Zimbabwe was once one known as the bread basket of Africa – but it suffered decades of economic decline. The former President Robert Mugabe pursued policies including the seizure of white owned commercial farms and money printing that led to hyperinflation. The country has not been able to borrow sinceRead More →

The GuardianLet's restore death penalty, says Zimbabwe's Robert MugabeThe GuardianRobert Mugabe, 93, says he has been shocked by the number of recent murders in Zimbabwe. Photograph: Themba Hadebe/AP. Robert Mugabe. Let's restore death penalty, says Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. President says he is in favour of lifting …Zimbabwe's Mugabe reaffirms support for death sentenceXinhuaZimbabwe's Mugabe says he favors resumptionRead More →

Photo: The Observer

President Yoweri Museveni

By Sadab Kitatta Kaaya

Kampala — During the ruling NRM’s National Executive Council meeting at State House Entebbe on Friday, President Museveni suggested that a five-year presidential term is too short for a head of state to deliver.

In his nearly five-hour speech, which started shortly before 4pm, Museveni said five years is too short a time for him to concentrate on presidential duties.

“After an election, you spend about one year settling in and before you know it, another electioneering period sets in,” a source quoted Museveni as having said.

With his last term under the current constitutional provisions running out in 2021, Museveni did not suggest how long a presidential term should be. But within the NRM parliamentary caucus, there is talk of stretching it to seven years.

The idea was first floated in 2014 by Nakifuma MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko when he hawked a term extension bill, which was later shot down (See: Why is govt ‘disowning’ its term extension bill, The Observer, March 19, 2014).

Unlike Article 102(b), which is the main focus of the ongoing constitutional amendment process to scrap the age limit for presidential contenders, amending Article 105(1), which sets out the number of years per term, is not that easy.

It is an entrenched provision listed among those laid out in Article 260 that can only be amended through a referendum, not through parliament.


Sub-clause 2 of the article was last controversially amended in 2005 when presidential term limits were scrapped, allowing Museveni to run for a third five-year elective term. In that year, ruling party MPs received Shs 5 million each as they scrapped term limits.

“The age and term limits are artificial impositions in the constitution, they limit the scope of choice of leaders; these are not universally accepted principles of democracy. What matters are regular free and fair elections, free press and the active participation of the people,” Museveni told NEC members.

The NRM NEC is comprised of party leaders such as parliamentary representatives, LC-V chairpersons and municipal mayoral flag bearers.

MPs were, however, excluded from Friday’s meeting since they have already had interactions with Museveni on the subject.

The buses that delivered the NRM leaders to State House left the party headquarters at 11am and upon arrival at the palatial presidential residence, they were served lunch and handed Shs 500,000 each, which left many grumbling.

The grumbling was so pronounced that when Museveni finally walked into the conference hall, it was the first thing he spoke about.

“I have been told that you are not happy, and the source of unhappiness is money,” Museveni said amid wild cheers.

“But you see; there are some things we need to talk about whether we are happy or unhappy. These include the African continent and our country,” Museveni continued, before lecturing them on Uganda’s political history as has become characteristic of him.

He then told them how the age limit removal bill, tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, came to be, explaining why he did not involve the party’s structures in the preliminary stages.

“Anna Maria Nankabirwa[Kyankwanzi Woman MP] was the first to tell me about this [bill in March 2016] but I told her that since we had just come out of an election, the new term was just starting; it was too early,” Museveni said.

“I thought we still had time but Magyezi and his group came and told me about its urgency given the directives of the Supreme court [in the Amama Mbabazi presidential election petition 2016],” he said.

The promoters of the bill are hinging their arguments for the amendment on the Supreme court ruling, which directed government to table amendments for electoral reform within two years. But tinkering with the 35 and 75 presidential age caps was not included in the court’s ruling.

