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African press review 7 March 2018


Kenya joins the list of countries banning certain meat imports from South Africa where an outbreak of listeria has killed at least 180 people. South African business leaders described the possibility of taking back farmland from white owners without any compensation as "borderline insane".

Kenya's health ministry has banned the import and sale of certain South African processed meat products after a listeria outbreak that has killed at least 180 people.

Kenya is the second east African country, after Rwanda, to ban ready-to-eat meat products from South Africa.

Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have also blocked the import of the products.

Some 948 people in South Africa have contracted listeriosis since January 2017. The disease is caused by a naturally occurring bacteria found in soil, water, vegetation and animal waste which can contaminate fresh food.

At least 180 South Africans have died, according to official figures.

Kenya loses out on US famine funding

The top story in this morning's Nairobi-based Daily Nation reports that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday mourned the victims of the 1998 embassy bombings and lauded today's Kenya as a “thriving country” ahead of an Africa tour during which he will meet President Uhuru Kenyata.

He pledged to continue US support for counter-terrorism campaigns in Somalia and some other countries in the sub-Saharan region.

Tillerson did not however include Kenya among the countries to benefit from a 500-million-euro US famine-prevention initiative also announced yesterday.

The funding will go to Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and unnamed countries in the Lake Chad Basin.

Electoral body row derails Kenyan boundary review

The Kenyan opposition National Super Alliance has demanded the shelving of electoral boundary reviews until a new elections body is in place.

According to this morning's Standard newspaper, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has requested billions of shillings to fund constituency and ward boundary reviews across the country.

Those reviews were set to begin last month and end in August 2021, a year before the next general election.

The exercise has now been thrown into uncertainty after opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula said yesterday they had no faith in the electoral oversight body as currently constituted.

Expropriation without compensation "insane"

South African business leaders have described the possibility of taking back farmland from white owners without any compensation as "borderline insane".

Speaking in the Johannesburg-based paper BusinessDay, the boss of the lobby group AfriBusiness, Piet le Roux describes the proposal, already passed by the South African parliament, as "a crisis," adding that it is the most important political moment in South Africa’s history since the end of minority rule in 1994.

Le Roux said that, although the parliamentary motion on expropriation passed with a large majority, it is not clear that such a policy will be widely supported. "The expropriation of land without compensation is not about agriculture or poverty alleviation, it is about the nationalisation of property, and not just land," he said.

If the policy was accepted, it would affect the property rights of all South Africans, black and white, but it would mostly affect black people, he claimed.

Several civil society organisations have promised to launch a camapign of public protests against the legislation.

Grenade game kills children in South Sudan

At least five children have been confirmed dead following a hand grenade explosion near Torit town in South Sudan’s Imotong State.

Local State Security Advisor Joseph Oriho Abulemoi said the three boys and two girls were playing with the device when it went off.

The authorities are investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, South Sudan's government has rejected claims that the leadership has diverted millions of dollars from the national oil company to fund the ongoing civil conflict.

The claim was made by the rights organisation Global Witness which says there are direct links between the state oil company Nile Petroleum and arms purchases.

The oil company, the Global Witness report says, operates in secrecy to finance military operations, arms transfers to ethnic militias and conceal the looting of millions of dollars meant to finance imports of essential goods.

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