Article published the Wednesday 13 June 2012 - Latest update : Wednesday 13 June 2012

African press review 13 June 2012

By Marjorie Hache

In South Africa, the big story is the firing of the national police commissioner, plus a cabinet reshuffle. Al-Qaeda's North Africa branch makes headlines in Nigeria, and Rwanda risks relations with the DRC.

"Stomach In, Cele Out," headlines the Mail & Guardian, while BusinessDay goes for "Zuma Reshuffles Cabinet, Fires Police Chief." The firing of Bheki Cele doesn't really come as a surprise, as he was suspended in October due to allegations of corruption. Furthermore his predecessor, Jackie Selebi, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption in 2010.

Over the past week, the South African press has been full of theories as to how or when the police chief would be fired. The paper's main focus today is Cele's replacement, Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega. The Star subtly headlines with, "Zuma's Top Cop Bombshell," while the Mail & Guardian notes that she has no police experience and that her "appointment marks yet another elevation of a politician to the head of the South African Police Service, the third since 2000."

Some analysts have slammed the appointment of politicians as heads of public institutions as being an "utter failure" and that "you can’t have a critical post like this being filled by anyone other than a career policeman.” The Mail & Guardian says that President Jacob Zuma "lauded Cele’s contribution to the fight against crime" as he fired him.

The paper also notes that "although crime statistics showed a marginal improvement under Cele’s reign, there was also an increase in the amount of complaints initiated to the Independent Complaints Directorate against police officers." South Africa's Business Day is more interested in the government reshuffle, where "dramatic changes" have been made in the transportation department.

This is Mr Zuma’s third cabinet reshuffle in three years, says the paper, who adds that "it comes shortly after a political victory for the president earlier in the week, when the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress dismissed a call to overturn the expulsion of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, who has been campaigning to introduce new leaders."

Over in Nigeria, The Punch has a story on how Al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch has blamed Germany for the killing of a German engineer during a military raid in Kano. Edgar Raupach, who was kidnapped by gunmen at a construction site, died on 31 May.

The paper says that Nigeria’s military later said it had no idea gunmen held Raupach inside the home and that kidnappers stabbed him to death as the raid began. However, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Aqmi, who claimed responsibility for the abduction, say the death occurred after the German government refused to negotiate with the terrorist group. Aqmi was apparently demanding that German officials release Filiz Gelowicz, a German woman convicted last year of supporting a foreign terrorist network.

The East African has a story on Rwanda facing "fresh allegations that its soldiers are fighting in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo alongside the Bosco Ntaganda-led M23 Congolese rebels, who are currently causing mayhem in the Kivu region." According to Human Rights Watch, Rwanda has offered 300 fighters and offered weaponry to the rebels.

The paper reports that sources in the Rwandan military who spoke to Rwanda Today said Kigali will have to respond robustly to the allegations, in order to retain its international credibility. The East African says that Rwanda's relations with the DRC are also at stake. In 2009, both countries agreed to help each other get rid of rebel groups within their countries.

tags: African press review - Al-Qaeda - ANC - DRC - Government - Jacob Zuma - Julius Malema - Nigeria - politics - Press review - South Africa
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