Sunday 19 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
Zimbabwe's veteran leader Robert Mugabe once quipped that he'd rule his country until he turned 100. But the 93-year-old's decades-long grip on power appears to be slipping with the streets filled with protesters calling for his removal and top party leaders abandoning him in droves. First heralded as a liberator who rid the former British colony Rhodesia of white minority rule, Robert Gabriel Mugabe was soon cast in the role of a despot who crushed political dissent and ruined the national economy. After years behind bars as a political prisoner, Mugabe then led a bloody liberation war, which coupled with sanctions, forced the Rhodesian government to the negotiating table, with the country finally winning...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
Egypt opened its largely sealed border with Gaza on Saturday for the first time since a reconciliation agreement saw the Palestinian Authority take control of the crossing from Hamas. A Palestinian official at the Rafah crossing said it had opened at 0700 GMT and was expected to stay open for three days. "Egypt will open the crossing for humanitarian cases registered with the interior ministry," the official said, adding that civilian and security personnel on the Palestinian side were all employees of the reconciliation government headed by Rami Hamdallah. Up to 20,000 people from Gaza have applied to enter Egypt.
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
The tide seemed to be turning against embattled President Robert Mugabe on Saturday as thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets in rallies sanctioned by the army to call for him to go. Soldiers whipped-up crowds of anti-Mugabe marchers into a frenzy of cheering and dancing in downtown Harare, flanked by the tanks and armoured personnel carriers used by the generals to seize control earlier this week. "We are happy our soldiers stood with us, the people. They must finish...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
Thousands of protesters flooded Zimbabwe's streets demanding Robert Mugabe's resignation on Saturday in a movement organised by independence war veterans and backed by ruling party barons and the army. The mass turnout came after an unprecedented week which saw the army's top brass seizing power and putting Mugabe under house arrest in response to his sacking of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. It was a stunning turnaround for Mugabe who has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since 1980. Veterans of...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
Togo's authorities were on Friday urged to end their crackdown on anti-government protests and open talks to end a months-long political crisis. Thirteen international and local human rights organisations said the government should "end the bloody repression" and talk to those involved in the stand-off. The call came as thousands of opposition supporters again took to the streets of the capital, Lome, to demand the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe. Three days of marches have been planned for this week, ending on Saturday. Friday's demonstration passed off without incident...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
Five months after he was appointed to lead UN peace efforts in Libya, Ghassan Salame says he is focused on building institutions as a way to unite the country. The 66-year-old Lebanese-born academic told AFP in an interview that if state institutions can begin to work, Libya will finally change course after years of chaos since the fall of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. "The key to my approach is institutions," Salame said. "If in a year or two, we can...
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe appeared publicly Friday for the first time since the military takeover in a defiant gesture, but faces pressure to step down from his party ahead of weekend protests. Leaders of eight of ten regional branches of the 93-year-old's ruling ZANU-PF party took to state television in an apparently coordinated push to call for him to go. "The province resolved unanimously to recall the president... from being the president of the party and the government," said Cornelius Mupereri, a spokesman for the party's Midlands region. Mupereri was one of several branch officials to appear on ZBC's nightly news to read almost identical statements calling on the liberation hero turned autocrat to resign
(AFP (eng) 11/18/17)
he African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate "slave markets" of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men. The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400. Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a "despicable trade... from another era". Meanwhile Senegal's government. commenting on Facebook, expressed "outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,"...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
The largely sealed border between Gaza and Egypt was set to open for three days for the first time since the Palestinian reconciliation deal, an official said on Friday. Interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum told AFP the Rafah crossing from the coastal Palestinian enclave into Egypt would be open from Saturday. However, only humanitarian cases registered with the ministry would be allowed to leave, with this including up to 20,000 people in the empoverished enclave of two million, he added...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Showing repentance will no longer prevent the death penalty from being applied for blasphemy and apostasy, Mauritania said Friday, as the conservative Muslim nation hardens up its religious laws. The decision follows the release on November 9 of a blogger previously condemned to death for criticising religious justification for discrimination in Mauritanian society. A new bill will "harden up expected sentences for blasphemers," the government of the west African nation said in a statement released by the official AMI news...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
