African press review 25 July 2012
Ghana's press looks at the career of John Evans Atta Mills after his sudden death Tuesday. Egypt's water minister gets to form a government. Inequality threatens SA's growth. And di Kenyan police neglect to check the safety of the helicopter that crasshed, killing a minister, last month?
The Daily Graphic in Ghana carries the sombre news that President John Evans Atta Mills is dead.
Mills died in hospital in the capital, Accra, hours after being suddenly taken ill yesterday afternoon.
In 1968 Mills studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science and received a PhD from London University's School of Oriental and African Studies. He also spent a year at Stanford University in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar.
For over 25 years Mills was a lecturer and associate professor in the Law Faculty at the University of Ghana, before embarking on his career in politics. He was vice-president of Ghana between 1996 and 2000.
Representing the National Democratic Congress, he was twice defeated in presidential elections by John Kufor.
Incumbent Vice-President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in on Tuesday night to serve until elections in December.
In Cairo The Egyptian Gazette reports that President Mohamed Mursi has asked Hisham Kandil, the relatively young water minister little known outside Egypt, to form a new government. The news has come as a disappointment to investors who had hoped for a high-profile economics specialist.
Kandil was a senior bureaucrat in the water ministry until he was appointed minister in July last year after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. He obtained a doctorate in irrigation from the University of North Carolina in the United States in 1993.
A spokesperson for Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood politician sworn in as Egypt's first freely elected president on 30 June, described Kandil as an "independent patriot" who had not belonged to any party either before or after the popular uprising against Mubarak.
However, Kandil's beard has generated speculation that he has Islamist sympathies. He has denied being affiliated to any Islamist group but told the Al Jazeera television channel in an interview last year he had grown his beard out of a sense of religious duty.
Egypt's benchmark share index, which was trading flat before the announcement, fell 0.7 per cent.
Inequality has become a "corrosive" reality threatening growth in South Africa, according to a report in the Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay. Without social grants 40 per cent of the population would have seen incomes decline in the first decade after apartheid, the World Bank said yesterday.
The Washington-based lender revised its growth forecast for South Africa this year down to 2,5 per cent from a 3,1 per cent estimate in November, well below the latest estimates from the South African Reserve Bank.
The World Bank has warned that the economy would not be able to achieve a faster pace of growth unless it became more inclusive.
Global rating agencies have repeatedly highlighted the risks to social and political stability in South Africa posed by high unemployment, huge income disparities and widespread poverty.
According to the Kenyan Daily Nation, the team handling the acquisition of the helicopter that crashed in Ngong last month, killing two ministers and four police officers, did not consider the aircraft’s safety features before importing it, the commission investigating the accident heard on Tuesday.
The Eurocopter owned by the Police Airwing, crashed shortly after takeoff from Wilson Airport on 10 June, killing Internal Security minister George Saitoti, his deputy Orwa Ojodeh and the four officers.
Testifying on the second day of hearings in Nairobi, aircraft engineer Simon Njoroge Mugo said he was coopted from the Kenya Wildlife Service to assist in the technical evaluation for the aircraft’s procurement.
He said he disagreed with the police team over the preferred Eurocopter against Bell helicopters, which were already in use in the police force.