: African press review 2 December 2015

We focus on comments in the African press about the ongoing horse trading taking place at the Cop21 Climate summit in Paris.

Mail and Guardian has its mind already made up. As it puts it even if the world celebrates a Paris climate deal on 11 December, the process will still have to be regarded as failure.

The basic reason it argues, is that the unequal distribution of carbon emissions is not even on its agenda.

According to the Johannesburg-based publication, the historical responsibility of the West is neither on the table either, nor a method of national carbon accounting that looks at how the emissions a country consumes rather than produces. Instead, what is on the table it explains are expanded and new mechanisms that will allow the rich, Western countries to outsource their emission cuts so they can paint themselves green.

The latest climate summit will avoid the real issue: capitalism demands exponential growth, driven by fossil fuels, concludes the influential journal.

In Cameroon the caption of today’s front-page story in the state-run publication Cameroon Tribune, is an excerpt from President Paul Biya’s address to Cop21 summit. “We do not have the right to fail” hammered the Cameroonian leader. The paper underlines Biya’s appeal to world leaders to give an account of their determination and political courage so as to eliminate the ravaging effects of climate change on the strategic Lake Chad.

The basin which covered over 25,000 square kilometres in 1925 has shrunk to 2,500 square kilometres.

In nearby Nigeria, Vanguard newspaper relays the alarm raised by President Muhammadu Buhari in Paris on Tuesday, about a looming humanitarian crisis involving up to 5 million persons living in the countries within the shrinking Lake Chad basin.

Buhari told world leaders that there has been an upsurge in land conflicts, social unrest, and cross border movements due to bloody clashes over diminishing farm land. Experts say 13,2 billion euros will be needed to revive the Lake including the possible diversion of some of the rivers from the Central African region to prevent the Lake Chad basin from drying up.

Vanguard also raises Nigeria’s most intractable environmental emergency, the imperative to tackle e-waste management. According to the newspaper, threats of diverse nature ranging from oil and air pollution, toxic waste dump and other activities are inimical to the country’s ecosystem and causing death, as people are known to have died of strange afflictions and ailments due to pollution.

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Kenya’s Daily Nation highlights the fault lines that have emerged at the talks where many poor nations insist that rich countries bear the most responsibility for tackling the problem, as they have burnt the most fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution on their way to prosperity.

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But as Daily Nation points out, the United States and other developed nations argue that more must be done by China, India and other emerging giants, which are voraciously burning coal to power their fast-growing economies.

A day after the commemoration of the 1 December World AIDS Day, City Press opened its pages to testimonies about how treatment has restored life to people on death’s door.
The heroine is the beautiful 42 year-old Lorraine Mashishi who it claims had one foot in the grave 11 years ago but who has lived to tell her extraordinary life story.

City Press says she was one of the first people to start taking ARVs when they were introduced into the public healthcare sector in South Africa in April 2004. Today, it reports that she is happily married with children and emphasises that, had she not taken ARVs, she would now be six feet underground.

In its coverage, Mail and Guardian evokes the memory of two remarkable men, who “died unnecessarily” of Aids-related illnesses: Reuben Mokae and Sonwabo Qathula.

Reuben Mokae was part of a remarkable group of Johannesburg-based men involved in the now defunct Men as Partners Network, a coalition of grassroots organisations that educated men about taking action to prevent gender-based violence and HIV and Aids.
Sonwabo Qathula left his home in the rural Eastern Cape province, as a young adult to work on the mines in Johannesburg where he eventually contracted HIV.

For the paper, their deaths conform to a now predictable pattern that nearly two-thirds of Aids mortality globally is among men and that not enough is being done to address this. That’s also bad for women says Mail and Guardian as it severely undermines our ability to reach the ambitious goals set by activists to end Aids by 2030.

The Star spoke to Mark Heywood, executive director of the Treatment Action Campaign Section 27. He says there’s a notion that somehow South Africa is beating the virus when it is not.

Heywood warned that their campaign was heading into tragedy as they were being forced to cut down staff, and shut down provincial offices, due to funding problems. The budget of the campaign has fallen from 2,37 million to 2 million euros. According to the official the people being retrenched are people who often have HIV, who live in affected communities and have is deep knowledge of the community that they come from.

In its snap shot of HIV in Kenya, Daily Nation splashes out the statistics most countries would rather hide. According to the newspaper every year an average of 89,000 adults and about 11,000 children are infected by the virus in Kenya.

About 30 per cent of the more than 130,000 sex workers in Kenya are living with HIV. This is equivalent to more than 38,000 people. For the paper their understanding of disease and health has been transformed in the 31 years that HIV has been with us in Kenya.

Many of us who were alive when the media first brought the story of HIV into our homes still think of Aids as a terrible disease, but younger adults increasingly view it as a medical condition for which you take a pill. According to Daily Nation, despite major progress, the possibility of an HIV-free Kenya by 2030 could be stalled by the fact that not all HIV-positive people access care and treatment services.

Source: rfi afrique