African press review 10 January 2017

Both Kenya’s Daily Nation and The Standard lead this morning with President Uhuru Kenyatta having approved the controversial amendments to the electoral laws that allows manual back-up mechanism during the General Elections.

The move will deepen the already bitter row because the Opposition did not support the changes that were passed by both Houses.

The amendments, among other things, seek to allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to have a “complementary mechanism” in case of failure of the electronic system of voter identification and results transmission.

But, Cord, the Opposition, led by Raila Odinga, has called the amendments a bid to “resurrect dead voters to vote” and what they said was Jubilee’s attempt to rig the elections.

However, in their defence, the Jubilee team has defended the amendments saying it was foolhardy to depend on a fully electronic system that they said is prone to failure and breaches, including hacking.

The Opposition had threatened to go to the streets if the laws are signed.

Daily Nation though also has an article which headlines “Return to work or face the sack, governors tell striking doctors” – Governors have told doctors to return to work by tomorrow or they will face disciplinary action.

By Monday, the Council of Governors had prepared a draft of job vacancies, seen by the Nation, for about nine posts – medical officers, dental officers, pharmacists and medical specialists, among others – that stated that applications could be sent via email and were “open to international candidates”.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) shortly after this announcement took to their Twitter account @Kmpdu and stated: “Dear Kenyans, it’s unfortunate that the county governments’ solution to ending this 36 days strike is by firing doctors. Highly regrettable.”

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu urged them to reconsider their position as the national and county governments had given them a “reasonable offer” that would translate to a 40 per cent increase in their salaries.

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The strike was declared illegal and the doctors will on Tuesday appear in court to answer to charges of defying the court order.

The East African reports this morning that “A storm is raging over the payment of $1.7 million in bonuses to 42 government officials who helped Uganda win disputes with oil companies over capital gains taxes on the resale of oil blocks.”

The payments, since christened the “presidential handshake,” because they were authorised by President Yoweri Museveni last May without parliamentary approval, have caused outrage because they amount to a double payment for civil servants who are employed by taxpayers to perform their duties anyway.

Lawyers and officials who handled the cases in Uganda and London were paid nearly 10 million euros for the services that led to the government recouping 700 million euro in revenue.

The money included legal fees, air tickets, allowances and per diem for the Ugandan officials to travel to London for the hearings.

Civil society and legislators said the payments were unacceptable.

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian has an interesting side story this morning, headlined “Could six injections a year protect you from HIV infection?”

A clinical trial expected to start in Cape Town this year will pit a new long-acting antiretroviral (ARV) drug against the HIV prevention pill. If successful, the study could be the first step towards an era in which easy-to-use bimonthly injections could help prevent HIV infection.

As part of the trial, about 150 South African men who have sex with men and transgender women will be given either the HIV prevention pill or the experimental jab.

They will be among about 4500 participants in eight countries, including the United States, Brazil and India, who will test whether bimonthly injections of a new ARV, cabotegravir, works as well as the current HIV prevention pill to curb infection.
 

Source: rfi afrique