Obama Urges African Union “Nobody Should Be President For Life”

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Judging by the applause at the African Union headquarters, Barack Obama hit a chord when he took aim at the continent’s ‘Big Men’, telling them they should quit when their time was up – especially since most have the cash to retire comfortably.

In joining African reformists who demand term limits be observed, the U.S. president was lining up squarely against entrenched leaders from Congo Republic to Rwanda and Burundi who are intent on extending their years in power.

For Obama, the arguments that war-scarred populations are fearful of chaos after strong leaders depart, as has been the case in North Africa and the Middle East, do not hold true.

“I don’t understand why people wanna stay so long – especially when they’ve got a lot of money,” he said, going off script and drawing cheers in the audience on a continent with a history of “Big Men” long-accused of siphoning off state funds.

“I’ll be honest with you: I’m looking forward to life after being president,” he said, anticipating more time with his family and dropping the “big security detail” once his second and final term ends in about 18 months.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president and if I run I could win – but I can’t,” he said in the AU’s main chamber, named after Nelson Mandela , the South African leader who brought down apartheid but stepped aside after four years in office, his reputation intact.

On a more serious, scripted note, Obama pointed specifically at Burundi, a nation plunged into its worst crisis since a civil war ended in 2005 because of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office.
Earlier this month, Nkurunziza swept a presidential election that Washington said lacked credibility because of weeks of violence and an opposition boycott. The United States and other donors have halted some aid to the desperately poor nation.

Yet Burundi has also exposed the limits of U.S. pressure. Washington and other Western powers spent months threatening and cajoling Nkurunziza, only for the rebel-turned-politician to cite a court ruling saying he could run – and go right ahead.

“It is incredible. This leverage doesn’t seem to work, at least on the real people involved,” said one senior diplomat in Burundi, while cutting aid hurt the public, not the powerful.

The “Big Men” sometimes hold a trump card too: the threat of what came before them, an often unspoken but real public worry.

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, nearing the end of a second seven-year term in 2017, led rebels into Kigali in 1994 to end a genocide. Even when not president, he was seen as the power behind the throne. Backed by public petitions, parliament voted in July for a referendum to change the constitution and let him run again.

Western diplomats say it is difficult to determine the sincerity of calls for him to stay on given restrictions on the media. But Kagame can boast of turning Rwanda from a killing field into exemplar of development.

“As long as the economic bicycle keeps going forward and doesn’t topple over, everyone is in for the ride. But if it does slow down you might see tensions,” said another diplomat.

When the people of Burkina Faso rose up last year to eject Blaise Campaore after he attempted to extend his 27 years in power, diplomats said they hoped the momentum was shifting.

But in Congo Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere leaders appear to be contemplating third terms, to the anger of the opposition.

Obama urged the African Union to press home the message that “nobody should be president for life”, although analysts said the speech to rapturous diplomats – rather than the leaders themselves – may not have hit home in the corridors of power in Harare or Brazzaville.

“It’s a bit like going to Brussels without the EU heads of state there,” said Liesl Louw-Vaudran, an African analyst at South Africa’s Institute of Security Studies. source-newzimbabwe

‘Obama Becomes First US Leader To Address African Union’-Surprise-Mugabe A.W.O.L!

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US President Barack Obama is addressing the African Union (AU) in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, on the last day of his trip to East Africa.

He is the first US leader to deliver a speech at the 54-member body, with security and action against terrorism likely to dominate the agenda.

Welcoming him, AU commission head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that “we claim you as one of our own”.

This AU address marks the climax of Mr Obama’s five-day trip to Africa.

He visited his ancestral home of Kenya before arriving in Ethiopia.
On Monday, Mr Obama praised Ethiopia as an “outstanding partner” in taking on militant Islamists.

He said Ethiopia had weakened al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia.

The US president was speaking after talks with Ethiopia’s PM Hailemariam Desalegn, during the first ever visit by a US president to the East African state.

He also called on Mr Hailemariam to improve Ethiopia’s record on human rights and good governance.

“I don’t bite my tongue too much when it comes to these issues,” he said at a joint press conference in the capital, Addis Ababa.
Some rights groups have criticised Mr Obama’s visit, warning that it could lend credibility to a government accused of jailing journalists and critics.

A legal case currently being fought through the US courts alleges that agents of the Ethiopian government eavesdropped on the internet activities of a man in the US state of Maryland.

The man, born in Ethiopia and now a US citizen, works for a political opposition group outlawed in his home country.

Addressing the media, Mr Obama described the Ethiopian government, which won all parliamentary seats in May’s election, as “democratically elected”.

Opposition group have said the poll was rigged.

