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Africa

African press review 11 March 2016

media DR

The post-election dispute in Uganda shows no signs of going away. Yesterday the Kampala Supreme Court refused a demand for a partial recoun. The parliament in South Africa has decided to award Jacob Zuma a salary increase, similar to the one MPs gave themselves earlier this week. And Kenya Airways may have to cut 1,200 people off its payroll.

It's hard to get away from last month's Ugandan presidential election on the front page of this morning's Kampala-based Daily Monitor.

The headlines will give you some idea: "Court refuses to grant automatic vote recount", "Court orders Electoral Commission to produce district vote tally sheets", "Kadaga orders government on Besigye arrest" and "Rights body calls for Besigye-government talks".

The background to all this is last month's poll in which Yoweri Museveni was reelected for a fifth term with 61 per cent of votes cast.

Yesterday the Ugandan Supreme Court refused a request by defeated candidate Amama Mbabazi for a vote recount. The former prime minister claims that there was massive rigging in at least 45 electoral districts.

The same court did, however, order the Electoral Commission to produce district vote tally sheets which Mbabazi's legal team hope will show clear evidence of fraud. Some districts recorded a 100 percent turnout, with every voter supporting the incumbent president. Opponents of Museveni believe many votes were cast on behalf of deceased electors.

Meanwhile, the situation of another defeated candidate, Kizza Besigye, remains unclear. The parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga yesterday ordered the government to explain if and why the opposition leader was under house arrest. Besigye was arrested at least seven times in the week following the February poll in which he came second to Museveni.

The Uganda Human Rights Commission says it will speak to both sides in an attempt  to chart a way out of the current “stalemate” following last month’s disputed elections.

South Africa's economy fears more bad news

There's more bad news for the South African economy as the country battles to stave off a credit ratings downgrade.

According to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, mining and manufacturing — which together make up 20 percent of the economy — began the year in the red, indicating just how poor economic growth is likely to be.

The contraction in mining production deepened in January, while manufacturing output also fell after a small increase in December, according to official statistics released yesterday. The data indicates that overall economic growth is likely to be less than one percent this year.

... but Jacob Zuma doesn't

At least Jacob Zuma won't face any cutbacks.

Raucous attempts by opposition parties to resist a salary increase for the South African president ended in acrimonious debate on the floor of the National Assembly yesterday.

African National Congress (ANC) acting chief whip Doris Dlakude brought a motion that Zuma’s salary be increased to the rand equivalent of 166,000 euros a year and be backdated to April 2015.

The increase of about 4.5 percent is in line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) argued that Zuma's salary should remain unchanged. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said the president should not be paid at all.

The Inkatha Freedom Party accused both the EFF and the DA of being hypocritical, pointing out that they had not objected to similar increases being paid to MPs on Thursday. This week, South African parliamentarians received a 4.5 percent salary increase, also backdated to 1 April last year.

A salary increase for the president has to be approved by the National Assembly and not by the president himself.

Kenya airways plans to shed staff

Kenya Airways, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest airline, is planning a 70-billion-shilling (600-million-euro) restructuring that includes reducing its fleet and cutting the number of staff.

The carrier, based in the capital Nairobi, has been working on a turnaround plan after reporting the largest loss in Kenyan corporate history last year.

The reorganisation plan aiming to return the company to profit may result in its 4,000-strong workforce being reduced by at least 30 percent.

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