African press review 14 August 2012
The President of Egypt’s decision to make himself head of the armed forces is welcomed by the Egyptian press. The head of the AU commission is criticized for her stance on what to do with the Sudanese president. And children should never be imprisoned concludes one of Nigeria’s dailies.
“How Morsi ended military rule”, Egypt’s Ahram brings us the story of how and why the Egyptian president ended the military's post-revolution political role with the stroke of a pen.
"Morsi must have seen this (Sinai attacks on Egyptian soldiers by presumed Islamists) as a good chance to sideline the top-ranking military leadership," says retired general and strategic expert Qadri Saeed.
"The generals became too old and rigid; they've spent too much time in power, as their tenure was prolonged due to the revolution and the subsequent transitional period," Saeed added.
Political analyst Ayman El-Sayyad, for his part, believes Morsi's Sunday announcement "was inevitable."
"The Sinai incidents only brought it forward," he said. "The border attack revealed how much the military had been focusing on politics to the detriment of its military responsibilities, which was reflected in its poor response to the attack on the border."
"The decisions have effectively ended the ongoing power struggle between Egypt's presidency and the military," he said. "All accountability now falls on the president alone."
“Protecting dictator does not bode well”, says South Africa’s Business Daily in its editorial.
It blasts the decision by the newly-appointed chairwoman of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to insist that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir should remain in office rather than face genocide charges by the International Criminal Court.
“Applying soft diplomacy on Sudan does not bode well”, says the author.
The article says that the AU may be making a mistake on Sudan. “Staying with the devil you know may not always be the best policy choice in this fractious region.”
“The day after Dlamini-Zuma clarified the AU’s policy on Bashir, the top trending story on Yahoo News was of a Sudanese woman shackled and jailed with her baby, awaiting death by stoning for adultery,” the piece points out.
The editorial concludes by saying that “Decisive action against the Sudanese leader would send a strong message that past and continuous abuses will not be tolerated, whether by a sitting head of government or past dictators.”
“Kenya is facing a food crisis as the government slumbers”, warns the country’s Standard.
As droughts in the US are likely to cut US maize exports, food prices for Kenya are set to surge to unprecedented levels, warns the paper.
However, “despite all these red alerts, the Government either seems unmoved or simply unaware of the unfolding scenario with so far no strategy to contain a possible disaster.”
According to the paper, the country is likely to experience a deficit of about 10 million bags of dried maize up from the earlier projected 4 million.
The East African leads with troubling statistics “Uganda tops EA’s list of teen births,” reads the headline. The paper publishes key figures from the African Reproductive and Sexual Health Scorecard report. According to it, Uganda is among the top 10 African countries with the highest adolescent fertility rate at position eight, with an adolescent fertility rate of 159 births per 1,000 young women aged 15– 19 years.
The news is a big challenge to the government. “Young pregnant women have a higher risk of developing complications such hypertension during pregnancy, while their babies are likely to face foetal growth restriction,” says a health official in the region.
“It is inherently wrong to keep children in prisons merely because their mothers are in jail”. The editorial in Nigeria’s The Guardian makes a passionate plea against what it calls an “anomaly that is out of congruence with modern correctional practice.”
The article calls on the government to keep the children of inmates’ out of prison. “Children should never be punished for crimes committed by their mothers anywhere, not the least in a country like Nigeria where a prison sentence of only a few days is like a death sentence”.
The paper notes that many of the women are not hardened criminals but people awaiting trial for crimes they may never even be sentenced for.
“When the mothers are prisoners, it is not normal for the children to be kept as prisoners too in the absence of decent provisions for the children’s needs,” concludes the paper.