Zimbabwe Opposition Reunites To Unseat Mugabe

'I Am Not Dying', Mugabe Assures Supporters
File Photo// President Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has reunited with his former allies to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s over three-decade hold on power at the polls next year.

Mugabe, 93, has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980.

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been the main threat to Mugabe since its formation in 1999 but has been weakened by splits, in 2005 and 2014, mainly over strategy.

On Saturday, Welshman Ncube, who led a breakaway MDC faction in 2004 and Tendai Biti, who left the main opposition in 2014, signed a pact that would see them fielding parliamentary candidates in some constituencies under the MDC Alliance banner and would support Tsvangirai’s fourth bid for the presidency.

At the pact signing event in Harare, Tsvangirai said all opposition parties must unite.

He added: “We as members of this alliance are saying that we are creating this narrative; a narrative to give our people hope, a narrative to give our people another chance, a narrative to complete what we started in 1999.”

Ncube, on his part, said the objective was to remove ZANU-PF and Mugabe, adding: “Anything else is beside the point”.

Also speaking, a political analyst Earnest Mudzengi noted: “What we are realising to a large extent is the reunification of the old MDC that was formed around 1999 to 2000.”

“So we now wait to see what those who say they have now joined hands are going to do. Are they going to be the same old MDC that tended to become fractious, or they are now going to pull with one purpose?”

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Accuses Judges Of Recklessness For Allowing Protests

Robert-MugabeZimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has accused court judges of being reckless in allowing anti-government demonstrations that later turned violent, state media reported on Sunday.

The report is coming a day before a legal challenge to last week’s official ban on protests.

The southern Africa nation on Thursday outlawed all demonstrations for two weeks in the capital Harare, which has witnessed protests against Mugabe’s handling of the economy, cash shortages and high unemployment.

Some political activists have approached the High Court to challenge the ban which they say is unconstitutional. The hearing is set for Monday.

Mugabe told a conference of the ruling ZANU-PF’s youth wing on Saturday that “enough is enough” and he would not allow violent protests to continue, the Sunday Mail newspaper reported.

Violence erupted more than a week ago when police used teargas and water cannon to disperse marchers.

“Our courts, our justice system, our judges should be the ones who understand even better than ordinary citizens. They dare not be negligent in their decisions when requests are made by people who want to demonstrate,” the Sunday Mail quoted Mugabe as saying.

“To give permission again when they are to the full knowledge that it is going to be violent or (there is)probability that there is going to be violence is to pay reckless disregard to the peace of this country.”

Police routinely cite lack of manpower and a threat to security as a reason for barring opposition protests, but the decisions have often been overturned by the High Court

Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Tsvangirai Says Has Cancer Of The Colon

zimbawe2Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader and President Robert Mugabe’s chief rival for the last 17 years said on Tuesday he has been diagnosed with cancer of the colon and is undergoing treatment in neighboring South Africa.

Morgan Tsvangirai, 64, who was Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister in an uneasy coalition government with the 92-year-old Mugabe from 2009 until 2013, said it was important for national leaders to disclose their health status.

Mugabe routinely denies local media reports that he was suffering from prostate cancer and said his frequent trips to Singapore were for routine medical checks.

“As a leader and a public figure, I have taken a decision to make public my condition,” Tsvangirai said, adding that he had an operation last month and is on chemotherapy treatment.

“It is my firm belief that the health of national leaders, including politicians, should not be a subject of national speculation and uncertainty.”

Tsvangirai, who lost the 2013 presidential vote against Mugabe, has since 1999 led the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) but the party has, however, been weakened by splits over how to confront Mugabe’s ZANU-PF.

The MDC chief, a three time loser to Mugabe, said although his condition was unfortunate, he intended to confront “this development with the determination to overcome it.”

The MDC, evicted from the unity government after its crushing defeat in the 2013 election, is split over whether to dump Tsvangirai before the next vote in 2018.

Critics say he has often been outsmarted by Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader.

The turmoil within the MDC has been a boost for Mugabe, whose ZANU-PF party has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980 amid charges of rigging recent elections.

Mugabe, who intends to contest the 2018 vote at the age of 94, has denied rigging previous elections.

South Africa May Leave ICC Over al-Bashir Row

south africa on al bashir of sudanSouth Africa has announced plans to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) after a row over the court’s attempt to have Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir arrested in the country.

Omar al-Bashir was in Johannesburg for the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union summit.

The Sudanese leader is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide and war crimes, but he had denied allegations of committing atrocities in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur region.

After a cabinet meeting, the government said it would review membership “for a number of reasons”.

