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African press review 30 April 2012


Alleged corruption in Zimbabwe and Mayday rallies in South Africa are some of the big stories in today's African papers...

According to the government-run Herald in Zimbabwe, the country's justice system is riddled with a complicated network of corruption that involves prison officers, the police, lawyers and court officials. And the source of this shock revelation is none other than Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

The minister admits that several reports indicate that corrupt prison officers are working in cohorts with legal practitioners.

Minister Chinamasa said the reports indicate that prison officers are advising prisoners to engage the services of lawyers who have the corrupt links necessary to win cases.

Political heavyweights will be out in force tomorrow as South Africa celebrates Workers’ Day, with the centrepiece involving the Congress of South African Trade Unions taking place in Mangaung.

Mangaung, which used to be known as Bloemfontein is, of course, where the ruling African National Congress recently celebrated its centenary and will be the site of the organisation’s next elective conference in December.

President Jacob Zuma will be joined by Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and South African Communist Party secretary-general Blade Nzimande (who is also minister of higher education and training) at Cosatu’s main May Day rally.

The labour movement has 15 more rallies planned across the country to celebrate International Workers’ Day.

President Zuma will again be in the spotlight on Wednesday when he welcomes President Pratibha Patil of India on a state visit. The visit by the Indian head of state continues until 8 May.

In its look ahead to the coming week in South Africa, BusinessDay notes that the parliamentary police committee will meet on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to discuss the controversial South African Police Service Amendment Bill, with Friday set as the date for its adoption.

The bill, which is an attempt to comply with the Constitutional Court ruling that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation is not sufficiently independent from political interference, was resoundingly rejected by civil society organisations during public hearings last week.

The Sowetan reports on a medical "miracle" in Setlopo village in Mahikeng, North West Province. That's where Rebecca Phejane gave birth to healthy triplets on Wednesday last. The miracle is that Rebecca is already the mother of an earlier set of triplets, now four years old.

Her doctor says Rebecca's case is "one in a million", with successive multiple births practically unheard of outside the realm of artificial insemination.

The Daily Monitor, published in Kampala, reports that US-based Human Rights Watch says security agencies in Uganda continue committing serious crimes with impunity, especially during politically-charged demonstrations.

The international rights group yesterday issued a statement noting that there was no serious indication that the government is willing to account for the police brutality and deaths of the nine Ugandans who were killed by security officers at the height of the walk to walk protests in April last year.

The report says only one member of the security forces has been arrested and charged.

The Daily Nation in Kenya claims that President Mwai Kibaki has launched a last ditch campaign to forestall the cases of four Kenyans facing crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court.

According to the Nation, Kibaki wants the accused Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang - tried by the Arusha-based East Africa Court of Justice.

President Kibaki at the weekend successfully lobbied his peers during an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community in Tanzania, to pass a resolution to extend the jurisdiction of the East Africa Court to cover crimes against humanity.

The latest effort comes after members of the East African Legislative Assembly last week passed a resolution to have the cases pulled out of The Hague and transferred to the Arusha-based court, though it has no jurisdiction over criminal matters.

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