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African press review 11 February 2013


Corruption, inflation, violence, Kenya's presidential campaign and men’s latest trick to attract the opposite sex - there are many riveting stories to share in today's African papers..

We start with South Africa.

In its opinion and analysis section, South Africa’s Business Daily claims that public violence is linked to high inflation.

The country could be headed for a “world of trouble” based on recent trends in the inflation rate experienced by the poor, according to a research paper published by an economist, Chris Becker.

Dossier: Africa Cup of Nations 2013

The study appears to show a direct link between inflation and social violence. In the months before the Marikana massacre, in which more than 30 miners died, there was a spike in non-discretionary inflation - the inflation the poor experience - from three per cent to more than 10 per cent, it says.

The same is true of the xenophobic attacks in 2008. Just before these attacks, non-discretionary inflation surged to 20 per cent.

The conclusion, says the paper, is inescapable: inflation leads to violence. And the root cause of inflation is monetary expansion by the banking system. "There may be legitimate political grievances, but the trigger for social conflict appears to be inflation....The poor see their meagre incomes being eaten by rising costs of basic essentials, and this very quickly leads to the kind of violence we have seen in Sasolburg, Marikana and the Western Cape farm strikes," says Becker.

Defence-related corruption dominates today’s East African

Secrecy in military issues has left many of the region's economies bleeding, with millions of dollars being stolen in the procurement process, deplores the regional daily in its lead article, in the wake of Transparency International’s latest report.

Uganda - considered the region’s powerhouse for its military engagements especially in Somalia, as well as its 763 million euro military budget - scored badly in Tranparency International’s Defence Anti-Corruption Index, getting the second worst rating (an E) of all east African countries, with Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia who faring only marginally better.

That Kenya, with a D+, comes out as the region’s most transparent country is an illustration of the appalling levels of corruption in the defence and military sector in eastern Africa, says the paper.

According to TI, countries like Uganda, Eritrea and the DRC have little or no transparency in their anti-corruption mechanisms and controls. There is centralised control and little or no public scrutiny, which allows graft, concludes the paper.

Still in east Africa, one of Kenya’s presidential candidates might have a hidden advantage, reports The Nation on its front page.

The country is in the final weeks of campaigning for the presidential elections to be held on 4th March. And should the youngest presidential candidate win, Kenyans may soon get three First Ladies.

In today’s edition, The Nation features an exclusive interview with Dr Mohammed Abduba Dida, a 39-year-old former teacher, who has three wives and 11 children.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Having a polygamous marriage seems to have made the exhausting campaigns more bearable, says the paper. And Mr Dida is a perfect example. ““One of my wives takes care of the family finances, one takes care of secretarial work in these campaigns, and one takes care of the children,”, says Mr Dida.

Having three wives helping with the presidential campaign can also have very real political advantages, says the paper.

Mr Dida, picks Rukia when he’s going to North Eastern, because “she’s very good in Kisomali”.

When his campaign heads to the cosmopolitan towns, his choice is Estail “who originates from Kajiado and is good in English”, and then he picks Amina if he’s going to a place where Kiswahili is the most useful language.

But if he becomes Head of State, he might end up having all his wives with him on an visit abroad.

He might even decide to make his first visit to South Africa, where he will be able to compare notes and get “multiple first lady management tips” from President Zuma, who’s got five wives.


And finally, are pink lips for men a cry for attention? asks The Sowetan.

Hot pink lips are the latest craze - for men, says the paper. Not only are men now slinging man bags, wearing skirts, they are also sporting pink lips too.

The author refers to what he calls “a sobering trend of pink lips that is sweeping the streets of Nigeria”. Men in Africa's most populous country are tattooing their lower lips a bright pink to lure the fairer sex.

Tattoo parlours are getting more and more men asking for "pink lips". For a hefty price of about 2 euros, men can have their bottom lips inked pink. And it is the men who are a hue darker than dark who have fallen victim to this trend, setting tongues wagging, says the article.

Apparently the men don't like it that their lips match their beautiful dark skin, so they inject a pink ink into their lower lips to beautify themselves for the opposite sex.

A man's worth is being questioned, and they have nowhere to turn but to their wild ways. It's no wonder the only option for some is "to the wild to the wild". At least there the male is always king, concludes the author.

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