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Isabel dos Santos confirms order for ENDE’s removal from Efacec
August 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Mwila Lwando to represent Zambia in AB InBev Pan-African sustainability challenge
August 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Mwila Lwando representing Zambia and the AB InBev Sustainability Challen...

Mwila Lwando representing Zambia and the AB InBev Sustainability Challen…

A Zambian entrepreneur,Mwila Lwando, has won through to the final stages of an Africa-wide sustainability challenge, after presenting his idea for a bio-waste energy solution.

Earlier this year, Zambian Breweries’ parent company, AB InBev, launched a pan-African sustainability challenge. It called on entrepreneurs to present sustainable solutions to problems faced in several areas, including smart agriculture, water stewardship, climate action, circular packaging and entrepreneurship itself.

The challenge was open to eleven countries including Zambia. Just 25 participants were selected for the next round, one of whom was Mwila Lwando, a 33-year-old Lusaka-based businessman.Mr Lwando, a chartered accountant with project and strategy management skills, will now join the other entrepreneurs in South Africa from August 20-22. During this period, the candidates will undergo a sustainability challenge boot camp, where they will attend master classes, receive mentoring from sustainability experts, and pitch their ideas to selected panels.

“I’m looking forward to the boot camp; I’m especially looking forward to understanding the critical challenges AB InBev faces, and to see how our solutions could solve those problems,” said Mr Lwando, who holds an MSc in Strategic Management from Edinburgh School of Business.

The top 15 solutions from the boot camp will then be selected to visit Silicon Savannah in Kenya for a five-day exposure experience.And Mr Lwando is cautiously confident about his prospects of making it to the next round.

“I think I have a good chance. Ultimately, I just want to do my part to improve the environment and people’s lives. This is a great opportunity to do that, and I would like to go all the way,” says the entrepreneur.

The entrepreneur has always been passionate about finding sustainable solutions to human problems and improving their lives. The AB InBev sustainability challenge is offering Mr Lwando and other creative thinkers the chance to not only see their ideas come to life, but also to potentially see their implementation on a large scale.

Mr Lwando’s solution to the sustainability challenge addresses two key issues: water stewardship and climate action.His solution proposes setting up of a water treatment plant that generates energy from bio-waste. The plant would recycle water used to produce alcoholic drinks. The water would produce biogas used for heating. Other waste from the process would make fertiliser.Mr Lwando’s solution will reduce fresh water used in alcohol production and replace coal with biogas helping to save the environment.

He is already involved in a real-life sustainable business. He owns a start-up company called Live Clean Energy that develops and operates public toilet and shower facilities that are clean, hygienic and affordable for people living in the peri-urban areas of Zambia.He formed Live Clean Energy after noticing market traders did not have adequate sanitation facilities, so created a fee-paying toilet and shower system that optimizes water use and recycles it, as well as reducing the incidence of water -borne disease and cholera outbreaks

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Civil society and church in Zimbabwe demand judiciary independence in pending constitutional court case on Zim 2018 elections
August 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

 ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba

ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba

The Civic Society in Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Church say that they would like to express  deep concerns over the unfolding events in Zimbabwe, particularly in the body politic.

 They says that it started with the pre-election period characterized by complaints and a lot of bickering over ZEC’s inability to deliver a free and fair non contestable election result, the voting process that at face value appeared free and fair, the demonstrations by dissatisfied citizens over election results and the subsequent shooting of about seven civilians by the army, to the election dispute now under consideration in the constitutional court, are some of the sad developments that they say besiege the beleaguered nation Zimbabwe.

 They sayd that the 2018 election under serious dispute in the constitutional court is a result of the intransigence and ineptitude of the Electoral board particularly its chairperson who did not take heed at warnings flagged by contesting parties early enough.

  They add that the MDC Alliance has disputed the ZEC results which gave victory to Zanu PF’s ED Mnangangwa and they hold Justice Priscillah Makanyara Chigumba accountable and responsible for the unnecessary political mess that has  led to the killing of innocent civilians by  trigger happy soldiers of the ZNA.   “There was abundant evidence from the onset that the issues raised by many opposition parties pointed to a very contentious election outcome but she was arrogant and unaccommodating to very pertinent concerns,” they say.

  They add that now there is a dispute in the Constitutional Court arising largely from ZEC’sincompetence to play the impartial referee. “Nevertheless, the nation looks forward to the judiciary, the third most powerful arm of the state to pick up the pieces, weigh the matter as judiciously as they can, bearing in mind above all, there is God in heaven, the first and Greater Judge is watching. We exhort the 12 judges currently seized with this matter to brook no interference from any quarter be it the executive with its long tentacles nor the opposition or anyone for that matter. This is particularly so given that recently the ED Mnangagwa intimated that he had given some instructions presumably to the courts in the raging Mr T Biti case, a position the nation deemed as clear interference with the independence of the judiciary”.

  They say that they therefore in the same breadth would like to warn and urge President Elect Cde  ED Mnangagwa to uphold the sanctity of the separation of powers and allow the courts unfettered freedom to adjudicate without fear of any reprisals nor threat from those in power.

“We want the constitutional court judges to know that they are the last frontier in the quest for true democracy and that you hold the nation’s hopes therefore do it for the love of Zimbabwe and not for power mongers from any of the political divide.We also would like the bench, the chief justice and his team that, much like what Justice Priscilla Chigumba did, the constitutional court’s determination has all the ingredients of peace or instability”.

“We also want to put it on record that our once esteemed army whom we celebrated with on Nv 17 2018, has let the nation down. To date we shudder to think how a trained soldier can crouch to take aim at unarmed civilians. We still demand answers from those who love to be referred as Commanders in Chief, Commander Generals, VP cum Minsters of Defence, to say is this in keeping with the Oath any of you undertook upon swearing into office”.

 “Spare us this blame shifting gibberish political football games wherenon of you takes responsibility over wanton killing of innocent civilians! What kind of leaders are you? You have no shame nor compassion towards your own people. Other countries protect their own citizens, but here you kill at the slightest of misunderstanding! What happened to the ideals of the liberation struggle? We want you to know that as sure as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, time will come for some of you to account for these wanton murders. The nation cannot continue to experience murder and massacres with no one accounting for these crimes against humanity”.

“To President ED Mnangagwa, it is important to stress that you have not exhibited any departure from your predecessor in terms of fascism and repression. We say hands off form restraining peoples’ civil liberties! The nation takes no pleasure in leaders who indicate right but instead turn left. You rose through a coup on pretext you were going to usher in a new era of freedom and tolerance but you doing exactly the opposite. There was no need absolutely to call on the army as the police were coping with the situation”.

   The petition has been dispatched by the United Citizens Alliance (UCA),  Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD), Prayer Network of Zimbabwe (PNZ), WAR VATERANS FOR PEACE INITIATIVE (WVPI).

