African press review 8 April 2016

According to the main story in the Nairobi-based Daily Nation, more than 50,000 depositors with the shilling equivalent of over 80 million euros in Chase Bank and 1,400 employees were financially ruined yesterday after the bank was brought down by fraudulent transactions of the institution’s Ferrari-driving officials.

Workers wept in banking halls and desperate depositors whose money was locked up in the bank crowded the shuttered entrances of the lender’s branches across the country hours after they got information that the Central Bank of Kenya had taken over its operations.

Thousands of pensioners are also likely to take a hit because pension funds sank billions in bonds floated by the bank in May last year. This, says the Nation, raises questions about the Capital Markets Authority, the official banking oversight authority which approved the fundraising plan despite information that all was not well in the bank.

Chase Bank mostly marketed itself to youth, women and investment groups, making its collapse a devastating development for many families across Kenya.

Life is not getting any easier for South African president Jacob Zuma.

According to the front page of this morning’s Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay, the South African leader was booed yesterday as calls for him to step down mounted within his own party, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

But, says BusinessDay, there are indications that party officials will stick by him and are preparing to reach out to ANC branches in an effort to manage the fallout.

Zuma was booed in Pretoria as he left a debate of the National House of Traditional Leaders.

A group of young people and commuters taunted the president as he made his way to his official vehicle. Another group sought to counter the jeering with cheers, but they were drowned out.

The president is accused of having used public funds for his own benefit and, separately, of having allowed the powerful businesss interests of the Gupta family influence political decisions.

Lobbying inside and outside the party is intensifying for the ANC to take action against Zuma. Former generals of the ANC’s military wing submitted a memorandum last month, calling for leadership change.

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The ANC’s top brass continue to defend Zuma, with some warning that removing him could lead to a split like the one that followed the forced resignation of former president Thabo Mbeki in 2008.

Regional paper The East African reports that South Sudan’s first vice-president designate Riek Machar said yesterday he would return to the capital Juba on 18 April, the first time since conflict broke out in December 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with Machar.

Machar leads the armed opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement.

Confirming the date of his return, Machar said he would join Salva Kiir in forming a Transitional Government of National Unity.

Death sentences in Kenya increased to 30 last year as other East African nations maintained their penalties at below 10.

Kenya condemned 26 convicts to the hangman’s noose in 2014 up from 11 a year earlier, according to rights group Amnesty International.

Last year the Kenyan Attorney-General suggested a plan to scrap death sentences as part of UN Human Rights Council recommendation.

Egypt led the pack in Africa with 538 death sentences, followed by Nigeria at 171. Crimes that attract death penalty include murder, violent robbery, treason and military offences such as spying, mutiny and aiding national enemies, according to Kenya’s Penal Code.

The International Monetary Fund said yesterday that it intends to deepen its engagement with Somalia through a 12-month programme to assist and monitor the reform of government operations and fiscal management.

The so-called Staff-Monitored Programme does not involve financial support, but is a necessary step toward a potential IMF loan programme. A similar programme for Afghanistan has helped to mobilise billions of dollars in donation pledges.

Source: rfi afrique