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African press review 14 December 2016


South Africa's police watchdog warns that he will not to be deflected from his investigations of corruption at the highest levels of the force, not even by charges of treason‚ espionage and conspiracy to commit murder. Rwanda's Paul Kagame says it's in the bag. And Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta may take his country out of the International Criminal Court.

The main story in the South African Sowetan concerns a row between the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Robert McBride, and Gauteng Hawks boss Major-General Prince Mokotedi.

McBride yesterday warned the head of the special police unit of the dangers of the current game of cat and mouse being played by the police chief.

"The cat is not playing," McBride told Mokotedi.

The head of the body responsible for supervising South Africa's police force invited Mokotedi to take a public lie dectector test to prove the charges of treason‚ espionage and conspiracy to commit murder which the Hawks boss had laid against McBride.

McBride was responding to allegations that he‚ private investigator Paul O’Sullivan‚ former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya and suspended crime intelligence agent Captain Candice Coetzee were part of a plot hatched to assassinate high ranking policing and government officials.

McBride says he is being targeted for his focus on widespread corruption in the top echelons of the South African police force.

Peace in our time in Burundi

Regional paper the East African says a Burundi peace deal is likely, but not before next June.

This is according to peace facilitator Benjamin Mkapa, following two days of meetings with political parties, diplomats, civil society organisations, religious leaders and a number of prominent political actors, including President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Former Tanzanian president Mkapa emphasised that the current deadlock can be resolved only by Burundians.

He observed that there has been an improvement in the security situation, which all stakeholders should use to ensure that the process is concluded.

Mkapa was, however, concerned that there are still limitations in the political sphere and called for open deliberations.

The Burundian government has said it will not talk to the opposition.

Kigali says no return to plastics

The East African also reports that Rwanda will look at ways of supporting its packaging industry but will not backpedal on its decade-old ban on plastic packaging.

President Paul Kagame yesterday told manufacturers and businesspeople that the country would not go back to plastics.

Local producers of paper bags complain that cheap imports from Uganda and Kenya are eating into the local packaging market as they are more competitive on pricing.

Kenya may quit International Criminal Court

The Monitor in Uganda gives top billing to the news that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says Kenya is seriously thinking of quitting the International Criminal Court.

Kenya has been one of the most vocal critics of the court based in The Hague, which put Kenyatta and his Vice-President William Ruto on trial for orchestrating political violence that left over 1,200 dead after the 2007 presidential elections.

Charges were dropped against both leaders, with ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda blaming a relentless campaign of victim intimidation.

African nations have long felt they are unfairly targeted by the ICC. Currently nine out of the 10 ICC investigations are in African countries, the other being in Georgia.

Burundi in October took formal steps to withdraw from the ICC after the international tribunal launched a preliminary investigation into allegations of killings, torture and other rights abuses in the country.

South Africa -- caught up in a dispute over its failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was indicted by the ICC in 2009 for alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict last year -- followed suit, as did Gambia.

ICC Chief Prosecutor fights back, blasts UN

Meanwhile, Fatou Bensouda is fighting back.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor criticised the United Nations yesterday for failing to take action in the case of Sudan's president, whom the ICC is seeking to arrest on charges of genocide.

In response Egypt's delegate to the UN Security Council rejected the prosecutor's complaints and cited the African Union's insistence that the case against Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir should be suspended.

Angola's representative to the 15-member council likewise endorsed the AU's stand, while Sudan's UN ambassador accused the ICC of acting on the basis of political expediency rather than serving the cause of justice.

Bensouda has expressed exasperation in her report to the Security Council on the failure of the seven-year effort to put Bashir on trial in the Hague for crimes allegedly committed by troops and militia under his control in Darfur.