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Zimbabwe: Commonwealth Observers bemoans use of army against protesters.

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Zimbabwe’s army has been condemned by Commonwealth Observers for its deadly use of force to break up protesters in the capital, Harare.

At least three people were killed when troops opened fire during clashes on the streets following the early results of the country’s first election since Robert Mugabe was deposed in a coup in November 2017.



 The army also beat up opposition demonstrators, many of whom were throwing rocks and setting fires to protest alleged fraud in the election on Monday.

Opposition supporters claimed the country’s presidential election had been rigged by the ruling party.

Reporting from the streets of Harare, The Independent‘s Kim Sengupta described “running battles” where “troops opened fire on rioting opposition supporters, tanks took to the streets and military helicopters flew overhead”.

He wrote: “Initial exchanges saw bottles and rocks flung from the crowd and police responding with tear gas, baton rounds and water cannons. The confrontation suddenly escalated with the appearance machine-gun mounted armoured personnel carriers (APCs). Troops streamed out of the vehicles into the crowd to, at first, use their rifle butts to hit people, and then open fire.

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“Some military officers claimed later that they had shot back in self-defence after coming under fire. There were sounds of some single shots, but most of it appeared to be staccato controlled bursts of semi-automatic rounds from assault rifles. Road blocks began to be put up shortly after the gunfire, tanks and APCs positioned themselves in Harare city centre.”

Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said he had been talking to the leader of the opposition MDC Alliance, Nelson Chamisa, to try to defuse the tension.

The violence erupted after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the ruling Zanu-PF party won a majority in parliament.

There was no response from Mr Chamisa, who claimed several times on Twitter to have “won the popular vote” but gave no numbers or concrete evidence of fraud by Zanu-PF.

Observers from the Commonwealth, a group of mainly former British colonies Mr Mangagwa had been hoping to rejoin, did not hold back in criticising the military crackdown.

“We categorically denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians,” Ghana’s former president, John Mahama, said in a statement on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Britain also said it was deeply concerned by the situation, while the United Nations had earlier called for restraint from all sides in the aftermath of the election.

The Commonwealth also urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to expedite the announcement of the results of the presidential vote. On Wednesday, the observers had reported a number of problems with the poll, including voter intimidation.

 However, China, an important source of funding under Mr Mugabe and Mr Mnangagwa, said it believed the election had generally proceeded in an orderly fashion, though a foreign ministry spokesman “noted” reports of violence on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, the streets of Harare were calm as soldiers on foot and in trucks moved around, instructing vendors and other people to leave the city centre by noon.

Shops were shut and the streets were strewn with rocks and embers from the fires set by demonstrators.

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Alexander Zverev World number one to win ATP Finals in London

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Alexander Zverev stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win the season-ending ATP Finals and earn the biggest victory of his career.




Djokovic, 31, was the heavy favourite to win a sixth finals title but was outclassed 6-4 6-3 by the German.

Third seed Zverev broke Djokovic for a 5-4 lead in the first set and then served three big aces to take the set.

Zverev, 21, continued to dominate in the second set and sealed a memorable victory as Djokovic faltered.

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“I’m unbelievable happy, obviously it is the biggest title I have ever won,” said Zverev, who also took home around £2m in prize money.

Zverev lost to the Serb in straight sets in the round-robin stage but, after beating Roger Federer in Saturday’s semi-finals, produced a more confident performance to stop Djokovic equalling Federer’s haul of end-of-season titles.

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Zverev missed his first championship point before hitting a sensational backhand down the line for victory, falling to the court in a mixture of disbelief and celebration as Djokovic jumped over the net to congratulate him.

“You definitely played much better than you did the group stage,” Djokovic told Zverev with a laugh. “You deserved to win.”

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Nigeria Musician Ayefele reacts to Oyo govt reconstruction of Music House

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Popular gospel musician and Chairman of Fresh 105.9 FM, Ibadan, Mr. Yinka Ayefele, has reacted to the reconstruction of the Music House, which houses the radio station by the Oyo State Government.



 The building was partially demolished by the agent of the state for allegedly violating building plans in the state.It was however gathered that the state government under the leadership of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, has began the reconstruction of the building located along the Challenge-Toll Gate Express Way, Ibadan.

From a visitation to the site by newsmen, it was observed that some of the building materials used for the reconstruction such as sand, gravels among others are still at the front of the building to finish the work.

But, Ayefele while reacting showered encomiums on Ajimobi for fulfilling his promise to assist in rebuilding his partially demolished Music House.

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In a statement personally signed and made available to newsmen by Ayefele, he said the Governor had the choice to ask him to go and rebuild the Music House but he was magnanimous and compassionate to have promised to rebuild the affected areas.He said, “It is not common to find government doing that, anything near that is to allow you to rebuild it yourself but here the Governor promised and he has fulfilled his promise.

“Let me use this opportunity to register my heart-felt gratitude and sincere appreciation to my Governor, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi for his prompt positive response to our plight.

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“It is not our right but the Governor only showed us mercy by offering to help us to rebuild the Music House. He, has, through this magnanimity help us to right our wrong and we’ll be eternally grateful to him.

“I was surprised to see some engineers reportedly from the governor’s office some weeks ago on the instruction of the state government to start work on the Music House.

“I had thought it would be the usual promise but our dear governor proved us wrong and with this development he has demonstrated the qualities only found in true and exceptional leaders”.

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