As South African President Jacob Zuma entered a hospital for testing after being advised to get some rest, on the opposite end of the African continent, former Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in as Egypt’s new president as his nation hopes to usher in a period of stability.
Sisi called his landslide election, following the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi last July, “a democratic, peaceful handover of power” that represented “a historic moment and turning point” for the nation.
But democracy appears to be in short supply in Nigeria, where the nation’s army reportedly raided the distribution centers of several leading national newspapers, apparently in an attempt to quell criticism of the government. The army searched delivery vans, read through copies of the current edition and prevented them from being delivered to certain regions, and even arrested some vendors.
While the newspapers and international media groups condemned the actions of the army as censorship, defense officials said it was a routine security operation. They denied confiscating copies.
The military aggression comes as the government and President Goodluck Jonathan are facing pressure to do more to stop the brutal terrorist group Boko Haram, which is responsible for thousands of deaths and has been the focus of an intense international campaign after the abduction of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from Chibok in April.
Before the raids, Nigerian Information Minister Labaran Maku had warned the media not to give “free publicity.” He said they must “define the lines between the urge to report and the need to protect the interest of our nation.”
In South Africa, Zuma’s office said the president, who is 72, would take a few days off from public appearances. Officials said the president is tired after an election in May that put him in office for a second term.
“The president is in need of a rest following a demanding election and transition program to the new administration,” the presidency said, adding Zuma would continue to perform official duties from home.