30 January 2018

African Press Review 30 January 2018

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There will be peace in our time between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, despite the Renaissance Dam and related difficulties. The electoral commissions in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria all face problems. And how much should Abuja spend on the funeral of a former federal vice-president?

The Cairo-based Independent leads with yesterday's assurances from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that there is no crisis between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The statement comes against a background of tension over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which will have an impact on downstream users of the river Nile.

The same story tops the front page of the Sudan Tribune, with a main headline confirming that "Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia agree to cooperate on Grand Renaissance Dam".

Meeting on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, says the Tribune report, the leaders of the three nations agreed to set up a permanent committee to follow up on all issues of common concern.

Electoral pot still boiling in Kenya

The Kenyan Daily Nation is still raking over the coals of last year's disputed presidential election.

"Electoral body says opposition misleading the public about election results," is the headline summary, the report saying that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) yesterday accused the oppsition National Super Alliance (Nasa) of deliberately misleading the public on how the electoral body handled the presidential election last August.

The opposition claims that the IEBC tolerated electoral malpractices, which consequently denied Nasa contender Raila Odinga the presidential victory.

Over at the Standard, the main story concerns today's planned swearing-in of Odinga as the "people's president".

Police have vowed to barricade Uhuru Park, the planned venue of the ceremony.

Arrests in Ugandan murder case

The main story in the Ugandan Daily Monitor is headlined "Four people arrested over murder of Umeme cashier".

The principal suspect is described in the report as the deceased woman's boyfriend.

The people in custody are witnesses and a relative of the victim.

First steps towards a pan-African market

Regional paper the East African gives the honours to a report headlined "African leaders agree to sign free continental trade treaty in March."

If all goes well, the legal framework establishing a Continental Free Trade Area will be signed by all 55 member states of the African Union on 21 March, in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

South Africa is also having electoral problems, if you believe the main story in BusinessDay, headlined "IEC running out of time to update voters' roll".

The report says the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) is in a race against time to verify the particulars and addresses of 7.2 million people on the voters roll ahead of next year's general election.

BusinessDay says the credibility of the 2019 poll hinges on the IEC ensuring that the voters roll meets acceptable norms and standards, as prescribed by the South African Constitutional Court.

Are there too many political parties in Nigeria?

The Nigerian daily Punch has a top story with the local electoral body saying there are too many political parties in the country and that, as a result, the 2019 election risks being chaotic.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja, the chief technical advisor to the Independent National Electoral Commission said 68 political parties had already been registered and a further 100 were seeking registration.

The printing of legible ballot papers and the presence of party agents at polling stations are just two of the practical problems to be resolved.

Shock and disbelief at funeral arrangements

The Nigerian Guardian reports that disbelief and shock yesterday followed the federal government's admission that it would spend more than one billion naira (well over two million euros) in preparation for the burial of the former federal vice-president, Dr Alex Ekwueme, whose remains arrived in Enugu yesterday.

Minister of Labour Chris Ngige was quoted as saying that the government had approved the money, part of which has already been spent, in readiness for the burial due to take place next week in Oko, Anambra State.

While there has been no official confirmation of the level of spending on the funeral, critics say the money would be better spent on improving roads and infrastructre in the former vice-president's home region.

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