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African press review 22 August 2017

media DR

Sierra Leone buries its dead amid fears of more rains, mudslides and epidemic loom. Kenya brazes for post -election court battles and Angola's veteran leader José Eduardo dos Santos waits for his heir, as the country holds a milestone Presidential election on Wednesday.

We begin in Sierra Leone where there is a looming health crisis following recent flood and mudslides that claimed more than 450 lives with an estimated 6,000 people affected in the capital Freetown.

The Sierra Leone Times says that more than 600 people remain missing and rescue officials have warned that the chances of finding survivors are decreasing each day.

The paper also reports from the venues of large-scale-burials which took place all this week amid rainy weather that threatened further mudslides.

The government of the impoverished West African nation in recent days has reportedly warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack has opened.

Thousands of people live in areas at risk according to the Times and the main focus is making sure they leave before further disaster, authorities have told local media.

The Times reports that water sources have been contaminated' adding that aid officials 'fear for an outbreak of waterborne diseases.

In South Africa, Mail and Guardian looks to the future of Angola which goes to the polls on Wednesday to elect a successor to veteran secretive leader José Eduardo dos Santos.

The paper says the polls are set to bring to an end a 38-year reign dominated by the 78 year-old's unrelenting authoritarian style over the country throughout its devastating civil war and recent oil boom.

Mail and Guardian recalls that Dos Santos is the son of a bricklayer and petroleum engineer who joined the MPLA as a teenager and rose quickly through party ranks as a fighter during Angola’s struggle for independence from Portugal.

It reports that he became president in 1979, following the sudden death from cancer of Angola’s liberation president Agostinho Neto, Dos Santos. That makes him Africa’s second-longest-serving leader – one month shy of Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbazogo.

According to the publication, while dos Santos sought to present himself as a rock of stability, rights activists and opposition members accuse him of systematic repression.

Mail and Guardian also recalls that in a 2013 interview for Brazilian television, he admitted that his rule had been “too long, too long,” after decades of war “adding that his government couldn’t strengthen state institutions or even carry out the normal process of democratization.”

The paper underlines that his children include Isabel, who is head of the state-owned Sonangol oil company and reputed to be Africa’s richest woman – worth 3 billion dollars.

In Kenya, the shed light on preparations for a 14-day marathon courtroom battle at the Supreme Court to hear litigations in the contested August 8 Presidential elections.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga is seeking an injunction from the country's highest court against the country elections commission over its alleged rigging of the election in favour of the incumbent.

But as Standard reports, lawyers representing the electoral commission and the Opposition clashed on Monday over claims that the latter filed evidence on the presidential election petition beyond last Friday's stipulated time..

According to the Nation, the gap issue could become contentious in the eagerly awaited case, which is expected to capture the attention of the nation for the next two weeks.

The paper says the Supreme Court, has issued new deadlines for the petitioner and respondent to send in written submissions as it gears up for the hearing, Odinga’s team up till Friday at 1 pm and the IEBC, its chairman Wafula Chebukati and President Kenyatta at 7pm.

In Nigeria some of the leading tabloids sampled political reactions to President Muhammadu Buhari’s first broadcast to Nigerians after he returned from a 104-day medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

Punch observes that while some described the speech as all encompassing, others saw it as lacking in matters that affected Nigerians. The main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, has described Buhari's speech as a missed opportunity to reconnect with Nigerians.

For its part, Premium Times relays claims by the Social Democratic Party, which despite asserting its joy to have the President back observes that he failed to address the widespread calls for the restructuring of the nation particularly in relation to the devolution of more powers to the country's 36 States and the correction of the perceived structural imbalances.


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