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African press review Press review Tunisia Elections Moncef Marzouki South Africa Electricity

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African press review 25 November 2014


Tunisia's presidential election goes to a second round. Power shortages weaken the SA economy. Plague hits Madagascar. Darfur villagers don't care if UN/AU soldiers stay or go. Kenyans demand protection from political violence.

There's going to be a second-round run-off in the Tunisian presidential election.

Even though the official results are not due to be announced until tomorrow, the whole world now knows that Béji Caïd Essebsi et Moncef Marzouki topped the weekend poll and will face off in a decider to be held on or before 28 December.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

According to the state-controlled daily paper La Presse, the opinion pollsters have once again broken the law by revealing the results before an official announcement. This happened in the wake of last month's parliamentary elections as well. By 6.30 pm yesterday, the names of the two front-runners were being broadcast nationally on television.

Voter turnout was 64.6 per cent nationally with nearly 30 per cent of Tunisians overseas casting a vote.

There's more trouble for the South African economy, this time because of a shortage of electricity.

According to the front page of the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, problems at national power supplier Eskom could push economic growth below two per cent next year as industry is forced to cut production and investors cannot be guaranteed a secure energy supply.

On Friday and over the weekend, large industrial companies were asked for the third time this year to cut their usage by 10 per cent as the security of the grid came under threat following several plant failures. Eskom confessed to being aware of new problems with its coal-storage silos and speculation grew that new Medupi power station is further behind schedule than previously admitted.

Analysts say South Africa faces serious supply problems for at least the next five years.

The authorities in Madagascar are fighting to contain an outbreak of plague, similar to the Black Death that swept Mediaeval Europe. The disease has killed at least 40 people and has spread to the capital Antananarivo, where two cases have already been reported.This story in on the front page of the Madagascar Tribune.

Dossier: Ebola outbreak 2014

Health workers have mounted a pest-control campaign in slum areas around the city, according to the World Health Organisation. But there is the problem of increased resistance to commonly used pesticides.

The health ministry says 200,000 households have been disinfected this month.

Plague is spread by fleas and mostly affects rats but humans can also contract the disease if they are bitten by disease-carrying fleas.

The bubonic form prompts swelling of the lymph glands but can be treated with antibiotics.

The pneumonic version, affecting the lungs, can be spread from person to person through coughing and can kill within 24 hours.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Madagascar has recorded on average of 500 cases of plague every year since 2009.

The Egypt Independent reports from the western Sudanese region of Darfur. Caught in a forgotten war between rebels and government forces and beset by bandits who roam the lawless roads, villagers in Darfur say their lives can scarcely get any worse if Sudan insists on international peacekeepers leaving their region.

Unamid, the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, was deployed seven years ago to stem violence against civilians during a civil war in which the Sudanese government was accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

With fighting still dragging on, Unamid's shortcomings have drawn criticism from the very people it was deployed to protect and Sudan has told it to devise an exit strategy.

Khartoum's move elicited indifference rather than opposition in northern Darfur, according to the Egypt Independent.

The main story in the Kenyan Standard reports that police have given permission for a protest march against insecurity. The march is scheduled to take place in Nairobi this

Al-Shebab - who are they?


The protests are aimed at pushing the authorities to take action to secure the safety of Kenyans in the wake of the Mandera massacre in which 28 people were killed by suspected al-Shebab members on Saturday.

The Standard also reports a growing number of calls from the political opposition for the sacking of the Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.

Over 100 police officers and civilians have been killed since June in Mpeketoni, Kapedo and Mandera.