During the NRM caucus meeting of September 14, Defence and Veterans Affairs minister Adolf Mwesige said they have up to March 31, 2018 to have the amendment passed. Based on that, Museveni said, he gave the Magyezi group a go-ahead.

“Ugandans spend a lot of time discussing useless things like European football and I said, instead of discussing those useless things, why don’t we discuss this [age bill] and get it out of the way,” the NRM chairman said.

“You are already touching, touching (sic) very many other things, why not this one?” Museveni asked. The president was understood to be making reference to the term K’ogikwatako (Should you dare touch it), which has become the anthem of people opposed to the amendment.

He then asked the NEC to support the Magyezi bill.

“Let us see how to assist [the MPs] to achieve a good objective for our party. Where we are going as a party, we should be looking at transformation, development and African integration. That should be the guiding principle in answering these small issues,” Museveni said.


Museveni also addressed the wide criticism he is getting, especially from Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and Daily Monitor’s Daniel Kalinaki who are some of the many people who have written articles about the proposed amendment.

“Bobi Wine, Kalinaki and their opposition youth groups are only focussed on Uganda instead of the bigger picture of African integration. Kalinaki wrote an article in the newspapers saying that for them they are cosmopolitan; they look at the whole world,” Museveni said.

The president reportedly said he has kept Kalinaki’s article, and is also happy that the Kyadondo East MP is open to debate and promised to engage him further.

“I am preparing to write to these young men and tell them that however cosmopolitan they may be, no one will give you respect without having a strong base, in this case, Africa where you come from,” Museveni said.

Through his writings and during a public dialogue at Makerere University to commemorate the Nelson Mandela day, Bobi Wine has said Uganda needs a generational shift in leadership so as to overcome current challenges.

Museveni hit back during the Friday meeting.

“It is not about having young men in power, it is about having parties and people with the right ideology that develops the nation…

“You should avoid politics of identity but focus on politics of development. I was able to study because the Baganda used to buy my father’s cows; the Banyankore never helped me to study,” he said.


As Museveni spoke, Richard Todwong (deputy party secretary general) joined hands with presidential aides David Mafabi and Moses Byaruhanga to get the meeting hurriedly pass a resolution supporting the Magyezi bill.

However, their plan backfired as a disenchanted audience booed them. Jane Muhindo Asiimwe, who unsuccessfully challenged FDC’s Winfred Kiiza for the Kasese Woman MP seat, had proposed that the meeting adopts the resolution of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) to support the Magyezi bill.

Government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa was shouted down when she was called to brief the meeting on the process a bill goes through to get passed in parliament. At the time, Museveni had excused himself.

“Most people walked out and went to have tea because they didn’t want to listen to her. There was a sense of resentment given that the MPs have been given Shs 29 million while all that the NEC members got was Shs 500, 000,” a source said.

Before they left for Entebbe, a group of the party’s flag bearers in the 2016 parliamentary elections led by Denis Ssekabira (Nakaseke South) had planned to tell Museveni to drop the Magyezi scheme.

“We the flag bearers outside parliament will not support that amendment; we are saying that Article 102(b) should remain intact. We appreciate President Museveni’s good leadership, the developments, peace and stability but we have to look at the future of the country. We don’t need to destroy the gains we have made over the past 30 years,” Ssekabira, the national coordinator of the 2016 NRM parliamentary flag bearers, told The Observer.

However, a press release from the NRM communications officer Rogers Mulindwa says NEC resolved to support the bill and to actively share their decision with the structures and the membership of NRM and all Ugandans.

“The resolutions were taken after the members noted the historical, extraordinary and numerous achievements of the NRM across all sectors and walks of life,” Mulindwa said.

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Photo: The Guardian

Boko Haram suspects.

guest columnBy Babatunde Olugboji

Lagos — As I waited at Nigeria’s Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, watching bags of various colors and shapes tumble onto the carousel, I cast a glance around the airport. It always feels good to be back in the city that was my home for over 20 years. Nearby were four men I believed were airport officials from the ID cards on lanyards around their necks. They were talking animatedly.

