African press review 5 August 2017


The Daily Nation is busy covering what it calls Kenya’s “most competitive election yet”. The poll takes place due on Tuesday and “all eyes are on Kenya”, according to the newspaper.

Over 5,000 election observers and hundreds of foreign journalists – including RFI’s Daniel Finnan – are in the country to cover the polls that will pit the ruling Jubilee Party’s President Uhuru Kenyatta against his main rival Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA).

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry is heading a 67-strong US observer mission, as well as coleading the Carter Centre, which has deployed 80 observers.

The East African Community (EAC) has sent out 60 observers, adding to the European Union’s 72 observers, and a 15-member team sent by the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission (CEOM).

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said it was swamped by requests for accreditation from more than 25 international groups to take part.

To read our reports of Kenya’s 2017 election click here

These elections are set to be tense.

The Daily Nation reports that over 150,000 police officers were deployed to voting centres yesterday. They were drawn from the regular unit, the Administration Police and the General Service Unit, in order to protect Kenyans and maintain peace, according to the inspector-general.

Military deployment contested

Despite all the supervising bodies, there are some tensions on the horizon.The Standard the National Super Alliance Party has filed a lawsuit to stop the state from deploying the military to maintain peace.

NASA claims the government has hatched a plan to deploy the military in areas perceived to be the opposition party’s strongholds so to intimidate voters.

The alliance argues that there is no way the military can leave the barracks on 8 August to maintain peace throughout the country, as the National Assembly has not given the green light.

No surprise in Rwanda poll

Meanwhile in neighbouring Tanzania, the The Citizen is covering a more predictable election in Rwanda, where Paul Kagame has been voted back into office for a third term. Across the country dubbed the “land of 1,000 hills”, voters queued outside polling stations to cast their ballots in the third election since the end of the 1994 genocide.

Some seven million Rwandans were registered to vote in the poll which pitted Kagame against two little-known candidates seen as unlikely to pose any threat to the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

Several voters quoted by The Citizen said they did not even know the names of the two opposition candidates, Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party, and independent Philippe Mpayimana.

God and Muhammadu Buhari

Finally Punch brings us more news of Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari, who seems to be in very good hands.

Buhari has been battling an undisclosed illness since the start of the year and spent long periods out of the country, receiving treatment in the London. But yesterday he was visited by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who described Buhari as his friend.

A presidential spokesman says the Anglican leader described the president’s recovery as a testimony to the healing powers of God and an answer to prayers of millions of people around the world.

“The cleric pledged to continue praying”, the statement read, “for both President Buhari and Nigeria.”

It’s not the first time Welby has had kind words for Buhari. When former British Prime Minister David Cameron described Nigeria as a “fantastically corrupt” country in 2016, Welby had retorted that “this particular president is actually not corrupt”.

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