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Africa

African press review 17 August 2017

media DR

There's more news of Kenya's post-electoral turmoil in the African press today. Meanwhile in South Africa, editorialists are asking for justice, as the country commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Marikana massacre. And in Nigeria snakebites are on the rise.

Kenya’s Digital Standard is lauding Raila Odinga’s decision to appeal to the Supreme Court to challenge the legitimacy of Uhuru Kenyatta’s reelection.

It says the decision “has helped ease tensions across the country, especially in major towns where street protests have stifled business in recent days”.

The National Super Alliance party (NASA) had previously said it would not challenge the election outcome in court because the judiciary lacked independence.

But, according to Digital Standard, “by choosing to resolve the standoff in court rather than in the streets, the opposition have demonstrated faith in the country’s justice system”.

“Yes, Kenya deserves better than violent street protests,” it says, before reminding politicians and their supporters that elections come and go but that “the nation must remain”.

No prosecutions over Marikana massacre five years on

There’s a lot of talk of the Marikana massacre in the South African press.

The violent clampdown left 34 miners dead and at least 70 injured when police opened fire during a mining strike back in 2012.

Five years on victims and human rights organisations such as Amnesty International are asking why no one has been prosecuted and why compensation has not been awarded to the families of the victims.

“No one really cares about Marikana,” reads the headline of one editorial in The Star.

The paper says that nobody has taken responsibility for “one of the greatest tragedies in post-apartheid South Africa”.

There has been a long, intensive judicial inquiry, there have been recommendations, but nothing has been done.

The police commissioner at the time has been axed from her post but without being criminally charged.

None of the police officers have been indicted.

No ministers have lost their jobs.

As for the director of the company that owned the mine, who urged the police to take “concomitant action”, Cyril Ramaphosa, he is now deputy president of the country and a serious contender to become president of the ANC at the end of the year, according to the paper.

“For the families of the 34 breadwinners slain five years ago, life has not just been harder; it’s been full of unanswered questions with only one possible answer: No one really cares,” the editorial reads.

“And that is perhaps the worst tragedy of all.”

Nigeria's venimous scourge

This Day brings us a scary story on the growing prevalence of fatal snakebites in Nigeria.

According to a recent report by the News Agency of Nigeria, statistics from some medical centres across the country reveal a steady rise.

The Kaltungo General Hospital in Gombe, for instance, recorded an average of 20 cases every day.

Most of these victims visited herbalists because they could not afford the anti-snake venom, which costs an average of 27,000 naira (60 euros) for one dose.

In its editorial This Day says “The solution lies in manufacturing anti-snake venom locally but that has been a major challenge.”

The saw-scaled or "carpet" viper is responsible for 90 percent of bites and 60 percent of deaths.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), snakebites are a neglected public health problem for most African countries.

Many cases go unreported and thus do not appear in official statistics.

This Day is calling on the government to strengthen the nation’s clinics and hospitals, as well as engage in health education, since only eight percent of snakebite victims attend hospitals in Nigeria.

It says the government should also subsidise its treatment and make anti-snake venom free of charge, or at least more affordable, since most victims are subsistence farmers.

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