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Press review South Sudan Uganda Rwanda African Union Paul Kagame Nigeria

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African press review 3 October 2016


Ugandan editors are to hauled before a parliamentary committee and told to treat the executive with more respect. Rwanda's president Paul Kagame has named a four-man team to reform the African Union. And South Sudan’s political and military elites are reported to be opposed to any effort to prosecute those suspected of committing atrocities in the three-year civil war.

The top story in the Kampala-based Daily Monitor says that the editors of the Monitor, the Observer, Red Pepper and the Uganda Radio Network have all been summoned to appear this week before the Parliamentary Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline.

The committee is said to be angry about negative press coverage of the Ugandan parliament.

The Daily Monitor will be required to explain a claim that parliament spent the shilling equivalent of 18,000 euros on burial costs for an MP.

Uganda Radio Network and the Observer will be grilled over the story that claimed that 78 MPs travelled to the US to attend a convention of the Ugandan North American Association at a cost of half a million euros, figures parliament denies.

Kagame starts African Union overhaul

Regional paper the East African reports that Rwanda's president Paul Kagame has named his team to reform the African Union.

Kagame was given the assignment of making the organisation more credible and self-reliant at the 27th AU Summit held in Kigali in July.

Four names have emerged so far, according to the East African:

  • Carlos Lopes, outgoing executive director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa;
  • Donald Kaberuka, former president of the African Development Bank, who will spearhead the reform process;
  • Econet Wireless founder Strive Masiyiwa;
  • Cameroon’s Acha Leke, a senior partner at the global consultancy firm McKinsey.

Kagame and the four men will draft a roadmap to reform the AU and drive the union towards financial autonomy.

South Sudan’s political and military elites oppose transitional justice

The East African also reports that South Sudan’s political and military elites are strongly opposed to any effort to prosecute those suspected of committing atrocities in the three-year civil war.

Leaders on both the government and rebel sides believe they are being targeted by the international community.

The regional paper says there has been behind-the-scenes lobbying by top government officials for the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development — which is the guarantor of the August 2015 peace agreement — to look for ways of amending the section on transitional justice in a way that does not promote retribution.

According to Samuel Dun, a South Sudanese lawyer, the question of transitional justice is currently the biggest obstacle to the implementation of the peace agreement.

Nigerian constitution to blame for savings failure

The Guardian in Nigeria says the country's constitution does not make any provision for government savings. Lawyers yesterday failed to agree on whether this was a sufficient reason for the country’s failure to save for its future.

Under the 1999 constitution, reckless government expenditure cannot be blamed on former leaders, according to professor of political science and Nigeria’s former external affairs minister Bolaji Akinyemi.

Akinyemi says it is unreasonable to demonise past regimes for the fact that Nigeria has no savings; the fault is in the constitution which makes it mandatory for all monies collected by the Federal Government to be deposited into a central account and then distributed among the Federal, State and Local Governments.

The former minister advised the President Muhammadu Buhari and the government to push for a constitutional amendment as the only way of creating a clear and accountable system for redistributing national wealth.

Angry reaction to call for virginity testing in Egypt

The front page of the Cairo-based Egypt Independent reports that MPs and women's rights figures have launched a fierce attack on Member of Parliament Elhamy Agena in the wake of his suggestion that women should undergo virginity tests as a condition of enrolment in Egyptian universities.

Agena made the suggestion last week, claiming the measure would help curb the growth in the number of "urfi" marriages, unregistered temporary arrangements that some Muslims consider legitimate but others condemn as illegal and immoral.

Agena called on MPs and university presidents to support his call for compulsory virginity tests.

His remarks have been condemned as "dishonourable", "irresponsible" and an insult to Egypt's women. There have been calls for disciplinary action, even suspension, by the parliamentary ethics committee.

The Alliance for Arab Women is considering legal action against the MP.