9 January 2016

African Press Review 9 January 2015

From the Olympic Games in Brazil, to South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and South Sudan, today's African press review has everything the papers are talking about this morning.

Let's start with a corruption scandal in Kenya. The Daily Nation has that story this morning. The anti-corruption agency has apparently exonerated the Kenyan government from claims that it had stolen Eurobonds.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had ordered the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to probe the use of the funds after opposition leader Raila Odinga said the government could not account for 1.1 billion euros from the sovereign bond.

But it's not the last time we'll hear about this says the newspaper - the Commission asked for an audit on projects funded using proceeds of the bonds.

And if Kenya is talking so much about this issue, it's because corruption has been a big hindrance to businesses in the country. The government has however taken more than 300 corruption cases to courts in recent months.

Regional paper The East African headlines on South Sudan this morning and the decision by President Salva Kiir to appoint 50 MPs from the opposition, in a bid to end a three-year conflict.

According to The East African, South Sudanese rebels have welcomed the decision.

"On Thursday, both sides had reached an agreement to form a transitional government based on a peace deal signed in August last year," explains the paper.

In practtice, this means President Kir will appoint key ministers of Finance, Defence and Justice, and figures from his adversary Riek Machar will take the head of the Energy and Interior cabinets. If this is good news for peace in the country, the newspaper warns there are still some disagreements between the two sides.

Rebels said they were against Kiir's decision to create 28 new states in the country.

British paper The Guardian has a story on African refugees and the Olympics. The piece is about two refugees, Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika, who fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo and are currently seeking asylum in Brazil.

The pair could become the first athletes to compete in the Olympic Games for a flag, the banner of the International Olympic Committee, then a nation. Both are judo players and, according to The Guardian, are "being considered for selection" in this new category.

Their bid "was a huge gamble" writes the newspaper. "At the time they didn't know the city, the language, any of the locals, or the laws for asylum".

"Both say that judo has helped them forget the horror of war and the sadness of leaving families and loved ones behind" it adds.

Their situation, "shared by 20 million people around the world", is what pushed the UN to invite refugees to participate in the games.

"I represent everyone. I'll get a medal for all refugees," says Misenga.

Finally, experts says they expect to see South African President Jacob Zuma lose this year's local elections. You'll find that story in Business Day.

According to a political analyst, "support for the African National Congress could plummet by as much as 10% in the local government elections," due to take place later this year.

And this, as the paper notes, would be a big blow for the ANC.

"The party, which marks its 104th anniversary on Friday, has won more than 60% of the vote in every election since coming to power under Nelson Mandela more than two decades ago" it says.

And this is to blame on Jacob Zuma: his mandate "has been marred by corruption scandals, controversial appointments and policy mishaps" says Business Day.

One example: when Zuma appointed little known legislator David Van Rooyen as finance minister, before backtracking four days later.

"I doubt the ANC would rejuvenate itself under Mr Zuma's leadership. It doesn't look like he has a plan or a strategy to deal with the challenges which are faced by the country or by the ANC ", said one expert to the economic paper.

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