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African press review 27 February 2017

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What's behind the latest wave of anti-foreigner violence in South Africa? Why is the World Bank giving Gambia millions of euros? Why are private newspapers in Kenya worried? And why is the Nigerian Football Federation making front-page news?


Violent protest is a political tool in South Africa.

As violence against foreigners continues in and around Pretoria, the Mail & Guardian newspaper attempts to analyse the link between public violence and xenophobia.

The paper recalls an ANC Youth League branch leader who last year advocated looting foreign-owned shops rather than schools and public buildings.

The article goes on to say that local leaders need protests to maintain their power and legitimacy. And the protesters need to be fed. Looting is the way to fill their stomachs. Local political aspirants and office holders often organise violent protests to attract attention and resources from local, provincial and national government.

Much of the violence is organised by people who have no place in the formal political system, but who have considerable local power. The Mail & Guardian says the ruling ANC has in many instances institutionalised a system of indirect rule in which it attempts to co-opt and contain these informal authority systems and rogue appointees.

Finally, says the paper, public protest and xenophobic violence are the means for self-appointed “community leaders” already in charge, or those hoping to be, to build the legitimacy and resources they need to rule.

World Bank to help Gambia get over Jammeh era

The World Bank is to give Gambia a hand to get over the alleged theft of millions of euros of public money by former president Yahya Jammeh.

According to a story in South African tabloid newspaper the Sowetan, the World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, has agreed to give Gambia 60 million euros in budget support. This follows government allegations that former ruler Jammeh took tens of millions of dollars in public money, leaving the country heavily indebted.

Diop told reporters after meeting with the new government that he had pledged to give 40 million euros before June with the remainder to follow later.

Yahya Jammeh fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea last month after regional leaders convinced him that he should accept defeat in last December's election.

Congolese flee to South Sudan after Lords Resistance Army attacks

Congolese refugees are fleeing to South Sudan, according to the main story in this morning's regional daily, the East African.

The report says scores of Congolese fleeing Lords Resistance Army (LRA) attacks have arrived in South Sudan.

A statement by the South Sudan Commission for Refugee Affairs indicated that the Congolese had arrived in Western Equatoria State, one of the least stable places in South Sudan.

The commission said it had registered 297 new refugee arrivals from the Democratic of Republic of Congo, fleeing the latest wave of attacks by the LRA.

The refugees claim that the LRA rebels killed two DRC soldiers and their wives, and abducted many other people and looted property.

South Sudan itself has the largest number of refugees in neighbouring states due to the on-going civil war.

Kenyan authorities step up reaction to the threat of drought, famine

The Kenyan government has doubled relief food rations to feed 3 million people, up from an initial 1.3 million under the feeding programme.

The government had also enhanced water trucking, especially in the 23 arid and semi-arid counties that have adversely been affected by drought.

Private media feeling the pinch as Kenyan government bans ads

Private media are feeling the pinch in Kenya, if you can believe private media.

The Nairobi-based Daily Nation reports that the government has banned advertising of its services, including tenders and job applications, in commercial media.

All ministries, departments and agencies have been instructed to advertise through a government newspaper, My.Gov, which the government is circulating by inserting in the Star and People Daily.

The Nigerian Football Federation makes front page news

Football is making news on the front page of the Nigerian Guardian.

The paper suggests that the Nigerian Football Federation’s president, Amaju Pinnick, might have been too hasty in announcing the federation’s decision to team up with other young elements in African football to engineer a change in the leadership of the continental soccer governing body, the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The incumbent CAF president, Issa Hayatou from Cameroon, has been the boss of the body since 1988. But a group of young football administrators, including Nigeria’s Pinnick, recently decided to effect changes in the leadership of CAF and chose Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad as the preferred candidate in the forthcoming CAF polls.

A lot of football enthusiasts applauded the move, especially now that the world body has a group of young men trying to reshape the global game. But the applause in Nigeria may have come too early, as some officials holding CAF positions have come out to distance themselves from Pinnick’s alliance with the progressive administrators.

The Guardian notes that Nigeria's Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has tried to distance the country from the support for Ahmad’s candidature.

The minister, who said Nigeria would first consider regional interests before every other consideration, yesterday summoned an emergency meeting of the NFF where the issues would be thrashed out.