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South Africa’s President Reinvigorates Questions About Land Ownership

When South African President Jacob Zuma rose to deliver the opening remarks to a session of the country's House of Traditional Leaders in Cape Town last month, the mood was, at best, politely attentive. As the president plodded through his prepared remarks on the state of the country, he didn't so much as look up at the bright patchwork of leopard skin cloaks and beaded headdresses in front of him - and his heavy-lidded audience afforded him approximately equal enthusiasm.

Start the conversation, or Read more at US News & World Report.

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To protect democracy, only the ANC – not Parliament – must rid SA of Zuma – Mail & Guardian

While South Africans grapple with Jacob Zuma’s one-upmanship of the country’s political order, a disturbing narrative is creeping into the mass action call for the president to step down, which could ruin the gains of democracy in the country.

This narrative, a call on MPs, particularly those of the ANC, to break ranks with their political parties and vote with their consciences on the no-confidence vote against Zuma is dangerous.

The call was first made by former rector and vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State Professor Jonathan Jansen on social media where he wrote: “How I long for a country in which the elected representatives of the people vote their conscience and not their careers.”

It was followed by a similar call by former president Thabo Mbeki, who wrote: “MPs, each elected to this position by the people as a whole, and never by individual political parties, including their own, must act in Parliament as the voice of the people, not the voice of the political parties to which they might belong.”

This call, which comes from some of South Africa’s most eminent minds, seeks to disentangle the ANC’s dominant position in Parliament, which has frustrated previous efforts by opposition parties to remove the president.

It seeks to be a Plan B to force Zuma to step down.

Yet this suggestion, which looks logical and could be the solution to immediate problems, is fraught with dangers that will haunt the country in the aftermath.

Some of Africa’s worst dictators had to break the unity of multiparty political formations to secure their grip on their countries.

From Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana to King Mswati III in Swaziland and for more than half a century the argument has been the same: party politics deprive individual MPs the right to vote with their consciences in Parliament.

Political parties, the argument further goes, do not serve the interests of the people but are beholden to the dictates of their manifestos, which do not necessarily reflect the wishes of citizens.

If Jansen really wishes to see a political system where MPs do vote with their consciences, without any political party affiliation, all he has to do is jump over the fence into Swaziland and visit our Parliament when it is sitting.

He will find that there, too, motions for votes of no confidence in the government have been moved several times without any success. He will also find that careerism and individual self-interest are just as rife as it is in South Africa.

Zuma’s presidency has tested the endurance of South Africa’s democracy in an unprecedented way.

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US defence secretary arrives in Cairo for Sisi meeting

US defence secretary arrives in Cairo for Sisi meeting

AFP | 2017-04-20 10:49:29.0

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. File photo

US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis arrived in Cairo Thursday on the latest leg of a regional tour, as ties with Egypt continue to warm under President Donald Trump.

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After touching down at Cairo airport, Mattis set off to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was hailed by Trump during a White House visit earlier this month.

Sisi's visit marked a shift in relations after Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had given the Egyptian leader the cold shoulder for staging the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Obama temporarily suspended military aid to Egypt following a bloody crackdown on Morsi's supporters.

Trump, however, has set aside criticism of Sisi's human rights record while pledging to maintain support for the key US ally which receives an annual $1.3 billion in military aid.

After meeting Sisi, Mattis is scheduled to hold talks with Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi. He leaves Thursday afternoon to Israel.

No announcement is expected during the Egyptian leg of the tour, which started with a visit to Saudi Arabia.

In Egypt, talks are likely to touch on the military's counterinsurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, where an Islamic State group affiliate has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen.

The Pentagon is also concerned with preventing jihadists from crossing Libya's porous border with Egypt and the reported presence of Russian troops in Egypt's western desert, which Cairo has denied.



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Cameroon ends internet shutdown on orders of President Paul Biya

Cameroon ends internet shutdown on orders of President Paul Biya

Image caption Businesses such as this one were badly hit by the internet ban

Internet services in Cameroon's English-speaking regions have been turned back on three months after they were cut off following protests.

People were delighted when online access was restored in both regions on Thursday at around 19:00 GMT, a BBC correspondent in Bamenda reports.

Before the ban, authorities had warned mobile phone users they faced jail for spreading false information.

Communications and the economy were badly affected by the shutdown.

Anglophone Cameroonians make up about 20% of the country's 23 million people. The other regions of the country are predominately French-speaking.

Africa Live: BBC News updates Google coding champion with no internet Why has Cameroon blocked the internet? Find out more about Cameroon

Celebrations: Frederic Takang, BBC News, Bamenda, Cameroon

Excited groups gathered in the city centre to share the news with each other on Thursday night, as passing cars honked their horns in celebration.

Students, those working in the financial sector, and businesses who sell products online say they suffered hugely during the ban.

Cyber-cafes which were forced to close are now reopening.

