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Africa

African press review 4 March 2016

media DR

Dogs and cheaters are taking the front page of Kenyan papers this morning. Meanwhile, the South African press is talking about an ongoing political controversy and activists worry over the state of press freedom in Uganda.

We start with Uganda, where journalists and activists are condemning police brutality according to The Monitor.

At a time when "Uganda is at a political cross-roads" with "soldiers placed in Kampala, dissent being criminalised and when critical social media posts are inviting arrests",  the police has found a new "target to prey on" explains the paper - journalists!

According to the Human Rights Network for Journalists, 20 reporters were detained on the night before the presidential elections, simply for covering the campaign of opposition candidate Kizza Besigye.

The Monitor reports that Police officers also chose "to brutally arrest" journalists who were reporting on Besigye. The paper has numerous examples of police abuses towards the media.

Sadly, this is nothing new: "The open violation of journalists’ rights, including arbitrary arrests, detention and release without charge, is a roll back of one of the Museveni government’s main feats" according to the paper.

Last month, "Human Rights Watch released a report critical of the government and warned of the “chilling effect” on media of police excesses".

Now to Kenya, where The Standard headlines on cheaters. According to the Nairobi-based daily, "the results of more than five thousand Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education candidates have been cancelled due to irregularities".

This is a 70% increase from last year - a record.

According to The Standard, the only "clean county" was Isiolo, while the one with the most irregularities was Makueni.

In a statement, the Education Cabinet Secretary said the exam of the 5.101 candidates "involved in examination malpractice" had been cancelled.

What's more, "a total of 171 people have been arrested and charged in court for committing various offences ".

And contrary to what you may think, it's not just candidates who were arrested. "11 school principals [..] and 34 teachers from public secondary schools" are among this number too.

Regional paper The East African is headlining on... dogs, but not any dogs - we're talking about sniffer dogs being deployed by Kenya "in a bid to stem surging wildlife crime".

Those dogs have trained to find elephant ivory and rhino horn.

"Conservationists say the dog teams open a vital new front in the war on smuggling, increasing the risk for criminals" explains the paper.

And the dogs also are extremly efficient - in just one week "the dog team sniffed out four separate bags" wiht ivory in them.

Apparently dogs can even track a tiny piece of ivory hidden inside a pack of cigarettes

And if Kenya is setting up a dog team, it's because the country is in what expert decribe as a "poaching crisis". More than 30.000 elephants are killed for their ivory every year in Africa, says The East African.

The South African press is headlining on an ongoing political scandal. You'll find this story in The Mail and Guardian, which reports that President Jacob Zuma is now dealing personally with the row between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane.

Zuma called on the two warring parties "to exercise calm and restraint".

"Gordhan wants Zuma to fire Moyane owing to a breakdown in their working relationship" explains the paper.

There's also an ongoing investigation into a rogue unit at the Sars that's not helping the relation between the two.

Gordhan, a former head of the Sars, has been sent questions by investigators regarding a "rogue unit" but has replied "he needed more time".

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