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Press review Africa

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African press review 4 March 2017


 Looming insecurity in Gambia as  President Barrow empties prisons to overhaul the country's unsanitary penitentiaries, while Zimbabwe journalists face trial for reporting on the health of 93 year-old President Mugabe.

We start in South Africa where columnists are speaking up against the xenophobic incidents against African nationals in Gauteng recently.

The coverage follows Nigerian outrage at the number of its citizens killed in attacks in South Africa.

Last week, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's adviser on foreign affairs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, put the number of her countrymen “lost during attacks in South Africa over the past two years at 116. She reportedly warned of "dire consequences if the continued killing of Nigerians is not stopped.”

The Johannesburg Star puts the number of Nigerians living in South Africa at eight hundred thousand. According to the newspaper the attacks against Africans are undermining the country’s economic interests at a time when it claims that 100 major South African companies are doing business in Nigeria.

The Star says that MTN's offices in Nigeria were attacked last week as part of anti-SA xenophobia protests, adding that instead of burying their heads in the sand, politicians across the political spectrum need to admit that it is real.

Blaming foreigners for the country's problems is like any affliction, the paper reads pointing out that until he leaders acknowledge it, they can never find a cure.

A stunning story from Nigeria where Premium Times reports the shutdown of an FM radio where the General Manager of the Station is notorious for flogging his staff.

According to the paper, Radio Bayelsa, aka `Glory FM’ operated by Bayelsa State government, had been experiencing labour disputes since John Idumange was appointed to lead it in December 2016.

Premium Times quotes a local press union officials as saying that Idumange last week admitted flogging four members of staff at the station recently claiming he often acted in self-defense.

And in Kenya, Daily Nation leads with a dangerous face of the inauguration euphoria sweeping through Gambia after the swearing in of President Adama Barrow.

According to the paper almost 100 prisoners including rapists and robbers have been freed from Gambian jails under a Presidential decree signed on Friday pardoning scores of prisoners from three different jails.

Daily Nation reports that some people convicted under the strict mandatory sentencing during Yahya Jammeh's iron-fist rule benefitted from the new government's vow to overhaul unsanitary penitentiaries they which they claim are unfit for the purpose.

And the Ugandan Independent looks at the ordeal of two Zimbabwean journalists arrested Friday over a newspaper report describing President Robert Mugabe as “in bad shape”, when he flew to Singapore for a so-called scheduled medical check-up last week.

The Independent reports that NewsDay editor Wisdom Mudzungairi and journalist Richard Chidza were released ahead of a court appearance on Saturday.

“They have been arrested and charged with undermining and insulting the office of the president,” according to their lawyer.

The health of Mugabe aged 93 and endorsed by the ruling ZANU/PF last year as its candidate for the 2018 elections, has been subject of increased speculation in recent years, according to the Ugandan publication.

The Independent reports that in recent speeches, Mugabe "often paused for lengthy periods and mumbled at times".