My own work and family life were affected.

I had to make a four-hour round trip to a neighbouring region every time I wanted to send radio reports to my editors.

There are those who see this as the first step towards resolving tensions between the government and the Anglophone community.

Some are encouraging their friends to be less outspoken on social media to avoid another shutdown.

But others are still angry and say the release of three leaders of the Anglophone protests and 30 others who are still detained should be the priority.

Prominent Cameroonian entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong welcomed the news on Twitter, using the #BringBackOurInternet hashtag, which had been employed by many to pressure the government to lift the ban.

Image copyright Twitter

Others celebrated being able to use social media once more:

Image copyright Twitter

Workers in Cameroon's tech hub, known as Silicon Mountain, had to relocate to areas where the internet was still available.

Anglophone Cameroonians in the North-West and South-West regions had been protesting over marginalisation and the imposition of French in their schools and courts.

Announcing the lifting of the ban, the government said it reserved the right to "take measures to stop the internet once again becoming a tool to stoke hatred and division among Cameroonians".

Image caption North-West and South-West are Cameroon's two English-speaking regions

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West Africa: The Region in Niger Quietly Piloting a Boko Haram Amnesty

analysisBy Edward Rackley

The bold experiment is proving attractive, but comes fraught with dangers.

In mid-December 2016, in rural Diffa region on Niger's southern border with Nigeria, fourteen men gave themselves up to authorities. The group said that they were former fighters of Boko Haram and that they had abandoned their weapons in the bush.

News of this impromptu surrender from the Islamist militant group responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and millions of displacements came as a surprise to most in the area. But not to regional authorities.

Since late last year, they had been quietly testing a tactic of asking families whose children have joined Boko Haram to spread word of an amnesty. If they surrendered, fighters were told, they would be pardoned and assisted in rejoining their communities.

Before then, the main regional response to the brutal Islamist militant group had been military. This has had some successes in weakening the combatants, and the last major Boko Haram attack in Niger in which civilians were killed was in September 2016. But in Nigeria, where the group originated, and beyond, gruesome assaults, abductions, and bombings of schools and markets continued.

To those in Diffa, these attacks have been shocking. But more distressing to many has been the rate of voluntary conscription amongst Niger's youth. Imams and village chiefs return to one question: "What about this savagery is attractive to our young?" Families and leaders tussle with this issue, but many simply refuse to countenance that those who join Boko Haram from Niger are truly radicalised.

It was with this belief in mind - as well as an awareness of the limits of a ground war - that the experimental amnesty plan was hatched last year. The exact details of the "secret messaging" campaign are unclear, but local leaders express pride in their initiative, which they say is ongoing, and follow it closely.

As the prefect of Maïné-Soroa told me, "Governor [of Diffa Region] Dan Dano calls every night to ask how many Boko have surrendered."

As of late-March, the number stood at nearly 150 across Diffa.

Planning ahead

In terms of numbers, the amnesty scheme has so far proven to be effective. The logic behind it is also clear. Uganda's use of a similar strategy to entice defections from the Lord's Resistance Army in the early-2000s is widely believed to have weakened rebel ranks. And Diffa's experiment comes at a time when Boko Haram is already facing factional splintering and other difficulties.

As a locally-designed and -executed initiative, it is also impressive and promising. Often when disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) schemes are implemented, they are imported internationally with little local ownership. But this is not the case with Diffa, and other regions facing the same problem are watching the bold experiment closely.

However, while local leaders are buoyed by progress so far, not everyone is convinced.

Some believe that the policy is a distraction from tackling the longer-term push factors - such as poverty and a weak state - that lead youth to join Boko Haram in the first place. Meanwhile others worry that funds from other more widely beneficial development projects will be re-directed to rehabilitating former combatants.

As Niger's Minister of Justice Marou Amadou says of ex-Boko Haram fighters, "it costs us money to house them, to feed them".

For his part, Governor Dano says he is not yet seeking funds to help manage the growing caseload. His intent is to pilot the idea and, if it proves tenable, to seek support where it is needed. But this more reactive approach also brings with it certain risks.

At present, anticipated needs only cover the Goudoumaria reintegration centre where vocational training and de-radicalisation programmes are to take place over a two-year period. As in combatant DDR programmes elsewhere, external partners will be involved.

However, if defector numbers spike with no clear plan or resources already in place, the programme could stall. Frustrations could escalate and deserters may revolt or even re-mobilise. This has happened in many other DDR programmes where logistics and planning were slow or inadequate.

Local suspicion

Another serious challenge to the amnesty comes from the fact that, at a grassroots level, many local communities in Niger are not yet on board with the idea. They view the deserters with suspicion and hostility.

Unlike in Uganda, there is currently no legal framework for Diffa's amnesty initiative, meaning there is no official process by which ex-combatants can gain legal status as pardoned deserters. Moreover, some worry that those surrendering are being planted by Boko Haram.

