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Africa

African press review 3 January 2017

media

An offer of investment cash could save South Sudan's Salva Kiir. Does South Africa's ruling party really care about investment and job creation? Why are Egyptian civilians being sentenced by military courts?

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has been offered 100 billion euros for budget and project support by a Luxembourg-based investment fund, the main story in regional paper the East African tells us.

According to documents seen by the regional daily, the funding package was arranged at a meeting in Kampala in October “between well-wishers for the peace and stability of South Sudan” and the Uganda agent of a company identified as Suiss Finance Luxembourg AG.

The “well-wishers” are named as Kalisa Mohammed and Twinomuhwezi Henry Williams, who also serve as Kiir’s peace and security advisers.

The money on offer is to be used to finance projects through joint ventures in infrastructure, transport, oil and energy.

If the deal goes through, say the East African, it would signify a major breakthrough for the Juba government and significantly thwart the efforts of the US, which in November pushed the UN Security Council to isolate South Sudan and consider a draft resolution on targeted sanctions against several leaders.

Sceptics quoted by the regional paper warn that Juba already owes millions of euros under previous similar agreements, whereby natural resources are sold off to provide cash for investment.

Democratic Alliance accuses ANC of pettiness and hypocrisy

South African opposition group the Democratic Alliance says the ruling African National Congress is hypocritical and cares nothing about investment and jobs, reports Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay.

The background to the clash is that the mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, recently went to Taiwan to seek investment opportunities. Since his return, Msimanga has been criticised by the ANC because contacts with Taiwan are forbidden under South Africa’s policy of recognition of mainland China.

The ANC was quoted yesterday as saying that government representatives who contravened national foreign policy should have their official passports confiscated.

Responding to the ANC’s criticism‚ the Democratic Alliance spokesman on international relations and cooperation Stevens Mokgalapa said that the ANC had shown once again just how little it valued job-creating investment in South Africa, describing the attack on Msimanga as petty and hypocritical.

Egyptian military court sends 148 to jail for life

The Cairo-based Egypt Independent reports that an Egyptian military court yesterday sentenced 148 suspected Muslim Brotherhood members to life in prison in absentia and acquitted 10 others charged in connection with violence in 2013.

The defendants faced charges of sabotage, inciting violence, rioting and calling for protest.

On 14 August 2013, sit-ins organised by former president Mohamed Morsi’s supporters in Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Squares were violently dispersed by security forces almost six weeks after Morsi's removal from office.

A law passed in 2014 expanded the jurisdiction of the military courts by putting public facilities under the joint protection of the military and police forces, thus subjecting any crimes committed against those facilities to the domain of the military judiciary.

According to a report issued in April by the Human Rights Watch NGO, 7420 civilians have faced military trials since the law was passed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

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