Article published the Wednesday 02 January 2013 - Latest update : Wednesday 02 January 2013

African press review 02 January 2013

By Michael Fitzpatrick

A secret document at the centre of a pre-election row in Kenya has just been released. Elsewhere on the continent, churches in Uganda are pushing Parliament to pass an anti-gay bill, and the Ugandan President warns against circumcision as a way to fight HIV/Aids.

Pre-election bickering continues to make front page news in Kenya.

According to the Nairobi-based Standard, the secret document at the centre of a row between Jubilee Alliance leaders and United Democratic Forum presidential aspirant, Musalia Mudavadi, can now be made public.

This is the document to which Jubilee’s presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta, his running mate William Ruto and Mudavadi himself appended their signatures, confirming that Uhuru had stepped down as a presidential contender in favour of Mudavadi.

Neither Uhuru nor Mudavadi have disputed the fact that Kenyatta did, indeed, give up his presidential ambition. The legitimacy of this document is reflected by the fact that it was witnessed by a renowned lawyer.

However, it also emerges that, after the document was printed, but before it was signed, another hand-written clause was inserted, giving Uhuru control over a 45% share of government positions in the event of a Mudavadi presidency, while Ruto would take 35% and Mudavadi just 20%.

Mudavadi says he left the Jubilee Alliance after Uhuru reneged on this agreement.

The front page of The Daily Monitor in Uganda is dominated by the news that main stream churches and evangelical preachers have asked Parliament to urgently pass the Anti-Gay Bill to avert the recruitment of youngsters to same-sex behaviour.

At Namirembe Cathedral, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali said the Church of Uganda would continue to protect national culture and the institution of marriage, understood to mean a union between a man and a woman.

Addressing tens of thousands at the seventh annual National Prayer Day at Nakivubo Stadium, several pastors also warned legislators against siding with the Western world, saying such politicians risked losing their seats.

Still in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has reaffirmed his stand against male circumcision as a means of eliminating HIV, saying that campaigns in favour of the method are misleading Ugandans into unsafe sexual behaviour.

The 2011 Uganda Aids Indicator Survey shows that the prevalence of HIV among adults has increased from 6.4% in 2005 to 7.3% in 2011. Ministry of Health figures also indicate that new infections increased by 11.5% between 2008 and 2011.

The President said Ugandans should return to morality and sexual discipline if HIV/Aids is to be fought effectively, adding that the disease is not a medical but a moral problem and should be treated as such.

The main story in regional paper The East African is headlined "Tanzania alarm over expected population boom".

The small print explains that, if Tanzania's population growth continues at current rates, the country's population will hit 51 million in 2016, putting a huge strain on the provision of basic services.

Tanzania's population is currently just short of 45 million.

In its look at prospects for the new year, The East African says that business leaders are placing their bets on an improved economic environment in the region in the coming year, cautiously optimistic that lower inflation and stable currencies could help reverse the troubles of a not-so-good 2012.

But for Kenya, uncertainty surrounding the 4 March General Election could slow growth in the first quarter, with fears that a disputed election result could spark violence with an impact on neighbouring countries, as it did in 2008, when post-election violence disrupted regional supplies.

According to business executives and economic analysts who spoke to The East African, foreign direct investment in the region is expected to grow in 2013 as investors eye opportunities in infrastructure development, oil and gas exploration and the consumer sector.

tags: African press review - AIDS - Elections - Gay rights - HIV - Kenya - Population - Press review - Tanzania - Uganda - Yoweri Museveni
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