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African press review 15 October 2014


Madagascar would like to know where Marc Ravalomanana is. Winnie Mandela claims she was never properly divorced. The number of millionaires soars in "high-inequality" South Africa. Uhuru backs Kenya's Senate against the judges. And Kenyan teachers may go back  out on strike ... or maybe not.

Where is former Malagasy president Marc Ravalomanana?

Yesterday most newspapers in Madagascar agreed that Ravalomanana had made a surprise return from exile in South Africa, had briefly addressed supporters and journalists and was then arrested for his own safety.

The daily paper Midi Madagasikara says that yesterday's cabinet meeting decided to send the former president back to South Africa. The same paper notes that there was a huge increase in military activity at the presidential summer residence at Diego Suarez, suggesting that that is where Ravalomanana was held overnight. Local paper The Tribune de Diego has as its front page exclusive the headline "Marc Ravalomanana is in Diego Suarez". The big question is, where's he going next and how long will he stay there?

Click to see the infographic

Midi Madagasikara notes with alarm that the treatment of the former president has compromised negotiations with the World Bank over unblocking funds for development projects on the island.

In South Africa financial paper BusinessDay reports that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has filed a sensational claim against her former husband’s will, submitting that her divorce from the famous statesman was fraudulently obtained. Other revelations contained in court documents suggest she was not even in the country when her divorce from Nelson Mandela was finalised and that no settlement was reached.

Madikizela-Mandela has made the claims as part of a bid to wrest control of Mandela's Qunu property, which he placed under trust upon his death last year.

Her lawyer filed papers in the Mthatha High Court yesterday.

A copy of the marriage certificate apparently shows that it was issued in terms of Act 21 of 1978 of the Republic of Transkei. The Mandelas were married in June 1958.

The Republic of Transkei did not exist in 1958 as independence was granted only in 1976.

Madikizela-Mandela also claims that the signatures on the certificate belong to neither herself nor her former husband.

BusinessDay also notes that South Africa has 47,000 dollar millionaires, almost 5,000 more than last year.

At the same time, the country falls into the "very high inequality" category, with the wealthiest 10 per cent of the population owning more than two-thirds of the nation’s assets, according to the Crédit Suisse Research Institute’s fifth annual global wealth report, released yesterday.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Globally, Crédit Suisse found that those in the bottom half of the global population own less than one per cent of total wealth, while the richest 10 per cent of the world's population hold 87 per cent of all global assets.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday waded into the turf war between the three arms of government, the front page of the Nairobi-based Standard newspaper tells us.

According to the report, the judiciary, executive and legislature have been embroiled in power struggles at different points in the recent past.

The president instructed the judiciary to review some court orders, which he said have made it impossible for other arms of the government to perform their functions effectively.

Speaking at yesterday's opening of the East African Magistrates and Judges Association’s Annual General Conference in Nairobi, Uhuru stressed that the courts “share the same constitutional burden” with the other arms of government and cannot work in isolation.

Uhuru’s statement comes just one day after the Senate vowed to defy court orders barring it from discussing the impeachment of Governor Kivutha Kibwana.

Also in the Standard, last-ditch pay talks between teachers and the government were close to breaking down yesterday, opening the door for unions to call a national strike.

The Nairobi daily reports that the government declined to table any offer, prompting the unions to revive their call for a nationwide teachers’ strike. The same report says the Treasury has rejected the 300-per-cent salary increment demanded by the two main teaching unions.

There's a very different take on that same story over at the Daily Nation. There we learn that pay talks with the government ended without a pay raise deal last evening but union leaders agreed to shelve plans to call a nationwide strike.

According to the Nation, the meeting agreed that the teachers’ employer, the Teaching Services Commission, would be given 10 days to consult with relevant government agencies over the union’s demands.

Kenya's national exams are due to begin next Tuesday.

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