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Anti-apartheid heroes slam Jacob Zuma as ANC prepares to elects new chief

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The African National Congress was lauded for its moral authority in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, but many veterans of that era are deeply disillusioned by the party’s actions today.

As delegates prepare to elect a new leader to succeed Jacob Zuma, the ANC faces falling public support, a reputation for corruption and the threat of a damaging split between rival factions.

The celebrated activists who stood alongside ANC leader Nelson Mandela in the struggle against white-minority rule say the party bears little semblance to its storied glory days, given its current reputation for putting personal interests above national needs.

“I am not proud of being an ANC member that is led by this lot. I am proud of the history of the ANC,” Frank Chikane, a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid fight, said.

Chikane, a priest who grew up in Soweto, led protests through the 1970s and 1980s, and was regularly detained by the state — as well as being targeted in an assassination attempt when police poisoned his clothes.

“What is happening out there now is not the ANC,” he said. “In the past we thought the enemy was outside, now the enemy is inside.”

He urged party members to “stop the rot” when they gather to elect a leader and other senior officials at a five-day conference starting Saturday.

Much of the criticism of the current ANC focuses on Zuma, who is seen as backing his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him as party chief.

Her main rival is deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, with the vote result expected on Sunday or early next week.

Zuma, who has ruled South Africa since 2009, will remain as the country’s president ahead of the 2019 general election.

He has been engulfed by multiple graft scandals, including being found guilty in 2016 of violating the constitution after he resisted paying back public money used to lavishly upgrade his private residence.

The ANC has consistently shrugged off calls to act against Zuma and its lawmakers have voted down several motions of no confidence against him.

“The leadership of the last decade has ridden roughshod over the ANC constitution,” Trevor Manuel, another ANC stalwart, said in a stinging speech last month.

“We need an ANC that will recognise that it has lost its way,” added Manuel, who campaigned against apartheid governments before becoming Mandela’s respected finance minister.

“Right now, it appears too self-serving to be interested in the future of South Africa and the needs of its people,” he said.

Some analysts say the party risks a formal split between the Zuma and anti-Zuma camps before the 2019 election.

In local polls last year, its vote fell to 54 percent, its lowest ever, while it lost control of three key cities to the opposition Democratic Alliance, including the capital Pretoria and Johannesburg.

In 2016, some veterans — including Denis Goldberg, one of Mandela’s closest allies dating back to the 1960s — founded the “For the sake of our future” group to try to influence their party.

In an open letter ahead of the conference it said the “leadership of the ANC is paralysed and unable to deal with ill-discipline, incompetence and corruption that point directly to the highest office in the land”.

Zuma himself is a so-called “stalwart” — he was imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island for 10 years.

But Sipho Pityana, a former activist who became a wealthy mining businessman, said it was a “disgrace” that the ANC had failed to remove the president from power.

“The image of Zuma has become the image of the ANC,” Pityana said.

“The ANC needs to accept that it is morally bankrupt and corrupt to the core, and reversing the damage is going to take years.”

Dlamini-Zuma’s critics say she would be a proxy for her husband and would protect him from prosecution over graft charges, as well as deepen the corruption that has marred his rule.

The great anti-apartheid hero archbishop Desmond Tutu was never a member of the ANC — but in 2011 he launched an emotional attack on the party which helped to end white-minority rule.

“Our government is worse than the apartheid government because at least you would expect it with the apartheid government,” he said.

“You, President Zuma and your government, do not represent me. I am warning you… one day we will pray for the defeat of the ANC.”

Crime

Kenyan Bishop Bags 75 Years Jail Term For Defiling Three Girls

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A bishop accused of defiling three girls he was living with at an orphanage, infecting one of them with HIV has now sentenced to 75 years in prison.



Kisumu Resident Magistrate Pauline Mbulika found him guilty of three counts of defilement and deliberate transmission of HIV.

Joseph Agutu had promised to sponsor the minors before he started defiling them.

Agutu who hid his face from the cameras as police escorted him out of the solitary cell to Kodiaga Maximum Prison, had maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.

He was charged with committing the crime against the girls between April and July 2016. One of the girls is aged 14 while two are 15 years old.

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The court heard that the accused intentionally committed the crime and deliberately infected one of the minors with HIV.

The accused also reportedly touched the girls inappropriately on various dates between April and July 12, 2016. In addition, Agutu also faced an alternative charge of touching the private parts of the minors.

Four prosecution witnesses pointed an accusing finger to the Bishop with the minors recounting the sexual encounters that the man subjected them to.

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One of the minors who is an orphan painfully narrated to the court how the bishop lured her and her grandmother to the trap.

“My grandmother brought me to him and he promised to sponsor my education. My grandmother went back home and left me with him at the church,” said the minor.

After a while, she told the court, the bishop defiled her and called the other girl and defiled them too as she slept on the floor. She said they were crying throughout the ordeal.

The court heard that the following morning the bishop refused to allow them to go to school but instead ordered them to go to church.

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Business

Mitsubishi exits thermal coal sector, sells stakes in Australia mines

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Japan’s Mitsubishi has said it will sell its stakes in two Australian thermal coal mines for A$750-million, a move that means its exit from upstream thermal coal amid growing pressure from environmental activists.




The stake sales comes as a growing number of companies and pension funds across the globe are divesting assets or companies that generate revenues from fossil fuels, particularly coal.

Thermal coal, used to power turbines to produce electricity, has fallen out of favour with investors worried about pollution and greenhouse gases.

Mitsubishi will sell its 31.4% stake in Clermont coal mine to a joint venture between Glencore and Sumitomo, and its 10% stake in Ulan coal mine to Glencore, it said in a statement.

The deals are aimed at optimising its asset portfolio, Mitsubishi said.

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For Mitsubishi, which decided to sell its interest in two other thermal coal mines in Australia last year, the latest deals will mean an exit from thermal coal operations, although its coking coal operation will remain a key asset for the trading house.

The Clermont deal, expected to be completed in 2019, will bring the Glencore-Sumitomo joint venture’s stake in the mine to nearly 81.5%, Sumitomo said in a separate statement.

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“The acquisition will allow us to continue stable supply of high-quality thermal coal to our existing customers, including Japanese utilities,” a Sumitomo spokesman said.

Sumitomo’s share of the Clermont purchase means it will pay about 23-billion yen for a 15.7% stake in the mine, he said.

Sumitomo has no plans to invest in any new development projects for thermal coal mines, given the serious concerns over climate change, the spokesman said.

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