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African press review 31 October 2018


South Sudan dreams of peace again as rebel leader Riek Machar returns to Juba to sign a fresh peace deal. Rwanda sets parity benchmark after President Kagame's latest cabinet reshuffle. And Nigeria's opposition PDP reactivates controversy about President Buhari's academic qualifications.

We begin with robust coverage of the return to South Sudan of rebel leader Riek Machar this Wednesday.

Uganda's Daily Monitor says the rebel chief arrived at Juba airport at 0630 GMT this morning and was welcomed by President Salva Kiir, Machar's former ally turned bitter enemy.

The publication reports that the two are to join regional leaders at the ceremony later Wednesday to publicly celebrate the most recent peace agreement, signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in September.

The Kenyan Star reports that the leaders of Sudan and Ethiopia who helped broker the agreement earlier this year have also arrived Juba to attend the signing and celebration of the peace deal between Machar and his longtime rival, President Salva Kiir.

The Star recalls that the world's youngest nation plunged into civil war in late 2013 when troops loyal to Kiir clashed with Machar's in Juba unleashing a killing spree that forced millions to flee the capital.

Machar sought refuge in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and later to South Africa, where he was held under house arrest until earlier this year.

In Rwanda the New Times have all you need to know about the new win-win cabinet appointed by President Paul Kagame. The paper reports that half of the new 26 member government are women. 

South Africa's Times says Kagame "tapped in the fountain of youth" with the average age of ministers standing at 47.5 years and the youngest just 31-years old.

The paper claims that the reshuffle has enabled Rwanda to move up to an impressive 4th place on the Global Gender Gap Index behind Iceland, Norway and Finland.

In Kenya where Daily Nation leads with news that Uganda had shelved plans to extend the Standard Gauge Railway from Malaba to Kampala until “unresolved issues with Kenya and China have been concluded".

According to the newspaper, the government Kenya was putting on a brave face to the setback.

The Nation reports that on Tuesday, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia announced plans to instead revamp the Kisumu Port in Lake Victoria to ease movement of goods via the lake to Uganda and Rwanda.

Kenya secured a 1.2 billion euro loan from China to extend its railway from Nairobi to Naivasha and construction is ongoing. The Mombasa   Nairobi SGR line was completed mid-last year.

Daily Nation quotes Uganda's Finance Minister Matia Kasaija as telling its sister publication, the Daily Monitor, on Monday, that Kampala had put on hold the Standard Gauge Railway SGR venture and has instead turned attention to revamping the old meter-gauge railway network.

The Chinese-financed project is the first stage in a scheme that aims to extend to Uganda and other landlocked countries.


In Nigeria, Vanguard leads with pressure being piled on President Muhammadu Buhari by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, to come clean about his academic qualifications. 

The paper recalls that the controversy has been running since an Abuja-based lawyer filed an injunction at the Federal High Court, questioning Buhari's academic credentials to contest the 2014 Presidential elections.

The lawyer argued that he did not pass the Cambridge West African School Certificate in 1961 as he claimed.

The PDP reportedly stated that the fretting in the Presidency over the issue instead of producing the document shows that something is fishy.

And in South Africa, the Sowetan leads with shocking revelations that the woman who was doused with petrol and set alight allegedly by her boyfriend on Friday because she dared return to greet him.

The paper says a neighbour, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she heard Viwe Dalingozi screaming for help as she ran to the Johannesburg flat in flames adding that before she could go in to assist the woman he saw the boyfriend running from the flat.

According to the Sowetan, Dalingozi who moved to Johannesburg from the Eastern Cape four years ago gave the ex-boyfriend’s identity to relatives before breathing her last at a Johannesburg hospital.

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