One who appeared to be the leader of the group was seated on a high stool with the other three fanned out in front of him. They were talking about a story in a newspaper. Occasionally, one of them would jab his index finger at the offending news story. I moved a little bit closer and stole a glance at the newspaper. The topic? The current trial of Boko Haram suspects.

“They shouldn’t even be tried, they should be shot,” one of them said. “They were suicide bombers; they were planning to kill themselves in any case,” the same man added for emphasis. “Why is government wasting money taking them to court?” another man asked. “These people [Boko Haram] are so wicked, they deserve their fate,” a third man posited, without clarifying what their fate was, but I assumed it meant being convicted and possibly executed.

These suspects are facing mass trials at four civilian courts set up in a military base in Kainji, in central Niger state, where 1,669 suspects – 1,631 men, 11 women, 26 boys and 1 girl – have been held, some for several years, without charges or trial.

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The trials of 300 of the suspects eventually started on October 10 in three of the four courts. Ahead of the trials, the 300 were moved from military detention and “officially” placed in prison custody for 90 days. The trials are held in secret: journalists are not allowed anywhere near the so-called courts, neither are independent observers.

In the first outcomes to be announced, 45 suspects were convicted and jailed for between three and 31 years and a justice ministry spokesman has said that judges have decided that the remaining hearings would resume in January. The ministry and military authorities are the only sources of information on the trials.

Authorities say an additional 651 suspects being held at the Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri, the hotbed of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, will also be prosecuted. State prosecutors’ promises to be “just and fair” in the cases sound hollow. The Justice Ministry itself has pointed at poor investigation techniques, a lack of forensic evidence and over-reliance on confessions as factors bedeviling the trials.

The military has arbitrarily arrested thousands of civilians without access to lawyers for alleged involvement in the Boko Haram insurgency. The conflict has killed at least 20,000 people since 2009, and pushed millions to overcrowded and poorly maintained camps for internally displaced people, where scores of girls and women have faced rape and sexual exploitation .

I was a journalist and activist during Nigeria’s military dictatorship in the 1990s, during the dark days of the Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha military dictatorships. They periodically hauled civilians and military officials before military tribunals for allegedly plotting to overthrow their governments, such trials often ending in the accused being executed on controversial evidence.

As I listened to the airport conversation, I started thinking: What if some of those being tried in Kainji have nothing to do with Boko Haram? What happened to constitutionally guaranteed fair trial standards , like the right to be heard by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal? The right to a public hearing? The right to be heard within a reasonable time ? What if these suspects were eventually found to be innocent after being held for several years? How about the fact that Nigeria is no longer under military dictatorship?

I casually moved toward the four men, attempting to join the conversation, but they all quickly shuffled away in different directions. Perhaps in their minds I could be a secret service agent sniffing around for information. For them and possibly many Nigerians, Boko Haram attacks have been too dastardly and the insurgents too brutal to raise questions about the suspects’ rights; they should be punished, even if it is by means of a secret trial. After all, those convicted by a military tribunal for the 1976 assassination of Murtala Mohammed, the military head of state for whom the Lagos airport was named, were tried secretly. Nigeria has a long history of secret trials. I spotted my bag, picked it up, and stepped into the embrace of the Lagos sun.

Babatunde Olugboji, a longtime journalist, is the deputy program director at Human Rights Watch.

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Photo: Twitter / Centre for Democracy and Developmen

Matthew Page addressing Centre for Democracy and Development forum in Abuja on how stolen funds from Nigeria travel from #MaitamaToMayfair.

Mr Mathew Page, former United States intelligence community’s top expert on Nigeria has said that the U.S. and the United Kingdom are the biggest recipients of funds looted from Nigeria.
The driver and some of his loot.

Page, a senior policymaker at the White House, State Department, Defense Department for more than a decade, stated this on Friday in Abuja at a roundtable organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a civil society organisation.

