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Press review South Sudan Kenya Egypt Rwanda Religion

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African press review 1 March 2018


Dirty churches are being closed down in Rwanda. Schools are reopening in South Sudan, just how many, no one can say for sure. The authorities in Egypt are angry with the BBC. And Kenyan MPs, Africa's best-paid public representatives, vote to give themselves increased allowances.

Seven-hundred-and-fourteen Christian churches and one mosque are to be shut in the Rwandan capital Kigali, allegedly because they fail to meet safety and hygiene standards, regional paper the East African tells us.

According to the Rwanda Governance Board, which monitors public and private organisations, some churches conduct services in shoddy and unclean structures, to the detriment of people's health and safety.

Cases of noise pollution have also been reported, while some organisations do not have the required permits.

The shutdown   which mainly affects Pentecostal churches   will go into effect today.

South Sudan goes back to school

Some of South Sudan's 6,000 schools opened for a new academic year last month, but the government does not know how many.

Teachers have not been paid. Many of them, and their pupils, have fled their homes after four years of fighting. In the capital, classrooms are filled with hungry displaced families.

The United Nations Children’s Fund estimated in December that three-quarters of children are out of school, threatening to create a second “lost generation” of uneducated adults in the country.

Last year only half of South Sudan's schools opened, according to Education Minister Deng Deng Hoc, whose officials are still trying to gauge how many are open now, three weeks into the new term.

Egyptian anger at BBC abduction report

Egypt's state prosecution said yesterday it would monitor media for "false" news, following a government demand that the BBC retract a report on rights abuses in the country.

The report, aired last weekend, mentioned the case of a young woman whose mother said she had been the victim of an enforced disappearance.

The woman later appeared on a local television show in Egypt saying she had in fact run away from her mother, married and had a child.

The authorities are now monitoring outlets and social media "in light of recent observed attempts to harm the security and safety of the homeland by publishing lies and false news".

Speaking yesterday at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry criticised what he called "fabricated news" on the human rights situation in Egypt, referring to the BBC report on enforced disappearances.

Egypt's State Information Service, which regulates foreign media in the country, has called on the BBC to retract its story or face a government boycott.

Reacting to the call, the BBC says it stands by the integrity of its reporting teams.

Egypt is currently gearing up for presidential elections in late March with incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi certain to win.

Uhuru names fat cats for top jobs

According to the top story in the Kenyan Daily Nation, six of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nine nominees for appointment as ambassadors and high commissioners, have a combined net worth of over 11 million euros.

Top of the list is former Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu, who has a personal fortune of five million euros, mainly accumulated from his salary while serving at Nairobi Hospital, prior to his appointment to the cabinet.

He was nominated to be Kenya’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

Mailu defended his tenure as health chief, insisting that there was no corruption under his watch. A claim contradicted by an official audit showing that funds had, indeed, been misallocated while Mailu was in charge.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Over at the Nairobi-based Standard, the top story says Kenyan lawmakers have awarded themselves an additional three and a half million euros of allowances in the revised budget. The money is about half the amount allocated to recruit thousands of new teachers.

With basic pay of 16,000 euros per month, Kenyan parliamentarians are the best paid in Africa, getting more in a month than a Belgian MP earns in an entire year.