Friday 19 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
A South African court on Friday struck down a long-running effort by late president Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to claim ownership of his former rural home. The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal against a lower court's ruling that she was not the rightful owner of the property in his childhood village. Mandela, the country's first democratic president, spent much of his early years in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province after being born nearby. He regularly returned to the village after his retirement and was buried there in 2013. In his will, the anti-apartheid icon left the house to his family trust, but Madikizela-Mandela claimed it belonged to her under customary law...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
A former leader of a black tribal homeland that was one of the so-called Bantustans that helped to underpin South Africa's apartheid system has died, local media reported on Friday. Lucas Mangope, 94, was president of Bophuthatswana until democracy in 1994 after which the 10 small apartheid-created states were dismantled and South Africa's first democratic president Nelson Mandela described him as a "forgotten man". "Mangope was among the African personalities... that sustained the apartheid social engineering of ethnic division," the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said in a statement. "Mangope was an outspoken opponent of the democratisation project in South Africa as led by the ANC."
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants international observers including UN officials to watch over the country's upcoming elections, he said in a Financial Times interview. Mnangagwa has adopted a more diplomatic tone since taking over as leader in November, after the ousting of the authoritarian Robert Mugabe, his former boss. After announcing earlier this week that elections will be held in four to five months, the new president invited international observers to Zimbabwe for the vote. "We want fair, free, credible elections," he told British business newspaper the Financial Times in an interview published Thursday.
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
Leading Zimbabwe opposition figure Roy Bennett, one of long-time president Robert Mugabe's most outspoken critics, has died in a helicopter crash in a remote area of the US state of New Mexico, authorities said Thursday. He was 60. Bennett was killed along with his wife Heather and three other people after the helicopter went down on Wednesday, New Mexico state police said. A crash survivor called 911 for help but could not say where in the mountainous region the wreckage...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
Opposition lawmakers in Burundi on Thursday said 42 activists had been arrested for illegally contesting an upcoming referendum that could let President Pierre Nkurunziza extend his stay in office. Those arrested "were held arbitrarily and have been imprisoned on the accusation of campaigning for a No vote," Pierre-Celestin Ndikumana, who heads a coalition called Amizero y'Abarundi ("Hope of the Burundians"), told AFP. The plebiscite is about a planned change of the constitution that would enable Nukurunziza -- in power since...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
The ousted former prime minister of Guinea Bissau, Carlos Gomes Junior, who has spent five years in Portugal, on Thursday returned to the country amid a political crisis. He was greeted at Bissau airport by singing crowds, some holding placards which read "the son of the country is back". "Today, I have returned to embrace my brothers, my friends, to encourage them to find a way out of this crisis through dialogue," he told supporters of the ruling African Party...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
A former defence chief for the Ivory Coast's ousted leader was sentenced to 15 years on Thursday for conspiring against the government, the latest top aide of the former regime to be jailed. Moise Lida Kouassi, a defence minister under strongman Laurent Gbagbo, was convicted by a court in Abidjan of "conspiring to destroy or change the constitutional system" alongside three other defendants. Gbagbo was forced out after months of violence that followed his refusal to step down when rival...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
GENEVA (Reuters) - Militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are uniting in opposition to President Joseph Kabila, a senior U.N. official there told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday. In 2017, a brutal conflict in Congo’s southwestern Kasai region drew international attention and condemnation because of reports of atrocities by pro-government militias. Less attention was paid to escalating violence by armed groups in eastern provinces bordering Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia. “What we hear is that whilst...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has fired his powerful intelligence chief, state media said Thursday, in the latest shake-up of the country's security services. Sisi appointed his chief-of-staff and close ally General Abbas Kamel as interim replacement for outgoing intelligence head General Khaled Fawzy, according to state media. No reason was given for the move, which comes ahead of presidential elections to be held in March. Sisi, who has run the country with an iron fist since 2014, has not...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday called on prosecutors to act urgently in pursuit of a firm owned by friends of scandal-plagued President Jacob Zuma, as pressure mounted on him to step down. Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma as head of the ruling African National Congress last month, making him likely to replace Zuma as the country’s next president in 2019 - or even earlier, if Zuma resigns. In recent days he has gone on the offensive against companies controlled by the Gupta family, businessmen friends of Zuma accused of unduly using political...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Thursday at talks in Cairo they were opposed to any "conflict" over the sharing of Nile waters. Sisi said that Desalegn's visit was "a clear sign for our peoples and the entire world of our political will and determination to overcome all obstacles" between the two countries. The Nile should serve as "a source of cohesion... and development, not of conflict" with Ethiopia, which is building a controversial...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged on Thursday not to let differences over a dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile river ruin relations with Addis Ababa. Ethiopia hopes the hydroelectric Grand Renaissance Dam will make it Africa’s largest power exporter. Egypt says it threatens its water supply which relies almost exclusively on the Nile that runs from Ethiopia through Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Addis Ababa says it will have no impact. Sisi said...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, the country's new president has said, pointing to an earlier date than expected following the ousting of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office in November after a shock military takeover ended Mugabe's 37-year reign. "Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months' time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace," Mnangagwa said Wednesday during a visit to neighbouring Mozambique. Mnangagwa, 75, vowed to hold...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, a newspaper on Thursday quoted President Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying, the first time since independence the southern African state will conduct a vote that does not involve Robert Mugabe. The vote, a litmus test of Mnangagwa’s democratic credentials, will be crucial to unlocking badly needed financial assistance and repairing relations with Western powers and international financial institutions. Mnangagwa, a protege of Mugabe, came to power in November after...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Congo's government met with members of a key rebel group on Wednesday for the first time since a landmark ceasefire was signed after months of renewed armed conflict in the oil-rich nation. Fighters loyal to ex-rebel chief Frederic Bintsamou -- seen as having disbanded after a 2003 peace deal -- rose up again in April last year in protest at the re-election of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. The fighting in the southern Pool region affected at least 138,000 people and...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s parliament approved on Wednesday an increased military presence in Libya and the deployment of up to 470 troops in Niger to combat migration and the trafficking of people toward Europe, many of whom wash up on Italian shores. At the end of last year, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said he would redeploy some troops to North Africa from Iraq and Afghanistan, requiring parliament to reopen to give its consent, despite having already closed ahead of the...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s presidency on Thursday denied that President Muhammadu Buhari had given a radio interview in which he said that he did not know whether he would seek re-election in 2019. Reuters had cited Buhari as saying in the interview that the decision was both personal and also one for all Nigerians. The presidency said the person speaking had not been Buhari, and that Buhari had not given any interviews on Thursday. It was not immediately clear who...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Ghana's president, Nana Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday vowed no let-up in security after an investigation was launched into a possible extremist plot in the capital. Three men were charged on Tuesday with possession of explosives after suspected hand grenades were found in the Odorkor area of Accra. Ghana's inspector general of police, David Asante-Apeatu, said officers were looking for "potential allies" of the trio "inside and outside the country". Akufo-Addo told a news conference to mark his first year in power...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
Prominent Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina was freed from jail on Wednesday after the government dropped charges against him as part of a wider prisoner amnesty, state media reported. In his first reported comments after his release, Merera urged the government to hold "honest negotiations" with political organisations to consolidate a national consensus. Merera is the first high-profile dissident to be freed since Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced earlier this month that Ethiopia would release an unspecified number of jailed...

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