Meanwhile, a South African court had ordered Mr Bashir to stay in the country while it ruled whether he could be arrested,

The South African government had said that al-Bashir enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

The UN says about 300,000 people in Sudan have died and more than two million have fled their homes since fighting began in 2003.

It is reported that the South African government is due to explain its decision later on Thursday, although its statement may not be made public.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to refer South Africa to the UN Security Council for allowing al-Bashir to leave the country, ahead of a court ruling on whether he should be transferred to the ICC to stand.

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir Arrives In Khartoum

al-BashirSudanese President, Omar al-Bashir arrived in Khartoum on Monday (June 15) to a hero’s welcome after defying a South Africa court order for him to remain in the country until it ruled on an application for his arrest.

Hundreds thronged the Khartoum airport to welcome Bashir, who had been in South Africa to attend an African Union summit.

Bashir, whose plane touched down at 1530 GMT has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Pretoria High Court was in session on Monday to decide on a petition by the Southern African Litigation Centre, a rights group that wanted to force South African President Jacob Zuma’s government to arrest al-Bashir and hand him over to the ICC.

South Africa is an ICC signatory and therefore obliged to implement arrest warrants, but the ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday (June 14) accused the Hague-based court of being biased against Africans and said it was “no longer useful”.

Pretoria’s furious response and its decision to allow al-Bashir to leave is affirmation of its shifting diplomatic priorities with Africa’s interests trumping those of the West.

Judge Hans Fabricius on Sunday barred Bashir from leaving South Africa until he had made a decision on the application and had asked the government to inform all ports of exit not to allow the veteran Sudanese leader to leave.

However, Sudan’s State Minister Yasser Youssef told Reuters al-Bashir had left South Africa and was due to land in the Sudanese capital Khartoum at around 6:30pm local time.

Zuma’s government had given immunity to al-Bashir and all other delegates attending the AU summit.

The ICC issued arrest warrants for al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010, accusing him of masterminding genocide and other atrocities in his campaign to crush a revolt in the Darfur region.

He has long rejected the court’s authority.

The conflict in Darfur has killed as many as 300,000 people and displaced some two million, the United Nations says.

The ICC, the U.S. Department and the U.N. have criticised Pretoria for rolling out the red carpet for Bashir.

Wanted Sudan Leader Al-Bashir Leaves South Africa

sudan president Al-BashirSudan’s President, Omar Al-Bashir, has left the African Union Summit for Khartoum, flying out of a military base in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.

Mr Al-Bashir’s departure came hours before the Pretoria High Court will rule on whether he should be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), who have charged him with war crimes and genocide.

The Sudanese leader was in Johannesburg for the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union.

On Sunday, the court ordered Mr Al-Bashir not to leave the country until the case had been heard.

Al-Bashir is accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the Darfur Conflict.

The UN says about 300,000 people in Sudan have died and more than two million have fled their homes since fighting began in 2003.

Government forces and allied Arab militias are accused of targeting black African civilians in the fight against the rebels.

Full Text: President Buhari’s Speech at the Opening Session of the AU Summit

BuhariSTATEMENT BY MUHAMMADU BUHARI

PRESIDENT,

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE 25TH ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE AFRICAN UNION

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

14TH JUNE 2015

Excellency President Robert Mugabe, Chairman of the Union,

Excellency President Jacob Zuma, our Host,

Excellencies fellow Presidents and Heads of Government

Excellency Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission,

Excellencies, Heads of Delegation,

Invited Guests, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Please permit me to join previous speakers in conveying my delegation’s appreciation to our host, H.E. President Jacob Zuma, to his Government, and the brotherly people of South Africa for their warm hospitality, and for the excellent arrangements made for our comfort and for the success of our meetings. As this is my first address at this august assembly, may I also congratulate H.E. Dr. Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for his unanimous election as the Chairman of our Union.

2. I feel highly honoured and extremely pleased to be able to address you today, barely two weeks after my inauguration as the President of Nigeria, following the 2015 Presidential election in my country. That process, which was adjudged as the fairest and most credible in the history of elections in Nigeria, was midwifed by the dogged and sustained determination of the Nigerian people, and their desire to deepen our democracy. Their quest was amply supported, and even encouraged by the goodwill of our friends and partners in the international community. I therefore wish to seize this opportunity to convey my very deep appreciation to all those who contributed to the success of that election.

3. My election has been described as historic. I agree that it is indeed historic because for the first time in the practice of democracy in my country, an opposition Party has defeated the ruling Party in a keenly contested election. The election was also held against the backdrop of the fears and concerns expressed both in Nigeria and among our international friends abroad and partners that the outcome of the election could spell doom for Nigeria. I am glad that even though those fears and concerns were not without basis, the outcome was totally different, to the relief of all of us.

