16 May

Miguna set for showdown with gov’t as he returns to Kenya today

Kenyans are bracing for another standoff between opposition politician Miguna and the immigration department.

Miguna announced that he will be coming back to the country today and the Kenya Human Rights Commission wrote to the immigration department asking that the government buys the politician a ticket, issue him with a valid Kenyan passport and permit human rights staff to witness Miguna’s entry as ordered by the courts of law.

The immigration principal secretary, Gordon Kihalang’wa, however responded saying the department would not do any of the things requested by the human rights body.

“The department cannot issue Mr Miguna with a valid Kenyan passport as he has not made any application for the same. Moreover, and without prejudice, we reiterate that Mr Miguna has to regain his Kenyan citizenship before being issued with a Kenyan passport,” Maj-Gen Kihalang’wa says in the letter dated May 10.

Kenya’s foreign affairs minister, Dr. Monica has also weighed in on the matter, tweeting that Miguna would not be denied entry as long as he followed due process required by Kenyan and international laws.

‘‘I want to state categorically that the Govt will not deny @MigunaMiguna entry to Kenya but he has to follow the due process that are required by the laws of Kenya and international laws.’‘ She added that Miguna must follow the right procedures to get his citizenship after denouncing it.

Miguna is expected in court on Friday May 18th to give oral evidence against a petition accusing the Kenyan government for stripping off his citizenship.

While the Kenya High Court directed that the deported lawyer is allowed back into the country to face his accuser in person, several such orders have previously been ignored by the authorities in the case of Miguna Miguna.

Miguna’s case also threatens to undermine the unity pact reached by president Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga which was to champion reconciliation and restore the rule of law.

Odinga previously explained that Uhuru ha agreed to drop all cases against opposition politicians in connection with his symbolic inauguration as the ‘people’s president’.

Odinga is presently in the United Kingdom where he is scheduled to address Kenyans on Friday. He will thus potentially avoid a public embarrassment should Miguna be denied entry into the country, despite the newfound collaboration with the government.

Source: http://www.africanews.com/2018/05/16/miguna-miguna-set-for-showdown-with-gov-t-as-he-returns-to-kenya-today/

30 Apr

Congo’s Katumbi to Return Home When Vote Certain to Go Ahead

Democratic Republic of Congo presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi said he’ll return from exile once he’s convinced long-delayed presidential elections are going to take place.

The 53-year-old former governor of Congo’s copper-rich Katanga province would be the likeliest candidate to replace President Joseph Kabila if he’s allowed to compete in elections scheduled for December, according to a poll published last month.

“The election time isn’t clear yet,” Katumbi said in an interview at a conference in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. “When it becomes clear, I will definitely go back.”

Congo, which hasn’t had a peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960, was supposed to hold elections in November 2016. The electoral commission postponed the vote, citing financial and logistical constraints.

Opposition leaders have long accused Kabila, head of state since 2001, of delaying the vote in order to retain power and change the constitution. “Our constitution is very clear,” Katumbi said. “He has no right to run.”

Security forces have killed more than 300 people in nationwide anti-government protests since January 2015 in the run up to and following the end of Kabila’s second mandate, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Elections are now scheduled for Dec. 23. Last week, a spokesman for Kabila’s ruling coalition said “no other solution is possible” than elections happening this year.

Katumbi has been in self-imposed exiled since May 2016, soon after he split with Kabila and announced an intention to succeed his former ally. A month later he was convicted in absentia for illegally selling a property, while two other investigations remain open — including allegations he violated Congo’s ban on dual citizenship.

 A month later he was convicted in absentia for illegally selling a property, while two other investigations remain open — including allegations he violated Congo’s ban on dual citizenship.

Katumbi denies the allegations and says the “fake, bogus” actions are politically motivated.

To read the full article, click here.

02 Mar

Politics Can Be Murderous in South Africa’s Port City of Durban

Politics around South Africa’s third-biggest city, Durban, can be a murderous affair. A bloody battle for positions gripping the African National Congress has left dozens dead in KwaZulu-Natal province in the past year.

The region, which accounts for more than a fifth of the party’s total membership, has been a battleground between two factions vying for control of positions with access to government budgets worth billions of rand.

A local councillor who’s represented constituents in the Umlazi community outside Durban for the past decade learned in December that party colleagues were plotting her assassination.