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Zim authorities arrest more MDC Alliance members over elections protest
August 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Nelson Chimasa and his partisans believe that 'fake' results gave Mnangagwa  the win

Nelson Chimasa and his partisans believe that ‘fake’ results gave Mnangagwa the win

Zimbabwean authorities have arrested two MDC Alliance party members taking the number of people arrested for allegedly participating in protests staged in Harare early this month over delays in announcing the results of harmonised elections to 31, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers arrested Last Vambe on Saturday 11 August 2018 and Jeff Chaitezvi on Monday 13 August 2018 and charged them with public violence as defined in section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors accused Vambe and Chaitezvi, who appeared at Harare Magistrates Court on Monday 13 August 2018, of participating in a demonstration held on 01 August 2018 in Harare to protest the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s management of the harmonised elections held on 30 July 2018, which reportedly resulted in the destruction of property and left six people dead after they were shot by some members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Vambe and Chaitezvi, who were represented by Gift Mtisi and Kossam Ncube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights were granted $50 bail by Harare Magistrate Francis Mapfumo, who ordered them to report once a week at Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station, reside at their given residential addresses and not to interfere with state witnesses.

The arrest of Vambe and Chaitezvi brings the number of people arrested in connection with the elections protest to 31 including Tendai Biti,one of the MDC Alliance party leaders, David Zvavamwe Shambare,Shadreck Mashayamombe, Tapiwa Joni, Ngonidzashe Makazhu, Michael Mheta, Simbarashe Mujeye, Judith Chacha, Lilian Mahosi, Anna Chezhira,Angeline Mukoki, Agatha Mubaiwa, Chancellor Nyamande, Livenice Kachana, Tichaona Daniel, Farai Nyamhunga, Mercy Mataramvura,Munyaradzi Chibanda, Samson Nerwande, Raymond Machakaire, Tapiwa Naume Khamu, Tendai Torerwa, Christopher Nikisi, Tonderai Chakona, Justin Mugashu, Simbarashe Zvobgo, Trymore Mubaiwa, Searchmore Mutegude and Kudakwashe Katunhu, who are all out of custody on bail.

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IGD to Officially Launch Advanced Executive Program to Equip U.S. Business Leaders with Tools on Doing Business in Africa
August 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
U.S. business leaders are invited to participate in the Advanced Executive Program in late-October in Mozambique
Leila Ndiaye

Leila Ndiaye

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 14, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) has officially launched and opened registration for its Advanced Executive Program, a high-level training program designed for senior executive American and global business leaders on doing business in Africa.

The first-ever executive training program, to be held in Mozambique from October 29 to November 2, will equip U.S. business leaders and entrepreneurs with the professional capacity and leadership skills, connections and real-world business exposure to effectively explore and engage in trade and investment opportunities on the African continent.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a U.S. government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses, is contributing to the program.
A four-day immersion program will feature educational seminars led by African business leaders, visits with top African government officials, site visits to leading industries, and a cultural celebration, U.S. executives and entrepreneurs will gain the skills and practical knowhow to explore prospects for growth in emerging markets and context needed to ensure their success in navigating a dynamic African business environment.
“The Advanced Executive Program will place American business leaders into business environments across Africa where they will be able to experience a rigorous discourse on business, investment and trade policy issues impacting the continent,” said Leila Ndiaye, President & CEO of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD). “The knowledge of local customs and culture gained from the boot camp will only deepen US investment.”
Ndiaye highlighted the country’s growth potential. “Given the fact that Mozambique has achieved one of the highest economic growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa, American business leaders will gain working knowledge and insight into the key business and trade trends, industries, and sectors in the country.”
Over the last decade, Mozambique has implemented economic reforms and policies that have contributed to a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 6.1% in 2015, largely driven by trade, manufacturing, extractive industries, transport and communication, and electricity production.
The country’s abundance of natural resources offers foreign investors immense trade and investment opportunities in energy, mines, agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism. Exclusive meetings with Government Ministers and officials from key sectors will provide insight into the regulatory reforms and business and investment environment.
Top African business leaders and faculty members at the country’s premier business school will lead educational seminars for the program on learning the African business culture and style, understanding Africa’s rapidly growing consumer class and market preferences, and how mobile and digital applications are a key part of the market.
Understanding and navigating the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the largest trade agreement signed since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established, will be highlighted during the training program. The trade agreement, which was signed by 46 African nations, will bring together 12 billion people for a common market with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion.
To register and learn more about the IGD Advanced Executive Program on Doing Business in Africa, please visit 
Founded in 2003 by Bill Gates Sr. and a group of leading US business leaders, the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) advises, educates and promotes the US and African private sector in order to advance Africa’s economic growth and sustainable development. To learn more about IGD, please visit
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CRU and AFAP create the opportunity for African fertilizer and agribusiness projects seeking finance to showcase their projects to investors
August 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
The event has gone from strength to strength, and CRU and AFAP are both delighted to be able to build on the success of the event by creating the opportunity for brownfield projects in Africa
 LONDON, United Kingdom, August 14, 2018/ — CRU Events ( and The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) are working with partners across Africa to offer brownfield projects seeking capital investment, the chance to make a showcase presentation to an audience of global investors and financiers.

This opportunity to raise finance, named the “Investment Showcase” will take place at the CRU Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness 2018 Conference. The conference, now in its 4th edition, will be held 24-26 September 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. The event typically attracts more than 400 senior fertilizer executives and agribusiness stakeholders from across the global fertilizer and agribusiness supply chain.

Tom Willatt, Portfolio Director for Fertilizer Events at CRU said, “Through our unique partnership with AFAP, the conference provides unrivalled networking opportunities with senior decision-makers from the biggest fertilizer buyers and manufacturers in some of the world’s fastest growing fertilizer markets. The event has gone from strength to strength, and CRU and AFAP are both delighted to be able to build on the success of the event by creating the opportunity for brownfield projects in Africa to meet with and present to the investment community and increase their chance of securing funding”

Qualified and categorised projects will be selected that are seeking investment of over US$1m in brownfield projects and are focused on fertilizer, agri-inputs supply chain, agriculture, agro-processing and/or value addition sectors.

Projects will be selected on the strength of the proposal, with the intention to provide a diverse geographic range and representation from across the fertilizer and agribusiness supply chain. Investors that attend the showcase will be provided with a full package of information and will have the opportunity to meet and discuss with the project leaders seeking finance.

Submissions forms need to be completed and returned by 25 August 2018.

To request a copy of the submission form or to nominate a project, please email your name, project and a brief description of why you feel it is appropriate for a showcase position to Tom Willatt:

The CRU Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness 2018 Conference is a comprehensive three-day event, centred on how partnership, investment and innovation can boost fertilizer trade and allow agribusiness to flourish in the African region. It promises to deliver a first-hand understanding of the challenges and opportunities, and offers unrivalled access to high-level, hard-to-reach decision-makers, to facilitate business opportunities for delegates.

