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African press review 27 March 2015

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Jonathan and Buhari promise to control their supporters but Lagos residents don't seem convinced. Kenyatta is praised for taking on corruption. SA students throw unpleasant substances at Cecil Rhodes.


Friday's Nigerian newspapers all lead with the signing of a renewed election peace accord in Abuja Thursday by leading contenders President Goodluck Jonathan and his arch-political foe Muhammadu Buhari as the country prepares to go to the polls on Saturday for presidential, gubernatorial and legislative elections.

Punch has Jonathan and Buhari standing side by side and smiling to the cameras in a reassuring posture after a closed-door meeting during which the two candidates committed themselves to keep their supporters in check before, during and after the elections.

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

Vanguard reports that the Independent Electoral Commission has concluded the training and deployment of over 700,000 personnel and ad-hoc staff who will operate in the 120,000 polling units across the country.

The Nigerian Tribune reports about the panic-buying of fuel and massive cash withdrawals from automated machines in the commercial capital, Lagos, Thursday. The paper reports people queueing in front of filling stations and banks, saying that the rising tension generated by the forthcoming presidential election prompted their action, adding that they were not certain what would happen after the election.

The Kenyan press welcomes President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiling of a plan to tackle graft and crime. The Daily Nation runs the entire video of the State of the Nation address Thursday announcing the corruption purge that could see 175 public officials step aside to pave the way for investigations. It was a bold, resolute and fearless president, remarkably different from the one whom, in his two years in State House that Kenyans saw, according to the Nairobi-based publication.

At least five cabinet secretaries are expected to step aside following a directive from the president, according to the Star.

Standard Digital says the president's move to annex a list of high-fliers in his government after the anti-graft agency’s investigation caught the country by surprise and threw parliament into a spin over whether the list should be made public or not.

In South Africa several leading papers comment about the “Rhodes Must Fall” protests gaining momentum around the country's campuses. Cecile Rhodes was a British mining magnate and ardent believer in British colonialism in Southern Africa, who founded the territory of Rhodesia in 1895. Students threw faeces at a statue of Cecil John Rhodes at a Cape Town university bearing his name earlier this month, demanding its removal. The Mail and Guardian claims the students were angered by what they perceive as the ‘Eurocentrism’ of national university curricula.

City Press reports that students at the University of Kwazulu-Natal have defaced another colonial statue - that of King George V at the foot of the Howard College Building, splashing it with white paint and then wrapping it in a blanket that read “End white privilege”.

The Mail and Guardian argues in an editorial that South African students see the colonial-era statues as symbols of oppression as they yearn to revolutionise racial and cultural representation at universities and forcepolicy changes and the employment of more black academics.

In an editorial the Financial Mail observes that while Rhodes deserves credit for starting the fruit industry in the Cape and resolved mine drainage problems in Johannesburg, he was also a monster and a bully. According to the paper, his attitude towards Africans, though no doubt representative of Englishmen of his class and temperament at the time, were made worse by the fact that he was in South Africa, not England.