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Africa

African press review 3 February 2016

media DR

South Africa's national police commissioner could face charges in connection with the 2012 Marikana killings. The World Bank warns that drought could push thousands of southern Africans into poverty. Could Kenyans already be immune to infection by the Zika virus?

Suspended South African national police commissioner Riah Phiyega and other senior officers should be charged for their role in the Marikana massacre.

According to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, the police watchdog, the  Independent Police Investigative Directorate, has submitted a file on the case to the national director of public prosecutions. Although it is unclear what charges General Phiyega will face, BusinessDay suggests that defeating the ends of justice and contempt of commission might be in the mix.

Slideshow Mandela

Phiyega and then North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo, who retired last year, could face prosecution for their roles in the August 2012 Marikana shootings, in which police killed 34 striking miners.

Also in BusinessDay, news that the World Bank has become the latest institution to downgrade South Africa’s economic growth forecasts for this year and next, warning that the slowdown in growth coupled with drought would drive thousands more people into poverty.

The bank sees the South African economy growing 0.8 per cent this year from an earlier forecast of 1.4 per cent. The forecast for next year was revised down by half a point to 1.1 per cent.

The bank says that, while it does not forecast a recession for South Africa, the extremely low levels of economic growth will lead to further declines in per capita incomes.

The drought has pushed an estimated 50,000 people into poverty.

The Zika virus is making headlines in regional paper The East African.

The virus, which has been linked to serious birth defects in Latin America, could spread to Africa and Asia, which have the world's highest birth rates, the World Health Organisation warned as it launched a global response unit to tackle the new emergency.

Earlier this week the organisation declared an international public health emergency because of Zika's link to thousands of recent birth defects in Brazil.

Interestingly, Kenyan daily The Standard carries a front-page story suggesting that Kenyans may already have developed some level of immunity against the Zika virus.

Dossier: Ebola outbreak 2014

According to a lecturer at Nairobi university, the mosquito species believed to carry the virus is widely found in Kenya and other African countries but there have been no major outbreaks of the disease.

There is epidemiological evidence of Zika virus infection having occurred in Kenya in the past based on the fact that various areas in Kenya have people with antibodies against the virus, according to the same expert.

The East African also reports that at least one person was killed in a grenade attack on a bar in Burundi in the latest violence since the African Union backed away from sending in peacekeepers without the Bujumbura government's consent.

Burundi sank into a crisis last year after President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term of office, which he secured in a disputed vote.

African leaders, who met in Addis Ababa at the weekend, agreed to send a team to try to persuade the president to accept a 5,000-strong force after he rejected the plan and said any such intervention would be treated as an invasion.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has condemned the killing of a British conservationist after his helicopter was shot down while he chased suspected poachers. Five people have been arrested and are currently being questioned by police.

Roger Gower was killed when his helicopter was downed by suspected poachers during a patrol of the Maswa Game Reserve in northern Tanzania, close to the world-famous Serengeti National Park last Friday.

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