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Mugabe resurfaces with political party to oppose Mnangagwa.

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A retired Zimbabwean general and acolyte of ex-president Robert Mugabe has formed a political party to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the polls later this year, the new grouping said on Monday.

Mugabe, 94, was forced to step down last November following a de facto military coup. Sources close to the former leader say he is bitter over his departure after 37 years in office and has given his support to the New Patriotic Front (NFP) party.

Ambrose Mutinhiri, a veteran of Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war, quit the ruling ZANU-PF party and gave up his parliamentary seat last Friday, then met Mugabe on Sunday to brief him about the latest developments, an NPF statement said.

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The NPF said it was formed by ZANU-PF members and Zimbabweans“outraged by the unconstitutional and humiliating manner in which President Mugabe was criminally ousted from leadership … by real criminals who have shamefully damaged Zimbabwe’s fledgling democracy”.

Mugabe’s policies are blamed by many for the decline of Zimbabwe from breadbasket to basket case, with unemployment above 80 percent, dilapidated public infrastructure and severe shortages of hard currency that spawned hyper-inflation.

Mnangagwa said in January Zimbabwe would hold transparent elections by July and he would respect the result if the opposition won – a pledge crucial to unlocking urgently needed financial assistance and repairing relations with Western powers and international financial institutions.

On Sunday, Mnangagwa surprised many when he send a congratulatory tweet to Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC– T) party upon his being endorsed as the opposition coalition candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

The divisions that have rocked the opposition since the death of veteran politician and former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai might indeed benefit the ruling ZANU – PF party.

Chamisa is being challenged for the leadership of the MDC – T party by the vice president of the party Dr. Thokozani Khuphe who was elected to the poition by the party’s congress in 2014.

She insists that she is the legitimate leader of the party since Chamisa was appointed by the deceased party president, while she was elected by the party’s congress.

Chamisa, whose supporters have been accused of meting out violence upon Khupe and her supporters in the recent past, reached out on Twitter, saying ‘what binds us together is far greater than wahat seeks to set us apart’.

Whether the opposition will eventually set aside their differences and put together a united front against the ruling party remains to be seen.

The new opposition player, NPF has on its part said it would soon challenge the legality of Mnangagwa’s government at the Constitutional Court.

The High Court ruled in November that the military intervention was lawful, as it halted a bid by people in his entourage to take over his duties, and African and Western countries have since accepted Mnangagwa’s presidency.

Mutinhiri, an ethnic Zezuru like Mugabe, has no known political base. He joins the ranks of other opposition political parties like the Movement for Democratic Change, whose founding president Morgan Tsvangirai died from cancer last month, and Joice Mujuru, a former Mugabe deputy.

The state-owned Herald newspaper, which reflects government thinking, asserted that Mutinhiri was a stalking horse for Mugabe, his wife Grace and the vanquished ZANU-PF G40 group that had opposed Mnangagwa’s political rise.

It was Grace’s tilt at power that triggered the military intervention in November.

Quoting an unnamed government source, the Herald said Mugabe and his wife were also anxious about their investments, including a dairy firm and several farms.

“Essentially, what it means is it’s the former president who is trying to stage a‘second coming’ behind the person of the dutiful and beholden Ambrose Mutinhiri,” the source was quoted by the Herald as saying.

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Crime

Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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