CRU ( offers unrivalled business intelligence on the global metals, mining and fertilizer industries through market analysis, price assessments, consultancy and events. Since our foundation in 1969, we have consistently invested in primary research and robust methodologies, and developed expert teams in key locations worldwide, including in hard-to-reach markets such as China.

CRU employs over 250 experts and has more than 10 offices around the world, in Europe, the Americas, China, Asia and Australia – our office in Beijing opened in 2004.

CRU events are well respected for attracting the most senior level professionals and providing valuable networking opportunities throughout the year for global audiences. For more information visit

The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) is an independent non-profit organization founded by a Partnership of African development organization. It provides services to the private and public sectors on sustainable development projects and policies focused on market-driven business solutions in fertilizer and agribusiness for agriculture productivity. AFAP combines technical expertise with entrepreneurial innovation. AFAP adds value to the fertilizer and agribusiness value chain by building the capacity and linking African Hub-Agrodealers and Smallholder Farmers to global fertilizer and food companies, balanced crop nutrition products, technology, financing, and equipment providers in Africa.


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Arsenal and WorldRemit launch “Future Stars”, an exclusive Premier League Club training camp for African Community Coaches
August 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Vantage GreenX Note II provides R2bn of funding to six renewable energy projects in South Africa
August 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Zimbabwe’s Election And The Path Ahead
August 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

Dr. Gary K. Busch*

FILE - Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses a rally in Bulawayo, June 23, 2018.

FILE – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses a rally in Bulawayo, June 23, 2018.

The victory of ZANU-PF in the recent Zimbabwe elections over the cobbled-together forces of some of the opposition parties was not a surprise. It was a “harmonised election” in that it combined a vote for a president, a parliamentary seat and officers in local governments on the ballots. Although there are 133 registered political parties in Zimbabwe only 55 of these were registered to take part in the election. These fielded 23 candidates for president in the July 30th election. Four of the presidential candidates were women: Joice Mujuru‚ of the People’s Rainbow Coalition‚ Thokozani Khuphe‚ of the MDC-T‚ Melbah Dzapasi of #1980 Freedom Movement Zimbabwe and Violet Mariyacha of United Democratic Movement. There were 210 seats contested for the House of Assembly by various political parties and independent candidates. The Electoral Commission announced that the final tally of registered voters was 5.6-million.

The principal opposition party which sought to oust the ruling ZANU-PF was the MDC Alliance. It was a coalition made up of seven political parties. These were the MDC-T led by Nelson Chamisa‚ the MDC led by Welshman Ncube‚ the People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti‚ Transform Zimbabwe led by Jacob Ngarivhume‚ Zimbabwe People First led by Agrippa Mutambara‚ Zanu-Ndonga led by Denford Musayarira and Multi-Racial Democratic Christian Party led by Mathias Guchutu. As most of these members of the Alliance have spent the last eight years tearing pieces off each other in an extensive battle of factions for the remnants of Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, their unity was tissue-thin.

The fact that these seven factions joined together to fight the election did not resolve the fundamental problem that the MDC has faced over the years. In its 20 years of existence, the MDC hasn’t come up with a viable plan for taking power from an entrenched ZANU-PF under Mugabe and later Emmerson Mnangagwa {‘ED’) who were prepared to use force to render the MDC powerless. Voters are all too familiar with a pre-election routine in which MDC leaders prophecy imminent change—and bay at the moon impotently following their loss of another election. In 2008 the MDC refused to participate in the second round of the presidential election even though it had a slight lead over ZANU-PF in the first round. The MDC won control of the legislature and Tsvangirai became prime minister. However, the incompetence of the MDC in power led to wide disillusion by the electorate. The MDC showed itself and its leadership to be grossly incompetent in performing its governmental duties. The apathy of the Zimbabwean electorate towards the MDC as a result has been a major factor in failing to create a party with mass appeal.

In 2008, the first acts in government by Tsvangirai and Tendai Bit (then in charge of the economy) frightened everyone, including the MDC overseas sponsors. Tsvangirai and Biti announced, to the horror of the security chiefs in the Army and the Police, that the MDC would give back the farms which had been taken from their owners by ZANU-PF. Irrespective of the merits and morality of such an action a precipitate dislodging of the current occupiers would have presented the authorities with a security nightmare they knew they couldn’t control. It was a recipe for conflict which no one could control. The security forces were alarmed. Even worse, when the issue of a transition to a possible new MDC government arose at the meeting in Lusaka by African states to promote democracy after the election, the MDC leadership told the African presidents that there were British Special Forces standing by at a ‘secret airbase’ in Botswana run by the Americans who would come in, arrest the Zimbabwe security chiefs, and take over internal security until order was re-established.

The pattern of behaviour by Biti and his supporters was established in the 2008 election and now repeated in the current 2018 election. The MDC decided to lie and exaggerate.

The MDC embarked on a campaign of manipulation through issuing false and misleading statements which were delivered by the MDC secretary-general Biti. His wild claims of a 60% sweep of the election were entirely figures made up for the occasion. Even the others in the MDC did not believe them. His tales of ballot-rigging and violence against voters had no basis in fact. Biti and Chamisa attempted to create an image, primarily designed for the international audience, that somehow the ZANU-PF were rigging the election and that the MDC was their innocent victim.

Lawyer Doug Coltart with Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa's spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda arrive to file opposing papers at the constitutional court in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 10, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Lawyer Doug Coltart with Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda arrive to file opposing papers at the constitutional court in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 10, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

A second element of this campaign in 2008 was the rash of emails and SMS messages being sent from Harare full of disinformation. These messages said that Tsvangirai had been killed; that his bodyguards had been massacred; that electoral fraud was widespread. When the source of these emails and SMS messages was traced they were found to have come from within the US Embassy in Harare. These false messages announced fake press conferences; false electoral results and fake meetings. On further investigation it was found that two US nationals, employed by the National Democratic Institute, an NGO sponsored by USAID, were the source of these emails. They were deported at the request of the Zimbabwean Government. Two of the journalists who were disseminating their information were also picked up. Their hearing showed that they had ‘no case to answer’ so they were released, only to be picked up on different charges.

At the same time the Zimbabwe authorities observed clandestine meetings between the MDC officials and some members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The MDC were offering incentives for the ZEC to come up with a low count for Mugabe’s votes. These were taped, and the perpetrators arrested. Seven ZEC people were arrested and were accused of deliberating low-counting Mugabe votes in four provinces.

The MDC went to the High Court for a Writ of Mandamus, charging the ZEC with the urgency of releasing its figures on the Presidential ballot, even though all the ballots had not been fully verified.