Dano concedes that processing the defectors will take time, but insists there are measures in place to determine threat levels.

"We cross-reference their stories, their claim to a certain village and family, by visiting those places and confirming details. We try to learn more about them, when they left and if witnesses saw them attacking villages here," he says. He also suggests that those who are genuinely radicalised will simply ignore the offer of an amnesty.

In order to drive support for the initiative, Dano along with local prefects and leaders have been appearing before the public. But from all reports, these are purely declaratory rather than responsive exercises.

This could pose a serious problem. If local leadership fails to convince the population, it could undermine the whole endeavour. After all, it is ultimately victims - more so than ex-combatants or state officials - whose buy-in is essential for an amnesty to be effective. For reconciliation and reinsertion of former fighters to be possible, communities must be prepared to accept them back into their lives.

Yet there are currently no participatory approaches being adopted to more closely involve communities, and many simply see the amnesty as impunity. Furthermore, popular sentiment may harden as word spreads that deserters could be rewarded with vocational training and livelihoods assistance while innocent, traumatised communities get nothing.

"We think we are diminishing the ranks of BH with this amnesty effort, but now what are we doing with the defectors?" asks Minister Amadou. "We aren't prosecuting them - none of this is good for us."

The price of peace?

The challenges and risks of Diffa's pilot amnesty are thus clear to see. Trying to pardon and rehabilitate former fighters under volatile and uncertain circumstances comes fraught with dangers, especially if the initiatives are not carefully and thoroughly financed and planned.

Meanwhile, if local communities remain resistant to the idea, the policy could result in deepening resentment, hostility and suspicion.

However, as Boko Haram continues to terrorise Niger and the Lake Chad region, local authorities insist that the risks of continuing with a predominantly military approach are similarly grave.

"We cannot become Nigeria", says Dano.

Fighting Boko Haram may involve policies that are controversial to begin with, say local leaders, but they are ultimately necessary.

Asked how he justifies pardoning former Boko Haram militants and spending scarce funds on their rehabilitation to those in Diffa, the Maïné-Soroa prefect sighs. "I tell them such is the price we have to pay for peace".

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The Times journalist manhandled by ‘policeman’ while Zuma attends Gupta event

The Times journalist manhandled by 'policeman' while Zuma attends Gupta event

TMG Digital | 2017-04-20 20:27:17.0

File photo.
Image by: Daniel Born

A journalist from The Times‚ covering President Jacob Zuma’s attendance at a religious event arranged by the Gupta family‚ was manhandled‚ had her phone confiscated and its contents deleted on Thursday evening.

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Katharine Child said security guards allowed her into the premises of the Military Museum in Saxonwold but she was turned away at the venue’s entrance.

A man in plain clothes‚ who said he was a policeman and told her his name was Morne‚ told her to leave when she identified herself as a journalist. She queried this and he then grabbed her phone.

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"He told me to go. He put his arm around my neck and pushed me and then I said I’m not leaving until you give me my phone back‚" said Child.

He had threatened to arrest her and at one point motioned to the hand cuffs tied to his trousers. The man had then phoned someone and told them that she had taken photographs of the event on her phone.

"I did not take any pictures because it was dark. But he deleted everything from my phone - all my apps‚ all my photos‚ all my phone numbers."

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He then returned the phone to her but security refused to let her back into the premises so that she could get to her car. "He told me to get out the way because the presidential motorcade is leaving‚" she said.

The Times editor Andrew Trench said: “The treatment of our journalist is despicable bullying and is contrary to the police’s own Standing Order 156 which prevents the police from stopping a journalist taking pictures or any visual recording.

“The standing order is clear that under no circumstances may a journalist be verbally or physically assaulted nor their recordings damaged. Their equipment cannot be seized unless to be used as an exhibit. We will be laying criminal charges”.



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Pentagon chief pledges support for Egypt’s Sisi

The brief visit, with Mattis later setting off to Israel, came after Sisi hit it off with Trump during a White House meeting earlier this month.

US defence secretary arrives in Cairo for Sisi meeting

Sisi's visit marked a shift in relations after Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had given the Egyptian leader the cold shoulder for leading the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Obama temporarily suspended military aid to Egypt following a bloody crackdown on Morsi's supporters.

Trump, however, has set aside criticism of Sisi's human rights record while pledging to maintain support for the key US ally which receives an annual $1.3 billion in military aid.

The meeting "addressed aspects of military and security cooperation between the two countries and ways to further enhance them," the president's office said in a statement.

Sisi told Mattis he wanted to "strengthen the ongoing military cooperation between the two countries," it said.

Mattis in turn "reiterated the US's commitment to reinvigorating these relations and broadening prospects for cooperation," it added.

After meeting Sisi, Mattis held talks with Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi at his headquarters, where he was received with a marching band playing the US national anthem.

