: African press review 23 January 2015

If you’re still wondering why South Africa’s former finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene, was sacked last month, this morning’s Johannesburg-based paper BusinessDay might give you a few helpful hints.

Slideshow Mandela

Basically, BusinessDay reports, Nene said “no” to the chairperson of South African Airways, Dudu Myeni, to the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir and to his own lord and master, Jacob Zuma.

The question was whether the loss-making South African national carrier should open a new route to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

President Jacob Zuma asked for the new route to show support to Bashir, describing the Sudanese leader as “his brother”.

Nene told Myeni in no uncertain terms that a route to Khartoum would be unprofitable and he would not allow it.

Four months later, Nene was fired as finance minister.

Zuma replaced Nene with African National Congress backbencher David van Rooyen, causing an outcry and turmoil on local markets. Four days later he sacked van Rooyen, returning Pravin Gordhan to the post he had occupied before Nene took over.

The international agency Standard & Poor’s has warned that more policy mistakes of that kind would be cause for a downgrade of South Africa’s credit rating to junk status.

There are contrasting stories on two Kenyan front pages this morning.

The main story in The Daily Nation is headlined “Kenyans united in mourning fallen soldiers.” The report says government and opposition yesterday set aside their political rivalry and united to honour the Kenyan soldiers who died in a battle last week against Al-shabaab terrorists in El-Adde, Somalia.

Al-Shebab – who are they?

The Nation says President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga shared a podium and spoke with one voice — there is no political divide when troops pay with their lives while protecting Kenyans from terrorists.

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The report reminds us that al-Shebab terrorists attacked a Kenya Defence Forces camp on Friday last week, prompting a fierce battle that resulted in massive casualties on either side.

But we still don’t know how many Kenyan troops lost their lives.

And that’s at the centre of the story as seen by sister-paper The Standard.

The Nairobi-based daily reports that the military authorities have not yet released the bodies of soldiers killed in last week’s attack to their families for burial.

The Standard quotes a mortuary official as saying they don’t know how many bodies are to be delivered.

The same official said families seeking to view the remains of their loved ones must first get a clearance letter from the Department of Defence which they are required to present at the mortuary before viewing the bodies.

Several families whose relatives were serving with the Kenyan military in Somalia have been asked to travel to Nairobi to help identify bodies.

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The Monitor in Kampala reports that a total of 38 Ugandans are languishing in military detention in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with some having spent as many as five years in jail.

None of them has ever been charged or been informed of the offence for which they were arrested.

Highly placed sources in the DRC, who leaked the information to the Monitor, claimed the Ugandans were detained with the knowledge of the Ugandan security agencies.

Kampala government spokesman Ofwono Opondo denied the claims of official complicity in the detentions.

Source: rfi afrique