African press review 7 April 2011
Kenya's appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, finding a safe haven for Laurent Gbagbo, wage increases on the cards in Zimbabwe and elections in Nigeria dominate the headlines in the African newspapers.
The main story in today's Daily Nation in Kenya is devoted to the opening of the so-called Ocampo Six case at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Three of the six key suspects are to appear before the ICC’s pre-trial judges later today. Suspended cabinet minister William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Sang are scheduled to appear at 10.30 this morning, Kenyan time.
They are accused of being behind the post-election violence in 2008 in which one thousand, one hundred and thirteen people lost their lives in the aftermath of the disputed vote.
It will be a brief session during which three Pre-Trial Chamber judges will identify the suspects, read the charges and inform the accused of their rights under the Rome Statute which established the ICC.
The accused will not be required to make pleas.
Tomorrow afternoon, it will be the turn of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Civil Service boss Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali to take to the stand in the same court at 4.30 pm.3
The Standard also leads with the Ocampo Six, but with a different angle. Under the headline "Rude Shock Lying in Wait in Hague", the Nairobi paper explains that ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will be seeking more stringent conditions against the Kenyan suspects.
Morneo-Ocampo will demand orders that the suspects provide, under oath, their financial statements, and a bond of personal security to ensure appearance when required.
They will also be obliged to provide copies of all contacts, including telephone and e-mail addresses. They will also have to appear at The Hague at least once every six months.
According to The Standard, if Moreno-Ocampo has his way in court, the six will be required to ensure they do not make statements that can be interpreted as threats to potential witnesses, or even try and tamper with prosecution evidence.
The Nation also reports that Kenya is among the countries where money laundering is prevalent. The dodgy cash comes mainly from piracy, smuggling, drug trafficking, and casinos.
A US Government report says Kenya launders more than 70 million euros every year.
Interestingly, today's other big international case involving Kenya does not feature on the front pages of either The Standard or The Nation.
Four Kenyans who allege they were tortured during the suppression of the Mau Mau uprising between 1952 and 1961, are starting legal proceedings against the UK government in London's High Court today.
The government says it cannot be held liable, since too much time has elapsed since the alleged abuses.
The Johannesburg Star reports that South Africa, Togo and Angola are possible safe havens for Côte d'Ivoire's Laurent Gbagbo should he negotiate a deal enabling him to leave West Africa in one piece, according to African Union sources in Addis Ababa.
ANC youth leader, Julius Malema, is back on the front page of The Star, playing the Nelson Mandela card. Speaking at a local government election meeting in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, on Wednesday, Malema called on ruling party supporters to vote for the ANC candidate and thus prevent Mandela's condition from deterioriating.
Disgruntled ANC members are running for election as independents. The elections are due on May 18th.
The Herald in Zimbabwe reports that civil servants can expect a pay hike this year. After a three-hour meeting at State House in Harare yesterday between President Mugabe and representatives of civil servants' unions, it was agreed that service salaries will be reviewed in June with lowest paid workers expected to get about double the 90 euros they are currently earning.
President Mugabe said the low salaries were a result of the poor economic performance due to the illegal Western economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Last January, President Mugabe promised to improve civil servants' salaries using revenue from diamond sales.
However, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has claimed he does not have the diamond money in Treasury, despite the Mines and Mining Development Ministry and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation providing evidence millions of dollars have been remitted.
In Ghana, according to The Chronicle, the founder of the ruling National Democratic Congress, Jerry John Rawlings, met with party faithful in Kumasi yesterday, and harshly criticised the current president, John Atta Mills.
According to the former president, contrary to the moral principles that underpinned the formation of the NDC, the Mills administration had resorted to the dishing out of money to destroy the moral fibre of the party.
Rawlings said he believed the principles of truth, integrity and justice, which were the core values of the NDC, had been jettisoned
The former head of state said there was the creeping disquiet that both the nation and the party were suffering under the leadership of President Mills.
The Guardian in Nigeria reports that the Federal Executive Council yesterday restated its resolve not to interfere with the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
After a review of last Saturday’s botched National Assembly elections at its weekly meeting yesterday, the government said it would continue to respect the independence of the Electoral Commission, despite the embarrassment its inadequate preparations for the elections caused Nigerians last weekend.
On the possibility of further postponement of the polls in some states, government spokesman and Minister of Information and Communications, Labaran Maku said the Federal Council had no information on such a possibility from the Electoral Commission.