"We've always had an open relationship," he told Sobhi.

After the meeting, Mattis participated in a wreath laying ceremony at Cairo's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

He then prepared to fly on to Israel on the next leg of his tour, which started in Saudi Arabia.

In Egypt, the talks touched on the military's counterinsurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, where an Islamic State group affiliate has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen.

Mattis "affirmed Egypt's pivotal role in the Middle East and commended its counter-terrorism efforts," the president's office said.

The insurgency in the Sinai took off after Morsi's ouster with the Islamic State group increasingly expanding its attacks to other parts of Egypt.

It claimed two church bombings in the cities of Alexandria and Tanta on April 9 that killed 45 people, months after a deadly Cairo church bombing.

On Thursday, the military announced it had killed a top IS cleric in Sinai air strikes, along with 18 other jihadists.

The Pentagon is also concerned with preventing jihadists from crossing Libya's porous border with Egypt and the reported presence of Russian troops in Egypt's western desert, which Cairo has denied.

After Israel, Mattis will return to the Gulf on Saturday for talks in Qatar.



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Africa: Analysts, Activists Explore Dividends from Empowering Women

Photo: AWDF

The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) is a grantmaking foundation that supports local, national and regional women’s organizations working towards the empowerment of African women and the promotion and realization of their rights.

By Boakai Fofana

Accra — Imagine a future Africa where patriarchy is dead and more women are economically empowered to provide for their own basic needs; one in which they continue to shatter the proverbial glass ceilings to occupy top leadership positions in all spheres.

Imagine an African woman who isn’t limited by the imaginary walls society has set for her and can aspire to reach her full potential through hard work like her male counterparts.

These were the hopes of many of the participants at the just-ended African Women Future Initiatives dialogue which took place in Accra this week to “explore the future of Africa seen through the lens of women’s rights”.

Partnering with the Institute for Democratic Governance – a public policy think tank based in Accra – the event was hosted by the pan-African feminist and grant-making foundation, the Africa Women's Development Fund.

The event brought together women leaders from Ghana and across the continent, including civil society activists, program implementers and analysts.

“We are not very used to thinking about the future beyond a set of hopes about it,” said Jessica Horn, AWDF’s director of programs. She told the audience that as Africans, “we are all committed to the continent and to a vision of the things we hope will happen”.

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Jessica said it requires all hands on deck to help promote democracy and justice on the continent. The idea of the gathering was to give participants time to think a little bit about “where we are headed as a continent.

“We are here to give ourselves time to imagine things outside of what we have to do for the donors next month; imagine things that we know are likely to lead to the kind of Africa that we want.”

Another participant, Katindi Sivi Njonjo, a foresight practitioner, presented a report titled “Futures Africa: Trends for Women by 2030”. It is an analysis of trends which organizers say is the first of its kind to bring together data on gender relevant to Africa’s future. The report tracks key areas that are crucial to women's development, including health, the economy, politics and education.

Its conclusions are not reassuring. It laments that by 2030 Africa is unlikely to be close to gender parity for women in political office; it will take until 2047 for women in developing countries to achieve parity with men in political participation.

The report also indicates that while deaths from HIV/Aids will drop from 2.1 percent of Africa’s population now to about 1.7 percent by 2030, the new killer will be non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and the effects of obesity.

However, Njonjo told AllAfrica that “if you think about the future of women, it’s definitely brighter than it used to be.” She says this is due to the “concerted efforts” that women are putting in place to address their own issues. But she warned that there are still challenges: “Governments are not making policies that are quick enough to address the changes that are happening.”

During the gathering, animated scenarios featuring four imagined states in Africa in 2030 from a feminist and woman’s rights perspective were screened.

In one, a fictional character, Mariam, had just graduated from college in a country that had elected its first female president more than a decade earlier. Things were looking upbeat: the president made sure women’s rights were at the top of the agenda and that “true democracy breathed life”.

The scenario went on to portray a situation in which, after years of reforms, old stereotypes were abandoned for more “open and empowered ways of thinking about people’s capacities” and the government covered 90 percent of the country with an inclusive educational infrastructure which enabled girls and women to assert themselves.

But for this to happen, said Emmanuel Akwetey, the head of the Institute for Democratic Governance, men also needed to reform their thinking on gender.

“They should shift the model a bit to have as many men come to the table to learn and to be partners in bringing about the transformation speedily,” he said.

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Economy under strain but there is hope for SA‚ says Ramaphosa

Economy under strain but there is hope for SA‚ says Ramaphosa

Shenaaz Jamal | 2017-04-19 21:28:53.0

Cyril Ramaphosa speaking at the Black Business Council dinner on Wednesday evening.
Image by: Simphiwe Nkwali

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told investors‚ captains of industry and civil society on Wednesday night that the economy was under strain but there is hope for South Africa.