4. I cannot fail to acknowledge the very positive role played by my predecessor, H.E. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in averting the feared crisis, and in facilitating the peaceful transition of power between the two parties. I also wish to express my deep appreciation to all who honoured us with their presence at my inauguration, and even those, who for unavoidable reasons were unable to attend. I thank you all.

Mr. Chairman,

5. It is gratifying to note that our Union has made laudable progress over the past one and a half decades since its transformation from the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU). Notably, we have been able to redirect our priorities at the continental level from mainly political goals to more diverse aspirations that are equally fundamental to our survival and development in a global community.

6. It is however clear, Mr. Chairman, that some of the greater challenges to our peoples within this Union still lie in the political, economic, as well as peace and security spheres. Our continent is currently bedevilled by the twin evils of terrorism and insecurity; poverty, youth unemployment, and underdevelopment. The destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries; the Al-Shabab attacks in East Africa, and the activities of the Al-Qaida in the Maghreb, all bear testimony to a continent under siege.

Mr Chairman,

Excellencies and Colleagues

7. On our part, I was convinced on my assumption of office that the best approach would be to work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to mobilse collective support to fight against Boko Haram. I have in this regard, directed the relocation of Nigeria’s Command Centre to place it closer to the theatre of action. Furthermore, I have vigorously engaged the members states of the LCBC to better coordinate the strategies and tactics in fighting the insurgency in the region. I believe that this approach can be enhanced through complimentary regional and continental efforts.

8. The images in the international mass media of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean sea on their illegal attempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe is not only an embarrassment to us as leaders, but dehumanises our persons. Indeed, they combine to paint a very unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.

9. Those of us gathered here today owe it as a duty to reverse this ugly trend. We must put an end to the so-called push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all, on this dangerous adventure. We must redouble our efforts to sustain the economic development of our countries, ensure empowerment of our youths, create more jobs, improve and upgrade our infrastructure, and above all continue the enthronement of a regime of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and rule of law. These and other measures that engender peace and stability must be pursued relentlessly.

10. In this connection, we must persist in our collective endeavour to work together through the African Union and our respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to uplift our continent and provide the African peoples the enabling environment for the realization of their legitimate dreams and aspirations. At this juncture, let me assure you of the unflinching commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the African Union as explained in the Agenda 2063, which is geared towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa in the next 50 years. It is for this reason that Nigeria is fully and irrevocably committed to the ECOWAS vision.

11. We do so because we believe that African integration is best attained through the instrumentality of our Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the building blocs of viable continental institutions. Nigeria will therefore continue to play her part in supporting the African Union Commission and other continental and regional institutions in their efforts to prioritize African development in all sectors of human endeavour.

12. The journey might look arduous, but certainly not impossible. There are opportunities in every challenge. If and when we adopt this call for a change of attitude, approach, and disposition towards agreed protocols and commitments, we shall be bequeathing a politically stable, economically developed, and socially harmonious Africa, thereby justifying the confidence reposed in us by our electorates. We will also demonstrate our qualities as statesmen and true daughters and sons of Africa.

13. I thank you for your kind attention.

AU Summit: 25th Ordinary Session Opens In South Africa

au summitThe ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union has opened on Sunday in South Africa.

African leaders congratulated newly-elected presidents including Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi and Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho.

They also congratulated Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir for conducting a successful poll.

This warm welcome is coming on the heels of a court order issued by a Pretoria high court judge, Hans Fabricious preventing President Al-Bashir from leaving South Africa.

The order is pending a decision of the court, to be made after an urgent application that Al Bashir be arrested today.

The judge made the order after granting the state a 3-hour period in which to prepare arguments in response to South Africa litigation centre’s application that President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority arrest Al Bashir on the order of the International Crimes Court (ICC).

As a signatory of the Rome treaty, South Africa is obliged to arrest the president, but the AU has previously refused to heed the ICC call, accusing them of targeting African leaders.

The ceremony featured statement by President Buhari and other newly elected and outgoing Heads of State and Government.

The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday chaired the Peace and Security Council meeting at the 25th AU Summit holding in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Talks at the meeting largely focused on security challenges facing some African countries, as participants sought better ways of tackling insurgency in some West African countries.

Sudanese President Prevented From Leaving South Africa

south-africaA Pretoria High Court Judge, Hans Fabricius, has issued an interim order, preventing Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir, from leaving South Africa.

The court says President Bashir will have to stay until it hears an application later on Sunday on whether he should be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The application was made, following the ICC’s order that Al-Bashir be arrested immediately he landed in South Africa to attend the African Union (AU) summit currently being held in Johannesburg, for which he reportedly arrived on Saturday.

