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Africa African press review Press review

Issued on • Modified

African press review 17 April 2017


Is Salva Kiir being conned out of South Sudan's oil resources? Why has Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma got a police escort? Kenya is to export 100,000 workers to Saudi Arabia. And HIV testing kits fail World Health Organisation evaluation.

The South Sudanese government is signing deals with suspected wheeler-dealers, some of whom may be out to take advantage of Juba’s financial crisis.

This is on the front page of this morning's regional daily, the East African.

In the past four months, according to the report, President Salva Kiir, who is presiding over a cashstrapped economy torn apart by a civil war, has received offers from agents of established companies, organisations and various non-descript financing groups, all dangling deals worth billions of dollars that critics warn will mortgage the country and its resources for generations.

Critics in Juba worry that President Kiir’s desperation to get cash may push him into the hands of outright conmen and that even genuine companies will take advantage to secure sweet deals for themselves while leaving the country with peanuts.

Why has Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma got a police escort?

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is all over this morning's South African front pages.

According to financial paper BusinessDay, the government is using an alleged attempted robbery in Johannesburg, to justify providing taxpayer-funded protection for the former African Union chairwoman, now local presidential hopeful.

The Police Minister has confirmed the incident, but refuses to say why the state is providing presidential bodyguards to Dlamini-Zuma.

BusinessDay says presidential protection services are usually extended only to the serving president‚ his deputy and to former South African leaders.

The Sunday Times reported earlier this month that Dlamini-Zuma‚ an ex-Cabinet minister and former wife of President Jacob Zuma‚ had recently visited Luthuli House with a three-car police escort and an armed security detail‚ a courtesy extended to her by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation‚ even though her protection perk was meant to expire on March 31.

The opposition Congress of the People has laid criminal charges against Police Minister Fikile Mbalula over the Dlamini-Zuma protection debacle.

Another opposition group, the Democratic Alliance, says it will ask the Public Protector to investigate the use of state resources to provide VIP treatment to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma despite the fact that she holds no position that would justify such protection.

Kenya to export thousands of workers to Saudi Arabia

Kenya is to export 100,000 workers to Saudi Arabia. This is also reported in the East African.

The regional paper says the agreement is one result of last week's visit to Nairobi by high-profile visitors from both Saudi Arabi and Qatar.

The East African says this latest news puts a question mark over previous deals Kenya has made with middle-eastern governments.

In 2015, Nairobi claimed to have secured 100,000 jobs in the United Arab Emirates but nothing has been heard of that deal since.

Saudi Arabia is to take skilled and semi-skilled workers such as nurses and technicians.

The two governments agreed to continue addressing the thorny issue of domestic workers who frequently suffer at the hands of their employers in Saudi Arabia.

HIV testing kits fail World Health Organisation evaluation

The Standard in Nairobi reports that the majority of the HIV testing kits used in Kenya and several other African countries have failed to meet crucial thresholds set by the World Health Organisation.

Of the eight most widely used HIV Rapid Diagnostic Tests, says the Nairobi-based paper, only one met the recommended threshold in a recent evaluation.

The evaluation followed what the World Health Organisation says are increasing cases of HIV misdiagnosis, which could exceed 10 per cent in some African countries. About 1.3 million Kenyans are currently estimated to be living with HIV.

The global health organisation has consistently blamed misdiagnosis on human error, but it now emerges that the kits themselves may be largely to blame. The authors of the latest report are categorical that the misdiagnosis has little to do with human factors.