There was a nasty backlash from all the above elements. The MDC propaganda was full of Biti’s fantasies; but the rank and file know that most of what had been said was an exaggeration. At the same time the ZANU-PF people felt a sense of outrage at the attempt by the MDC to steal the election and to portray the country internationally as filled with thugs, bandits and plotters.

However, Biti and Chamisa repeated these very same lies and exaggerations in the current 2018 election. They pushed to get bodies in the street to protest and demonstrate. The Army responded with excessive violence and made the MDC case easier to credit

Biti sought asylum in neighbouring Zambia but was deported back to Zimbabwe in a move condemned by the United States. He was also charged with falsely and unlawfully announcing results of the July 30 election, which Chamisa also rejected as fraudulent; they are set to challenge in the Constitutional Court and the inauguration of ED has been postponed. If found guilty, Biti could face up to 10 years in jail, a cash fine or both.

As this election was part of an attempt by ED and ZANU-PF to throw off the perceived mantle of misrule by Mugabe and the ‘Lacoste’ and ‘G40’ factionalism within ZANU-PF these events have made it more difficult to set off on a new path of legitimacy, rule of law, and economic renaissance which Zimbabwe urgently needs.

The information gathered in an evaluation of the Zimbabwe’s electoral predicament is predicated on a much wider range of analysis than the battle for the Presidency.

The Background to Zimbabwean Political Development

Zimbabwe has an unusual political history. The country was invaded by white British mining entrepreneurs in 1889, led by Cecil Rhodes, who set up the British South Africa Company (‘BSAC’)  to exploit the gold mining wealth of Mashonaland. It was granted a Royal Charter in 1889 modelled on that of the British East India Company. As in the Indian subcontinent model, the BSAC became the ruler of the lands in South Africa, Rhodesia, Botswana and Zambia. The BSAC maintained its own mercenary army and enforced its version of the law in the territories it controlled. Its principal source of wealth and power derived from its mining interests in South Africa.

The BSAC control of its South African business was threatened by the Great Trek of Afrikaaners from the Cape to their new homes in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State when 12,000 to 14,000 Boers from Cape Colony in South Africa, between 1835 and the early 1840s, rebelled against the imposition of British rule and searched for fresh pasturelands beyond the reach of the Cape Colony. There was another ‘Voortrekker’ colony established in Natal, but the British took it over but granted recognition to the Transvaal and Orange Free State in 1854.

Rhodes had many supporters in London and plotted with them to create a false “civic uprising” In Johannesburg which could be used to oust the Boers in the Transvaal. Rhodes formed the “Reform Movement” to fight against the new taxes and administration by Kruger over the Johannesburg mining interests. The Reform Movement decided to overthrow the Transvaal government by taking up arms. The uprising was timed to coincide with an invasion of the Transvaal from Bechuanaland (present day Botswana), by Dr Leander Starr Jameson, who commanded the BSAC mercenary army. Rhodes wanted to take over the government of the Transvaal and turn it into a British colony that would join all the other colonies in a federation. Chamberlain helped plan the Jameson Raid.

The raid was launched on 29 December 1895 but was a failure as none in the Reform Movement could agree on a common plan. Jameson was forced to surrender to the Boers on 2 January 1896 at Doornkop near Krugersdorp. Many were put on trial and the British removed Cecil Rhodes from his post as the premier of the Cape Colony. This defeat of the BSAC forces spurred on the leaders of the African communities in Rhodesia to rise up to drive the company out of its lands. They began a war against the occupying forces. They called this a Chimurenga;  a word in the Shona language, roughly meaning “revolutionary struggle”. This First Chimurenga refers to the Ndebele and Shona insurrections against the BSAC during 1896-1897; also called the Second Matabele War.

The ill-fated Jameson Raid left the company’s Rhodesian forces depleted. The Ndebele began their revolt in March 1896. In June 1896, Mashayamombe led the uprising of the Zezuru Shona people located to the South West of the capital Salisbury. The third phase of the First Chimurenga was joined by the Hwata Dynasty of Mazoe. They succeeded in driving away the British settlers from their lands on 20 June 1896. However, by 1897 the BSAC’s forces, the British South African Police, were able to regain their lost territories. The First Chimurenga ended on October 1897. Matabeleland and Mashonaland were unified under company rule and named Southern Rhodesia; still under the control of the BSAC.

The Rhodesians sent troops and men to fight for the British during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). They were under the general command of Colonel R S S Baden-Powell of the 5th Dragoon Guards (the founder of the Boy Scouts). They restored the BSAC in the Rhodesias. The issue of land tenure was crucial to the development of the region. The Land Tenure Commission reserved all the lands, other than enclosed in “Native Reserves” to the whites. The Committee’s land apportionment was 19 million acres of prime farmland for Europeans and 21.4 million acres for Native Reserves. A further 51.6 million acres was unassigned, but available for future alienation to Europeans.

Supporters of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ZANU PF party gather to march for non-violent, free and fair general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 6, 2018.

Supporters of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ZANU PF party gather to march for non-violent, free and fair general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 6, 2018.

In 1922, the BSAC entered negotiations with the Union government in South Africa for the incorporation of Southern Rhodesia into South Africa. However, as the BSAC charter was due to expire in 1924, a referendum was held in 1922 in which the electorate was given a choice between self-government for the white citizens of Southern Rhodesia or entry into the Union of South Africa. The whites chose self-government. In 1923, the BSAC charter expired and Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing colony. Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) became a protectorate.

The Ethnic and Political Divisions In Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has been since its inception a divided country. The first division is the great tribal split in Zimbabwe between the Shonas and the Ndebele – the latter an offshoot of the Zulus of South Africa who moved into Matabeleland under the leadership of Mzilikazi, one of Shaka’s lieutenants. Most of post-independence Zimbabwean politics has been the jockeying for power between the distinct clans that make up the Shona. The Shona, who began arriving from west central Africa more than a thousand years ago, share a mutually intelligible language. But ethnically they are not homogenous. Between the clans there is a diversity of dialects, religious beliefs and customs.

The five principal clans of the Shona are the Karanga, Zezuru, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore. Of these, the biggest and most powerful clans are the Karanga and the Zezuru. From the beginning an almighty struggle has been going on within ZANU-PF between Karangas and Zezurus.

The Karanga are the largest clan, accounting for some 35 per cent of Zimbabwe’s 11.5 million citizens. The Zezuru are the second biggest and comprise around a quarter of the total population. The Karanga provided the bulk of the fighting forces and military leaders who fought the successful 1972-80 Second Chimurenga (struggle) that secured independence and black majority rule. Nevertheless, the ZANU movement – since renamed ZANU PF – was led by a Zezuru intellectual with several degrees – Mugabe.

The Zezuru hegemony has crept up and became a fact of life in Zimbabwean politics, although for many years there was intense debate as to the authenticity of Mugabe’s origins.