“The political contest is no longer healthy,” said the councillor, who asked not to be identified because she fears for her life. “If I challenge you, it means I will be your enemy till you die.”

KwaZulu-Natal was one of the hotly contested regions in the race to elect a successor to Jacob Zuma as leader of the ANC in December.

Cyril Ramaphosa defeated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma’s former wife and ex-chairwoman of the African Union Commission, and was elected South Africa’s president last month.

Violence has claimed the lives of 22 politicians since January 2016 and about 100 others in the past four years in the province, according to Mary De Haas, a researcher who’s monitored the region for several decades. Drive-by shootings are a favoured method of killing in Durban, a port city of 3.7 million people.

It’s so bad that a commission headed by Marumo Moerane, a lawyer, is holding public hearings on the violence that are regularly attended by sobbing relatives recounting how their family members were slain.

Recent political turmoil in the government has filtered down to cripple some of South Africa’s crime-fighting units, said Senzo Mchunu, the former premier of KwaZulu-Natal.

The province is no stranger to political violence, reaching its height in the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994 that brought Nelson Mandela to power after white-minority rule.

To read the full article, click here.

22 Feb

Gupta Empire Crumbles as Zuma Exits South African Presidency

For years, brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta were ranked among South Africa’s most prominent businessmen and socialized with the ruling elite, including their friend, then-President Jacob Zuma.

They weathered accusations that they’d exploited their political connections to land an aircraft at a high-security military base to ferry guests to a private wedding, installed their allies in key positions at state companies, tried to influence cabinet appointments and looted billions of rand of taxpayer funds. Law enforcement agencies took no visible action against them, saying only that investigations were ongoing.

That all changed on Feb. 14, when Zuma quit as president under pressure from the ruling African National Congress the same day the police’s Hawks investigative unit staged a dawn raid on the Guptas’ sprawling luxury estate in Johannesburg’s Saxonwold suburb. Some of their top lieutenants were arrested and the eldest brother, Ajay, was declared a fugitive.

The timing of the two events was no coincidence, according to Mark Swilling, a professor at Stellenbosch University who convened an academics’ study last year that concluded that the Zumas, the Guptas and their allies had orchestrated “a silent coup.”

“There is a multi-pronged attack on the Zuma-Gupta network,” Swilling said. “One of these was a political attack launched from within the ANC to get rid of Zuma as the linchpin of that power elite. Linked to that is another set of actions initiated by the criminal justice system to nail the Guptas.”

The Guptas arrived in South Africa from India in the early 1990s and built up a business empire with interests ranging from mining to pay television. They acquired a private jet and mansions from Cape Town to Dubai. Their business partners included Zuma’s son, Duduzane, and they employed one of his four wives.

The Guptas became household names in South Africa in 2013 when they secured access to the Waterkloof airforce base for their wedding guests.

To read the full article, click here. 

20 Feb

Zuma’s Political Victims to Return to South Africa Cabinet

Former South African ministers banished to the political wilderness under Jacob Zuma’s presidency are set to make a comeback as his successor prepares to revive the stagnant economy.

The ruling African National Congress’s top-six officials, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, will meet on Friday to discuss changes to the cabinet, according to three people who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who Zuma appointed on March 31 when he had no experience in economics, tax, or banking, is among those who will be affected in the shake-up that’s expected to be announced next week, they said. Gigaba will deliver his first full budget to lawmakers on Wednesday.

Among those touted to come back are former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas. They lost their positions in the March midnight cabinet shuffle that led to a credit-ratings downgrade and a sell-off of the country’s currency and bonds.

The two, who were widely respected by investors, became part of a campaign against ‘state capture,’ a term used in South Africa to describe allegations that Zuma ceded control of the state to the Gupta brothers, who are his friends and business associates of his son, Duduzane. They all deny wrongdoing.

“It is the prerogative of the president to change cabinets; of course there will be those engagements by the top leadership,” ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said by phone. Tyrone Seale, the presidency’s acting spokesman, didn’t immediately answer a call to his mobile phone.

Zuma’s nine-year term ended last week when the National Executive Committee of the ANC instructed him to resign as head of state in order for Ramaphosa to take over.

Ramaphosa could also appoint Nhlanhla Nene, another finance minister that Zuma fired and replaced with a little-known lawmaker in 2015, to the cabinet, the people said. Nene declined to comment.

To read the full article, click here.