His submissions were contained in a paper titled, “From Maitama to Mayfair: How International Financial and Property Markets Fuel Corruption in Nigeria”.

The guest speaker noted that current banking, property and corporate laws in the U.S. and U.K. did not only lack adequate safeguards, but were designed to facilitate illicit financial flows from Nigeria.

“Nigeria’s kleptocrats deftly use both Nigerian banks and the international financial system, especially anonymous shell corporations and offshore tax havens, to launder stolen public funds and stash them overseas, often in the form of high-end real estate in London, Dubai, New York, and California.

“Despite possessing robust discretionary powers, the US and UK rarely deny visas to corrupt officials or report cases of suspected corruption or unexplained wealth back to law enforcement agencies back home.

“The UK is one of a small number of global financial centres that play a key role in processing substantial levels of corrupt capital,” he said.

Citing Transparency International, he said an estimated 57 billion pounds was laundered within and through the UK in 2013 alone, representing 3.6 per cent of that year’s national real GDP.

Page, a non-resident fellow with the CDD, described the London property market as highly vulnerable to corrupt wealth flowing into it.

“If Nigerian kleptocrats are unable to visit their properties and spend their ill­gotten gains in luxury boutiques in London, Dubai, and New York, the incentives for off-shoring them, would likely diminish.

“There is no doubt that the readiness with which the UK, US, and other parts of the international financial system absorb illicit financial outflows from Nigeria compounds the damage corruption inflicts here. ”

He added that looted funds stashed overseas by politically-exposed Nigerians do more damage than those hidden or spent domestically.

According to him, moneys laundered abroad” put pressure on the Naira, raise property prices in London and are much more difficult for anti­corruption agencies to locate and recover”.

Page noted that the role played by the international financial and property markets in driving problem in Nigeria was a key aspect of the equation that was lacking in the corruption.

To address the challenge, he made a number of recommendations, including elimination of secrecy jurisdictions to require beneficial ownership disclosure of companies and property.

Page also called for enhanced funding for relevant law enforcement agencies as well as transition to financial independence for them

The Director of CDD, Ms Idayat Hassan, said the roundtable was one of several contributions by her organisation to the anti-corruption war in the country.

Hassan stated that the forum would produce feasible recommendations on how to prevent off-shoring of stolen wealth in Nigeria.(NAN)

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Recently a few unsavoury words have been exchanged between South Africa and Zimbabwe. While these exchanges have not been at a formal, and government level, the two countries have seen a few remarks by those in power. First it was reported that President Mugabe criticised Nelson Mandela for securing politicalRead More →

analysisBy David Everatt, University of the Witwatersrand

There is a famous polling story, commonly attributed to US President Lyndon B. Johnson. Attacking his rival in Texas, where the vote was close, Johnson used the sucker-punch tactic. As re-told by famous American journalist Hunter S Thompson,

The race was close and Johnson was getting worried. Finally he told his campaign manager to start a massive rumour campaign about his opponent’s life-long habit of enjoying carnal knowledge of his own barnyard sows. “Christ, we can’t get a way calling him a pig-fucker,” the campaign manager protested. “Nobody’s going to believe a thing like that.

I know, Johnson replied. But let’s make the sonofabitch deny it.

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa just fell for the same trick, albeit a more mundane: “he sleeps around (with humans)”. Whether it was apartheid era “stratkom” style dirty trick at work or the usual dirty game of electioneering, Ramaphosa was forced onto the back foot.

Instead of ignoring or laughing at the claims, he went to court to prevent a Sunday paper from publishing. Then he engaged the issue and revealed a long-past affair of little interest to anyone. How did his advisers think this necessary in the sleazy moral climate created by Jacob Zuma’s ANC?

The challenge for voters is that there are multiple election-related battles happening simultaneously within the ANC. There is a fight for the post-Zuma leadership, fairly obviously.

