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Egypt’s presidential aspirant Sami Anan detained in military prison

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The former Egyptian chief-of-staff, who recently announced his bid to run for presidential elections, is being held at a military prison, according to his lawyer.

Lawyer Nasser Amin said on Saturday that he was able to visit General Sami Anan, who was arrested last week.

The executive director for Anan’s election campaign, Ahmed Abed Rabbo, told Al Jazeera the arrest and detention of Anan was politically motivated and that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was obstructing any chance for genuine presidential elections.

The army arrested Anan on January 23, three days after he announced he would contest Sisi in the upcoming elections.

It accused Anan of committing violations that “warrant official investigation”, according to the Supreme Committee of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The army said the 69-year-old had not obtained the army’s approval to run for president and accused him of seeking to divide the armed forces and citizens of Egypt.

On Saturday, a member of Anan’s campaign, Hisham Genena, was attacked and severely wounded outside his home in the suburbs of the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The election is set to take place on March 26-28. Presidential hopefuls have until January 29 to collect enough signatures to officially submit their candidacies.

A runoff vote will be held in April if no candidate receives more than 50 percent support in the first round.

To be eligible to run for president, a candidate must collect 25,000 signatures from constituents across 15 governorates (with at least 1,000 signatures from each area), or the signatures of 20 members of parliament.

Sisi announced on January 20 he would run for a second, four-year term.

The president made the expected announcement during a televised conference where he stressed the importance of citizens voting to “preserve the democratic experience that began four years ago”.

But in the weeks leading up to the 2018 elections, multiple media reports have suggested that would-be opposition candidates were under pressure to drop out of the race.

Khaled Ali, a human rights lawyer and opposition leader announced he was withdrawing his campaign on January 24. Ali received a three-month prison sentence for “offending public decency” after he allegedly made an obscene gesture during a protest. The issue was widely believed to hamper his ability to formally present his candidacy this year.

Earlier this month, Ahmed Shafik, former prime minister, backtracked on his stated intention to be a presidential candidate, claiming he would “not be the ideal person to lead the state”.

The New York Times quoted one of Shafik’s lawyers, who asked not to be named, as saying that the Egyptian government had forced him to withdraw by threatening to investigate previous charges of corruption against him.

In December 2017, Ahmed Konsowa, an army colonel, was sentenced to six years in prison after announcing his plans to run in a video released online. Konsowa was accused of “stating political opinions contrary to the requirements of military order”, his lawyer, Asad Haykal, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

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EFF demands the sacking of South Africa’s finance minister Nene.

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South Africa’s political players are headed for a collision course over the fate of the finance minister, who the Treasury on Tuesday said is traveling to Indonesia for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting.



Pressure has been piling on finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to resign, following his disclosure to the state-capture inquiry commission, that he had met the Gupta brothers between 2010 and 2013.

The Business Day on Monday reported that Nene had asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties as finance minister.

Ramaphosa’s office responded and said they were not aware of Nene’s request.

And on Tuesday, Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said the finance minister was expected to arrive in Indonesia on Wednesday.

Nene is also expected to read the mid-term budget later this month.

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The news that Nene is continuing with his duties is likely to anger opposition supporters including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader, Julius Malema on Monday asked Ramaphosa to sack Nene.

In a written letter to Ramaphosa, Malema argued that the country, whose economy is in recession, had very serious challenges that needed a credible finance minister to address them.

‘‘Public servants at all spheres and levels of government will have no obligation to responsibly manage state fiscal resources under a compromised minister of finance,’‘ Malema said.

He then added that that Nene can no longer inspire much needed confidence to revive the economy.

‘‘The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)‚ which is supposed to be a statement to build confidence amongst all important economic role players‚ cannot‚ and should not‚ be delivered by a minister who was part of the Gupta criminal syndicate.”

For the EFF, Nene’s position as finance minister is no longer tenable and they are determined to win what they are now calling a battle.

Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister.

The Gupta brothers are accused of using their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions including unfairly winning state contrcats.

Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

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South Africa: Ex-minister reveals Zuma’s Gupta deals.

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South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Wednesday he was fired by former president Jacob Zuma for refusing to approve contracts that would financially benefit the Gupta family, friends of Zuma accused of corruption.



Nene, who was giving testimony at a judicial inquiry into influence-peddling, said the main reason he was he was sacked was for rejecting a proposed plan to build a fleet of nuclear power plants. The project could have cost up to $100 billion.

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Zuma and the Gupta family deny allegations they colluded to inappropriately divert state funds.

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