African press review 1 August 2012
In Kenya, the controversial tender for a biometric voter register is dropped, while Uganda tries to stem the spread of Ebola - both big stories in today's African press...
In Kenya, The Daily Nation reports that the national electoral commission has decided to drop the controversial tender for a biometric voter register and resorted to a manual option.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission announced the decision on Tuesday night and said it will start manual voter registration immediately after the 17 September by-elections due in three constituencies.
According to the Nation's analysis pages, the whole biometric saga has badly dented the reputation of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission, exposing it as an organisation susceptible to manipulation by politically-connected vendors.
The biggest scandal in the whole thing, says The Daily Nation, is that the electoral commission was contemplating awarding the tender to a bidder whose price was nearly one million euros higher than the budget allocated for the procurement.
According to the Nation, it is an open secret that members of the key evaluation and tender award committees in the biometric voter registration tender case were completely compromised.
In Uganda, the front page of The Daily Monitor is, once again, dominated by the Ebola epidemic.
The main headline reads "Twelve new Ebola cases reported in Kibaale". According to the Ministry of Health, the number of people infected with Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the western district close to the border with the DRC, rose from 7 to 19 yesterday although no new deaths had been reported by the time the paper went to press.
In the south western district of Ntungamo, the district health officer says they are treating five deaths in the area with suspicion but could not confirm that they are as a result of Ebola.
The new cases confirmed yesterday bring the total of those infected to 33, including 14 who have died since the outbreak of Ebola three weeks ago. Only three of the dead, however, have been confirmed as having died of the disease.
The Monitor reports that another health worker at Muhorro Health Centre has been confirmed as having contracted the disease. Health officials have urged the public to minimise physical contact and report cases of people with Ebola-like symptoms.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the World Health Organisation said the epidemic was under control and said foreign governments should not issue travel advisories against Uganda.
The Daily Monitor also reports that there is no money to pay Uganda's former political leaders.
The revelation comes just one year after the Kampala government committed itself to pay former presidents, vice presidents, prime ministers, speakers of Parliament, deputy speakers and members of the presidential commission.
The local equivalent of 10 million euros is needed to fund the payments, but not a single shilling has been allocated in the current budget.
Regional newspaper, The East African, says East African banks lost nearly fifty million euros to fraud in the eighteen months to June 2012, because they have failed to keep pace with technologically savvy criminals.
Data collected by the audit firm Deloitte indicates that banking fraud in the region was 25 per cent higher than for a similar period ending in 2010.
Worse, Deloitte claims that the figures may be understated as financial institutions remain tight-lipped about fraud figures.
The latest report suggests that about half of all fraud was committed with the complicity of banking employees.