African press review 13 January 2017

The Daily Nation reports that the Kenyan government is still willing to hold talks with doctors to end the 40-day strike over pay.

According to the Nairobi-based daily, the government yesterday extended the time allowed for resolving labour issues from 60 to 90 days.

The authorities are offering wage increases which would see the highest earning specialists take home a maximum of 5,200 euros per month, with interns receiving a maximum of 1,850 euros.

The government has also extended non-monetary benefits, including mortgages, car loans and training.

The doctors have rejected the deal, demanding the government register and implement a 2013 agreement which would have seen a salary increase of between 70 and 200 per cent and improved working conditions.

Also yesterday, a State House spokesman dismissed a story circulating on social media networks that India had offered to fly in doctors to fill the void left by strikers.

Was India asked to help break strike?

The Kenyan Standard is going to town on the Indian angle, with its main headline reading “India rejects Kenya call for doctors as more die over strike”.

The report says that India turned down a request by Kenya for doctors to replace those on strike during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s just-concluded visit to New Delhi.

The news broke on a day the health crisis deepened with doctors vowing to ignore a court order to return to work.

The Telegraph, an Indian newspaper, reported the rejection of a proposal to have Indian doctors hired by Kenya to ease the crisis that has paralysed operations in public hospitals.

Kenyatta was on a two-day state visit to India during which he held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Standard blames the ongoing dispute for the death of a 28-year-old woman earlier this week. She died while waiting for emergency surgery to rectify a problem pregnancy.

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No internet censorship in Kenya during election period

Regional paper the East African reports that Kenya will not shut down the Internet during the election period unless the situation gets out of hand. The country is due to go to the polls in August.

The Communications Authority of Kenya says that the government will take action only if it is deemed necessary to secure the country.

Kenyans are increasingly concerned, especially with rising political temperatures ahead of the August polls, says the regional daily, that the government might shut down the internet as has been witnessed in other countries in the region.

In neighbouring Uganda the government ordered the shutdown of popular social media platforms over “security concerns”, an action political observers said was aimed at stifling media scrutiny of the elections as well as clamping down on freedom of expression.

Similar actions were taken by the governments of Burundi, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

South Africa’s Communists mull independent election strategy

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has not endorsed any candidate to take over as ANC president, Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay reports.

The party yesterday denied that it supported any candidate to succeed President Jacob Zuma, despite claims in local and international media that the SACP would follow the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in throwing its weight behind Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The ANC Women’s League has endorsed outgoing AU commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

According to the SACP, a key consideration will be the capacity of a potential leader and the leadership collective to avoid factionalism and unite the ANC and the governing tripartite alliance which invloves the African National Congress, the Communists and the trade union federation.

The South African Communist Party has expressed concern about the ANC not having a clear policy on leadership succession. The SACP is also mulling going it alone in future elections. The decision is to be made at its national congress in July.

Source: rfi afrique