African press review 31 August 2015 (RFI (France))


The ‘world’s tallest man’ is in Zimbabwe; the hour of reckoning nears for Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, who fanned xenophobic attacks on Africans; and the Nigerian president has his daggers drawn …

We begin in Nigeria where there is a tense standoff between the Buhari administration and the previous government over its plans to prosecute past officials suspected of corruption.

Vanguard reports that relations between President Muhammadu Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan have deteriorated to an extent that a former minister wrote to the new Nigerian leader warning him to give his predecessor his due respect.

The author of the explosive missive is Abubakar Suleiman, a former minister of national planning. He reportedly warned Buhari that the new government had been trying to portray all members of the Jonathan administration “as corrupt and irresponsible, in an orchestrated and vicious trial by the media,” which he said had created “a lynch mentality that discredits our honest contributions to the growth and development of our beloved nation.”

The Buhari administration has alleged several fraudulent practices against Jonathan’s ministers, including a recent allegation that the former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison Madueke, illegally took $6.9m from the coffers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to fund the bogus purchase of three mobile stages for Jonathan’s public appearances.

In South Africa the Sowetan is monitoring investigations into the role played by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini in the xenophobic attacks that hit KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the country in March. The newspaper reports that the South African Human Rights Commission has documented more than 30 complaints from all nine provinces.

King Zwelithini shocked many people in the Rainbow Nation when he suggested that certain countries playing a role in South Africa’s struggle for liberation “should not be used as an excuse to create a situation where foreigners are allowed to inconvenience locals”.

A spokesman of the Swaziland Solidarity Network labelled the Zulu monarch as a “hypocrite and lunatic”. “He must start in his own house, reacted the rights activist, by deporting two of his two wives Zola Mafu and Mantfombi Dlamini. Zwelithini married Dlamini, the sister of Swaziland’s King Mswati III, in 1973 and married Mafu in July last year.

Dozens of foreign nationals were killed and thousands forced to abandon their businesses and homes in the violence that started in Durban, spreading to townships in and around Johannesburg in April and May this year. This, after the Zulu king asked all foreigners to go back to their countries and leave South Africa jobs for the unemployed youth of South Africa.

The Sowetan says the Human Rights Commission plans to communicate its findings to citizens, some of whom may be planning to seek judicial action.

In Zimbabwe, The Standard carries the apology issued by a South African for the xenophobic attacks that displaced more than 1,000 Zimbabweans early this year. King Bhungane III of AmaHlubi Nation told journalists in Bulawayo that South Africans should appreciate that they had a “deep background they share with Zimbabwe”.

The king is among a high-profile list of South Africans in the country for a two-night gospel gala that featured award-winning artists from the neighbouring country at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda, Matabeleland South.

And the Standard sat down with one of the world’s tallest men, 22-year-old Billal Hyder. The Pakistani, who is 2.4 metres tall according to the paper, stole the limelight at the just-ended Harare agricultural show where he represented an abstract art painting company known as Flash Paints. Hyder, who is in the country at the invitation of Harare’s mayor, has been turning heads since his arrival in Harare last weekend, according to the paper.

In the interview, Hyder speaks about segregation during his life, as well as his childhood aspiration of being a soldier. He also pointed out that he had not given up on it and should he get the chance, he would grab it with both hands. Hyder is reportedly due to tour several cities in the country including Mutare and Bulawayo before the end of his two-week stay, according to the Standard.