08 Feb

In Nigerian ‘Cash-and-Carry’ Politics, Ambition Is Only Constant

At recent rallies of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress for next year’s general elections, the list of speakers is often dominated by former members of the opposition People’s Democratic Party who switched sides.

Former ministers, two-term governors and other senior officials who served with the PDP during its 16-year rule take turns to denounce the “corruption and waste” of their erstwhile party while touting the virtues of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling APC.

It’s an illustration of the state of Nigerian politics, where parties are merely a means to power and wealth, with actors propelled neither by ideology nor principle.

Known locally as “cash-and-carry politics,” success is often measured by gaining access to the treasury and dispensing patronage. Fueled by the country’s oil wealth over the past 50 years, the presidency is the supreme prize.

“It’s a capture of state power for personal use rather than service to the people,” said Clement Nwankwo, executive director of Abuja-based Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, who has monitored all Nigerian elections since the end of military rule in 1999.

“When a chosen party is not delivering on those objectives, the average politician will look for what else could be the platform to achieve that.”

Election Victory

Buhari, a former general who overthrew an elected government in 1983, stood as a presidential candidate for three different political parties in elections from 2003 to 2011. It was fourth-time lucky three years ago when his was the first opposition victory since Nigeria gained independence from the U.K. in 1960.

A likely contender in next year’s vote is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, 71. He defected to the PDP from the APC in December, the second time he returned to the party in a decade after pursuing his presidential ambition elsewhere. Abubakar even has an insurance policy.

If he doesn’t win the PDP nomination this time, his loyalists have already lined up a new party for him — the People’s Democratic Movement.

To read the full article, click here. 

08 Jan

“If Zuma gets immunity, we will take Ramaphosa to court” – Julius Malema

Julius Malema made it clear that Zuma must face his day in court, during an eventful interview with Energy FM on Monday.

The future of Jacob Zuma is very much up in the air right now. He remains the President of South Africa, but no longer rules the roost in the ANC. So no wonder the subject of ‘immunity’ is being talked about.

As Cyril Ramaphosa tries to put his stamp on party leadership – whilst his predecessor remains Head of State – there is already a perfect recipe for a power struggle in the works. Cyril’s authority will remain undermined until he assumes direct leadership.

Rumours of Jacob Zuma leaving his role as President have begun to surface. There is a growing belief he will be forced out, to allow Mr Ramaphosa the maximum amount of time to salvage the ANC’s damaged reputation ahead of the 2019 elections.

Will Jacob Zuma be granted immunity?

However, as Julius Malema is now saying, any deal to step down before his term ends would see Jacob Zuma seeking immunity from criminal charges. That doesn’t exactly sound like the actions of an innocent man, does it?

In a lively interview with Energy FM this morning, Malema discussed everything from the future of the ANC to land reform policies. As ever, Juju was in fine form, and issued a stern warning for the party’s new President:

“I’ve lead the charge against Zuma, and lead the calls for his resignation. We’ve mobilised ANC MPs to vote against their own president. Our work against Jacob Zuma even influenced the 54th ANC Conference. Had he not been exposed, the ANC would have elected Dlamini-Zuma. She would have allowed the Guptas to carry on.”

“The ANC won’t keep Zuma in a job for very long. Serious discussions are happening. He’s seeking immunity for himself, plus his sons Duduzane and Edward. There’s no law in SA that allows such nonsense. If Cyril gives him immunity, we’ll take them to court. They’ll declare it illegal, and he will be charged.”

Julius Malema has very much positioned himself as the scourge of the ANC. Far from just being anti-Zuma, The EFF leader declared the ANC as being a ‘sick party’ that has no chance of recovery. He really isn’t buying into their ‘new year, new us’ narrative.

Source: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/if-zuma-gets-immunity-we-will-take-him-to-court-julius-malema/

21 Dec

Ramaphosa Has Unsteady Grip on South Africa’s Ruling ANC

Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly elected leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, has a tenuous hold on power in the party after his allies fell short of securing outright control over its top leadership body.

A lack of support from a clear majority of the 86 voting members of the ANC’s National Executive Committee will limit his scope to drive policy changes and assert his authority over President Jacob Zuma, whose second term as the nation’s leader ends in 2019. The NEC is the ANC’s highest decision-making body in between its five-yearly national conferences.

