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Press review Kenya Zimbabwe

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African press review 12 May 2018


More on the Kenyan dam disaster, and on the broader consequences of two months of continuous rain after nearly a decade of drought.

Kenya's chief prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the cause of the Patel Dam disaster in Nakuru County in the Rift Valley.

According to regional paper the East African, the police have been given two weeks to prerpare a report on the tragedy that claimed at least 44 lives.

Concerns have been raised that the dam and others on the 3,500-acre farm, some 190km north-west of Nairobi and owned by large-scale farmer Patel Mansukul, had been built without the necessary licences.

On Thursday the Water Resources Management Authority said they had made repeated unsuccessful demands for Patel Coffee Estates Limited to legalise the dams.

Victims thought the flood was thunder

In Kenya itself the Daily Nation reports that the high number deaths in the Patel Dam tragedy has been blamed on a failure by residents of Solai, the worst-affected community, to act rapidly after the reservoir burst its banks.

Witnesses said many dismissed the loud bang as the dam collapsed and the subsequent rumbling of water, as thunder. The fatal deluge took about 30 minutes to reach the village.

The same Daily Nation reports that 40 people are still missing in the wake of the disaster.

A national disaster

Sister paper the Standard takes a broader view, looking at the deluge of death and destruction which has followed the record high rainfalls which have affected almost all parts of Kenya non-stop for the past two months.

One hundred and fifty-nine people have already been confirmed dead in flooding and landslides, with an estimated 271,000 forced from their homes.

The heavy rains follow almost a decade of drought.

Ghana's Speaker takes stand against homosexuality

Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament Aaron Mike Oquaye says he will resign if lawmakers introduce a bill to legalise homosexuality in the country.

“If anybody should bring such a thing to parliament and I have to preside over that I will rather resign than subscribe to this delusion,” Oquaye told a current affairs programme on Thursday.

There are currently no plans to introduce such a bill but gay activists have been asking MPs to consider it.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May recently urged Commonwealth nations including Ghana to overhaul “outdated" anti-gay laws saying the UK "deeply regrets" its role in the legacy of violence and discrimination.

DRC on brink of major ebola crisis

The World Health Organisation said yesterday it was preparing for "the worst case scenario" in a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We are very concerned, and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst case scenario," WHO's head of emergency response Peter Salama told reporters in Geneva.

WHO has tallied 32 suspected or confirmed cases in the north-western area of Bikoro, on the shores of Lake Tumbathe near the border with the Republic of Congo, including 18 deaths, between 4 April and 9 May.

The cases include three healthcare workers, including one who has died.

The outbreak, declared by the DRC health ministry on Tuesday, is the DRC's ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the deadly viral disease was first identified by a Belgian-led team.

Zimbabwe's credit still good

The African Development Bank is to support Zimbabwe with additional credit.

Despite a more buoyant mood since Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from Robert Mugabe as president in November, Zimbabwe is faced with a crippling shortage of hard currency, making it difficult for businesses to operate.

African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina told BusinessDay that Zimbabwe, which he termed "an important member of the bank", owes it 700 million euros while the country's debt to the World Bank stands at over two billion euros.

Earlier this year Business Monitor International, part of the Fitch group of financial analysts, said it is unlikely that the Zimbabwe government will be able to clear all of its arrears to the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank without substantial debt forgiveness.