African press review 24 July 2012
A burgeoning secessionist movement in Eastern Kenya and wasteful or irregular spending in South Africa's local governments are among the stories covered in today's African press.
According to the main story in today's Daily Nation, fresh doubts have emerged over when Kenyans will vote in the next presidential, parliamentary and local elections. The paper says some MPs and ministers are quietly pushing for a date sometime in August, 2013.
Supporters of the August date argue that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is not ready to hold the elections on March 4, 2013, because of the delay in awarding the Biometric Voter Registration tender and the mapping of 80 new constituencies.
Initially supposed to be held next month, the elections were postponed by the cabinet until 17 December this year. Then that date was overtaken by a High Court ruling which suggested 4 March, 2013 as the likely date.
On Monday a group of MPs vowed to block the move towards a further extension, which would mean the current Parliament would extend its term beyond 13 January, 2013, in violation of the constitution. An additional delay would also mean that President Kibaki could stay in office until December 2013, if the voting goes to a second round.
Kenya might have more serious things to worry about. According to an analysis piece in Zimbabwe's NewsDay, an outlawed group is calling for the coastal region, with its booming tourist industry and Mombasa, Kenya's oldest city and biggest port, to secede from east Africa's largest economy.
The separatist message preached by the Mombasa Republican Council has spread through mosques, churches, markets, coffee houses, text messages and Facebook.
The Mombasa Republican Council wants the coast region, predominantly muslim, to have its own flag, currency and president.
MRC supporters have threatened to boycott and disrupt voting in national elections if their demand for secession is not met by the authorities in Nairobi.
In South Africa, the Auditor-General is on the front page of the financial paper, BusinessDay, and he is not a happy man.
Yesterday, Terence Nombembe published his annual review of South Africa's municipal administrations. Only 5% of municipalities had clean audits, but worse, says Nombembe, local governments know they will get away with refusing to clean up their finances.
The local government audit for 2010-11 paints a dismal picture, with the rand equivalent of over one billion euros evaporating in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
Not one of the eight metropolitan areas received a clean audit, not even the City of Cape Town, which has had clean audits for the past two years.
Nombembe said there was still an absence of consequences for poor performance and transgression.
The biggest contributors to irregular spending were KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, while Free State came top of the wasteful expenditure listing.
Meanwhile, the South African Reserve Bank has warned that both mining and manufacturing remain vulnerable to renewed weakness in the global economy.
In its Annual Economic Report, released yesterday, the Reserve Bank said the current growth rate of 3% was "far below" what was required to reduce South Africa’s unemployment rate, currently at over 25%.
Although employment in manufacturing improved marginally in the first quarter of this year, following heavy investment by the Department of Trade and Industry in loans and grants, this was not sustainable without growth in the economy, the report says.