African press review 5 October 2012
Poverty and the economy in Nigeria and a look back at the rule of Idi Amin in Uganda - both subjects covered in the African papers today...
Nigeria’s papers are all over the story of the deportation of female haj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia.
The Guardian leads with the story of 171 female pilgrims who were deported from Saudi Arabia for failing to be accompanied by male guardians or Muharams, in accordance with Saudi laws. “The incident is a serious embarrassment and humiliation to the country”, says the paper's editorial.
Still in Nigeria, the country’s GDP is growing while its population gets poorer, says the daily Punch.
In a conference call with the paper, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for the African region admits that the World Bank does not know Nigeria’s poverty rate. “We don’t know whether it is going up or coming down, he says adding that there is a lot of controversy surrounding it and that the organisation needs to invest in data”.
The article says that the National Bureau of Statistics had released figures that indicate that the nation’s poverty level was increasing. The paradox is “that despite the fact that the Nigerian economy is growing, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty is also increasing every year”.
To Uganda now, which is celebrating 50 years since independence. The Daily Monitor runs a series of articles looking into former president Idi Amin Dada's legacy.
“Was Amin’s terror exaggerated?”, asks the Daily Monitor. The paper argues that many people must have died, or been mutilated in Uganda “as a result of decentralised violence more than in response to the purposeful brutality by the regime.”
The paper says we may never find the truth, due to what it calls the information gap under military tyranny. But was Amin as bad as the international press portrayed him, it asks? “Adding that it was precisely because Amin was a tyrant, that we may never know for certain".
And to finish on Uganda’s jubilee controversies, here’s another one.
The Red Pepper newspaper reports on a bitter row over “Yoga Yoga”, the official song written for independence day. The singer, Esther Nabaasa, accuses her producer, Richard Kaweesa of “stealing” the rights to the song, claiming she was its sole owner.
The judge has chosen to make an original decision, by ordering that the song shouldn’t be played or used in any form until the two parties in the dispute come to an agreement.
Have a listen and decide for yourself if the song is worth it.
To South Africa and the story of a mother’s courage.
39 year old Mary Bester arrived at a Margate resort with her husband and their two sons for the school holidays, and their annual pilgrimage "to enjoy the surf and sun”.
But one early morning, when her husband and one of their sons had left for the beach, and the other son was asleep, she found herself face to face with intruders who demanded money and cellphones. In a story which resembles an action movie, the woman managed to get hold of her husband’s revolver and shot one of the intruders as he tried to stab her with a kitchen knife.
She then chased his accomplice into the town’s main street.
In the most unexpected twist, Ms Bester told the paper that while the family was “shaken” they “were determined" to enjoy the rest of their holiday: “The boys are doing fine. We came here to enjoy a holiday until Sunday and that is exactly what we are going to do", she says. "I am not going to be sent packing home by criminals.”
And finally, on the front page of its digital version, today’s Sowetan is running a poll on marriage.
It asks whether it is better to marry young or to wait until you're older and more mature:
Option a) If you're ready, why wait? Option b) hey when you're young sometimes your decisions are not well thought out and are based on impulse. Wait until your older and hopefully wiser before committing your life to someone.
To find out what the paper’s readers think, I took the poll myself. Here are the results based on almost 3,000 votes. A whopping 59% believe: Wait until your older and hopefully wiser before committing your life to someone.