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He was speaking at a Black Business Council economic recovery engagement dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton‚ Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa said although the country was going through a critical time‚ with the economy under stress‚ that there was still hope.

South Africa could suffer further downgrades if political uncertainty stalls growth: S&P 

"There are difficulties but there is also progress. There is hope that resides in the hearts of South Africans for a better tomorrow‚" he said.

"This country‚ despite what is happening‚ has not come to a standstill and we are working to resolve the issues facing the country‚" he added.

Government‚ he added‚ would not allow any individual‚ grouping or family to capture the state.

Speaking about the country’s recent economic downgrade‚ he said that newly installed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba was on his way to Washington in the US to meet investors and assure them that the South African economy was intact.

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"Despite the downgrade and the silly season there is still a lot of collaboration between business‚ labour‚ government as well as society‚" said Ramaphosa.

Black Business Council president Danisa Baloyi urged the deputy president and the government to implement “radical economic transformation” immediately. Baloyi also stressed the importance of funding and support for small businesses in order to ensure inclusive growth.

Ramaphosa said‚ “Radical means it must be quick‚ there must be change and something must happen immediately and transform the economy to serve all our people."

He said the term radical economic transformation needed further definition.

"Those who dismiss the term need to smell the coffee because the economy has transformed and will transform. There is nothing wrong with radical economic transformation‚" said Ramaphosa.



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Algerian campaign haunted by money scandals, low oil prices

" Algerian politicians have kicked off their campaign for parliamentary elections next month " and the biggest campaign issue is voter apathy, in a country where low oil prices are squeezing the energy-driven economy, young people see few job prospects and authorities have struggled to keep Islamic extremism at bay. Algeria's 22 million voters are also worried about the health of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, rarely seen in public since a 2013 stroke.

Start the conversation, or Read more at The New Zealand Herald.

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Africa: Are South Africa’s Jacob Zuma Days Numbered?

Photo: GCIS

President Jacob Zuma.

opinionBy Harold Acemah

April 18 is a make or break day for South Africa's embattled president Jacob Zuma who will in two days' time face a hostile parliament, many of whose members are determined to put an end to his mediocre leadership of Africa's economic giant, never mind Nigeria's false claim that her economy is the largest on the continent.

The speaker of South Africa's parliament has called a special sitting to conduct a vote of no confidence on April 18 and if a majority of MPs vote in favour of the motion, Zuma will bite the dust and retire against his wishes.

By coincidence, April 18 happens to be the 37th anniversary of independence of Zimbabwe, a potentially rich country whose economy has been ruined by gross mismanagement. The coincidence is a bad omen for Zuma and spells disaster for him and president Robert Mugabe.

With dozens of criminal charges hanging over him, Zuma, 75, may not retire in peace, but spend days in and out of court and even land in jail. The stakes are, therefore, quite high for Zuma whose future is as bleak and uncertain as that of Yahya Jammeh.

Believe me or not, this is the ninth vote of no confidence tabled against president Zuma which makes him akin to the proverbial cat that has nine lives!

What are Zuma's chances?

The move to table another motion of no confidence in Zuma was triggered by his irrational decision to sack South Africa's competent and highly respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan on March 31. That unwise action unleashed a political tsunami with serious economic and social repercussions.

The rand fell sharply and interest rates are expected to rise; the cost of living will sky-rocket and the rating agency, Standard & Poor's, downgraded South Africa's economy to junk status!

A renowned economist based in Arua District told me it could take South Africa 10 years to recover. Zuma's malicious and outrageous decision was typical of the way African tyrants treat countries they misrule, like personal estates.

Zuma's chances of survival this time round are almost zero after COSATU and the Communist party demanded his resignation. In a parliament of 400 members, Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) has 249 members and if 50 MPs choose to join forces with two opposition political parties - the Democratic Alliance and Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters party - Zuma is finished.

The Communist party has 45 MPs and if only five MPs break ranks with ANC, Zuma's days are numbered! I hope they succeed and cure the open sore on South Africa's body politic.

How could South Africa stoop so low?

Zuma's rise to power began in 2008 when he manipulated the downfall of former president Thabo Mbeki. Even if his Zulu ethnic group felt it was their turn to eat, they should have picked a man of integrity, not a high school dropout with a despicable record. Zuma's two predecessors, Mandela and Mbeki, were from the smaller Xhosa ethnic group.

One person who did not hide his strong objections to Zuma as president was retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu who has been vindicated. I am sure with his trademark laughter Tutu must be dancing and saying, "I told them so". He did warn South Africans in 2008 about Zuma, but nobody listened.

The tragedy of Zuma was captured by The EastAfrican's columnist, Jenerali Ulimwengu of Tanzania whom I met at the UN in New York during the 1970s. A jolly good fellow, I remember sharing a few Budweisers with him and some Tanzanian career diplomats - Daraja, Lugoe and Opanga - at the humorously nicknamed, "7th Committee" of the UN General Assembly.

