Article published the Thursday 10 January 2013 - Latest update : Thursday 10 January 2013

African press review 10 January 2013

By Michael Fitzpatrick

Bosses and unions bicker of an SA farmworkers' strike turnout. Ramaphosa says employerss should be nicer to workers. Violence continues in Kenya's Tana River District. Is Nairobi hiding evidence from the ICC? And why does Rwanda oppose using drones in DRC? 

The farm strike in the Western Cape is not making front page news in South Africa this morning.

The strike seems to have been a bit of a damp squib anyway, with the Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay, reporting that 80 per cent of permanently employed farm workers in the fruit-growing area turned up for work on Wednesday. That, admittedly, from a spokesperson for the farmers' representative group Agri Wes-Cape. The unions say 60 per cent of workers actually supported the strike.

The strike was suspended last year following an undertaking that negotiations would continue between workers’ representatives and individual farmers but this proved unsuccessful.

Workers want their daily wages of six euros increased to 13 euros and a coherent land reform programme.

BusinessDay's main story gives pride of place to African National Congress deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa. He says South African businesses have to take better care of their employees, as the Marikana tragedy is an example of what happens when companies close their eyes to the need for "inclusivity".

The Marikana tragedy, where 44 people died during a violent strike last August at a Lonmin mine in North West, was partly an outcome of a lax business that ignored the need to look after the interests of its workers "beyond the mine gates", said Ramaphosa, who is a Lonmin board member.

In Kenya, the main headline in The Standard reads "Tana explodes yet again". The story explains that at least 10 more people died in clashes between ethnic Orma and Pokomo around Nduru village in Tana River District yesterday.

The violence has continued despite President Mwai Kibaki dispatching 2,000 officers from the paramilitary General Service Unit to the area, and the Inspector General of the National Police Service, David Kimaiyo, vowing to end the bloodshed when he visited Tana River last month.

Kimaiyo's visit followed the killing of 42 ethnic Orma in Kipao area by Pokomo attackers on 21 December.

Wednesday’s killings bring the death toll to 160 since last August, with up to 2,000 houses torched and over 40,000 people displaced.

Questions are now being raised as to what has gone wrong in the Tana River area, says the Standard, asking how many people must die for the government to contain the ethnic violence, which appears to have political dimensions linked to the 4 March elections.

The Daily Nation's main headline reads "International Criminal Court accuses Kenya of hiding evidence".

According to the article, the chief prosecutor at the Hague-based court may be forced to seek assistance from foreign countries to compel Kenya to give the court access to government officers and security agents. Of particular interest are those who were in charge of security in areas of extreme post-election violence.

Dossier: DRC elects a president

According to the Standard, allies of one of those accused of crimes against humanity before the ICC, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, have denied having played any role in the 2007 post-election violence.

They dismissed claims that they were Ruto’s accomplices in the violence, describing the charges as “manufactured allegations”.

Former top security personnel listed by ICC prosecution as accomplices said they are innocent and that their names have been unnecessarily dragged into the cases.

Former army commander Augustine Cheruiyot, who is campaigning for the Nandi senate post, said he is confident of his innocence and ready to face any trial over the matter.

Samson Cherambos, a former member of the paramilitary General Service Unit and presidential escort commandant, said whoever has evidence that he participated in the violence should come out and lay it bare.

Cherambos says he will seek legal advice, claiming that his name had been tarnished without evidence.

Regional paper The East African says Rwanda on Tuesday opposed the use of surveillance drones in eastern Congo, as proposed by the United Nations until there is a full assessment of their use, saying it did not want Africa to become a laboratory for foreign intelligence devices.

Envoys said UN peacekeeping chief Hervé Ladsous told the Security Council during a closed-door session that the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo plans to deploy three unmanned aerial drones in the DRC's eastern provinces.

Rwanda, which has denied allegations by UN experts that it has been supporting the M23 rebels, made clear it considered Ladsous's call for deploying drones premature.

tags: African press review - ANC - DRC - Ethnic violence - International Criminal Court - Kenya - Press review - Rwanda - South Africa - Strike
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