But there is also Zuma’s own fight for safety from prosecution for alleged fraud, money laundering, corruption and racketeering once he steps down. His chosen candidate – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – isn’t attractive to voters, according to polls. The one attribute she can play on is the mantra “we need a woman as president”. That explains why Ramaphosa was attacked as a wife-beater, and when that didn’t stick, as a sequential blesser (sugar daddy).

What the polls say

Leadership polls in the public domain – of all voters, not just ANC voters – suggest that this election is Ramaphosa’s to lose. Among potential voters from all parties, he has overtaken the main opposition Democratic Alliance’s Mmusi Maimane, to lead Dlamini-Zuma by a considerable margin. Dlamini-Zuma seems to be on an ineluctably downward spiral, matched only by her ex-husband. Her campaign urgently needs an injection. Becoming an MP and presumably thereafter a minister is part of the attempt to do just that, as will the rumoured appointment as Higher Education Minister and bestower of more or less free education for all, if it occurs.

But the problem is Ramaphosa. If Dlamini-Zuma needs a bounce, he needs his bubble burst. The ANC’s mid-year policy conference, which begun with Zuma proxies’ braggadocio, gave Ramaphosa a major bounce in the polls to the point where he is on a continued upward trend. The party’s December elective conference is suddenly very close. A repeat performance would secure Ramaphosa’s position; and leave current president Zuma looking very fragile indeed. Cue the smears.

If Dlamini-Zuma remains burdened by “that” name – and focus groups make it clear that the name is a curse, not a blessing – then attacking Ramaphosa for philandering and beating his wife is meant to take the gloss off his campaign and, crucially, influence women voters. Who wants a(nother) president who cheats on his wife? Who wants a president who apparently beat a former wife (despite her strenuous denials)? These are all intended to dent Ramaphosa’s appeal to women voters. Above all, their aim is to reinforce the “we need a woman president” mantra – which is the central and only message of the Dlamini-Zuma campaign.

The 2019 national elections

All this is being fought out in the ANC, even if simultaneously in the full glare of a willing media. But the ANC nowadays is merely a player in the game – a big one, but most certainly not too big to fail.

There is still, in 2019, the real national election where South African citizens go to vote. This may be Zuma’s major miscalculation. All evidence suggests that the national leadership have not learned the lesson of the 2016 municipal elections, which is core to all polling: do not take your voters for granted.

The ANC has failed to find its mythical reset G-spot, and its post-election post-mortem seems to have found nothing needed correcting barring the removal of some peskily ethical ministers. The #Guptaleaks – the thousands of leaked emails exposing the extent of the powerful Gupta family’s capture of the state – and the cabinet re-shuffling plus simple cravenness of the entire ANC project, have worsened since 2016.

The ANC is still the “mothership” – the famous liberation party, settled deep in the heart and subconscious of many South Africans. But the same lovers of history are judging the present, and will vote accordingly. They did so in 2016. The warning seems to have passed unheeded.

The cloak and dagger cleverness being unleashed by all sides in the ANC struggle assumes one thing – that the party will win in 2019. Polls suggest that at the moment, the ANC remains the majority party. But that is voter sentiment right now – it does not measure voter intention in 2019. Moreover, winning and being a majority party are very different – just ask the ANC in Johannesburg post-2016, for example. A recent IPSOS poll found the following:

Nice guys don’t win

Maimane’s coy slip of his own poll – that the ANC was polling below 50% – may represent a 2016-2018 downward trend. If that happens attacks on Ramaphosa will come from the main opposition DA as well. This doesn’t mean the DA will win. Maimane neatly said nothing of how his party was faring – but the messy business of bartering their way to provincial power via unshaky coalitions may be the future for an ANC that has truly toppled itself from the moral high ground.

Ramaphosa is clearly trying to chart a more moral and honest path than his predecessor. Where Zuma faced a rape trial and repeated evidence of infidelity, Ramaphosa initially fell for the sucker-punch (hence the failed interdict against The Sunday Independent) and then took the route of quiet dignity.

