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African press review Boko Haram Egypt Elections Malawi Mohamed Morsi Nigeria Press review

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African press review 29 May 2014

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How many really voted in Egypt's presidential poll? Will Malawai have a recount? Can Ramatlhodi end the SA platinum strike? And there are reports of sightings of the missing Nigerian schoolgirls.


There's little doubt about who's going to win the Egyptian presidential election. But how many people actually voted for Abdel Fatah al-Sisi over the past three days?

According to the independent Egyptian Center for Media and Public Opinion Studies, quoted in this morning's Cairo-based Egypt Independent newspaper, the overall voter turnout on the first two days of polling, Monday and Tuesday, peaked at only 7.5 per cent of the total number of people listed in the electoral rolls.That amounts to four million of the country's 54 million voters. At that point in the proceedings, the interior ministry in Cairo was saying that, in fact, total voter turnout had reached between 30 and 35 per cent.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

The question can thus be asked: if a verified turnout of less than eight per cent becomes an official 35 per cent, what can we deduce about the interior ministry's claim of a final voter turnout of 45 per cent, or 22 million voters?

According to the analysts at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, three categories of people boycotted this week's election.

The first, a relatively small number, are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters.

Then there are those who have lost faith in politics in general.

Finally, and perhaps most seriously, the last category are those aged between 15 and 30 years old who contributed to the overthrow of the Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood victory in the 2012 elections but who have since seen themselves classified as "enemies of the state".

The low turnout will sound a warning to the incoming president that he failed to rally the level of popular support he hoped for after toppling Egypt's first freely elected president, Islamist Mohamed Morsi, following street protests last year.

They're having election difficulties in Malawi too.

According to the Nyasa Times, ordinary Malawians are divided on how the country should proceed in the wake of an election which went ahead, was then annulled by the president, and then non-annulled by the country's High Court. As things stand, counting is continuing and an official result is expected to be announced tomorrow.

Some people are calling for a recount, which the chief election officer says would take 30 days and would cost nearly four million euros.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

South African financial paper BusinessDay reports that newly appointed Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi will today launch a new government-led effort to end the four-month platinum miners’ strike.

Ramatlhodi said he would bring labour, employers and several government departments together for a day of talks.

Months of mediated talks - the last round facilitated by Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker of the Labour Court just last week - are yet to produce a result in the dispute over basic pay level.

Late on Wednesday there was no confirmation from the strike-leading Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union that it had been formally invited to the talks or would be able to attend.

The main story in the Nigerian Guardian reports that the latest wave of violence in Borno and Plateau states has defied security measures, claiming 57 lives.

Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents used dozens of four-wheel drives, pickup vans, motorcycles and an Armoured Personnel Carrier to attack Gurmushi border village. Gurmushi is a farming border community near the frontier with Cameroon and 125 kilometres north of Maiduguri, the state capital.

Forty-two people were killed and several houses destroyed in the attack which occurred early yesterday. Fifteen others died in separate incidents.

Meanwhile, Chibok Local Government Chairman, Bana Lawal, has revealed that 57 of the 221 abducted girls have so far escaped from Boko Haram captivity, leaving a total of 164 girls still missing.

The recent sightings of the girls have been claimed by local vigilante groups in the vast Sambisa forest which straddles the Nigeria Cameroon border.