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African Press Review 18 July 2018


The presence of Barack Obama at the celebration of the 100th anniversary celebration Nelson Mandela's birth in South Africa is one of the top stories across the continent this morning but France calling for the arrest of a Congolese rhumba star in Zambia also attracts attention.

Former US president Barack Obama is continuing his tour of the African continent and his arrival in South Africa to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela has garnered column inches in the press.

South Africa’s Sowetan reports that, delivering the Nelson Mandela annual lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, Obama said that the “democratic and economic gains that were achieved in the years that followed Mandela's release from prison in 1990 were slowly being erased by authoritarian regimes that do not respect human rights and by global corporates that put profits before people.”

The paper describes how the former US president was welcomed by chants of “Yes, we can” as he took to the podium‚ a reference to the slogan that swept him to the White House back in 2008, and that he shared the stage with president Cyril Ramaphosa and Mandela’s widow Graca Machel.

Madiba died in 2013. "The Mandela 100 anniversary has triggered a bout of memories and tributes to the late anti-apartheid leader, as well as a debate over his legacy and South Africa's fate since he stepped down in 1999.” writes The East African

The Mail & Guardian meanwhile looks at the “Three lessons Madiba taught us, according to Obama”. They are on economic equality, the value of each individual and the importance of democracy.

The Sowetan also reports that Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson "decried the lack of clean water and health services at the former president’s birthplace of Mvezo”. He tells the paper that “People still share the water resources with pigs and goats. He said they get water from pools or a fountain or must pay R500 to have water carted from the nearby Mbhashe river to fill their water tanks.”

Hope for Kenyan psychiatric ward

Kenya’s Standard has been investigatigating “sex, violence and malaria reign in Kisumu's biggest psychiatric ward”.

“Welcome to Ward Eight," writes the the paper, explaining that it is “the oldest and biggest psychiatric unit in Western Kenya, where patients with mental illnesses are locked up.”

The ward has 30 beds but is home to at least three times that number.

“The weak and sedated ones are always at the mercy of their stronger, more aggressive colleagues,” the paper reports.

“This ward was built during the colonial times in the early 1960s. Today it does not meet the standards of a psychiatric unit,” a social worker tells the Standard, which notes that Health Executive Rosemary Obara conceded that the ward urgently needs a makeover. “She said the county had allocated Sh35 million to upgrade health facilities and that the psychiatric ward would be prioritised.”

France calls for arrest of Congolese music star

The French embassy in Zambia is calling on local authorities to arrest Congolese rhumba star Koffi Olomide for various allegations in both Zambia in France, according to the East African.

“The rhumba maestro is wanted on suspicion of sexually assaulting dancers, kidnapping and employing them in France without permit and facilitating their entry and illegal stay,” the paper says, going on to describe the 62-year-old's past misdemeanours.

Sudan and France resume talks on peace in the region

Sudan and France are today resuming bilateral meetings, the Sudan Tribune reports “after several years of strain over rebel presence in France".

"In the past, Sudan accused France of backing holdout rebel groups in the Darfur region,” the paper further notes. “France, which has appointed a special envoy to support the African Union efforts for peace in Sudan, denied the accusation and reiterated that it encourages the armed groups to join the peace process.”

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