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Friday, 19 November, 1999, 16:25 GMT
African Media Watch

In this week's Media Watch:

Curfew problems hit Kinshasa

The plight of the ordinary commuter was probably not very high on the list of priorities for the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo when it declared a night-time curfew on Kinshasa last weekend for security reasons.

Curfew has caused chaos in Kinshasa
Kinshasa's La Tempete des Tropiques newspaper reported that the announcement of a 2100 to 0600 curfew had created "a kind of hysteria" among the city's residents.

"Not only do the residents of Kinshasa like late-night gatherings but they ... have to walk long distances either to get a small profit or to `beg' for assistance from a relative or for their business" to make ends meet, the paper wrote.

By late afternoon, it said, when people begin heading for home, all the city's bus stops get overcrowded "to the great pleasure of transport companies which charge twice the fare for the same distance to earn twice or three times as much as they would usually get".

"Kinshasa residents are in desperate straits ... In fact, living conditions have become unbearable," the paper said.

Kampalans struggle over potholes

The humble pothole may be a bane in the lives of car drivers in Africa's urban areas but, according to this week's East African, the newly-elected mayor in Kampala has at least two incentives to do something about them.

Not a pothole in sight - but this road is in South Africa
Ssebaana Kizito, is said to be the man responsible for what the paper described as the city's "fiercest ever" battle against the pothole menace.

Columnist Charles Onyango-Obbo said the new man in the job initially had upset city residents when he ordered a new official car.

"Those criticisms are dying out. The joke now is that the new car helped Ssebaana push for the massive attack on the city's potholes - so he could fully savour the vehicle's comfort," he wrote.

The paper said that the people of Kampala would not be happy if the new "pothole killer" failed to deliver.

"It had better change. Ssebaana is an opposition politician and cannot, like some of his predecessors, rely on the government to protect him if the city gets restless," the columnist wrote.

"He may be the best mayor Kampala has had in a long time, but Ssebaana is also the one whose next meal card depends most on the last pothole."

Somalis upset by fishy goings on

Concerns of a different sort were expressed in Somalia this week with reports that prominent civic leaders have called on the government of Djibouti to assist in bringing a halt to illegal fishing in Somalia's territorial waters.

Many coastal communities depend on fishing for their livelihood
A report in the Somali newspaper Ayaamaha described the scale of the abuse as "massive", adding that the situation had been exploited due to the absence of a central government in Somalia. It urged the Djibouti government to send surveillance ships to help protect Somali waters.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the `Xog-Ogaal' newspaper, police in the breakaway region of Somaliland seized five fishing boats and arrested at least 60 Yemenis caught fishing in waters claimed by the republic as its own.

Nimeiri back in business

Sudan's former military leader, Jaafar Nimeiri, who returned home in May this year after 14 years in exile, has launched a private company with the aim of helping to develop the country's natural resources.

Nimeiri: Introduced Islamic Sharia law into Sudan
According to a report by the Pan-African News Agency, the Nimeiri development and Investment Company plans to invest in agriculture, electricity, water and health care.

"This is a company for development and not for profiteering and material gain," said Mr Nimeiri.

Mr Nimeiri's decision to set up the firm appears to mark the latest stage in his rehabilitation since his return and the launch of his political party, the Alliance of the People's Working Forces.

For the last few weeks he has also been appearing regularly on television to give an account of his days in office.

Mr Nimeiri, who remains a controversial figure in Sudan, was ousted from power in 1985 by a wave of popular protests that received the support of the army.

Dar looks forward to tea time

Dar es Salaam's tiny stock exchange is set to receive a big boost next month when the first privately-owned firm joins the market.

Tea: Universal appeal
Tanzania Tea Packers Ltd (Tatepa) is only the third company to list on the exchange, which first opened for business in April 1998. It follows in the footsteps of Tanzania Breweries Ltd and the industrial gas manufacturer, TOL, both of which were part-owned by the Tanzanian Government.

Tatepa's share offering was oversubscribed when it closed earlier this month. Despite problems with smuggling, the company currently controls an estimated 60% of the country's market for blended tea.

Tanzania's stock exchange may be one of the world's smallest but optimistic investors are already expecting big things, pointing to what they see as the huge potential for growth.

The market's chief executive, Hamisi Kibola, told the Panafrican news agency that a number of gold-mining firms as well as tobacco and oil companies are also planning to list in the wake of the tea firm's debut on 6 December.

Next Media Watch update is on 26 November

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