Wednesday 21 February 2018
(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 a de-facto military coup when the 93-year-old was forced to resign after the military confined him to his Harare mansion. It was the culmination of a power struggle between Mnangagwa and former first lady Grace Mugabe, who was being groomed...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
An aide to former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has revealed how generals warned him to step aside as protests against him grew, or face being "lynched" like Libya's Moamer Kadhafi. Massive street protests against 93-year-old Mugabe erupted after the military briefly took power in November following the veteran leader's sacking of then-vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe subsequently resigned after apparently striking a deal with the army and supporters of Mnangagwa who then succeeded Mugabe. "The commanders sent us with a very chilling message, they said 'please go and get the president to appreciate the gravity of the situation out there'," Mugabe's former spokesman...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members into the country, and restrict the green card visa lottery in exchange for shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to people briefed...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe was ousted by a "military coup" that forced his resignation, former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo said in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Thursday. Moyo, a former higher education minister under the last president and an ardent Mugabe loyalist, said Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa stole power and was leading an "illegal regime". "Mnangagwa and (Vice President Constantino) Chiwenga, they know only too well that they have come into power via the bullet and not the ballot," Moyo, who is in self-imposed exile, told the BBC's Hard Talk programme. It was unclear where he gave the interview. "We have a... constitution that the people of Zimbabwe...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - If Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were to stand down - as he has hinted - the party he founded would face immediate instability and could even split, handing a gift to new President Emmerson Mnangagwa in an election this year. The most visible opposition figure in the southern African nation since independence from Britain in 1980, Tsvangirai said on Monday it was time for the older generation to make way for younger leaders in the party. Mnangagwa, 75, rose to power last November after Robert Mugabe stood down following a de facto coup, ending a 37-year reign marked by economic mismanagement, corruption and vote rigging allegations. Investors and Western governments who cheered the end of Mugabe’s...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/09/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s anti-corruption agency is investigating whether former first lady Grace Mugabe was wrongly awarded a university doctorate more than three years ago, an official said on Tuesday. Grace, whose efforts to take over the leadership of the ruling ZANU-PF party prompted a de facto military coup against her husband, then-president Robert Mugabe, in November, graduated in 2014, just months after she had registered to study at the University of Zimbabwe. Up to now, her dissertation for the doctorate has not been published and is not available in the university library, as such academic qualifications usually are. “We indeed received a report from the sociology department at the university...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday signalled a coming change of leadership in his party following the removal of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, saying it was time a new generation took over. "I am looking at the imminent prospects of us as the older generation leaving the levers of leadership to allow the younger generation to take forward this huge task that we started together so many years ago with our full blessing and support," said Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in a statement.
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Monday it was time for the older generation to step back and allow “new hands” to lead, raising prospects of leadership change in the party. Tsvangirai, a former trade union leader who has been at the helm of the MDC since its formation in 1999, disclosed in June 2016 that he had cancer. Last year, he spent weeks in a South African hospital receiving treatment. Pictures of a frail Tsvangirai meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Robert Mugabe in November after he was eased from office by a de facto military coup, have increased calls that he consider giving way to a new opposition...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Zimbabwean anti-corruption investigators said Monday they are probing whether former first lady Grace Mugabe fraudulently obtained a doctorate that she apparently received within months and the dissertation for which remains unpublished. Grace, whose apparent desire to succeed her 93-year-old husband prompted the army takeover that eventually saw Robert Mugabe resign, was awarded a PhD by the University of Zimbabwe in 2014. Critics argued at the time that Grace, 52, had not actually studied or undertaken research to earn the doctorate and that she had been handed her diploma just months after enrolling. PhDs typically require several years of full-time research and writing. Her dissertation has never been made public, according to local media, breaking with the established policy of most...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
