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Kenya Press review South Sudan Refugees Egypt

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African press review 1 February 2018


How Egypt's Abdel Fatah al-Sisi plans to make this year's presidential race look like a real competition. The Kenyan controversy surrounding this week's alternative swearing-in ceremony of opposition leader Raila Odinga as "people's president" continues. And the forgotten victims of South Sudan's civil war.

The Egypt Independent looks at the local presidential election campaign.

At the start oif this year, says the Cairo-based daily, various prominent figures demonstrated interest in competing against the incumbent, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Figures such as former army chief of staff Sami Anan, rights lawyer Khaled Ali, and former-prime minister and 2012 presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafik appeared as potential contenders.

But, says the Independent, the past two months have seen the light of democracy dim, as potential candidates have disappeared one by one. Between those who were arrested and those who abruptly withdrew their bids, Sisi has emerged as the only viable candidate.

And now, in order to avoid a one-man race, the Ghad party has pushed forward a last-minute candidate, Moussa Mustafa Moussa.

Moussa has indeed had a long and not dishonourable political career. But he is uncomfortably close to the current president. Earlier this week, says the Egypt Independent, Moussa's Facebook page identified him as an official supporter of his opponent, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Kenyan editor threatened with arrest

In Kenya the Nairobi-based Daily Nation newspaper is making the news itself.

The top story in this morning's edition reports that human rights crusaders and journalists last night rushed to the Nation Media Group headquarters after word went round that police were planning to arrest a senior editor.

Sources within the National Police Service tipped off the journalists that Linus Kaikai, general manager of the Nation's television service and Kenya Editors' Guild chairman, was to be apprehended for his statement that the government is muzzling the media.

Two other Nation group journalists also face arrest.

This follows Tuesday’s "swearing-in" of opposition leader Raila Odinga at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, which was subject to a widespread media blackout.

One MP, TJ Kajwang of Ruaraka, who attended Tuesday's ceremony dressed as a judge has already been arrested.

Opposition accused of trying to oust government

Regional paper the East African is all over this story, perhaps none too surprisingly since the East African is also published by, you guessed it, the Nation Group.

"Kenyan TV stations to remain shut," reads one headline. "Rights groups decry Kenya television shutdown," screams another.

But the real killer is "Kenya opposition inauguration a bid to oust government."

That's based on yesterday's claim by the interior minister Fred Matiang'i that Odinga's mock inauguration as "people's president" was an effort to overthrow the government.

Matiang'i said the authorities had information that "criminal elements operating under the banner" of the National Super Alliance opposition coalition had planned to "shed blood" at the event and "blame it on the police".

He said the authorities had opened a large-scale investigation.

Division and danger in opposition circles

Over at sister paper the Standard, the main headline simply reads "Trouble in Nasa".

The report says three National Super Alliance (Nasa) principals, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula, yesterday came under intense pressure from opposition leaders and supporters to explain their “betrayal” of Raila Odinga. This as anxiety mounted over their security.

The three are facing questions for failing to show up for Tuesday’s "swearing-in".

Shots were fired and a stun grenade were thrown yesterday at the home of Kalonzo Musyoka, leader of the Amani National Congress party and Nasa presidential running mate in last year’s elections.

South Sudanese refugees need more money

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees will today launch a regional refugee response plan in Nairobi, to mobilise fresh funding for South Sudanese refugees.

Commission chief Filippo Grandi visited Uganda this week to assess the situation.

Uganda is providing sanctuary to some 1.4 million refugees and is recieving up to 500 new arrivals, mainly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, every day, according to the UN.

The country now has the largest refugee population in Africa, more than half of whom are children.

Only one third of the money promised to the refugee agency by international donors has actually been paid.