When a politician at the centre of a scandal tells you he or she doesn’t want to comment on a story, reporters in Britain tend to write so-and-so “refused to comment”.
African papers have a different style. Julius Malema, the charismatic and controversial president of the ANC Youth League, is under pressure for allegedly making £11m from state contracts in the last two years.
The Times of South Africa called Malema about the latest allegations and quoted his response verbatim:
“Don’t you know I have a spokesman from the ANC Youth League? Stop calling me about these things, okay?”
It’s not quite as good as my favourite version of ‘no comment’, which was made by Joseph Kinyua, the permanent secretary in Kenya’s Finance ministry, to the Standard newspaper in May 2009:
“Oh no, I’m not talking to you…No! No! No”