: African press review 15 January 2015

The Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay warns that the South African economy is in the doldrums.

The report says that the current drought and contractions in the mining and manufacturing sectors, which between them account for 20 per cent of the economy, do not bode well for overall economic growth.

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Manufacturers and traders expect the business environment to deteriorate further.

The finance minister is having none of it. Yesterday Pravin Gordhan said the economy was not in recession and was not going to slide into one, whatever the doomsayers might suggest.

Rejecting the possibility of a recession in the near term, Gordhan pointed to World Bank forecasts for South Africa’s growth for the next three years that ranged between 1.4 and 1.6 per cent.

But economists pointed out that, while the annual growth rate might be positive, a recession could occur within it.

A recession is two consecutive quarters of contraction and most economists say that is highly likely this year.

The lawyer representing Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto yesterday urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Dutch city of The Hague to drop a crimes against humanity case against his client, saying prosecutors had failed to prove his role in the violence which followed the 2007 presidential election.

Ruto and his coaccused, radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang, face charges including murder, forcible deportation and persecution.

Stories from the Egyptian parliament dominate the front page of the Cairo-based paper Egypt Independent.

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The sub-committees of the House of Representatives this week began the process of revising over 380 laws issued by interim President Adly Mansour and current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi before the parliament was elected.

The sub-committees should conclude revising the laws by the beginning of next week, followed by a discussion of the revisions in the House of Representatives’ general session.

Among the most controversial laws issued by Mansour that will not be discussed by the parliament is the law regulating protests, widely criticised by political movements in Egypt and rights organisations overseas for restricting the right of peaceful demonstration and assembly without a prior permit from the security authorities.

Also yesterday, MP Suzy Nashed revealed that 89 female MPs had filed a complaint with the parliamentary speaker over the statement of a male colleague, which called on them to wear modest clothing inside the parliament.

The female MPs demanded that the man apologise for his inappropriate statement in front of the House of Representatives.

The MP at the centre of the dispute said he had been misquoted by the media but went on to once again criticise casual clothes, like jeans and dresses, worn by some female MPs.

You can’t keep a good man down! Or shut him up!

The Monitor in Kampala reports that hopes of holding Uganda’s first ever televised presidential election debate with all candidates present were revived yesterday after it was indicated that incumbent President Yoweri Museveni and Forum for Democratic Change candidate Kizza Besigye would attend despite earlier reservations.

Besigye yesterday confirmed his attendance, saying his earlier concerns had been addressed by Justice James Ogoola who assured him that Museveni, the ruling NRM flag bearer, would also attend.

The debate is scheduled for prime time this evening.

Source: rfi afrique