A top US official Friday called on Sudan to stop demolitions of "mosques and churches" as alleged by campaign groups, insisting that Washington will push for human rights and religious freedom in the country. US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan also said that how Khartoum promotes freedom of expression and other human rights will be "critical" in deciding the future of relations between the two countries. "The government of Sudan, including the federal states, should also immediately suspend demolition...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Three people were shot dead Friday in Nairobi, an AFP reporter saw, as police dispersed thousands of opposition supporters welcoming home their leader Raila Odinga from an overseas trip. The three men, all with bullet wounds in the upper body, were seen lying on the road in Muthurwa, a city suburb where riot police armed with tear gas, water cannons and rifles clashed with stone throwing protesters, part of angry battles that lasted throughout the day. Odinga won an unprecedented...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
The leader of Zimbabwe's war veterans association, an influential voice in national politics, on Friday said President Robert Mugabe must step down at once and urged people to protest against the veteran leader. Christopher Mutsvangwa told a press conference the "game was up" for Mugabe and his wife Grace. He called for a huge turnout at street protests planned for Saturday in Harare. "The generals have done a fantastic job. It's done, it's finished," he said. "We want to restore...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Opposition leader Raila Odinga returned to Kenya on Friday only to have his welcome party in Nairobi broken up by police firing tear gas at his convoy and supporters, an AFP reporter saw. Odinga won an unprecedented court victory overturning the result of the August 8 presidential poll, leading to a rerun last month that he then boycotted claiming it would not be free and fair. Kenya's Supreme Court is due to rule Monday on whether President Uhuru Kenyatta can...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attended a university graduation ceremony Friday, making a first public appearance since the military takeover that appeared to signal the end of his 37-year reign. Despite his show of defiance, pressure mounted on the 93-year-old leader to quit as veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war -- key players in the country's power structure -- called for mass anti-Mugabe demonstrations on Saturday. Mugabe, 93, had been confined to house arrest after the military took over the country. But on Friday, he walked into the ceremony venue in Harare dressed in a blue academic gown and tasselled hat, before listening to speeches...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that the people of Zimbabwe must be allowed to choose their own government through democratic elections, after the military took power. "We all should work together for a quick return to a civilian rule in that country in accordance with their constitution," he said, ahead of talks with African foreign ministers. Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe made a defiant appearance at a university graduation, but power in Harare has...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
The United Nations on Friday underscored its commitment to Cameroon's "territorial integrity and unity" as the francophone-majority country grappled with violence and separatism in two English-speaking regions. The UN's Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) said it was deeply concerned by the upsurge in violence, "particularly against the civilian population and state agents." UNOCA chief Francois Lounceny Fall, who is also the secretary general's envoy for central Africa, recalled the commitment of the UN to "the territorial integrity and unity...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared well-placed to reprise his leading role in Zimbabwe after returning to the country in the wake of the army's takeover, prompted by his sacking by President Robert Mugabe. Nicknamed "Ngwena" (The Crocodile) because of his fearsome power and ruthlessness, the 75-year-old has a reputation for taking no prisoners -- but appeared to have been outfoxed by Grace Mugabe. The first lady, who is 41 years younger than her husband, apparently convinced the veteran head of state to...
(AFP (eng) 11/17/17)
The US embassy in Liberia on Thursday expressed "confidence in the integrity" of first-round voting in the country's presidential election, urging political leaders to allow a "timely conclusion" of the vote. A second round of voting to choose a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was suspended indefinitely by the Supreme Court on October 31 pending the resolution of a fraud complaint lodged with the electoral commission. Ex-footballer George Weah was supposed to face Vice President Joseph Boakai in a run-off on November 7. "The US Embassy has confidence in the integrity of the October elections," the Monrovia-based mission said in a statement.
(Reuters 11/17/17)
It was the early 1990s when President Robert Mugabe’s eye fell upon one of his shy young typists. She would become his wife, a ferociously ambitious politician and, more than two decades later, a contributor to the downfall of her 93-year-old husband. President Mugabe is trying to cling to power after the military took over this week in response to his purge of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, a liberation war fighter and Grace’s sworn enemy. Mnangagwa’s aides even accused...

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