African press review 17 July 2012
The death of Kenyan's Internal Security Minister, George Saitoti, makes headlines today, as does the suggestion that electing South Africa's Dlamini-Zuma to chair the African Union commision might in fact stop the Hague trials of four Kenyans. And Monday's collapse of a high-rise in Egypt points to a new era ushered in by the revolution of a haphazard construction boom.
According to the Kenyan Standard, the commission of inquiry into the death of Internal Security Minister George Saitoti opened on Monday with the dead man's family claiming they are ready to show that “foul play” may have led to the fatal helicopter crash in Ngong Forest on 10 June.
The family said it is ready to present expert evidence that “strange events” happened to the chopper before it crashed minutes after takeoff from Wilson Airport, Nairobi.
The Standard also suggests that the election of South Africa's Nkosazama Dlamini-Zuma to chair the African Union commission might have a serious impact on efforts to stop The Hague trials of four Kenyans accused of complicity in the 2008 post-election violence.
The Kenyan authorities have used the African Union as a lever in efforts to have the trials of four Kenyan citizens postponed or referred to an African court.
Out-going commission chairman, Jean Ping, was instrumental in pushing for the withdrawal of African countries from the International Criminal Court.
Three months ago the African Union under Ping asked the UN Security Council to defer the Kenyan trials.
South Africa is, however, a strong defender of the ICC, says The Standard. The election of Dlamini-Zuma means the AU is unlikely to entertain any further opposition to the UN court.
Meanwhile the Nairobi-based Daily Nation reports that the Kenyan Director of Public Prosecutions wants Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s former aide, Miguna Miguna, questioned on claims that he has crucial evidence concerning the2008 post-election violence.
Launching his book entitled Peeling Back the Mask on Saturday, Miguna said he was privy to Orange Democratic Movement campaign strategies and was present when the party declared the 2007 General Election to be a contest of 41 tribes against one.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday came out fighting against damaging allegations contained in Peeling Back the Mask, describing Miguna as a man operating in a “dense cloud of self-delusion”.
In a separate response, the National Heritage minister said Miguna was a bitter man on a revenge mission following his sacking from the Prime Minister's office.
Regional paper The East African carries an opinion piece headlined "America thinks strategically, Rwanda and Uganda waffle, people in Congo die". That just about says it all.
The small print says that the fighting in the DRC follows the now tragically familiar story of rural dislocation and the besieging of provincial towns. The equally familiar results - mass forced migration, lost harvests and missing children - would be almost banal if they were not so devastating for the communities involved.
The past few months have seen the DRC government battling a mutiny by members of eastern ethnic minority militia dissatisfied with the implementation of the agreement under which their forces were to have been integrated into the DRC army.
There are three ways of understanding the situation, according to The East African: we could be witnessing another bout of administrative instability as the DRC struggles to create post-Mobutu coherence.
Alternatively, it could be looked at as a further development of the externalisation of the Rwanda genocide conflict that saw the losing side fleeing and regrouping in the eastern DRC.
Finally, it could also be seen as a new attempt to organise the breaking up of the mineral-rich country into smaller, more easily governable states.
The Egyptian Gazette describes Monday's collapse of an eleven-storey highrise in Alexandria as more evidence of the feverish and haphazard construction boom that has swept Egypt since the 25 January Revolution.
The death toll has reached 19, the Health Ministry said on Monday, adding that it was still searching for survivors.
In the absence of municipal supervision and adequate security, warns The Egyptian Gazette, the pace of illegal construction will make further accidents of the same sort inevitable.