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African press review 30 January 2014


In the headlines today in Africa: the African Union Summit gets serious today with media around the continent reporting on top officials flocking to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for talks likely to focus on recent violence.

Kenya hopes for an end to hostilities in South Sudan, Malawi's financial scandal continues to unfold, Uganda touts success with Millenium Goals and Rwanda's genocide memorial may unite victims and perpetrators.

The Standard in Kenya is hopeful that today marks the beginning of better days in South Sudan. Seven political detainees released yesteday made their way to Nairobi for talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday.

According to one of the prisoners quoted by The Standard, their release was largely thanks to Kenyatta after he put considerable pressure on his South Sudan counterpart. Setting up independent peace monitoring, the paper says, is the next urgent step.

Malawi's Daily Times has the latest on 'Cashgate' - the largest corruption scandal to rock the country in its entire history. With three officials on trial in Blantyre today, the paper looks at the event that initially revealed the massive financial looting.

The former Budget Minister gives his account of a shooting last September - he claims those behind the gun were two senior government officials who had previously threatened him.

Daily Times says they were pressuring him to make shady payments to companies that he didn't believe he should be making, mostly under the guise of court settlements.

Uganda's Daily Monitor proudly reports that the country has reached the UN's Millenium Development Goal for 2015 on tuberculosis.

The number of people dying from TB has dropped by half over the past two decades, while population size has doubled. This thanks to a successful roll-out of TB tests to hospitals around the country.

But the Monitor warns that there's plenty of work still to do: with less than a year to the 2015 deadline, Uganda has only met two of its 17 Millenium targets – decreasing absolute poverty and stabilizing debt. In some areas, it's not only that things aren't getting better, they're also getting worse.

Like corruption for instance. The Monitor reports that Ugandan police recognize their poor reputations in terms of bribes and tips. This comes as no surprise - Transparency International has consistently ranked the Uganda Police Force among the most corrupt government institutions in the country.

Head of police has called on a committee to examine police officers' assets but the paper points out, only a small percentage of officers are legally bound to declare their wealth. To actually track dubious dealings, regulation would have be written into law.

And finally, The New Times in Rwanda reports on the extraordinary story of the Kabuye Memorial Centre, where more than 50,000 Tutsis died in the 1994 genocide.

A survivor who had lost all her family, including seven children, started the memorial and founded an organisation that has been keeping the site clean for the past two decades. She works side-by-side with other local women, some of whom belong to the perpetrators' side, with husbands in prison for crimes from that time.

The Rwandan Times hails the women as championing reconciliation and setting an example for the rest of the country.