If Ramaphosa can lose that initial twitchiness, maintain the dignity, but toughen up for far worse muck that will be thrown at him, the country’s most famous buffalo farmer may yet prevail.

Disclosure statement

David Everatt does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

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Photo: Presidency

Ghanaians celebrate free schooling at the senior high school level.

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured that a key component of the Free Senior High School policy must be the provision of quality education.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “Government is collaborating with various partners to implement major programmes and interventions such as the Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP), the expansion of physical infrastructure, and free supply of core subject text books to students.”

Central, too, to the prospects of the Free SHS policy, the President added, is the teacher.

“A well-trained, confident and contented teacher is essential in the delivery of quality education. If we are to succeed as a nation, and if we accept that education is central to national development, then it is clear that quality teacher training is vital to our nation’s development,” he said.

Government, the President indicated, is committed to teacher professional development through schemes such as Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL), at a cost of 17 million pounds sterling.

T-Tel is a four-year Government of Ghana programme supported by the UK’s Department for International Department (DFID). It seeks to transform the delivery of pre-service teacher education in Ghana, by improving the quality of teacher education and learning through support to all public Colleges of Education from 2014 to 2018. The programme will enhance quality education delivery in the Colleges of Education, with government looking forward to its continuous implementation after 2018.

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“The restoration of the teacher trainee allowance, which also begins today, is part of the comprehensive policy of engendering the production of quality teachers,” the President added.

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, 12th September, 2017, when he launched the Free SHS policy at the West Africa Senior High School.

Upgrading of infrastructure

As was done under the administration of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, President Akufo-Addo indicated that government intends to pursue the policy of upgrading 42 existing senior high schools to model schools, as was done in the case of West Africa Senior High School.

This, he said, is an important step towards delivery of quality education.

“Technical and vocational skills are crucial to our industrialisation agenda, and we are committed to making them attractive to young people. The Free SHS policy will cover pupils who gain admission to technical, vocational and agricultural institutions,” he said.

With technical and vocational education delivery in Ghana currently fragmented under 18 different Ministries, each with different enabling Acts and mandates, President Akufo-Addo stated that work has commenced to align all public TVET institutions under the Ministry of Education to provide effective policy direction and co-ordination in skills development.

Government, he added, has also reserved 30% of places in the top 82 senior high schools to students from basic public schools, as, currently, these top schools are almost wholly populated by students from junior high private schools with good performance at the BECE, relative to the basic public schools.

“Under the Free SHS policy, we will ensure that students from basic public schools have equal opportunity to enrol in any of the top senior high schools in the country,” he said.

The President continued, “We believe this is crucial in ensuring that we do not inadvertently encourage a permanent class divide, where a child from a background, whose parents are unable to afford junior high private school education, is pre-destined to be excluded from the top senior high schools in the country. That is unconscionable, and potentially dangerous for social cohesion.”

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The Zimbabwe MailEconomy tops Mugabe's legislative agendaThe Zimbabwe MailHARARE – President Robert Mugabe today opened the final session of the Eighth Parliament ahead of the 2018 general elections, with the economy topping his legislative agenda. Zimbabwe is pursuing reforms albeit at a slow pace, to try bounce from a …LIVE: President Mugabe opens the 5th SessionRead More →

At least 6 people died on Sunday after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant just outside a senior official’s office in the central Somali city of Beledweyne, police and residents said.

The al Qaida-linked al Shabaab group said it was behind the attack.

“At least six people died and several others were wounded. A suicide bomber blew up himself in a restaurant,” major Hussein Osman, a police officer told Reuters from Beledweyne.

The Sunday afternoon blast took place outside the office of the governor of the Hiran region, where he was holding a meeting, police and residents said.

“We are behind the attack at the Hiran governor’s headquarters. There are casualties. We targeted the workers of the Hiran administration,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman.

