Article published the Thursday 24 January 2013 - Latest update : Thursday 24 January 2013

African press review 24 January 2013

By Michael Fitzpatrick

Eighty witnesses are waiting to give evidence against four Kenyans at the ICC and they won't be returning to their homeland. Miniskirts are banned from Kenyan courts, for lawyers, at least. France is to search Abdoulaye Wade's Versailles and Parisian pied-à-terres. And the IMF disapproves of striking SA workers.

The main story in the Kenyan Standard this morning looks forward to the trial of the four Kenyans accused of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court in the Dutch city, The Hague.

According to the Nairobi-based daily, the 80 prosecution witnesses are now all living in secure accommodation outside the country.

The Standard says the witnesses to testify against Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Francis Muthaura and Joshua Arap Sang, have also been promised lifetime protection and some could even be given new identities.

This is to ensure that they are safe from retribution from those aggrieved by their testimonies.

The witnesses will not be returning to Kenya after the completion of the cases. The trials are due to open on 11 April.

According to sister paper The Daily Nation, Jubilee Coalition presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta says President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga should be the ones to face trial at The Hague.

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Kenyatta claims that Odinga, his main rival for the 2013 presidential elections, should be held responsible for the violence that rocked the country after the 2007 election.

At least 1,000 people were killed and more than 350,000 made homeless in the violence.

Another legal story in The Standard reports that female lawyers will no longer be allowed to wear miniskirts when they appear in court.

They will also have to save their sleeveless shirts for the weekends and public holidays, according to a new dress code.

Releasing the revised Law Society of Kenya dress code for practicing Advocates of the High Court, the society's chairman said the guidelines were a way of streamlining and maintaining dignity in the profession.

Women lawyers will also have to give up their peep-toe shoes and sandals. Shorts and jeans are no longer allowed. Skirts must be of dark colours and at least knee-length. Flamboyant hairdos and colourful headbands have also been banned.

It will constitute professional misconduct for any lawyer to appear in court dressed contrary to the new guidelines.

 The Ugandan Daily Monitor says a French court has approved a search warrant for the private Parisian homes of former Senegalese president, Abdoulaye Wade.

The reports says Wade will be heard by the court before the search of his Versailles house and another luxurious apartment in the city's 17th arrondisement by a team of French financial investigators.

The former president's private residences will be searched for evidence that could substantiate claims by the incumbent government of mass plunder and illicit possession of wealth during the 12 years of the former leader’s rule.

About 25 former government ministers including Karim Wade, the son of the former leader, are under active investigation.

The indictees are known as the "Ali Baba Gang" in Senegal.

The main headline in the Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay, reads "International Monetary Fund lowers South Africa's growth outlook on strike fears".

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According to the report, the IMF has lowered its growth forecast for South Africa this year and warned that the economy could "underperform" if labour unrest persists and the business environment deteriorates.

There is widespread concern that there will be more turmoil in the mining sector when wage negotiations in the gold and coal industries start in April.

A decision by Anglo-American Platinum to cut 14,000 jobs after closing shafts and suspending processing plants sparked a short, illegal strike last week.

In its latest World Economic Outlook released on Wednesday, the IMF revised its growth forecast for SA this year down to 2.8 per cent from a 3.0 per cent estimate last October.

President Jacob Zuma insisted yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the worst of the labour unrest was over.

tags: Abdoulaye Wade - African press review - Economic crisis - Economy - France - IMF - International Criminal Court - Justice - Kenya - Press review - Senegal - South Africa - Trial
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