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African press review 12 July 2018


Nigerian democracy in danger as police beat up governor of Ekiti State days to high risk elections. And South Africa spends crazy dough on protecting the country's VIPs.

We start in Nigeria, where the papers investigate an outbreak of political violence in the capital of Ekiti State on Wednesday ahead of gubernatorial elections on July 14 during which Governor Ayo Fayose said he was brutalized by policemen sent in to stop a rally by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

Punch reports that police fired canisters of tear-gas to disperse the crowd, gathered outside the Governor's official residence, claiming that the organizers did not obtain its permit before embarking on the rally.

According to the newspaper, Governor Fayose was in tears as he told reporters how he was slapped and beaten by mobile policemen in his own state as he came out to address the rally.

Meanwhile ahead of Saturday's governorship elections in the violence wracked State, Premium Times carries a statement from Nigeria's deputy police chief Habilal Joshak ,making public the decision to withdraw all security detail attached to all important personalities in Ekiti State, “enhance the credibility of the election”.

The Times says he made known police intentions to avoid being bedeviled with cases of hooliganism, ballot snatching and hate speeches before, during and after this election.

Joshak reportedly warned that anyone who tried to snatch a ballot box and run away with it, would have their hands “cut off” and their “legs stopped”.

ThisDay publishes a strongly-worded statement from the National Chairman of the opposition PDP party Prince Uche Secondus, condemning the battery of Governor Fayose allegedly on the order of a Commissioner of Police, describing the incident as an attack on Nigerian democracy.

In the article, the head of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere reportedly questions the deployment of 30,000 police personnel for the Ekiti election at a time the government can’t mobilize a quarter of that number to secure the lives of Nigerians under savage attacks in different parts of the country.

In Kenya, Daily Nation reports from parts of the capital Nairobi which it claims have been transformed into no-go zones as traders clashed with police and county askaris. According to the newspaper, the askaris are businesspeople who sell their wares at local markets.

The Nation says they were protesting alleged high rates charged by the Nairobi City County.

The newspaper reports that the askaris marched, chanted, blocked roads, lit bonfires and pelted police and motorists with rocks in the madness that caused a traffic nightmare for commuters heading for offices in the central business district.

The trouble reportedly started on Wednesday evening when a county askari was beaten senseless by traders during crackdown on rate defaulters at Marikiti.

And in South Africa, TimesLive headlines on a rare exercise of transparency hard to find in Africa -- revelations by the country's National Police Commissioner that President Cyril Ramaphosa and 17 other VIPs each have 81 bodyguards on average working full time to protect them.

The newspaper says the report from General Khehla Sithole addressed to a lawmaker put the work force of the  VIP protection unit at 1‚382 .

Times also reveals that the annual budget of the force stood at R693-million (43.9 million euros) in 2017 while there was one police officer for every 369 South Africans.

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