Beledweyne is about 340 km north of Mogadishu.


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Photo: Jeff Angote/Daily Nation

Raila Odinga celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision with other National Super Alliance leaders.

President Kenyatta says he personally disagrees with the decision of the Supreme Court to nullify his re-election but accepts and respects it.

In his address to the nation on Friday, President Kenyatta said his win was a s a result of “the will of the people”.

He called on Kenyans to maintain peace and vowed to beat Raila Odinga and his Nasa brigade at the ballot.

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Photo: allafrica.com

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

President Mugabe has expressed bitterness over African countries that voted in favour of a decision by western countries to invade Libya resulting in the killing of President Muammar Gaddafi.

Officially opening the 67th World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa Summit in Victoria Falls Monday, President Mugabe who was the guest of honour, castigated the killing of “innocent” people by “greedy and envious” world leaders.

He also spoke at length about the killing of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein adding that he (Mugabe) had no respect for former Britain and America leaders Tony Blair and George Bush after they connived to kill him (Hussein) on unfounded claims of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.

“Because of envy that Iraq has huge deposits of oil underground with one man Saddam Hussein sitting on the massive wealth, they decided to attack him.

“But they said if we just go and attack him like that the world will be on us. Let’s contrive something to attack him with, then they thought of saying we are destroying weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction,” said President Mugabe speaking off the cuff.

He said it was known that Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, adding that Zimbabwe also had similar problems with the Blair government.

Mugabe said Hussein had managed to usher peace in his country after managing to unite the Suni and Shia muslim groups.

“The weakness of our world system is that when innocent countries are attacked, we fold our arms,” he said.

“The man had managed to unite his country but he is killed. When they discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction, tonnes of oil had been sucked.

“As if that lesson was not headed in Iraq, they came to Libya, to Gaddafi. Yes he may have been a dictator but he was a friend of his people, a lover of his people, one who desired that his people should develop and not live in poverty and had managed to draw water from underneath our world to create a huge massive dam for the benefit of his country which is semi desert.

“He became friends with us, he wanted to democratise the African Union to be better politically and economically united,” lamented President Mugabe.

He was referring to the 2011 United Nations Security Council Resolution, which authorised the imposition of a no-fly zone on Libya in response to that country’s civil war.

The UNSC had initially failed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority, but African countries were later persuaded to vote in favour of the resolution.

South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon were among the non-permanent members who voted in support of the resolution.

President Mugabe said Africa sought the support of Russia and China.

“Yes, the matter came to the UNSC. The whites said he must be attacked and China and Russia said no. The matter could not have proceeded any further because of the necessary two-thirds majority, with Russia and China abstaining.

“Then it came to us the poor Africans. The poor Africans, sometimes not thinking well about the consequences of those attacks. So, what did we have? Quite disgraceful and shameful thing,” added the Africa’s longest serving President.

He said African countries, including Zimbabwe, pleaded with China and Russia to exercise their veto, but the two said the best they could do was to abstain in light of the three African members and the Arab contingent’s support of NATO.

President Mugabe, who is a former African Union chair, lamented lack of humanitarianism among some leaders who he said kill their own people for having different religious and political views.

He appealed to WHO’s new director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is Ethiopian, to represent Africa with African values.

“It’s the pride that Africa has and we know he will not let us down but will try to make Africa meet giant steps in health because we are dying possibly the most.

“Mothers and children are dying because of us leaders sometimes, because of our ambition, because of certain concepts we have, maybe religious and because of selfishness, we have the drive to kill.

“I am a Catholic and Catholicism is not different form the other religions Methodist, Anglican, the beliefs are the same, commandments are the same. Where is that humanitarianism that we were taught in our religion to love one another?”

He said Africans should live in harmony and show love to each other.

He said he was worried that Nigeria, a great nation with grand status, failed to trace the 200 school children abducted by Boko Haram insurgents.

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