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South Africa political deadlock as Jacob Zuma clings to power

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South Africa’s political impasse deepened on Saturday with no resolution to extended talks over President Jacob Zuma’s expected departure from office after his own party called for him to resign.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the president-in-waiting, and the ruling ANC party have said negotiations should be concluded within days, but have given no details about how Zuma will be eased out of power.

The stalemate has left South Africa’s political scene in limbo, with a series of public events cancelled this week including the flagship State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

Zuma cleared his diary of weekend engagements, but deputy president Ramaphosa is due to speak at a rally in the city on Sunday to start a year of celebrations marking 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth.

February 11 also marks the day that Mandela was released from jail in 1990 — a key date in modern South Africa’s re-birth as apartheid white-minority rule crumbled.

Zuma and Ramaphosa will “conclude” discussions on Zuma’s exit within 48 hours and the outcome will then be announced to the nation, the News24 website said Saturday without naming its sources.

But Susan Booysen, a politics professor from Wits University in Johannesburg, said Zuma may fight on for several more days.

“A stalemate is the best description for the situation,” she said.

“Zuma is a fighter to the end and is refusing to resign, while Ramaphosa doesn’t want to be divisive.

“Zuma pretended to open the doors of negotiations, but he is digging in.”

Local media reported that a key sticking point in talks was over legal fees faced by Zuma, who is set for prolonged court battles related to multiple criminal cases.

On Friday, the president reportedly flew back from Cape Town to his official residence in Pretoria.

The ANC has said it is awaiting the “imminent conclusion” of the talks, and said the budget on February 21 will not be delayed.

Ramaphosa has made no official comment since Wednesday when he described the discussions as “constructive” towards securing “a speedy resolution of the matter.”

Zuma has made no comment since being asked to resign by senior ANC officials last Sunday.

The pro-Zuma New Age newspaper reported Friday that the president would gather his family at his residence in Pretoria this weekend to inform them of his decision.

Zuma’s wife Thobeka Madiba-Zuma posted a picture of the couple on Instagram on Friday, adding a defiant comment that warned against “picking a fight with someone who is not fighting you”.

Zuma, 75, who has been in office since 2009, has clung to power despite a string of corruption scandals, an economic slowdown and record unemployment.

His hold on the ANC was shaken when his chosen successor — his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — narrowly lost out to Ramaphosa in a closely-fought race to be party leader in December.

Zuma faces several court cases, including action relating to 783 payments he allegedly received linked to an arms deal before he came to power.

Many of the recent graft allegations are linked to the Guptas, a wealthy Indian business family accused of improperly winning government contracts and influencing cabinet appointments.

In 2007, the party pushed out then-president Thabo Mbeki over allegations of abuse of power.

Under Zuma, the ANC suffered its worst electoral setback since coming to power in 1994, winning less than 54 percent of the vote in municipal elections in 2016.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which promotes the legacy of South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon, has called for Zuma to go as he had “demonstrated that he is not fit to govern”.

Ramaphosa, 65, is a former trade unionist who led talks to end apartheid rule in the early 1990s and then became a multi-millionaire businessman before returning to politics.

Motherland News

Nigerian President Buhari Warns Ballot box snatchers to value their lives

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President Muhammadu Buhari has warned those planning to snatch ballot boxes during the elections to desist or pay with his or her life if caught.



President Buhari who stated this at the opening session of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Caucus meeting in Abuja, on Monday, said that such act would be the last unlawful act the person will be brought to book.

Meanwhile, the governors of Imo, Rochas Okorocha and Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun were conspicuously absent at the meeting.

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Buhari who said he is confident that he has garnered enough supporters having gone round the country to campaign, urged party members to reassure their constituents to come out and vote on the rescheduled dates.

While urging party agents to watch out for the party interests at the polling units the president said that he has directed security agencies to identify hot spots and be ready to move should they suspect any attempts to cause problems by thugs across the country irrespective of party affiliations.

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Health & Lifestyle

DR Congo blame Unending Ebola Outbreak on Violence , Community Mistrust.

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DR Congo Ministry of Health spokesperson Jessica Ilunga has declared that violence and community mistrust have continued to hamper all efforts to control and end the fresh Ebola outbreak, which started Aug. 1.



Though according to the World Health Organization the number of new Ebola cases has dropped slightly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as there are 33% fewer cases to date in February compared with the same time period in December per STAT’s Helen Branswell, but some experts warn Axios that there remain signs that this outbreak is far from over.

Meanwhile, some experts warn that, that doesn’t mean the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is yet under control, and in fact it could simply be moving to new areas of the sprawling country.

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Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo maintains there are several reasons people should continue to view this outbreak as a cause for concern.

However, Nuzzo said Congo needs more than money from the international community and the U.S. in particular. Safety concerns have largely caused the CDC to limit its Ebola experts to the capital city of Kinshasa, where some have returned after being evacuated during an uptick in election-related violence, Nuzzo added that Now is the time for the U.S. to send them into the field.

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