What is more certain is that in 1963, when ZANU was formed, Mugabe was appointed to the powerful position of secretary general after being nominated by the late Nolan Makombe, a leading Karanga who had convinced his co-tribesmen in the movement that Mugabe was a fellow Karanga of the influential Mugabe dynasty of chiefs from the area of the Great Zimbabwe ruins near Masvingo. Mugabe cleverly encouraged this belief until he was well entrenched in power.

Although at its inception ZANU was led by Sithole, a Ndau from Manicaland from the far east of Zimbabwe, the party was dominated by the Karangas. Its powerful individuals included Leopold Takawira, Nelson and Michael Mawema, Simon Muzenda and Eddison Zvobgo – all Karangas. The tribal composition replicated itself in the armed wing of ZANU with the Karangas, led by Josiah Tongogara, forming the backbone of the liberation struggle. Other prominent Karangas were Emmerson Mnangagwa; retired Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai; and Army Commander Vitalis Zvinavashe.

When in 1974 Mugabe was smuggled out of what was then Rhodesia into Mozambique by a Manyika chief, Rekayi Tangwena, to join the Chimurenga, he was not easily accepted by the Karanga and Manyika guerrilla leadership. When he eventually ascended to power, the first thing he did was to neutralise the Karanga element in the movement by imprisoning many of them – most notably Rugare Gumbo who was the original mastermind of the guerrilla war. Gumbo and several fellow Karanga leaders were kept in underground pit dungeons until independence in 1980.

To quell any Karanga suspicions of his tribal manoeuvres, Mugabe kept the respected Simon Muzenda, a Karanga, as his sole vice president until the latter’s death in 2003. Other Karangas, such as the late firebrand lawyer Eddison Zvobgo, long seen as a future leader of the country, were systematically downgraded to provincial leaders. Josiah Tongogara, the military commander of ZANU in exile, was a Karanga who died in Mozambique on the eve of independence in an as yet unexplained car accident. Sheba Gava, a Karanga, was the most powerful woman guerrilla during the Seventies war but when she died in the following decade she was not granted national heroine status.

During the Second Chimurenga (the war of independence) there were two separate parties and two separate armies. The main liberation party, the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), split into two groups in 1963 – the split-away group being named Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). Though these groups had a common origin they gradually grew apart, with the split away group, ZANU, recruiting mainly from the Shona regions, while ZAPU recruited mainly from Ndebele-speaking regions in the west.

The armies of these two groups, ZAPU’s Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), and ZANU’s Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), developed rivalries for the support of the people and would also fight each other. When Zimbabwe won independence, the two armies so distrusted each other that it was difficult to integrate them both into the National Army. These problems were not only in Matabeleland, but throughout the country. For example: former ZANLA elements attacked civilian areas in Mutoko, Mount Darwin and Gutu. It seemed both sides had hidden weapons. There were major outbreaks of violence between ZIPRA and ZANLA awaiting integration into the National Army. The first of these was in November 1980, followed by a more serious incident in early 1981. This led to the defection of many ZIPRA members. It was thought that ZAPU was supporting a new dissident war to improve its position in Zimbabwe. In the elections held in April 1980, ZANU-PF received 57 out of 100 seats and Robert Mugabe became prime minister.

With the election of Mugabe in 1980 the government was directed to putting Zezurus and their allies the Korekore in most of the positions of power in the new state. Mugabe is a Zezuru,, the head of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga (formerly Dominic Chinenge) is a Zezuru and almost half the top commanders with the rank of Colonel in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces  are Zezurus. Until recently the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation Major-General Happyton Bonyongwe was Zezuru and almost half of the intelligence officers with the rank of Provincial Intelligence Officer are Zezurus. The head of the Zimbabwe Republic Police until recently was Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri (a Zezuru) and half of the police commanders with the rank of Assistant Commissioner are Zezurus. The head of The Air Force of Zimbabwe, Air Marshal Perence Shiri is the first cousin of President Robert Mugabe. Half of the commanders with the rank of Group Captain are Zezurus. The head of the Prisons of Zimbabwe, Major-General Paradzai Zimonde is Zezuru and nearly half of the commanders with the rank of Colonel are Zezuru. The Chief Justice of Zimbabwe is Godfrey Chidyausiku who is a Zezuru and the Judge President George Chiweshe is a Zezuru and half of the judges are Zezuru / Korekore. Nearly half of the cabinet of Zimbabwe since 1980 has been composed of Zezuru/ Korekore and half of Permanent Secretaries are Zezuru and Korekore.

RUNNING FOR COVER: Nelson Chamisa's MDC supporters barricade a road in Harare . Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

RUNNING FOR COVER: Nelson Chamisa’s MDC supporters barricade a road in Harare . Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

To quell any Karanga suspicions of his tribal manoeuvres, Mugabe kept the respected Simon Muzenda, a Karanga, as his sole vice president until the latter’s death in 2003. Other Karangas, such as the late firebrand lawyer Eddison Zvobgo, long seen as a future leader of the country, were systematically downgraded to provincial leaders. Josiah Tongogara, the military commander of ZANU in exile, was a Karanga who died in Mozambique on the eve of independence in an as yet unexplained car accident. Sheba Gava, a Karanga, was the most powerful woman guerrilla during the Seventies war but when she died in the following decade she was not granted national heroine status.

Throughout the political development of Zimbabwe, the conflict between the Zezuru and the Karanga has been a key factor in the constitution of the state. In reality in Zimbabwe distinctions between these groups are not so straightforward. These differences are linguistic differences and primary identity is by clan or totem. There is also no such thing as an ethnic Zezuru, ethnic Karanga, ethnic Korekore, ethnic Ndau, ethnic Manyika in Zimbabwe. Those are language dialects only. When it comes to ethnicity the Shona today have got clan identities that cut across dialects, geographic regions and even tribes. So, while it is simple to identify Mnangagwa’s Karanga faction, Mujuru’s Zezuru faction and all the other ethnic based factions within ZANU-PF it leaves out the important distinctions of totem and clan.

For example, Mnangagwa is a Madyira and Madyira and Gumbo people are all Mnangagwa’s relatives. In fact, in terms of classical Shona culture, even before you propose to a woman, you are supposed to ask for their totem. “Nhai asikana mutupo wenyu chii?” (Young lady, what is your totem?). That question is considered a traditional introduction of the intention to propose love in Shona culture and to avoid “incest” in marrying “your sister”. What is more noteworthy in assessing affinities of the politicians is their clan; such as Mugabe’s identification with the Gushungo totem of the Zezuru; Grace (although born in Benoni, South Africa) is a Sinyoro like many prominent Zimbabwean political figures; Joice Majuro (though born in Mt. Darwin) is of the Korekore. These are distinctions that tend to matter even more than to which dialect group the politician belongs.