The faction led by the candidate he beat in the presidential race, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, probably has the loyalty of about 45 of the 86 NEC’s voting members, said Xolani Dube, a political analyst at the Xubera Institute for Research and Development in the port city of Durban.

“Cyril is a very compromised president,” Dube said Thursday by phone. “He is not running the administration of the ANC. He has got a serious problem.”

Ramaphosa’s Constraints

The executive committee’s composition will constrain Ramaphosa’s ability to focus the government’s agenda on promoting economic growth, creating jobs and cracking down on corruption. His victory over Dlamini-Zuma for the presidency was by the smallest margin since the ANC came to power in 1994, and only two of the other top-five party officials elected with him are considered certain allies.

The rand weakened as much as 0.5 percent before trading little changed at 12.7142 per dollar by 11:28 a.m. in Johannesburg, bringing its gain since before the start of the ANC conference to 6.2 percent.

In his first speech as ANC president in the early hours of Thursday, Ramaphosa pledged a crack down on graft, which has become increasingly rife during Zuma’s almost nine-year administration.

“Corruption has to come to a stop and it must happen with immediate effect,” Ramaphosa said. “We must confront the reality that critical institutions of our state have been targeted by individuals and families.”

To read the full article, click here.

20 Dec

Kabila Crisis Fuels Conflict in East Congo as UN Targeted

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s succession crisis is adding fuel to the fire in the rebellion-wracked east, where 14 peacekeepers were killed in the deadliest attack on United Nations forces in a quarter-century.

The mineral-rich region has been blighted by inter-communal violence for decades, but President Joseph Kabila’s remaining in power beyond his constitutional limit is giving armed groups a new cause to fight for. His perceived illegitimacy has become a rallying cry for certain militias and in some cases prompted rebels hundreds of miles from the capital, Kinshasa, to combine forces.

The Dec. 7 assault on Tanzanian peacekeepers is part of a “trend of attacks against the government and its UN allies as the political turmoil in Kinshasa intensifies,” said Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Research Group at New York University.

Congo, the size of Western Europe, has never had a peaceful transfer of power. Kabila’s suspected determination to retain office after elections initially scheduled for 2016 were delayed has spurred sporadic urban protests in which dozens of people have been killed.

Kasai Violence

Violence between militias and the government has simultaneously flared in the provinces, including the central Kasai region, where an estimated 5,000 people have died and 400,000 children under five are at risk of starvation. The number of Congolese fleeing conflict in the first half of this year outpaced the rate in Syria and Yemen.

The eastern region has rich deposits of minerals including tin, gold and coltan. While most mining there is by artisanal diggers, militia activity in September forced Toronto-based Banro Corp. to suspend operations at its flagship gold mine.

The UN said it suspects the attack on peacekeepers in the Beni area of North Kivu province was carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, a Ugandan Islamist group active in Congo since 1993. It was just the latest brutality in Beni, where the Congo Research Group estimates mass killings have claimed at least 800 lives since October 2014.

To read the full article, click here.

20 Dec

Rand’s Ramaphosa Rally May Run Out of Steam

The South African rand’s surge lasted only as long as it took Cyril Ramaphosa to get himself to the top of the nation’s ruling party.

Now that he has, the currency’s world-beating rally is losing steam, and derivatives markets suggest it’s vulnerable to a renewed selloff.

The rand has climbed 13 percent against the dollar since hitting a one-year low on Nov. 13, as investors bet that Ramaphosa would defeat his rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to take over the African National Congress and put himself in prime position to succeed Jacob Zuma as president in 2019.

The nation’s stocks and bonds rose on Tuesday, the day after Ramaphosa’s win, and extended gains on Wednesday. But the rand traded sideways, suggesting investors want to see improvements to South Africa’s long-term prospects before increasing their exposure to an economy that’s barely growing and at risk of having its debt downgraded further into junk territory.

“The market has got ahead of itself as the victory of Ramaphosa does not spell the end of South Africa’s issues,” Guillaume Tresca, an emerging market strategist at Credit Agricole CIB in Paris, said Tuesday. “It’s facing a turbulent period in the near future, which will make its assets vulnerable. Moreover, the medium- to long-term outlook is still not positive for the rand.”

Tresca recommended shorting the currency against the dollar and targeting a 6.4 percent drop to 13.61. The rand retreated 0.2 percent to 12.7273 per dollar by 11:03 a.m. in Johannesburg.

To read the full article, click here.