In a tribute to a fallen ANC veteran, Ulimwengu wrote in his column of April 1-7: "It is because of that selflessness invested in the struggle that Kathrada (RIP) could not stand the descent of the ANC and the government it heads into unfettered greed, avarice and sleaze as personified by the number one of the regime, Zuma himself" which reminds me of some African dictators.

He continues: "After masterminding the machinations that led to the ousting of Thabo Mbeki at Polokwane in 2008, Zuma and his acolytes proceeded to use state power to enrich themselves, their families and concubines with very little regard for the deteriorating economic conditions of the majority of the people. Zuma became so mired in scandal and wrongdoing that Kathrada openly called for his resignation." Zuma is not alone. Many African leaders routinely abuse power with impunity!

The evidence against him is damaging and overwhelming. Zuma is a disgrace to the ANC and South Africa. He is morally bankrupt and unsuitable to be leader of the most advanced African country.

South Africa deserves better! As thousands of South Africans demanded at several anti-Zuma demonstrations across the country on April 7 and 12, Zuma Must Go! His departure is in fact long overdue! Happy Easter! God bless Africa!

Mr Acemah is a political scientist, consultant and a retired career diplomat.

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Dlamini-Zuma on secret ballots‚ opposition politics and school pupils taught to hate the ANC

Dlamini-Zuma on secret ballots‚ opposition politics and school pupils taught to hate the ANC

TMG Digital | 2017-04-13 18:37:07.0

An ANC marshal stands in the foreground as former African Union Commission chairman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma greets the audience at the Ben Marais Hall in Rustenburg, North West, where she was to deliver a lecture as part of Israeli Apartheid Week.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has taken a swipe at the Democratic Alliance for trying to run South Africa through the streets and the courts.

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Dlamini-Zuma was speaking at the ANC cadres assembly in the Free State where party leaders discussed current affairs with the electorate on Thursday.

In a wide ranging address‚ she touched on challenges facing the ruling party‚ the economy‚ recent mass protests against President Jacob Zuma and calls for a secret ballot to remove him.

She acknowledged that the ANC was “weak at this point in time”.

She cautioned against this‚ saying the laws of nature dictated that when there was a vacuum‚ it would be filled.

#ZumaMustFall campaign to hold National Day of Action

“It is also our weakness‚ to some extent‚ that we see people now occupying the streets but we must make sure that we come together and unite‚” she said.

“We’re not going to have presidents that are elected through the streets when we have a Constitution that says how we should elect‚ how democracy should be.”

Turning to opposition politics‚ she said: “The DA cannot want to run this country through the streets or through the courts. They cannot and they should not.

Dlamini-Zuma says her 'not part of this rubbish' anti-Zuma march tweet was fake

“But if we are divided and weak‚ they will‚ as we can see they have started.”

Turning to calls for a secret ballot to be allowed in an upcoming vote of no confidence in the President‚ she said a secret ballot would be an insult to ANC members in parliament.

“I would find that as an insult because as a public representative you are there to represent the electorate and you are there as an ANC MP to represent the ANC. Why do you want to hide from the ANC what you are doing in parliament‚” she asked.

“There must be something wrong there and I’m glad that the ANC has not agreed to that because even if you want to vote whichever way‚ you must do it with integrity and honesty and be able to defend your position.

Did Dlamini-Zuma dismiss countrywide anti-Zuma marches as 'this rubbish'?

“Why do you want to do things and hide and not be known. It’s strange.”

She told party members that she was shocked‚ after speaking to the youth‚ at what pupils were being taught at some schools.

“They are actually taught against the ANC …. It’s not surprising that kids will think ANC is corrupt‚ ANC is useless … because this is what they are fed at school and I think that must also be transformed.”

She said some universities‚ such as Wits‚ refused to allow their students call the country a “democracy”.



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Zuma hits back at ANC ‘critics’ Mantashe and Ramaphosa – Times LIVE

Zuma hits back at ANC 'critics' Mantashe and Ramaphosa

Roxanne Henderson | 2017-04-13 15:39:43.0

President Zuma
Image by: ROGAN WARD

President Jacob Zuma has struck back at his critics‚ including those in the ANC‚ saying that his decision to reshuffle the cabinet was lawful and was rational.

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In an affidavit filed in the Constitutional Court on Thursday‚ Zuma said that the president must exercise his powers within the law. The Constitution does not require the consequences of such decisions to have a positive or negative outcome‚ he said.

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“I note the utterances attributed to the Secretary General of the ANC‚ Mr Gwede Mantashe‚ and the Deputy President‚ Mr Cyril Ramaphosa‚ regarding a perceived failure on my part to consult with ANC leaders and/or officials about changes to the cabinet.

“What I do as President of the ruling party are matter political. What I do as the President of the Republic requires compliance with the Constitution and the law.