The discussion of ethnicity is not just a cultural construct. It has to do with the most important aspect of life in Zimbabwe, and indeed most of Africa – control and title to land. The question of belonging is not a theoretical exercise. There are rarely any certificates of title or Land Registries for non-white landholdings. The local ethnic group is the attestation and court of reckoning for land title. Outside of the cities, much of the only real title to land and water rights resides in the local community. The question of ethnicity is crucial to economic well-being and status. Projected onto the wider canvas of the political system the question of ethnicity is very important.

The Pernicious Policies of Britain and the U.S. In Zimbabwe Development

 Although it is a simple shorthand to say that the ZIPRA forces were supported by the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc and the ZANLA forces by China and North Korea, the overweening effect of the Cold War has had a devastating effect on Zimbabwe’s development. Because of the support by independent Zimbabwe of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the battle to free Mozambique and Angola from the Portuguese, and, most especially, the military support offered to Kabila in his efforts to create a free and independent Democratic Republic of the Congo, the forces of the West lined up to oppose Mugabe. Added to this, the British policy of refusing to realistically oppose the UDI of the Rhodesian Front as “kith and kin” allowed this rebel group to wage a dirty war against the Zimbabwean liberation movements.

British rule over Zimbabwe ended in 1965 with the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front. Other than the few months at the end of the Rhodesian War when Abel Muzorewa’s Government reverted to British colonial control to negotiate the Peace Accords establishing Zimbabwe in 1979, Britain’s control over Rhodesia/Zimbabwe effectively ended in 1965. There is, in reality, no one in Zimbabwe under the age of fifty who ever lived under British colonial rule. In fact, the median age in Zimbabwe is less than twenty years. That means that the largest sector of people in Zimbabwe not only never lived under British rule, they also didn’t live under Rhodesian Front rule either. Independence was almost forty years ago, and the bulk of Zimbabweans were not even alive at the time. Theirs is not the politics of colonialism or anti-colonialism; it is the politics of a nation beset by a concerted campaign by the international community against it.


In addition, during the post-independence period most of the ‘kith and kin’ that the British saw as a group whose rights they had to defend, have left the country. One would be hard-pressed to find more than a few thousand kith and kin left in Zimbabwe. The British bought some time for these kith and kin by insisting at the Lancaster House talks that the new constitution include several “entrenched clauses” in the Zimbabwe Constitution at independence which protected the land rights and tenure of the white farmers for ten years after independence. The new Zimbabwean government agreed to suspend any expropriation of white farmers’ lands for ten years on the basis that the British gave its solemn guarantee that, at the end of the ten years, Britain would make available one billion pounds to compensate the assist financially with the cost of transition from white-ruled farms to local land ownership. At the end of the ten years the British refused to pay.

When Mugabe moved forward with redistribution he was told by Blair and the Labour Party that they would not compensate the land reform agreements because they had no faith in his government; citing human rights abuses and the lack of democracy. At the root of their argument the Blair Government stated that it was the Conservatives who entered into the agreement for a new Zimbabwe and not Labour. On November 5th, 1997 Clare Short wrote to Kumbirai Kangai, the Minister of Agriculture and Land in which she said “I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers. We do, however, recognise the very real issues you face over land reform. We believe that land reform could be an important component of a Zimbabwean programme designed to eliminate poverty. We would be prepared to support a programme of land reform that was part of a poverty eradication strategy but not on any other basis.”

Mugabe went ahead with the land reform and claimed back the lands held by the white farmers and told the farmers to collect their compensation from the British Government. The conflict this engendered led to the seizure of white farms and the expropriation of some of their lands. The British, whose refusal to conduct its policy towards Zimbabwe according to its obligations, used these seizures as evidence of the supposed failure of ZANU to act fairly.


In response, the British undertook a policy of almost two decades of political and economic subversion against the Zimbabwe government and encouraged its international partners in Europe and North America to follow its lead in combatting Mugabe and sanctioning the country and its political leadership. It created the MDC political party and promoted its leaders in Parliament, the European Union and NATO in their efforts to oust Mugabe and the ZANU-PF. The efforts of the MDC to take power in the elections precipitated a period of violence and mayhem which led to the doomed coalition of Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

The coalition was doomed because it was accompanied by a unique and epic failure of the Zimbabwe dollar to retain its value. Spiralling inflation finally drove the country to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar (which had traded at one Zimbabwe dollar equalling one US dollar and sixty cents at independence). The US dollar and sterling were accepted as the currencies for Zim. This destruction of the currency and the impact of the international sanctions imposed by Britain, the European Union and the United States had a devastating effect on the Zimbabwe economy and political structures. It has taken over ten years to start recovering from that crisis. The Zimbabwe economy has almost recovered from that crisis despite the sanctions and the imposition of foreign currencies as the reserve currency.


With founding President Robert Mugabe out of the way, many are keen to see what posture the west will take towards Zimbabwe

With founding President Robert Mugabe out of the way, many are keen to see what posture the west will take towards Zimbabwe

The role of the US in undermining Zimbabwe and its economy was no better than the British. The US has always viewed the African nationalists of Southern Africa as their enemy based on the relentless Cold War policies of combatting the Soviet Union in every theatre. The nationalists of the ANC and, PAC in South Africa; ZANU and ZAPU in Rhodesia; MPLA in Angola; FRELIMO and COREMO in Mozambique; and the several governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (starting with Lumumba) were all viewed as ‘too close to the Soviet Union’ and thus the enemies of the US. America has been fighting wars in Africa since the 1950s – in Angola, the DRC, Somalia, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Morocco, Libya, Djibouti among others. In some countries they used US troops, but in most cases the US financed, armed and supervised the support of indigenous forces. In its support of the anti- MPLA forces in Angola it sent arms and equipment to the UNITA opposition. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Larry Devlin of the CIA was an unofficial branch of Mobutu’s government; the US ran its own air force at WIGMO. US airmen supported the South African forces in the Caprivi from WIGMO. The hostility and opposition of the US to African nationalism took many forms.

The US cast its first veto in the United Nations Security Council in 1970 when Ambassador Charles Yost vetoed a resolution on interdicting the international sale of Rhodesian chromite ore. The US argued that the beneficiary of the sanction against Smith’s Rhodesia would be the Soviet Union which was also selling chromite ore. It has been a unique feature of US African diplomacy that the Cold War legacy of opposition to African nationalism continues to shape US policy. The US sanctions against Zimbabwe were established by the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZDERA) and continue to today. The US has threatened to continue these sanctions and expand them because of its ‘uncertainty’ about the election of Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF.

One Of The Dirtiest of Dirty Wars

The predominance of youth in the Zimbabwean body politic has meant that they cannot remember or never learned some of the full horrors of the Rhodesian Bush War that preceded independence. For many of today’s aging political and military leaders and war veterans this is still a potent memory; one which shapes the conviction that foreign powers are still trying to manipulate the nation, and that the MDC and its factions are the main vehicles for that continued intervention. A lot of the sworn testimony emerged from the Truth and Reconciliation hearings in South Africa; producing testimony that would have been job for life of the ICC if it existed then.

