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African press review 27 November 2017


What are the prospects for peace and stability as Kenya prepares for tomorrow's inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta? What are the long-term implications of the recent downgrades by international agencies of South Africa's credit status? And should South Sudan's president Salva Kiir release more political prisoners?

Regional paper the East African gives the top of the front page to Kenya with a headline reading "New Kenyatta term to open with country bitterly divided".

The report says tomorrow's swearing-in of Kenyatta, following the Supreme Court's decision to validate his disputed victory in last month's presidential election, does not mean an end to Kenya's political crisis.

Protests sparked by the court decision left two dead, the latest casualties in a four-month period of unrest in which at least 56 people have lost their lives. Most victims were killed at the hands of police, according to local rights groups.

The East African says the decision to validate the October result now leaves the country deeply split.

University lecturers issue new strike demands

The reinstalled president will have a lot to deal with, including the ongoing strike by Kenya's university teachers.

According to the top story in this morning's Daily Nation, lecturers have issued new demands ahead of today’s meeting with universities’ management in Nairobi aimed at ending their one-month strike.

The new demands include the signing of a return-to-work formula which would protect all the lecturers from victimisation.

The dispute arose when the university teachers demanded the immediate implementation of the collective bargaining agreement, signed witrh the government in 2013.

Ratings warning to South Africa

BusinessDay in South Africa is continuing to rake over the ashes of last week's credit ratings announcements from the three big international agencies.

The financial paper's editorial, headlined "Downgrades a warning of precipitous slide ahead", says Standard & Poor's report is a warning that South Africa's economic growth has fallen behind the rest of the emerging markets and that there is no way the country can fix its rapidly deteriorating public finances without risking further damage to growth.

Tabloid paper the Sowetan puts it all in plain English, saying that junk status means South Africa is going to have to pay more to raise the money it needs for economic growth‚ to finance key projects and service delivery.

Interest rates will probably rise‚ thus increasing the monthly cost of things like home loans and vehicle finance repayments.

Mugabe cried as he stepped down

Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe cried and lamented “betrayal by his lieutenants” when he agreed to step down last week under pressure from the military and his party after 37 years in power, according to the Standard newspaper.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe loyalist, was sworn in on Friday and attention is now focused on whether he will name a broad-based government or select figures from Mugabe’s era.

The newspaper quotes sources within the former president’s inner circle as saying Mugabe told his close associates and a team of negotiators at his Harare mansion that the people were chameleons as he announced that he was resigning. He took the decision as parliament debated a motion to impeach him.

Corruption in decline in Tanzania

About 90 percent of Tanzanians think corruption has declined in the past two years with President John Magufuli at the helm, compared with five years ago.

These findings, reported in this morning's East African, are based on data collected from 1,705 questionnaires on the mainland between July and August.

The respondents also said they are less likely to be asked for bribes in 2017, compared with 2014.

However, the number of people who had to give a bribe in order to get a job has risen during Magufuli’s administration, with the survey showing an increase of two percent from 2014 to 2017.

Call on Kiir to free more political prisoners

The Sudan Tribune reports that members of South Sudan’s national dialogue committee have urged President Salva Kiir to release political prisoners to encourage reconciliation and forgiveness.

South Sudan has released about 30 political detainees since Kiir declared an amnesty in May to facilitate the national dialogue process.

Now the committee wants to see all political prisoners freed.

The South Sudanese conflict, which broke out in December 2013, has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over two million civilians.

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