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Africa

African press review 31 July 2014

media

Liberia is hopeful ahead of a Washington summit, the parents of Nigerian kidnapped girls get a presidential bonus and South Africa's borders go biometric.

In the midst of the raging Ebola outbreak, with schools shut down and borders closed, Liberia's president says she still has something to look forward to - meeting Barack Obama.

According to the New Dawn, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is gearing up for the Africa Leaders' summit to be held in Washington next week. The country's main priorities will be security and future investments. The president made no mention of recent controversies over Liberian officials denied entry to the US. Although some bones of contention may remain over Liberia's bloody legacy in the wake of the Sierra Leone war, Sirleaf hopes the White House will keep all eyes trained on the future.

The Nigerian Tribune is reporting concern that a local association in Chibok, where over 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped earlier this year, is making a profit on the affair.

During a presidential visit last week, the group was said to have received money under the table from the government. The Tribune reports the association denies the claims. Parents of the disappeared girls did receive funds - though apparently there was a miscalculation, with some parents receiving more than others and a few not getting anything at all.

Perhaps President Goodluck Jonathan hopes this would take the heat off the government - but it's clear that Nigerian papers have a sharp eye on Chibok and will not be letting go of the story any time soon, especially with the reports we've been hearing about Boko Haram using young girls as suicide bombers.

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

South Africa's City Press slams the government's new immigration rules. Borders are to be equipped with biometric ID systems. This means people will have to give their fingerprints to the government to establish their legal identities in the hope of increasing security and speeding up transit. Many have opposed the project because it breaches privacy.

City Press says the tourism industry is also concerned - it might actually slow things down. The number of visitors traveling from China to South Africa has more than tripled in the last few years. But adding new security measures might make the trip too much of a hassle to bother with.

Kenya's Star says the government does not need the president's consent to give information about him to the international tribunal at The Hague, the International Criminal Court ruled on Tuesday. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has been frustrated in putting together a case against President Uhuru Kenyatta. Taking the leader of a country to court while he is still in power is evidently not easy.

The Kenyan general attorney said her requests for information were not specific enough, claiming files are hard to find because they are not digital and that she would need the president's approval anyway. But the Star reports that Kenya should demonstrate good faith by helping the ICC gather material for the case.

In Uganda delays in funding for primary schools have caused some schoolteachers to turn to vegetables instead of chalk. The Daily Monitor reports that the government is late to release funds and teachers in Moroto have resorted to dictating in class to save on supplies. They're also using dried cassava, a type of root, to write on blackboards.

And finally the Kenyan Star also brings us the story of a hundred or so gullible men in the south-west of the country.

They were allegedly told by local officials that an NGO would be giving out "free wives" and other goodies. Many trekked from early dawn to make it to the shopping centre where the action was supposed to take place. Local government denied any such plans and the bachelors went home empty-handed. So if anyone is looking for 100 or so free husbands, you know where to find them.

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