Even as they knew they were losing the battle in 1978 the Rhodies experimented with the use of weaponised anthrax against the civil population. In 1979, the largest recorded outbreak of anthrax occurred in Rhodesia.  As shown in sworn testimony and repeated in the autobiography of Ken Flower, Chief of Rhodesia’s Central Intelligence Organization(‘CIO’) and CIO Officer, Henrik Ellert, the anthrax outbreak in 1978-80 was anything but benign. The original outbreak was the result of a policy carried out by the Rhodesian Front government with the active participation of South Africa’s ‘Dr. Death’ (Dr Wouter Basson). Together with the South Africans the Rhodesian Front used biological and chemical weapons against the guerrillas, rural blacks to prevent their support of the guerrillas and against cattle to reduce rural food stocks. Much of the detailed background of this program emerged from testimony at the South African Truth and Reconciliation hearings. Dr. Death used Rhodesia as a testing ground for their joint chemical and biological warfare programs. Witnesses at the commission testified to a catalogue of killing methods ranging from the grotesque to the horrific:

  1. “Project Coast” sought to create “smart” poisons, which would only affect black people, and hoarded enough cholera and anthrax to start epidemics
  2. Naked black men were tied to trees, smeared with a poisonous gel and left overnight to see if they would die. When the experiments failed, they were put to death with injections of muscle relaxants.
  3. Weapon ideas included sugar laced with salmonella, cigarettes with anthrax, chocolates with botulism and whisky with herbicide.
  4. Clothes left out to dry were sprayed with cholera germs.
  5. Water holes were doused with poisons to kill the cattle and anyone else who drank from them.

Dr. Wooton Basson was aided by the work of Dr. Robert Symington, professor of Anatomy at the University of Rhodesia. The active work was performed by Inspector Dave Anderton, head of the “Terrorist” desk at the CIO. In 1979-80 there were 10,748 documented cases of anthrax in Rhodesia which involved 182 deaths (all Africans). In contrast, during the previous twenty-nine years there had been only 334 cases with few deaths. This was no accidental outbreak. Some of the weaponised anthrax was delivered to the US by the South Africans where it provided feedstock for the US chemical and biological storage trove.

Pfini Yenyoka Kungoruma Icho Isingadyi

Dr Gary K.Busch

Dr Gary K.Busch

There is an old Shona saying, Pfini Yenyoka Kungoruma Icho Isingadyi, which means “the spite of the snake is just to bite what he cannot eat” or in other words it is wrong to inflict unnecessary pain and anguish in an election which you cannot win. Chamisa, Biti and the others in the MDC Alliance know that they haven’t won the election, but they continue to lie, exaggerate and pretend that they did win to keep the transition from moving forward. There may well have been errors or faults but, according to the international observers, these were not enough to invalidate the elections.

There is no question that the Army used excessive force in blocking the misguided protestors pursuing their chimerical outcome. It is also true that ED is not everyone’s shining image of a democrat; his past is too well known and discussed. However, the election was much more than a beauty contest for ZANU-PF and ED. It was hoped that it would be a positive step in moving away from the legacy of the past and attracting capital investments, a stable currency and hope for the country. Zimbabwe was one of the richest countries in Africa and abounding with enough foodstuffs to feed the whole African continent. Years of domestic bad planning were coupled with a concerted program of destruction and interference by Britain and the West in the Zim finance and banking sectors.

There are no white knights in charge of the country but there is a period of hope and expectation that MDC is trying to destroy which might lead to real development and the spread of social justice. It should not be denied or impeded. The Karangas are finally in charge (except for the Army)  and are unlikely to be pushed out soon. The main worry is that the Karangas have not developed a younger cadre of potential leaders as most of the oxygen of growth has been hoarded by the Zezurus. This will change if it is given a chance.

It would be a real pity if the ‘nay-sayers’ are received as genuine victims. They are what they always have been; a foreign-sponsored band of incompetents whose skills include making semi-plausible lies and distractions. Zimbabwe deserves better.

* The author is the editor and publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations and the distance-learning educational website He speaks and reads 12 languages and has written six books and published 58 specialist studies. His articles have appeared in the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wall Street Journal, WPROST (a leading Polish weekly news magazine), Pravda and several other major international news journals


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DR Congo: International groups laud Kabila’s decision to bow out
August 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

The US, EU, African Union and UN mission to Congo say Kabila’s decision has calmed fears in the country.

Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila addresses a news conference at the State House in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo January 26, 2018. /REUTERS

Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila addresses a news conference at the State House in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo January 26, 2018. /REUTERS

International groups have commended Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila for agreeing not to stand for re-election in December, after 17 years in power.

The US, European Union, African Union and the UN mission to Congo say Kabila’s decision has calmed fears of the country sliding into chaos.

“We applaud the decision by President Joseph Kabila to respect the Congolese constitution,” according to a joint statement, also signed by Canada and Switzerland.

It added that this “constitutes a key stage on the path towards the first peaceful change of power in DRC.”

They called for “transparent, peaceful and inclusive” elections.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised Kabila’s “action for the unity and integrity of the DRC”.

After years of speculation over his intentions, Kabila on Wednesday consented to obey the two-term limit imposed by the country’s constitution, by not entering his name into a poll set for December 23.

Kabila’s ruling coalition nominated former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who has been placed under EU sanctions, as its presidential candidate.

Shadary, a close ally of Kabila, used to serve as deputy prime minister.

Several opposition candidates have registered for the poll, including Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former vice president who had convictions for war crimes and crimes against humanity overturned in June.

A group of Roman Catholic lay-movements said it had put on hold rallies planned for August, in another sign of easing tensions.

Kabila’s second term officially ended in 2016. His rivals accused him of wanting to stay in power.

The country’s election was repeatedly delayed, leading to violence and protests in which security forces killed dozens of people.

Kabila has been in power since his father and predecessor, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in 2001.

 *Al Jazeera
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Nigeria: Growing demand for youth inclusion in politics
August 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

More young people have indicated an interest to contest the presidency after a reduction of the age limit to 35.

President Buhari in May signed the bill  reducing the age limit to seek political office  [Al Jazeera]

President Buhari in May signed the bill reducing the age limit to seek political office [Al Jazeera]

A few years ago, it was almost impossible to talk up the chances of a youthful president in Nigeria.

But now, the clamour for a young leader is gaining momentum with the signing of a bill that reduces the age limit to seek political office in the country.

The limit was lowered from age 40 to 35, giving younger people an opportunity to vie for the coveted position. The original version of the bill proposed reducing the presidential candidacy age to 30. It also reduced age requirements for the Senate and state governor to 30 from 35.

