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Africa

African press review 7 January 2015

media

The government resigns in Côte d'Ivoire, with the president promising a more efficient cabinet within days. South Africa's BusinessDay says the Agoa trade tariff dispute is about politics, not poultry. And who is Kenya's “oligarch of official graft and the doyen of economic sabotage”?

The government in Côte d'Ivoire resigned yesterday in a move President Alassane Ouattara said would bring more "efficiency" to the west African state just two months after he was reelected.

Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan presented his resignation and that of his government at what was to have been the first cabinet meeting of the year in a move observers said was expected.

After winning reelection in October, Ouattara indicated that he wanted to see fresh faces in government, including more women in ministerial posts.

A new cabinet is to be put in place in the next few days according to a presidential statement.

We've talked a lot recently about South African chickens and the struggle by Pretoria to avoid being chucked out of the African Growth and Opportunity club.

This morning the editorial in the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay says the row over trade tariffs actually covers a much deeper difficulty.

According to BusinessDay, Pretoria cannot line up with the Brics bloc of developing nations on foreign policy issues and bad-mouth Washington while still demanding privileged access to US markets.

The editorial opens with the wonderful observation that "just as the dispute over chicken imports from the US was not really about chickens, so South Africa’s likely suspension from the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act is not entirely about trade."

BusinessDay says Washington is telling Pretoria that they can't have it both ways.

South Africa cannot take measures that frustrate trade and investment flows from the US and Europe and still expect special favours from those regions.

Regional paper The East African reports that the United States has stopped flying drones from southern Ethiopia in its campaign against armed groups in Somalia and Yemen, at the request of the Ethiopian government.

Washington spent millions of dollars in 2011 on upgrading an airfield in the town of Arba Minch, from where it launched Reaper drones that can carry Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs.

Al-Shebab - who are they?

The airfield is the only US drone base acknowledged by the Ethiopian government to exist in the country.

On Tuesday officials and US diplomats confirmed the end of drone activities there.

According to the front page of The Egypt Independent newspaper, the Cairo criminal court yesterday acquitted Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Attia, a defendant in the so-called Al Jazeera trial.

Attia had been charged with joining an outlawed organisation, curtailing the personal freedom of citizens, harming national unity and public peace and targeting public facilities.

Twenty journalists, including nine from Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, have already been convicted of circulating false news and aiding a terrorist organisation in the same case.

The Monitor in Uganda reports that one person has been injured and rushed to hospital after police in Bukwo district fired teargas and live bullets to disperse supporters of opposition Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate Kizza Besigye.

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The injured man was struck by a rubber bullet. Some FDC leaders also sustained minor injuries.

In Kenya, according to The Daily Nation, the presidency yesterday lampooned opposition leader Raila Odinga as the “oligarch of official graft and the doyen of economic sabotage” in a no-holds-barred rejoinder to Raila's criticism of Jubilee as a failing government.

In yesterday's statement, issued by the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit, Odinga, who served as prime minister in the Grand Coalition government, was linked to the irregular acquisition of the Kisumu Molasses Plant and is accused of coercing the National Cereals and Produce Board to sell grain reserves cheaply to his family and friends.

Odinga has been critical of corruption in the current administration.

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