As a signatory of the Rome treaty, South Africa is obliged to arrest the President, but the AU has previously refused to heed the ICC call, accusing them of targeting African Leaders.

The ICC issued Warrants of Arrest against Al-Bashir in 2009, for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity over the Dafur, Sudan Conflict.

The conflict claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people, and left more than two million more displaced.

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Calls Information Minister ‘Devil Incarnate’

MugabeZimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, on Friday branded his Information Minister a “devil incarnate”, accusing him of appointing editors of state-owned newspapers who were sympathetic to the opposition.

Mugabe said Jonathan Moyo, appointed Information Minister last year, was using the government-controlled newspapers to sow divisions.

Zimbabwe’s private media say an intense battle to succeed the 90-year-old Mugabe has sucked in the state-owned press.

Vice-President, Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister, Emmerson Mnangangwa, are seen as the frontrunners, while the veteran leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, has said the contest is open to other ZANU-PF leaders as well.

“I am saying this in light of what is happening now. When you have our Minister of Information wanting to pit people one against another, you don’t do things like that,” Mugabe said in remarks broadcast on state-owned radio.

Moyo was a strong critic of Mugabe’s rule while lecturing at the University of Zimbabwe before his first appointment as Information Minister in 2002. He was fired from the post by Mugabe in 2005 for standing as an independent candidate in parliamentary elections that year.

“Devil Incarnate”.

Moyo was withering in his criticism of Mugabe, calling him a “national security threat” in 2008, before he re-joined ZANU-PF in 2009 and became one of the major architects of Mugabe’s landslide victory in last July’s elections.

On Friday, Mugabe told mourners at a funeral of a senior ZANU-PF official that Moyo, a professor of political science, was trying to use his “knowledge and intellectual ideas” to destroy ZANU-PF by appointing editors sympathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

“I am saying this because all the men that we had, who were leading the newspapers, were fired and replaced by those from the MDC,” Mugabe said.

“You were all thinking you had a trusted person,” he said, referring to Moyo, adding that the minister was in fact “a devil incarnate”.

Moyo has since his appointment last year changed editors at major state-controlled newspapers and also suspended the chief executive of state broadcaster ZBC.

Mugabe turns 88, vows to stay in power

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe turned 88 on Tuesday, joking about reports circulating for years of his imminent demise and vowing to stay in power despite international condemnation of his economic and human rights record.

Mugabe said he was in tip-top shape in an interview with state radio, and made no reference to media reports that he is receiving treatment for prostate cancer in Singapore.

“I have died many times. That’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once,” the devout Catholic Mugabe told the radio broadcaster.

“I am as fit as a fiddle.”

Mugabe charmed world leaders with his wit and intellect in the early years of his rule, when a relatively rich Zimbabwe was praised for its education and social systems.

But he has since become a pariah in the West, blamed for running the economy into the ground and for massive human rights abuses to keep his grip on power.

Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, said his party ZANU-PF would choose his successor at the right time, but he had no intention of stepping down for now.

“Our members of the party will certainly select someone once I say I am now retiring, but not yet,” he said in a separate interview with state TV.

“At this age I can still go some distance, can’t I,” Mugabe said, laughing, clapping his hands and rocking in his chair.

Asked whether his party still had anything more to offer after more than three decades in power, Mugabe said ZANU-PF’s signature policies remained the defence of political independence and the pursuit of black economic empowerment.

Critics say ZANU-PF has helped ruin one of Africa’s most promising economies with its seizures and distribution of white-owned commercial farms, and its more recent drive to force foreign-owned firms to transfer majority shareholdings to Zimbabweans.

Mugabe has shared power with his long-time foe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, over the last three years after violent and disputed elections in 2008.

Mugabe has been nominated as ZANU-PF party’s candidate and intends to run in an election he wants held this year. That would be a year ahead of schedule under the power-sharing deal which also calls for a new constitution to be drawn up and approved ahead of the poll.

“It’s not a secret that there is grumbling in the party over his decision to go on and on, but those seeking to succeed him are not strong enough to challenge him,” said Eldred Masunungure, a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe.

“They are stuck with him for better or worse, and the attitude in ZANU-PF appears to be – lets hope for the best,” Masunungure said.

A June 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last year said Mugabe had prostate cancer that had spread to other organs. His doctor urged him to step down in 2008, according to the cable.

Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African state since its independence from Britain in 1980, chaired a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Presidential officials said he would celebrate his birthday at a family dinner at his home in Harare. ZANU-PF is planning a celebration rally in eastern Zimbabwe on Saturday.