African press review 31 January 2012
Worries about South Africa's foreign policy on the African continent and the suspension of most of Zimbabwe's national football team after an investigation into allegations of match fixing, are key stories into today's dailies.
South Africa’s foreign policy is in ruins, according to this morning's BusinessDay. This comes in the wake of the failure of South Africa's bid to get Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma elected to the African Union’s top job.
Analysts say the failure is likely to force Pretoria to re-examine its relations on the continent where South Africa is one of the biggest providers of aid and foreign direct investment.
A specialist at the Pretoria Institute for Security Studies says the defeat of Dlamini-Zuma is further bad news for President Jacob Zuma, already criticised for a weak foreign policy on Africa, and a tendency to back losers in regional squabbles.
An official of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation blamed what he called the "French influence" for South Africa’s failure to receive promised votes.
In Nigeria, The Guardian's main story is headlined "Abacha era in focus as Al-Mustapha, Shofolahan get death sentences".
The small print explains that Hamza Al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer to the late head of state, General Sani Abacha, and Lateef Shofolahan, the victim's personal assistant, were yesterday sentenced to hang for their parts in the 1996 murder of pro-democracy activist, Alhaja Kudirat Olayinka Abiola.
The Guardian also reports that the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V and the Olupoti of Ipoti Ekiti, Oba Isaiah Oladele Ayeni, yesterday lost their thrones.
The Obong of Calabar was dethroned by the High Court in Cross River State after the case had dragged on for four years, while Ayeni lost his throne 20 years after he was crowned.
Both cases concerned disputes about rights to hold the traditional positions.
In Kenya, The Daily Nation reports that the so-called Hague Four want their cases at the International Criminal Court dropped on grounds that the Mungiki gang and the “network” found to have been used during the post-election violence do not fit the court’s definition of organised groups.
Appeal documents filed to challenge the Pre-Trial Chamber ruling confirming the charges, show that the status of the outlawed Mungiki sect, in the case of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Civil Service chief Francis Muthaura, forms the core of their challenge.
In the case of Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Radio journalist Joshua Sang, documents seen by the Nation argue that the network alleged to have been headed by the MP do not fit the International Criminal Court classification of an organisation.
The four separately filed notices on Monday seeking leave to appeal against the ruling which committed their cases to full trial.
As Zambia advance to the African Nations Cup quarter-finals for the first time ever, the sports pages in neighbouring Zimbabwe are buzzing with the news that the Zimbabwe Football Association has suspended 67 players, including most of the national team, in the wake of a match-fixing investigation.
A ZIFA probe last year led to a number of Zimbabwe players admitting accepting money from an Asian betting syndicate. The players agreed to lose friendly matches on Far East trips between 2007 and 2009.
Former Zimbabwe captain Method Mwanjali and top internationals Daniel Vheremu, Benjamin Marere and Thomas Sweswe, along with Joey Antipas of the coaching staff, all admitted taking money. Several key members of the current squad also featured in the suspect matches.