: African press review 25 November 2015

We start in Kenya where the papers roll out the red carpets for Pope Francis who arrives Nairobi on Wednesday at the start of his first ever visit to Africa.

“Karibu Papa Francis”, bellows Standard Digital rolling out the elaborate program prepared by the people of Kenya to give the Pontiff on his maiden visit to Africa a befitting reception. The paper lists the things Francis is likely to see during his stay in Nairobi including entertainment by street children, a photo op with Kenya’s former Presidents and a list of things he has which Kenyan politicians crave for.

“Welcome Papa”, headlines Daily Nation. The front-page spread of the Nairobi-based publication is a photograph of the Pope kissing a baby during a recent general audience at Saint Peter’s Square. Daily Nation puts out a special supplement on the man, it claims has, in just two years as head of the World’s 1.2 billion Catholics, become the Vicar of Christ.

The paper paints an amazing portrait of Francis, the very first Pope from the Third world, starting with the ripples and contradictions that have characterized his papacy.
First, his decision not to stay at the luxurious palace where his predecessors lived, preferring instead to move into a residence commensurated with the humble and open community life he has assumed.

But Daily Nation also underlined that despite his mien, Pope Francis can be tough, pointing to his none tolerance of bishops covering up for priests who abuse children.
The paper also commends his crackdown on church leaders who misuse their offices to benefit themselves, highlighting the dismissal of a flamboyant German Bishop who had built a multi-million dollar mansion for himself using church funds.

Daily Nation also explores how in less than three years on Saint Peter’s throne, he has abandoned the ideological rigidity and conservatism of his predecessors.
According to the newspaper he has become the progressive champion that the church needs – welcoming gays and others of different sexual orientations into the Church, lessening the burden of divorce and separation on Christians and wondering aloud in the now famously remarks: “Who am I to judge?”

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While in Kenya, he will meet with leaders of other faiths for talks on peace and reconciliation. He is a kind, compassionate individual who is trying to get the big countries to take better care of the planet and of each other. The Pope’s visit has eclipsed a profound shake up of the Kenyan government by President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday night.

The Star reports that Uhuru sacked five ministers, suspended on allegations of corruption and brought in politicians in the so-called new-look cabinet.

Those replaced are Charity Ngilu, Michael Kamau, Felix Koskei, Kazungu Kambi and Davies Chirchir who were all facing graft charges. Standard Digital reports that Ngilu and Kamau have since been charged in court, while Koskei, Kambi and Davies Chirchir were cleared of some allegations by the director of public prosecutions but had some issues pending.

Former MP Mwangi Kiunjuri is named by the newspaper as the biggest beneficiaries, as he was appointed to the powerful Devolution and National Planning docket, which until Saturday was held by Anne Waiguru. President Kenyatta increased the number of cabinet positions from 19 to 20, expanding the number of state departments from 26 to 41.

Daily Nation says the new cabinet has only five women, falling short of the constitutional requirement that states that women must make up 33 per cent of all elective and nominative positions.

Yet the publication commends the objectives President Kenyatta has set for the new cabinet: efficiency of public officers through fast-tracking adoption of technology; accountability, accessibility of public officers and effectiveness of government projects.

Source: rfi afrique