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African press review 12 December 2014


Kenyan politicians argueover how to fight political violence. Kenya's government opposes an ICC police force. SA struggles to stop the lights going out. And a Liberian hails the courage of a phtographer who died yesterday.

Kenyan politicians are fighting over a new law on terrorism.  That is what this morning’s Standard is explaining.

The Kenyan MPs were battling on Thursday over a new set of laws aimed at curbing terrorism. The new bill proposes to enhance surveillance, as well as to give more powers to security forces and the government.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

So on one side opposition and civil rights groups are calling "an invasion of privacy and violation of the rights of citizens", as the newspaper puts it, while on the other  you have President Uhuru Kenyatta arguing that a "strong action needs to be taken".

Needless to say, the debate was heated in parliament. One MP even tried to grab the mace - a symbol of the parliamentary authority - in a bid to stop the debate from going on.

But that didn't help, the law will go through a third reading next month.

Talking about police and Kenya, the country is opposing the creation of an International Criminal Court (ICC) police, the Daily Nation reports.

According to the Nairobi-based paper, the African country is not only opposed to proposals to establish a special ICC police force but also against a tracking unit to enforce arrests and asset freezing.

According to the Kenyan ambassador to the UN Macharia Kamau, this "responsability should be entrusted to individual countries alone". That statement is not really a surprise, says the Daily Nation.

Dossier: Ebola outbreak 2014

A local NGO, Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, told the paper that Kenya has to make an effort to cooperate better with the ICC, especially when it comes to accessing witnesses.

You'll appreciate the irony of this at the exact moment when the country is trying to give more power to its own police.

South Africa has set up a war room to keep the lights on. You'll find an article on the subject in today's South African paper Business Day.

Eskom, the country's public electricity utility, has been on the brink of bankruptcy for the last few months. The state-owned company is even set to run out of money by the end of next month. That means Eskom won't be able to buy fuel and it will be hard to prevent blackouts.

That's why a "technical war room" has been set up explains Business day. The government wants to make sure the company becomes more efficient.

This war-room is expected to release a report next month on how solve the energy crisis in the long term. For now the South African government has pledged to pay Eskom's debts.

Front Page Africa is mourning the death of Washington Post journalist Michel du Cille. The three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer died yesterday at age 58 in Monrovia.

The American journalist recently chronicled the plight of Ebola patients and the people who cared for them. Du Cille was on his third stint of Ebola coverage in Liberia. Front Page Africa says no cause of death was officially given. But the American journalist was declared free of Ebola a few months ago.

You might have heard about him, by the way, because he was barred from speaking to students because he was coming back from covering a story on the deadly virus.

The Liberian paper pays homage to the journalist. 

"He was completely devoted to the story of Ebola and he was determined to stay on the story despite its risks," the paper says. "That is the sort of courage and passion he displayed throughout his career."

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