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“Public office requires the exercise of public power to be done within the constitutional constraints‚ least of which is rationality. My decision to reshuffle the cabinet was done for rational purposes.”

Zuma was responding to a court application launched by United Democratic Movement. The party approached the Constitutional Court on Monday after the Speaker of the National Assembly‚ Baleka Mbete‚ refused its request to have the pending motion of no confidence against Zuma conducted by way of a secret ballot.

Zuma said that the UDM's application resorted to judicial intervention‚ when the majority party was legitimately exercising its rights.

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“The applicant asserts that without a secret ballot there is no realistic possibility that the motion of confidence will succeed‚ unless the majority party decree that it must.

“As a matter of fact‚ that is the advantage of enjoying a majority in Parliament and that is how the mandate of the majority is carried out by the majority party.” The president also argued that the UDM's claim that MPs participating in the motion of no confidence vote could be intimidated or suffer career-limiting consequences if the vote is done openly is spurious and without evidence.

Speaker Baleka Mbete also filed an affidavit at the court in which she said she is “personally not averse to having a motion of no confidence in the President being decided by secret ballot”.

“I am however‚ bound by the Constitution of the Rules that the (National Assembly) has adopted. Accordingly‚ I have no authority or discretion to accede to the applicant's request.”

Zuma said that the Constitution permits Parliament to develop its own rules in order to run its affairs.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the motion of no confidence in the president‚ which were this week postponed‚ was critical in light of the country's economic and political crisis.

Two of the three ratings agencies have downgraded South Africa’s long-term foreign currency sovereign rating from investment grade to “junk” status since the reshuffle‚ he said.



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Kenya: Man Dies As He Attempts to Retrieve Thousands From Pit Latrine

By George Munene

A man suffocated to death while trying to retrieve money from a pit latrine in Ngiriambu village, Kirinyaga County.

The victim, 30, and his two friends went down into the pit to remove their neighbour's Sh3,000 that had accidentally dropped.

According to a witness, the woman had promised to share the money with the young men if they recovered the money.

Excited, the men descended into the 50-feet hole and got to the bottom. But as they were searching for the cash they started suffocating due to lack of sufficient oxygen.

On realising the situation was getting worse, they hurriedly started climbing up but the victim got stuck inside.

The survivors raised an alarm, attracting dozens of villagers who embarked on rescue mission.

The shocked villagers tried to rescue the man for but they were unsuccessful.

Police were alerted and they managed to get the body out the latrine.

A villager, Beatrice Muthoni said it took the police six hours to remove the man's body from the latrine.

Kirinyaga police boss Hussein Arur said it was unfortunate hat the young man died painfully.

He said investigations were underway to establish the actual circumstances of the man's death.


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Suicide bomber hits Mogadishu army camp: military source

Suicide bomber hits Mogadishu army camp: military source

AFP | 2017-04-10 10:24:56.0

A suicide bomber has hit a military training camp in Somalia. File photo.

A suicide bomber detonated his vest inside a military training camp in Mogadishu on Monday, a day after an attack on the army chief's convoy, a military official said.

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"A suicide bomber disguised as a member of the military managed to enter inside the training camp... several soldiers were killed and others wounded but we have not established the exact number so far," Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Abdirahman told AFP.

The training camp in the south of the capital is one of the largest in the country.

On Sunday, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a convoy carrying army chief Ahmed Mohamed Jimale who was named to the post last week by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

The new leader, also known as Farmajo, last week declared a fresh war against Al-Shabaab militants.

The Al-Qaeda-linked extremists claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the military chief had "narrowly escaped" the blast which left at least 10 people dead.

While Shabaab have lost large swathes of territory and were forced out of Mogadishu by African Union troops in 2011, they continue to strike in the capital and countryside.

There has been an uptick in attacks over the past week, with a car bomb in Mogadishu that left seven people dead Wednesday, a landmine that killed 19 on Thursday and a mortar strike which left three dead on Friday.

The president, who took office in February, on Thursday announced "a state of war in the country" and gave Shabaab fighters 60 days to surrender or "face the consequences".


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South African President Jacob Zuma: Protesters racists – BBC News

South African President Jacob Zuma: Protesters racists

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Some key allies of the ANC called for President Jacob Zuma to step down

South African President Jacob Zuma has branded protesters calling for his resignation "racists", saying they held placards that were derogatory about black people.

Thousands of people took to the streets after he sacked the finance minister.

The latest protests protests organised by several opposition parties and civil society groups.

"The marches that took place last week demonstrated that racism is real and exists in our country," he said.

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Zuma plays the race card - By Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Johannesburg

Many South Africans have said President Zuma is blatantly playing the race card on an issue-based protest against his own defective style of leadership following a near catastrophic cabinet reshuffle when he sacked the much respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

His decision was swiftly followed by two credit ratings agencies downgrading South Africa to junk status.

