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African press review 30 June 2014


Nigerian footballers and the preparations for tonight's World Cup, violence in Borno State that claimed at least 48 lives and the Nairobi Government wants the International Criminal Court to reverse a decision, are all topics in today's African papers.

The Nigerian front pages are, once again, torn between the latest tragedy in the north-east, and the preparations for tonight's World Cup football match, in which the national team meets France, with a place in the quarter-finals going to the winners.

According to the Guardian, yesterday's violence in Borno State claimed at least 48 lives as suspected Boko Haram insurgents armed with explosives invaded Christian churches in villages near Chibok. Survivors claim that the army failed to respond to their calls for help after the attack began.

Click here for our coverage of Brazil World Cup 2014

The opposition All Progressives Congress has condemned last week's terrorist attacks in Abuja and Bauchi in which at least 37 people lost their lives. An opposition statement asks why Abuja had remained vulnerable to such attacks, considering the millions of naira reportedly spent on the closed-circuit television project that was supposed to help secure the capital. The opposition party wonders if the security project is another victim of the runaway corruption and incompetence for which the current administration is renowned.

On its sports pages, the Guardian points to the long playing career of national coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, in France, suggesting that he has the insight necessary to help the Super Eagles outwit Les Blues.

The lads at South African financial paper BusinessDay are in cheerful form. Their front-page feature this morning assures us that the world has become a more violent, more dangerous and more unpredictable place since the end of the Cold War. Terrorism, the never-ending conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, Russian assertiveness with its near neighbours, and China flexing its muscles in the Asia-Pacific region are constant reminders of the dangers of the anarchic world in which we live.

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

The writers round up the usual suspects . . . Huntington, Oswald Spengler, Uncle Tom Cobbley, and the wonderfully named Australian international relations expert, Hedley Bull. . . before concluding that the attempt by Western democracies to impose their model globally is doomed. And then, illogically if I've understood the previous bits, the writers chillingly suggest that US President Barack Obama should apply his leadership and legitimacy to lead the world towards an inclusive future as his predecessor did. Otherwise we might well be faced with the prospect of an authoritarian China, in lockstep with a dictatorial Russia, taking over from the US as the principal custodian of world order.

To paraphrase Groucho Marx, if we have to choose between George W. Bush and global chaos, where's the choice?

Elsewhere in BusinessDay, news that National Union of Metalworkers yesterday vowed to push ahead with a strike by about 220,000 members, in spite of warnings that the industrial action will hurt the South African economy.

Numsa is demanding a 12 per cent wage increase. The employers are offering seven per cent for skilled workers and eight per cent for lower-level employees. The union is also demanding that labour brokers - South Africa's temporary employment agencies - should be banned.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

The number of Numsa members likely to down tools from tomorrow is about three times the number of participants in the recent five-month stoppage at the nation's platinum mines. That strike caused a 0.6 per cent contraction of the South African economy in the first quarter.

Finally, the main story in this morning's Kenyan Standard reports that the Nairobi Government wants the International Criminal Court to reverse a decision that requires the Kenyan authorities to compel witnesses to testify in the trial of Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang. The two men are accused of complicity for their alleged roles in promoting the violence which followed the 2007 presidential election.

The Kenyan Attorney General claims that the International Court decision is contrary to the International Crimes Act which, according to the Kenyan understanding, obliges national governments to cooperate with the ICC, but can not compel them.

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