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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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PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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