This caused many people - black and white - to come out onto the streets in their tens of thousands, including many from his party the ANC, calling for Mr Zuma's resignation.

Unfortunately for the president, more protests are planned for Wednesday - his 75th birthday.

Opposition parties have vowed to keep the pressure on. He will increasingly find it difficult to use race as an excuse.

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The ANC will continue to defend Zuma: Lindiwe Zulu

The ANC will continue to defend Zuma: Lindiwe Zulu

Nomahlubi Jordaan | 2017-04-09 16:41:40.0

Lindiwe Zulu. File photo.
Image by: Linda Mthombeni

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says the African National Congress will continue to defend President Jacob Zuma‚ despite mounting pressure and calls for him to step down.

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“The president is the president of the African National Congress. He is the president of the country and that we will continue to defend the president as members of African National Congress‚ as long as he is a member of [the ANC]‚” Zulu said on Sunday.

She was responding to a question on why Zuma was still holding on to his position in the wake of the economic crisis facing the country.

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Last week‚ thousands of South Africans across the country held protest marches calling for the president to step down following ratings agencies Fitch and S& P Global Ratings’ decision to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to sub-investment grade or junk status.

At a media briefing held on Sunday‚ the ANC said it was studying the implications of the country’s credit rating downgrades.

The marches also came against the backdrop of Zuma’s announcement of his cabinet reshuffle which saw former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan fired and replaced by Malusi Gigaba‚ the former Home Affairs minister.

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“As long as he remains the president of the country‚ we will all respect that‚ save to say‚ obviously that some of the attacks out there [against Zuma] are very painful because to see a newspaper headline with the president being portrayed almost like Hitler‚ is just unbelievable.

“That 23 years down the line of our democracy‚ of our trying to be build a non racial South Africa‚ our trying to build tolerance for each other‚ we wake up to a picture like that‚ but I know and we know as members of [the ANC]‚ that it has taken us long to be where we are‚” Zulu said

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Zulu said the party was confident that it would be able to deal with the challenges that it was facing‚ including that of the “depiction of the president like he is Hitler and all the emotional things that are happening in the outside‚ we pool our resources to make sure we build a better South Africa”.

“What is important of us as member of the [ANC] is to continue to pull South Africans together…

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“We can’t deal with the challenges facing the country by being destructive. That isn’t going to take South Africa forward‚” Zulu said.

“We want to put it here and state it here that President Zuma is the president of the [ANC].He is the president of the country and therefore‚ like any other president of the ANC‚ at any other moment of the ANC‚ the ANC will always know what to do and how to deal with those challenges that they are facing‚” she added.


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We will keep up the pressure until Zuma goes, say opposition parties – Times LIVE

Opposition parties are planning to keep up the pressure with a march to the Union Buildings on Wednesday.

Mass gatherings are also planned for next week to coincide with the parliamentary motion of no confidence in the president on April 18.

The United Democratic Movement is expected to file court papers in the High Court in Cape Town tomorrow in a bid to compel National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to accede to the party’s request for a secret ballot when MPs vote on the motion.

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UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said: “We shall, amongst other things, be referring to Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza’s threats against ANC leaders if they dare to vote against the motion ... An open vote can no longer be democratic if threats mean MPs can no longer vote according to their consciences.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said that Friday’s marches were a turning point for Zuma and the ANC. “The court action by ourselves, as the DA, to challenge the rationality of President Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle, the UDM’s court case for a secret ballot ... Wednesday’s mass march ... to the Union Buildings, a billboard campaign and a big march on the day of the no-confidence debate are all in the pipeline.

“People must not let up now.”

In a possible precursor to the 2019 election campaign, Wednesday’s march from Church Square to the Union Buildings will be  spearheaded by seven opposition parties — the DA, the EFF, the IFP, the UDM, the African Christian Democratic Party, COPE and the African People’s Convention.

The march is scheduled to start at noon.

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said of Friday’s successes: “This is a historic day. All South Africans must decide which side of the divide they are on. 

“The EFF will spend this whole weekend organising rolling mass action for this Wednesday in Tshwane and next weekend for further mass action to coincide with the 18th’s vote of no confidence.”

Maimane,  who arrived  at Friday’s gathering wearing a bulletproof vest, explained yesterday that he had received death threats.

“It was the first time I had worn one, and I wore it because I receive death threats all the time and I have a wife and children to care for.”

Maimane also objected to the presence of MK  Military Veterans Association members outside Luthuli House during the DA’s march in Johannesburg.

“We really need to start questioning the legality of the MK Military Veterans Association. Our constitution forbids the existence of private paramilitary groups.

“How long will the ANC be allowed to continue this illegality? Zuma is creating two things every African dictator creates: militant, violent  youth as foot soldiers; and a private paramilitary outfit.

“We have a dictator on our hands — our very own junk president, Jacob Zuma,” said Maimane.

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