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African press review 15 March 2016


Tanzania is angry at Malawi for burning poached ivory, Kenyatta is being criticised for his lack of action against corruption and an Egyptian minister has to resign for blasphemy. All that, and more, in today's African press review.

The East African

We start with Regional paper The East African, headlining on ivory. The paper reports on Malawi burning 2.6 tonnes of ivory yesterday after a court ordered its destruction.

The decision was taken despite "a cross-border dispute over whether the elephant tusks smuggled from Tanzania should be saved as legal evidence against poacher" explains the daily. Tanzania had obtained "a 90-day stay order in September" for the 781 pieces of ivory.

Here's what happened: Malawian authorities caught the poachers back in 2013.

"It is believed that the suspects in Tanzania had been in cahoots with two Malawian brothers to transport the ivory to Lilongw" explains The East African. Tanzania wanted to stop the destruction of the ivory in order to prosecute those two brothers.

According to experts, "poaching has halved Malawi's elephant population from 4,000 in the 1980s to just 2,000 now". The country "is widely considered a weak link in the fight against illegal ivory trade due to graft, weak wildlife legislation and poor law enforcement" explains the daily.

The Standard

It's been four years since the election of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, but there's little to celebrate according to The Standard.

"Politicians, private sector and civil society representatives say corruption has tainted President Kenyatta’s administration" reads the paper's frontpage. Many corruption scandals have plagued the administration track record in this issue for the past few years says The Standard.

There's for example questions surrounding the spending of Eurobound money as well as at least three other cases being currently investigated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

Plus, the paper writes, "annual reports by the Auditor General and Controller of Budget have exposed wastage in both national and county governments".

So far, while Kenyatta has launched investigation and promised to tackle the problem, critics say the government "has only given lip-service to the anti-corruption fight". "We are witnessing corruption on a mega scale and there are signs that graft is the way of this regime,” told activist John Githongo to the paper.

The Mail & Guardian

In South Africa, a scandal is putting economic stability at risk according to The Mail & Guardian.

Here is the story: "the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, wants Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to respond to questions next week about a unit in the tax agency that investigated political leaders and taxpayers".

At the same time, explains the paper, "the main opposition party urged Gordhan to clarify whether his deputy was offered the finance ministerial post by friends of President Jacob Zuma".

All of this, according to the paper, is overshadowing Gordhan's message of "policy stability to investors". And this is bad news  explains the daily, because "investor confidence in South Africa has been reeling since Zuma fired then-Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December".

The rand weakened 1.4 percent on Monday in Johannesburg.

Egypt Independent

Now to Egypt, where Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend was sacked from his post over blasphemous comments according to today's Egypt Independent.

Zend was replaced by his assistant Reda Shawkat after he said "he would jail any journalist who made false allegations against his family "even if it was the Prophet"".

"He made the remark in defense of his litigation of a number of journalists who accused him of financial corruption" explains the paper.

Zend defended himself by saying the incident was "a slip of the tongue", but given the internet uproar over the affair it didn't change anything to his situation.