African press review 23 August 2012
Corruption scandals, dead hyenas, imported husbands and a new revolutionary medicine are in the African papers today.
SA’s Business Daily’s opinion pages look into the reasons for the Marikana tragedy in which dozens of miners were killed.
“Marikana was not an aberration,” it says. “It was an accident waiting to happen because it was a symptom of longstanding problems.”
According to Business Daily, the first reason is that the police are not trained to deal with the violence that it says is “endemic in South African society”.
The second reason is the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has lost touch with its members and signed agreements that fall short of their demands. A breakaway union promised workers it could get what the NUM could not.
“The lesson is clear,” says the author. “Trade unions that look after their members do not
cause conflict, they prevent it.”
The third reason is dangerous working conditions in the mines. One miner said he did not fear police bullets because he risked his life working underground every day.
We have made some progress in turning our mines into safer, healthier, more humane places, but Marikana suggests that we need to do more, the paper concludes.
Nigeria is still reeling from one of the biggest corruption scandals in its history. The Guardian leads with the story of 200 million-euros-worth of oil fraud.
Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala provides graphic details of how some 25 oil firms “siphoned over 40 billion naira (200 million euros) from the subsidy fund without supplying a drop of fuel to Nigerians”.
The minister says the companies claimed payments for deliveries which were either non-existent or which were somewhere else in the world.
And we continue with another corruption story elsewhere on the continent. Uganda’s Monitor is looking out for ghost workers.
President Yoweri Museveni has ordered a clean-up of the government salary and pension payroll after a recent forensic investigation by the auditor general’s office revealed that
the Ugandan taxpayer is losing as much as 22 million euros annually in payments to “ghost workers”.
The audit revealed the presence of around 4,000 ghosts on the government payroll.
Auditor General John Muwanga tells the newspaper that “about four or five ministries” out of 28 full have so far submitted evidence that they're heeding the presidential directive.
The article says the auditor general is appalled by the loss of billions of shillings, money he said could have been spent improving the salaries of scientists and teachers.
By the way, have you noticed that Uganda’s motto is “Truth Every Day”?
“Al-Shebab resorts to selling hyena meat to fund military operations,” headlines Somalia’s Sabahi online.
The report quotes analysts who are saying that the Islamist militia has begun selling hyena meat in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo as a way to raise money for its military operations against Somali and allied forces.
The paper notes that for centuries Somali Muslim clerics have prohibited the consumption of hyena meat because the animal eats the flesh of dead humans and animals.
The paper quotes a Mogadishu cook who has family in Kismayo. He explains how Al-Shebab merchants convince residents to buy the meat.
“They have been using old black magic myths to prey on those who do not know better,” he says.
A local sociologist told the paper that “the failure, despair and defeat that al-Shebab's leadership suffers from will spell victory for the allied forces”.
“Why do some South African women go for imports?” wonders SA’s Sowetan.
The paper claims that local women are increasingly marrying or dating foreigners.
South African men are “well-endowed sex gods - smart, loving, generous and exciting - but some people think they are defiant, tactless, infuriating, crafty and crazy”, it says.
The women the reporter spoke to told him they date foreign men because locals don't have what they have.
"Before, I dated South Africans, but they treated me like trash,” one woman said. “I hopped from bed to bed looking for love. They didn't want to commit and they all had stable relationships … Some local guys have the libido and energy to father an entire village, but they do not know how to raise those children.”
Another woman says that foreign men are very generous. She tells the journalist that foreigners who have money spend it on their women while “locals are self-centred and stingy and rarely spend on their girlfriends".
South African men, beware!
“Urine can't heal you, Catholic church says”, headlines The Star in Kenya.
The Kenyan church authorities had to intervene urgently since some priests have been promoting the drinking of urine in the morning in a campaign dubbed urine therapy
“The so-called urine therapy is neither our project, nor did we create it," the paper quotes one of the church leaders as saying.
Last week two priests initiated the urine campaign and urged the faithful to drink their morning urine to cure diseases. They made their appeals during a weekday service attended by more than 300 worshippers.
Meanwhile, the Mount Kenya region Reformed Catholics, a group of breakaway Catholic priests, have faulted the calls by priests to drink urine. Bishop Peter Njogu said it is wrong for a priest to call upon Christians to drink their urine for medication.