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African press review 5 May 2011


Was Jesus a communist? Is Kenya's petrol crisis for real? What about Harare's water shortage? And why are Uganda's lawyers on strike?

The Star in South Africa reports that the Dutch Reformed Church is a bit worried about recent political comments by a pastor.

The unnamed pastor, speaking at a May Day rally in Cape Town, said the ANC, Cosatu and South African Communist Party were the holy trinity and that Jesus was a communist. President Zuma was present at the rally.

The pastor allegedly also ceremoniously annointed Jacob Zuma and misquoted the Bible in an irresponsible way to compel voters to support the ANC.

According to a church statement, this oversteps the boundaries of responsible theology, the responsible use of the Bible, as well as responsible lobbying in support of the political party in question. That's a lot of responsibility in a single sentence.

The Dutch Reformed Church appealed to Zuma and other political leaders to “discourage the opportunistic misuse of religion” and to distance themselves from these practices.

The president has, in the past, come under fire for using religion in his own political speeches, most recently for saying that a vote for the ANC was to choose heaven, while a vote for the opposition amounted to choosing “hell”.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Kenya is in the throes of an "artficial" petrol crisis, according to The Standard, published in Nairobi.

While enormous queues continue around petrol stations nationwide, says The Standard, the Kenya Pipeline Corporation says it has 17 million litres of petrol lying uncollected in storage tanks. An energy sector official said Kenya recently imported 85 million litres of fuel and wondered why there were claims of shortages.

The government has accused oil marketeers of economic sabotage for allegedly masterminding the shortage in order to force the state to abolish price controls.

The Standard warns that it will be a matter of days before the crisis spills across the border into Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, which rely on Kenya for their supplies.

The Herald in Zimbabwe reports that parts of the capital, Harare, and its satellite towns are without water as levels at reservoirs have dropped while the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority carries out maintenance at the Kariba power station.

Since the start of the annual maintenance work at the generators on Wednesday last week, Harare City Council’s water pumping capacity has been cut by half.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority says it is not solely responsible for the erratic water supplies, blaming reports of burst pipes and leakages around Harare that the city council is failing to repair.

The main local story in Uganda's Daily Monitor concerns the ongoing lawyers' strike.

The strike, intended to express displeasure at police handling of peaceful protestors and what the lawyers call the “political abuse of the judiciary,” kicked off at the High Court in Kampala yesterday with a demand to the Chief Justice to take action against errant judicial officers.

More than 300 lawyers condemned police brutality in quelling peaceful protests, resulting in injury and loss of human life.

The advocates also asked Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki to initiate dialogue between the different political stakeholders in an effort to break the current stalemate that has seen the opposition holding a series of protests in the last month to force government address the skyrocketing cost of living.

The advocates are boycotting court today and will review their decision on Saturday.

And opposition leaders yesterday said they will continue with the walk-to-work protests this Thursday.