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African press review 2 April 2018
Nigeria names and shames more treasury looters; Uganda slaps OTTs with a new gossip-curbing tax and Botswana's new president Masisi takes office in one of Africa's smoothest democratic transition..
We begin with a beautiful post card from Africa. The swearing-in on Sunday of Botswana's newly-elected President Mokgweetsi Masisi in a smooth handover of power.
The 55 year-old US-trained teacher took over from Ian Khama, the son of Botswana's first post-independence leader, who officially stepped down after serving the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office.
In nearby South Africa, The Sowetan reports that Masisi, who was the country's Vice President, takes over the reigns of power at a time when Botswana is widely seen as an African success story in governance and the use of its lucrative income from diamonds, beef and tourism sectors.
But the South African Times observes that Botswana has recently struggled with rising unemployment and tensions over the uneven sharing of its vast wealth with the unemployment rate said to be about 18%.
In Nigeria, the government's decision to publish the names of alleged treasury looters has sparked a war of words between the ruling All Progressive Congress and the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party.
Punch reports that the PDP announced on Sunday it was seeking damages worth 3 million euros from the Federal government if it did not retract the allegations made on Sunday against 23 officials of the previous PDP administration within 72 hours.
The list released at a press conference in Lagos by Information Minister Lai Mohammed, includes the PDP's National Chairman Uche Secondus, who allegedly collected 450,000 euros from the office of the former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki.
Former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke is also named in the list in connection with a 51 million-euro corruption scam and ex-army chief retired General Kenneth Minimah at whose home the anti-graft agency allegedly recovered 31 million euros.
The Vanguard quotes investigators at the anti-graft agency as saying that the amount of money embezzled from the National Security agency stood at 1.2 billion euros.
According to the paper, the People’s Democratic Party, accuses the Federal Government of taking over the duties of Nigeria’s judiciary and resorting to cheap blackmail after failing to secure the conviction of the PDP dignitaries.
The Nigerian Tribune carries a statement from the opposition PDP party accusing so-called agents the Buhari government and the ruling APC of hatching clandestine plots to clamp down on key members of the opposition parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Uganda's Whatsapp tax
Plans by Uganda's President Yuweri Museveni to slap media platforms with a new "gossip curbing" tax is causing jitters in the country. Kenya's Daily Nation reports that Museveni accused the so-called “over-the-top” platforms (or OTTs) such as WhatsApp, Skype Viber and Twitter, of getting rich on "lugambo" or opinions, prejudices, insults, friendly chats exchanged on social media without declaring their real earnings.
Uganda's Daily Monitor reports that Museveni is looking raise some 3.7 million euros annually from the so-called WhatsApp tax.
According to the paper, telecom providers have reacted with consternation, and have denounced the tax proposals as “double taxation”. It claims that, some opposition lawmakers have vowed to block it tax when it goes to Parliament, accusing President Museveni of trying to balance the books on the backs of the poor.