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Two armed men have entered a restaurant in Barcelona and are reported to be holding hostages, following an attack in which a van was driven into a crowd, causing a number of injuries. Two people are reported to have been killed. Police say they are "terrorist attacks".


African press review 10 March 2016

media DR

Presidents and their deputies in Uganda and South Africa come under the spotlight in the African press this morning. And there's grim news on youth unemployment in Kenya and a promise of compensation to white farmers in Zimbabwe.

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has answered fraud claims by defeated presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi.

According to the front page of the Kampala-based Daily Monitor, Museveni, who was elected for a fifth time with 61 per cent of votes cast in last month's poll, categorically states that no illegal practices and/or offences were committed by himself personally or through his agents and supporters with his knowledge and consent or approval.

The president further denies providing hoes to the voters of West Nile to encourage them to support him.

The Monitor also reports that suspected burglars broke into the offices of two of Amama Mbabazi’s lawyers in the wee hours of Tuesday night and made off with computers and the 2016 presidential election petition case files.

The US ambassador to Uganda Scott H DeLisi has called for an official investigation of the theft.

A separate story in the Monitor reports that nine lecturers from the law faculty at Makerere University yesterday joined the presidential election petition challenging the reelection of Museveni.

Kenya, east Africa’s biggest economy, holds the dubious distinction of being the country with the largest number of unemployed youth in the region, according to a World Bank report. This story is on the front page of regional paper The East African.

The report says unemployment in Kenya, four times that of the neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania, is among the highest in the world.

One in five Kenyan youths of working age has no job compared to Uganda and Tanzania where the figure is closer to one in 20.

The World Bank lead economist for Kenya Apurva Sanghi says that, aside from the government providing a conducive business climate for private companies to thrive and create jobs, Kenya must funnel more resources towards developing its human capital to boost productivity.

South Africa faces a further ratings downgrade from the international agency Moody's.

According to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and other government leaders will have to announce concrete plans to avert such a step.

Until recently Moody’s has been the most upbeat of the rating agencies but said yesterday it would downgrade if it was not convinced that debt could be managed, or found evidence of further shocks to economic growth.

Spending restraint by government and reforms intended to boost economic growth are concerns for Moody's analysts.

A one notch downgrade would put Moody’s rating in line with that of Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, both of which currently rate South Africa just one level above junk status.

South African deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa triggered a row in the National Council of Provinces yesterday when he refused to answer any questions about the Marikana commission of inquiry, insisting the matter was before the courts.

Economic Freedom Fighters council member Leigh-Ann Mathys asked Ramaphosa what action the government had taken with regard to the Marikana massacre in which 41 striking mineworkers lost their lives and why only police officers were the targets of investigation and not himself and the then police minister.

Ramaphosa responded that the government was working on what action needed to be taken to implement the recommendations of the commission and then said, "there is a summons against me and the matter is in litigation. It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment."

Zimbabwe is planning to start compensating mainly white farmers who lost their land and livelihoods during state-backed farm invasions that began in 2000, the finance ministry said in a circular yesterday.

Farmers may be compensated for "both land and improvements", as well as equipment acquired by the state during the often-violent seizure of property, according to the document submitted to parliament on Tuesday. If approved by the government, it would mark a major shift in policy.

President Robert Mugabe previously said payments would be made only for investments in infrastructure such as dams, roads and buildings on seized farms.

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