldiers last month, fielding questions on reported troop build-up in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Jacob Zuma has since announced that the troops in the CAR are to be withdrawn. But the Mail and Guardian takes up reports that South Africa was poised to mount a revenge strike on the Seleka rebels that captured the CAR capital, Bangui, and forced then President François Bozizé to flee the country.

In Kenya the Daily Nation headlines on President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta who it claims has crafted a series of post-election deals to advance his government's legislative agenda and possibly protect himself against possible impeachment. The paper claims that the incoming president, who is working closely with his deputy William Ruto, has been able to pull to his side the New Ford Kenya, the independence party Kanu, Chama cha Uzalendo (CCU) and the Alliance Party of Kenya (APK).

The Standard reports that opposition leader Raila Odinga is furious about the move. According to the paper the Raila-led opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) warns that Uhuru's coalition was raiding parties it had no pre-election agreement with. Their intention he says is to weaken the opposition and other groups that would stand in their way in and outside parliament.

The Kenyan press is also reporting another setback for ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's case against Kenyatta. According to the Standard, just three months to the start of Uhuru's trial on 11 July at The Hague, it is emerging that three prosecution witnesses have refused to testify against him.

In Nigeria the press is awash with reactions to President Goodluck Jonathan's amnesty plan for members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Vanguard claims that Jonathan reached the decision after several months of "buck passing" between the presidency and stakeholders in the north. The Punch points to a specific demand by the Sultan of Sokoto, as a means of promoting peace in the country. The paper says that the Christian Association of Nigeria, which has lost hundreds of members during the bloodletting, has kicked against it.

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

Vanguard reports that northern leaders, meeting under the auspices of pan-northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, have denied charges that their call for amnesty is proof of their sympathy for Boko Haram's actions. The Guardian sees the amnesty deal as Jonathan's bait to win northern support for his 2015 presidential bid says.

The Tribune reports that Nigerian politicians and businessmen have been discovered in the list of names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways. According to the paper, 86 journalists from 46 countries used high-tech data-crunching and shoe-leather reporting to sift through emails, account ledgers and other files covering nearly 30 years.

The Tribune reports that a cache of 2.5 million files provides facts and figures on how crooks and conmen are fuelling corruption and economic woes in rich and poor nations.

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