A Zimbabwe court on Saturday freed on bail two ex-ministers who served in former President Robert Mugabe's government and face charges of criminal abuse of office and corruption. Former foreign affairs minister, Walter Mzembi, and energy minister, Samuel Undenge, appeared in court after their arrest on Friday. Mzembi was granted $400 bail while Undenge was given $300 bail. They were ordered to report to police once a week and surrender their passports. Several ministers from Mugabe's government have been arrested in the past two months since the military took over power and forced the 93-year-old veteran leader to step down. Most of them have been arrested on corruption charges. Former finance minister Ignatious Chombo, ex-mines minister Walter Chidhakwa and ex-sports...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa made a home visit on Friday to the leader of the country's main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been battling cancer. The visit came as Zimbabwe's political parties prepare to begin campaigning for elections due later this year -- the first since former president Robert Mugabe stood down following a brief military takeover. Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, the former army chief who led November's takeover, said Tsvangirai was "recuperating very well" following his colon cancer diagnosis two years ago. An image of the meeting showed Tsvangirai looking frail as he sat on a couch next to Mnangagwa...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/05/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ruled out forming a coalition government after visiting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday. Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in 2018 in the first big test of Mnangagwa’s legitimacy after he rose to power in November last year following a de facto military coup which saw veteran leader Robert Mugabe reluctantly cede power. Mnangagwa has previously indicated polls could be held as early as March, and is under pressure from civil society, would-be investors and opposition parties to implement political reforms following Mugabe’s 37-year grip on power. “Currently there is no need,” Mnangagwa told reporters, referring to the possibility of forming a coalition with Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mnangagwa’s...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/05/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - A 90-year-old tourist was killed and another tourist left on life support when crocodiles attacked them as they paddled an inflatable boat in Zimbabwe’s Matopos National Park, a parks official said on Friday. John Bowman, 90, and Rosemary Mitchell, 65, were canoeing at Mpopoma Dam, a known crocodile hotspot, when their boat was attacked, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo told Reuters. Bowman and Mitchell are both Zimbabwean. “The crocodiles attacked the air-pumped boat they were using until it punctured. Their colleagues noticed that they were struggling and drove to seek help,” Farawo said. “When the park rangers arrived at the dam, Bowman and Mitchell were still under attack from the crocodiles.” Crocodile attacks are...
(AFP (eng) 01/05/18)
Crocodiles in Zimbabwe savaged a 90-year-old tourist to death and left another traveller critically wounded after attacking their rubber dinghy, the national parks service said Friday. The pair, who are both Zimbabwean, were part of a group participating in a New Year's Eve picnic on Sunday in the Matopos National Park, 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Bulawayo in the country's south. "John Bowman and Rosemary Mitchell were attacked while paddling in the crocodile-infested Mpopoma Dam," said Tinashe Farawo of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Bowman subsequently succumbed to his injuries. "It is unfortunate that they were using air-pumped boats, which are not permissible," added Farawo. Last year. a South African tourist, Scott Van Zyl, 44, was killed by...
(AFP (eng) 01/04/18)
A Zimbabwean court on Thursday set aside a case against an American journalist who was charged with insulting then-president Robert Mugabe on Twitter. Martha O'Donovan was charged with subversion and undermining or insulting Mugabe in an alleged tweet in October that described the ageing leader as "selfish and sick". Mugabe, 93, was toppled in November after a military takeover ended his 37-year rule. The court dropped the case after prosecutors failed to meet a deadline to say when they would be ready to proceed with a trial. "We are glad that the court has honoured its promise and removed our client from remand," O'Donovan's lawyer Obey Shava told journalists. "I would not agree with the notion that there was any...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/04/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - A U.S. citizen charged with attempting to overthrow the Zimbabwean government after police accused her of insulting then-president Robert Mugabe had her case dismissed by a Harare court on Thursday. Martha O‘Donovan works for Magamba TV, which describes itself as Zimbabwe’s leading producer of political satire. She was arrested in November in a dawn raid on her home in the capital after allegedly calling Mugabe, who was ousted in a bloodless coup a few weeks later, a “selfish and sick man” on Twitter. O‘Donovan was first charged with insulting and undermining the president, and subsequently with subversion, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. O‘Donovan denied the accusations and had been granted bail in...
(Reuters 01/03/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has invited bids to buy stakes in up to eight loss-making state-owned enterprises, including its national airline and power utility, to help plug a ballooning budget deficit, its deputy finance minister said on Wednesday. “We are diluting our shareholding in those entities and our shareholding might go to zero percent in some entities,” Terence Mukupe told Reuters.
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...

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