With elections in early 2019, some younger Nigerians have thrown down the gauntlet, hoping to break the deadlock.


 Adamu Garba, 36, said he is hoping to become the country’s youngest elected leader – an ambition he claims to have been nursing since 2003.

Garba told Al Jazeera he wants to make a difference in the political space.

“I am inspired to do this by observing … several wrong policy choices of our leaders that affects the general wellbeing of the people. I am driven by empathy and compassion towards humanity,” Garba said.

“I, over the period of 12 years, studied and came up with deliberate policy proposals in the form of manifestos that will address all of Nigeria’s seeming challenges – joblessness, lower skills level, illiteracy, diseases and security issues.”

Young Nigerians are demanding more government representation in the 2019 elections [Courtesy of YIAGA]

Young Nigerians are demanding more government representation in the 2019 elections [Courtesy of YIAGA]

Garba is seeking the nomination of the ruling All Progressives Congress. He will be up against President Muhammadu Buhari, 75, who is seeking re-election.

‘Game of numbers’

More than half of Nigeria’s estimated 182 million population is under 30 years of age. The country’s median age is just 18, according to the United Nations, but politics is dominated by older politicians.

All civilian heads of government were more than 50 years old before they were elected. Nearly two decades after the advent of civilian rule, former military leaders retain a strong influence over politics.

Samson Itodo, leader of youth advocacy group YIAGA – which is pushing for increased participation in politics by younger Nigerians – told Al Jazeera they are not intimidated in their bid to participate in politics.

“Nigeria and Nigerian politics requires fixing and my generation is taking responsibility for fixing Nigeria. The movement is maintaining its identity as a citizen’s movement dedicated to democratic accountability, inclusion, and excellent public leadership,” Itodo said.

“This movement is raising a new cadre of political leadership and redefining civic engagement.”

The campaigners, with the slogan #NotTooYoungToRun, hope to increase the number of younger people in the corridors of power starting next year.

Gender gap

Eunice Atuejide is hoping to be Nigeria's first female president in 2019 [Al Jazeera]

Eunice Atuejide is hoping to be Nigeria’s first female president in 2019 [Al Jazeera]

Nigeria ranks as one of the worst in the world for female representation in politics. Women occupy only 27 of 469 parliamentary seats.

Women have continued to be sidelined in the country’s politics – playing minimal roles, resulting in a shortage of female candidates.

Eunice Atuejide, 39, leader of National Interest Party, told Al Jazeera she’s hoping to make history.

“I am quite certain that I stand a very good chance to wrestle power from the more experienced politicians in 2019, but not because I have more experience than them, or more money than they do,” she said.

There are fears fewer women will participate in the 2019 elections because of increasing political violence that has marred previous votes.

The country’s political campaigns also require a lot of funding that most female politicians can’t muster.

“Funding is an issue, however, I am hopeful that ordinary Nigerians will soon start backing me financially now that they start to see from where I am approaching the 2019 presidency. For now, the competition is badly tilted against me, however, I am very hopeful,” Atuejide said.

Failed promises

Younger people blame older politicians for the country’s woes because of unfulfilled electoral promises.

Political parties in Nigeria must select their candidates for the election between August 18 and October 7. Most political parties have in the past chosen veteran candidates.

“The older politicians keep power because the younger generation refused to rise up and take responsibility. However, it has now become glaringly clear that there is a need for evolution of the new generation to replace the old because their policy proposals are not working,” Adamu said.

Advocacy groups are campaigning to reverse the trend by getting younger people into elected posts.

“We’ve got over 50 million young registered voters behind us. We will mobilise them to vote against any party that doesn’t give tickets to young women and men,” Itodo said.

 *Source Al Jazeera
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Cameroon: New video shows more brutal killings by armed forces
August 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

A horrifying video obtained by Amnesty International shows Cameroonian security forces shooting at least a dozen unarmed people during a military operation in the village of Achigaya in the Far North region of the country, the organization said today.

Using advanced digital analysis tools, Amnesty International experts were able to confirm that the video, shot at an unknown date but prior to May 2016, corroborates previous accounts of extrajudicial executions which the Cameroonian authorities have denied.

“This shocking video shows armed men lining people up face down or sitting against a wall and shooting them with automatic weapons. A second round of shooting ensures no survivors. Here is yet more credible evidence to support the allegations that Cameroon’s armed forces have committed grave crimes against civilians, and we are calling for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation. Those suspected to be responsible for these abhorrent acts must be brought to justice,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad Researcher.

“Last month we analyzed footage from another location which showed two women and two young children being killed by soldiers who were clearly members of Cameroon’s armed forces. What further evidence do they need before they act on these atrocities?”

Amnesty International has documented multiple extrajudicial killings, as well as the widespread use of torture by Cameroonian security forces who are fighting against the armed group Boko Haram in the Far North region of the country.

Amnesty International researchers analyzed the weapons, dialogue and uniforms visible in the latest video, as well as testimony and satellite imagery, to conclude the approximate timing and exact location of the executions, and determined the suspected perpetrators to be members of the Cameroonian security forces.

The footage shows a group of soldiers in their distinctive “lizard stripe” camouflage uniforms, patrolling the village of Achigachiya. Some are armed with Zastava M21 rifles, and others are mounted on a pick-up truck with a ZPU-2 anti-aircraft gun.

The video, apparently recorded by a member of the security forces, shows soldiers burning structures which are likely to be homes, and then focuses on a group of 12 people lined against a wall, all sitting or lying down. At 01:40 minute into the video, numerous soldiers using automatic weapons fire into the group for an extended period, from several meters away. A soldier then walks forward and fires again at close range at several persons in the group, presumably to ensure there are no survivors.

Speaking in French, the soldiers describe themselves as carrying out a “kamikaze” operation.

The footage supports evidence of extrajudicial executions previously documented by Amnesty International in a July 2016 report. The report documented the unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions of over 30 people, including several elderly, in Achigachiya following an operation by the security forces seeking to recover the bodies of the soldiers killed by Boko Haram on 28 December 2014, which were abandoned in front of the military base destroyed by the insurgents. This operation by the army was also done as a collective punishment against the population perceived as supporting Boko Haram.

The Cameroonian government announced an investigation following the release of the video in July, but their rapid dismissal of the video as “fake news” casts serious doubt on whether this investigation would be genuinely impartial and effective.

“In failing to hold suspected perpetrators to account for the horrific crimes documented by Amnesty International and others, the Cameroonian authorities have created a climate of impunity in which the armed forces have free reign to kill and torture,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi.

“There must be accountability for these brutal killings. In the face of reams of hard evidence, the blanket denials of the Cameroonian authorities amount to complicity and the tacit endorsement of these crimes.”

*Source Amnesty International

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