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Africa

African press review 1 January 2016

media

Lots of promises from Heads of State in the first African press review of the year: Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta and Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari both vow to fight corruption and terrorism. Plus, the US condemns the crackdown on press freedom in Ethiopia.

We start with Kenya, where newspaper The Standard takes a look at what awaits President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2016.

"Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga will walk into 2016" knowing "that it is the year that will either make or break their political careers in the run-up to the next general election, which is scheduled for August 2017", writes the paper.

So what's to come for Kenyatta?

According to the newspaper, he will "be struggling with corruption" and will have to re-organise "his office at State House to keep him in touch with the needs of Kenyans."

Kenyatta will also have to deal with his deputy president, William Ruto, expected to appear in front of the International Criminal Court in two weeks. But the Kenyan president's biggest challenge will be to implement an old campaign promise: to provide one million pupils with laptops.

Talking about promises, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari made some new ones Thursday, according to The Vanguard.

President Buhari adressed his new year message to Nigerians yesterday, vowing that "2016 would be the beginning of change in the country". The Nigerian President said he had laid the foundation for such change, and promised to fight terrorism and corruption.

Today's edition of The Vanguard has also chosen its personalities of the year, and, unsurprisingly, current Nigerian President Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan are the newspaper's top choices.

Buhari was picked because "of his unrelenting political struggles" writes the daily. Jonathan, because, according to The Vanguard, he did something rare last year: he "accepted his loss at the polls and conceded victory to Buhari."

Elsewhere, Tanzania is struggling to produce enough electrecity according to Business Day, and that's very bad news for the environment.

According to the South African paper, Tanzania is moving towards using more fossil fuels as "drought continues to cripple its hydropower plants". Hydropower plants normally produce about 35% of Tanzania’s electricity needs, with gas and oil plants making up most of the difference, says Buisiness Day.

But of course, this is a temporary solution... especially now that the world seems set to decarbonize after the success of the COP21 conference in Paris last month.

According to one expert, the country has "significant untapped renewable energy potential from sources such as geothermal, solar and wind". Some, though, are pushing the government to increase "its use of coal to produce electricity, even though burning coal is a major driver of climate change" writes the paper.

Whatever the government does, it will have to act quickly: although only 36% of Tanzanians have access to electricity, demand is growing fast: 10 to 15% a year.

Finally, The East African reports US concerns over press freedom in Ethiopia.

"In an unusually stark rebuke" as the paper puts it, the White House has asked the country to stop using its anti-terror law to jail journalists.

Ethiopia has been criticised for its crackdown on press freedom and its use of Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to silence dissident voices.

"On December 19, Human Rights Watch reported that Ethiopian security forces had killed at least 75 demonstrators with live fire during weeks of regional anti-government protests" says The East African.

The US is a close ally of Ethiopia the paper explains, saying that Washington has been cautious not to endorse its partner's rights record. Several bloggers were released last October, after their plight made headlines around the world.

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