Mr Obama flew to Ethiopia after a two-day visit to Kenya where he had discussed trade and security but also called for greater human rights and warned of the dangers of corruption. source-newsday

Shock Ruling:-‘Supreme Court Gives Employers Right To Withdraw Allowances & Benefits’

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THE Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has made another landmark labour ruling giving employers the right to withdraw employees’ allowances and benefits saying these were not a right or entitlement.

This comes barely 14 days after the same court gave the employer the right to terminate workers’ contracts and offload them at three months’ notice without having to pay retrenchment packages.

In a judgment delivered at the Supreme Court, in a matter involving the National Railways of Zimbabwe against all its employees’ associations who were demanding payment of outstanding housing and educational allowances, the court said the NRZ had no obligation to pay such allowances since issues of allowances were based on collective bargaining agreements.

“The appellant’s (NRZ) position at all times was that it preferred to negotiate on basic salaries and not allowances. In my view both the Labour Court and the Arbitrator ought to have found that the allowances, not having been negotiated by the parties and therefore not forming part of their collective bargaining agreement, were not a right or entitlement for appropriation by the respondents,” the court said.

“They (allowances) cannot be imposed by the arbitrator, or indeed any court, in the same way that a court cannot write a contract for the parties. What occurred in this case was totally improper. The Labour Officer, the Arbitrator and the labour Court all missed the point.” source -newsday

‘Bobbi Kristina Brown’, Bobby Brown And Late Whitney Houston’s Daughter Has Died

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Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of late singer Whitney Houston, has died aged 22, a family representative has said. Kristen Foster said she passed away on Sunday surrounded by her family and was “finally at peace in the arms of God”. Brown was discovered unresponsive in a bathtub on 31 January and placed in a medically induced coma. She never regained consciousness. She was moved to a hospice in the city of Duluth, Georgia, a month ago after her condition deteriorated. Brown was the only daughter of Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown. Whitney Houston was found dead in a hotel bath in Los Angeles in 2012. “Bobbi Kristina Brown passed away July 26 2015, surrounded by her family,” Foster said. “She is finally at peace in the arms of God. We want to again thank everyone for their tremendous amount of love and support during these last few months.” Brown had dreamed of carrying on her mother’s legacy as a singer and actress, and had a few small TV roles – but her career had not yet taken off. In January, police said Brown was found face down in a bathtub in the suburban Atlanta home she shared with Nick Gordon, the man she called her husband. A police report described the incident as a “drowning”. Gordon said at the time she did not appear to be breathing and lacked a pulse before emergency services arrived. Brown was placed in a medically-induced coma and has been breathing with the aid of a ventilator. by Angencies-source-newzimbabwe

Renewal Democrats Of Zimbabwe (RDZ) Leader, Elton Mangoma Rules Out Mutasa/Mujuru

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Mutare:The newly formed Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) leader, Elton Mangoma, has ruled out any possibility of joining forces with politicians who were sacked by Zanu PF, saying their hands were dripping with blood.

Mangoma, who formed his party after a fall out with ex- finance minister Tendai Biti in their MDC Renewal project, said the likes of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and former Zanu PF National Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa have blood in their hands.

“As a matter of principle, we are not going to join hands with the likes of Joice Mujuru and Didymus Mutasa because their hands are dripping with blood.

Our values and principles differ and there are some graves around the province which Mutasa contributed to,” Mangoma told journalists at the Mutare Press Club on Saturday.

The former energy minister said many people in the province suffered a lot in the hands of Mutasa and it was against his party’s principles to join forces with such characters.

“Many people in the province suffered in the hands of Mutasa and we cannot work with them because it’s a betrayal of our people who have borne the brunt of Zanu PF repression. We will not forsake those people,” said Mangoma.

He said Zanu PF should pay full compensation to all victims of political persecution since 1980, adding that they hold government accountable to all the atrocities committed against innocent civilians.

“Zanu PF has to fully compensate the victims of political violence. All the people should be paid. We hold government accountable to the suffering of Zimbabweans,” said Mangoma.

Turning to the issue of the abducted and missing journalist Itai Dzamara, Mangoma said government should shoulder the blame.

“Our party holds government responsible for failing to find the journalist”.

“It`s the duty of any government to protect citizens. If people who abducted him are criminals then government must arrest them.

Our police force is regarded as the best in the region and finding a whole human being should have been an easy task for them,” said Mangoma.

