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Opposition in Zimbabwe says ‘no election’ without ballot paper deal

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Nelson Chamisa

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa made a veiled threat on Wednesday to boycott elections on July 30 if there is no agreement between the independent election agency and political parties on ballot papers.

Chamisa and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are the main rivals to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the first presidential and parliamentary vote since Robert Mugabe resigned last November following an army coup.

The MDC is wary of any attempt to put it at a disadvantage to Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party, insisting there be a deal on how to design, print and store ballot papers.

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Chamisa said his party rejected the papers being printed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Asked whether he would boycott the polls if ZEC ignored his party’s demands, Chamisa said: “There will be no election, there can’t be an election. Choose what to call it, but there can’t be an election.”

He would not reveal how the MDC could stop the vote, in which 23 candidates are running for president, but added that the opposition would not “repeat the mistakes of 2013” when it suffered a crushing defeat.

The MDC called Mugabe’s victory five years ago a monumental fraud that had been engineered through manipulation of the voters’ register by state security agents.

ZEC chief Priscilla Chigumba said her commission alone was empowered to deal with the issue of ballot papers, and demands by the MDC were meant to usurp its powers.

Presidential and parliamentary ballots were being produced by the central bank’s printing arm Fidelity Printers, she added in a statement.

An MDC official said the party had notified police it would demonstrate next Wednesday to press its demands. Thousands of MDC supporters marched to the ZEC offices on June 5, demanding reforms that the party said were vital for a credible vote.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesman Colonel Overson Mugwisi separately rejected MDC allegations that soldiers had been deployed in rural areas to campaign for ZANU-PF and intimidate opponents.

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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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– Vanguard

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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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