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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif unexpectedly flies back to G7 to break diplomatic deadlock

African press review 1 February 2017


Still no end to the strike by hospital doctors in Kenya but the Labour Court has given union leaders another three days to negotiate a resolution. South Africa's ruling party is under severe strain. And the Rainbow Nation's immigration policy is a shambles, according to one paper.

The doctors strike continues in Kenya, but at least no one has yet ended up behind bars.

According to this morning's Nairobi-based Daily Nation, eight union officials could go to jail on Friday for disobeying court orders demanding an end to the two-month dispute.

Yesterday, at a hearing in which officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners’, Pharmacists’ and Dentists’ Union requested a review of their suspended one-month prison sentence, a judge at the Employment and Labour Relations Court said she would deliver her ruling on Friday as she extended the suspended sentence by a further 72 hours.

The union says it has attempted to comply with court directions ever since the original jail sentence was suspended for five days last week. But union members had voted to continue the strike.

Doctors have accused the government of taking advantage of the impending jail sentences to frustrate talks to end the strike.

South Africa's ruling ANC undermined by disunity

South Africa's ruling party is under severe strain. So says the ANC's deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, in an article in this morning's BusinessDay.

Ramaphosa says the party is being undermined by disunity, mistrust and organisational weakness.

He told supporters last night that internal ANC processes have been infiltrated by individuals and companies seeking preferential access to state business.

Ramaphosa is seen as one of the frontrunners to replace Jacob Zuma, who is scheduled to step down as the party’s leader in December and end his second term as president in 2019.

South Africa faces border crisis

BusinessDay's editorial is critical of South Africa's migration policy, saying the country has a border crisis of its own.

Yesterday Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba urged the hospitality industry to prioritise South African citizens when looking for new workers.

South Africa’s migration policy is a mess, the editorial claims. Immigration of skilled people is inordinately difficult and despite government claims that scarce skills are welcome, in practise this has seldom been true.

A bigger problem lies at the other end of the spectrum, says BusinessDay, where millions of unskilled people from the region are drawn to South Africa, mostly in search of economic opportunity.

A badly administered and widely abused policy on refugees has enabled hundreds of thousands of people without a legitimate claim to stay in the system for years, establishing themselves in jobs and setting up microbusinesses, the paper says.

Closing the borders is hardly an option. A new initiative is urgently needed, it concludes.

Turkey told to free UN judge held after failed coup

Turkey has been told off by the UN, according to the main story in regional paper the East African.

A United Nations court yesterday called on Ankara to free a judge caught up in the country's post-coup crackdown, saying the man's imprisonment violates his diplomatic immunity and the principle of judicial independence.

Aydin Sefa Akay, who is both a UN judge and diplomat, is one of the 40,000 Turkish officials who have been remanded in custody for alleged connections to last July's failed military coup.

In an order issued on Tuesday, UN court president Theodor Meron said Turkey should cease all proceedings against Akay and free him by 14 February in time for him to assume his duties in a case involving a Rwandan genocide suspect.

According to Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper, Akay was arrested for having a messaging application that was allegedly used by many of the plotters on his mobile phone.

More clashes near South Sudan city

The East African also reports more fighting around South Sudan's second-largest city, Malakal, yesterday.

The clashes have been confirmed by both rebels and government officials, the latest twist in the struggle for the capital of the oil-producing Upper Nile region.

UN observers said Malakal, on the banks of the White Nile near the country's northern border with Sudan, was largely deserted after civilians fled the fighting.

No casualty figures have been released.

To read Paul Myers's blog from the Africa Cup of Nations 2017 click here

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