He said his party was working on establishing structure across the country. source-newzimbabwe

photo- Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) leader, Elton Mangoma

 

Ousted Zanu PF Webster Shamu, Enrolls For Masters At Midlands State University

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Former information minister and Zanu PF MP for Chegutu East Webster Shamu has gone back to school as his political career dwindles. Shamu, the former powerful political commissar and cabinet minister for years, has enrolled at Midlands State University for a masters degree in marketing, probably to improve his curriculum vitae. On Saturday, Shamu was at MSU for orientation with other post-graduate students and this means he may miss a number of parliamentary sessions this week. “Am I not allowed to live a private life. … Please leave me alone,” he told New Zimbabwe.com when reached for a comment. Shamu was kicked out of cabinet last December for allegedly being part of the Joice Mujuru cabal which faced allegations of plotting President Robert Mugabe’s ouster. Currently, he is just an ordinary MP and serving a three year suspension from the party for being part of the Mujuru clique. His move comes as the speaker of the national assembly, Jacob Mudenda has appealed to legislators to improve their education so that they could competitively debate policy issues and be able to discharge their duties competently. The trained radio presenter is also a businessman with interests in the fuel sector, travel and tourism and retail among other sectors. source-newzimbabwe

Chinamasa Denies That Government Agenda Is To Underdevelop Matebeleland

FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has distanced the Zanu PF led government from the perennially sorry state of Matebeleland provinces, insisting lack of development in the vast area had all to do with the country’s erstwhile white rulers.

Chinamasa was speaking in Parliament last week after opposition MDC MPs challenged him to explain why the country’s western region continued to lag behind in terms of development.

First to challenge the minister was Magwegwe MP, Anele Ndebele who accused President Robert Mugabe’s government of “pursuing a policy of frustrating development in Matebeleland”.

Ndebele accused Zanu PF of being at the centre of massive de-industrialisation in the region, particularly in Bulawayo, once the country’s industrial hub.

“Pursuant to that,” Ndebele added, amid cheers from fellow opposition MPs, “government remains adamant in the face of calls to revamp indigenisation laws that are still frustrating foreign direct investment into Matebeleland.”

Chinamasa in his response, saw no evil in Zanu PF’s conduct.

“The point, Madam Speaker, is that government treats all parts of Zimbabwe equally,” he said.

“When we deploy resources as government, we don’t discriminate against any part of the country.

“If anything, we may seek to favour those regions which have been marginalised in the past as part of affirmative action.”

But Chinamasa was not going to get away with it too easily, as he was immediately confronted with another question by Harare Central MP Murisi Zvidzai who demanded to know why “these places have been marginalised since Zanu PF has been in power since 1980”.

It is then that Chinamasa took the opportunity to exonerate Zanu PF from the mess, pinning everything on the country’s white oppressors.

“Zvidzai, you are fully aware that during the colonial era, there were some places which were inaccessible, which had no schools and now have schools, there were places with no clinics, and now have clinics, you know for certain that this was a white led government which had no concern for blacks,” Chinamasa said.

The Zanu PF loyalist was regurgitating President Mugabe’s 2012 denials his government was deliberately excluding Matebeleland from developmental projects.

Speaking at community share ownership trust scheme launch in Hwange, Mugabe said claims that Matabeleland was being “deliberately economically marginalised” were false.

 

Police Hunt ‘Spanish’ Hunter Who Killed ‘Cecil -Zimbabwe’s Most Famous Lion’ For £35,000

An international hunt is underway to find the head of one of Zimbabwe’s most famous lions, Cecil, who had been the star attraction at the Hwange national park the since late 2000s, and is thought to have been killed by a ‘North American’. The police are also looking to arrest the hunter, who is believed to have paid £35,000 for the chance to kill a lion.

Cecil was shot with a bow and arrow then tracked for two days before being killed with a rifle, The Guardian reports. Bait had been used to draw the lion out of the national park, where he was protected, so that he could be killed “legally”. Hunters then took his hide and head as trophies.

“Cecil’s death is a tragedy, not only because he was a symbol of Zimbabwe but because now we have to give up for dead his six cubs, as a new male won’t allow them to live so as to encourage Cecil’s three females to mate,” said the head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, Johnny Rodrigues. “The two people who accompanied the hunter have been arrested but we haven’t yet tracked down the hunter, who is Spanish.”

Prior to his death, the 13-year-old lion had been fitted with a GPS collar and monitored for several years by a team from Oxford University. The team’s study has been assessing the impact of hunting on lions living in the safari area surrounding Hwange national park since 1999.

As a tourist draw, Cecil contributed significantly more to Zimbabwe’s economy than he did as a victim of hunting, Rodrigues told Vice news. “In tourism alone he can bring in $500,000 and $600,000” each year.

Initial reports had suggested that the hunter was Spanish and that police were trying to track down Cecil’s remains among Spain’s taxidermists. The Spanish conservation organisation Chelui4lions told the Guardian that it has appealed to the administration that controls the import of endangered animals to prevent anyone from importing Cecil’s head as a trophy.

However, a Zimbabwean hunter told the Daily Telegraph that the man who shot Cecil was North American. source-theweek.

photo-Cecil the slaughtered lion- Bryan Orford / YouTube

‘Short Of Me, There Would Be No Foot ball To Talk About In Zimbabwe’-Cuthbert Dube

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ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube has bragged about his leadership credentials, saying had he not been around there would be no football to talk about in Zimbabwe.

Dube said this at the weekend after he survived the chop from councillors who failed to put the issue of his removal on the agenda.

A total of 43 councillors from 51 voted for the October extra-ordinary meeting where the issue of revoking the president’s mandate will be the main agenda.

The councillors had misinterpreted item nine of Saturday’s agenda which read, “To suspend or expel members” as enough to kick out Dube, but the Zifa constitution states that axing the president should be spelt specifically for him or his board.

In the constitution, a sitting president is not stated as a Zifa member.

The meeting took place on the same day that the rest of the world was taking part in the Fifa 2018 World Cup draw in Russia.

Zimbabwe are not taking part after being expelled due to an $81 000 debt owed to former Warriors coach Jose Claudinei Georgini (Valinhos).

Dube told the councillors that the $50 000 that had been paid by the Premier Soccer League as affiliation fees was used to settle a debt to a local hotel after he had had his personal household property and five cars attached for auctioning.

“There was a very pressing debt I had to settle. Remember I had forked out $120 000 from my own pocket to pay Pandhari Lodge for the Warriors’ accommodation. I did it for my country. They were after my properties but I am now the sacrificial lamb. I have now learnt my lesson,” he said.

Dube believes he will survive the October 3 axe, but would leave if the councillors decide so.

“I am 99, 23% confident of surviving and I am not considering stepping down because I know I will achieve my legacy. These buildings [Zifa Village] are part of my legacy.

“I will proudly walk and introduce myself as the Zifa president. I will walk taller than I am. Right now I am walking with my head high. If I was not around, there would be no football to talk about in this country,” he said.

“I have no problem with the councillors forcing me out. Why not step down? They elected me and have the right to vote me out,” he said.

Fifa Southern and Eastern Development Officer Ashford Mamelodi who was an observer at the meeting appeared to be backing Dube, claiming that the Zifa boss was flowing well despite sailing in harsh waters.

“I am extremely surprised by Zifa’s ability to survive under such circumstances. They are doing extremely well. They are amazing,” Mamelodi said.

“It is better that Zimbabwe are not taking part in the World Cup qualifiers because they might have failed to fulfil the fixtures. It is better to participate in Chan and Afcon where you even know there are good chances of you doing better,” he said. source-newzimbabwe.

photo-ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube -southerneye

‘Nothing Can Stop Me From Becoming A Cabinet Minister If I Want’-Grace Mugabe

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President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace has inadvertently admitted having sway over the state President’s decision making, telling the State controlled Sunday Mail newspaper there was no force that could stop her from becoming cabinet minister.

In a wide-ranging interview with the government controlled weekly to mark her 50th birthday, Grace said she had been inundated with requests from unnamed individuals to take up a ministerial post but turned them down.

“There has been speculation out there that Mugabe’s wife is going to be (Cabinet) minister,” said the first lady.

“Yes, I have been approached. Some people approached me, saying they wanted to go to the President and tell him that you (First lady) can be appointed minister.

“But I have declined.”

Grace, since marrying President Mugabe two decades ago, has stayed away from active party politics.

She surprised all and sundry when she was last year catapulted to being Zanu PF women’s league boss with potential challengers shrinking back for fear of being victimised for challenging the President’s wife.

The garrulous first lady was widely thought to be groomed to take over from her ageing husband after it became apparent President Mugabe, 91, was increasingly losing trust in his ambitious lieutenants.

But Grace denied in the interview that she harboured any presidential ambitions.

But what became more apparent was President Mugabe’s intentions to thrust her into the women’s affairs government portfolio, a post he deliberately left vacant when redeployed then minister Oppa Muchinguri to a different portfolio.

President Mugabe only filled the position early this month with the appointment of Nyasha Chikwinya as minister.

But Grace, who together with her husband, run a thriving dairy business and an orphanage, gave away the intense haggling that could have been heating up behind the scenes, insisting she declined the offer.

“I have said no because I have so much already on my plate. I don’t want to take up that position. I personally feel I have a lot to do as First Lady,” she said.

“I would rather that position be given to someone else. This is me. If I had really wanted, if I had been so ambitious as they say, I would have said yes I want to be.”

The first lady has in the past few months been accused of usurping the powers of the state president, at one time revealing the country’s two vice presidents take notes whenever she addresses them.

President Mugabe denies his much younger wife has any influence over cabinet choices and related decisions but his wife speaks differently, adding nothing stood in her way.

“There was nothing to stop me anyway, but I said no because I do not want to,” Grace said.

“I am the First Lady and I have business to run, and also have charity work. I would want to give time to all these things I have mentioned.” source-newzimbabwe

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