Zimbabwe: Villagers Forced to Donate for Mugabe’s Birthday Bash – Report

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Organizers of President Robert Mugabe’s 92nd birthday bash are reportedly struggling to raise the proposed $800 000 for the celebrations.

This year’s event would be held at Mucheke stadium in Masvingo province on February 28.

According to News Day, the ruling Zanu-PF party youths in the province had resorted to coercing villagers to help fund it.

A human rights advocacy group, Community Tolerance, Reconciliation and Development (Cotrad), alleged that the Zanu-PF youths were forcing villagers to donate $1 per household, while civil servants were being told to donate $3.

“The expensive birthday bash, which is earmarked for Masvingo, is underfunded and the Zanu-PF apparatchiks are now employing thuggish fundraising tactics to raise the money.”

Those who resisted faced “unprecedented harassment”, Cotrad was quoted saying.

Zanu-PF youth league secretary, Pupurai Togarepi, said they understood the plight of the villagers and would not resort to such tactics.

Togarepi said the party would celebrate the nonagenarian’s birthday, whether they had the money or not.

A group established in 1986 to encourage Zimbabwean youths to emulate the nonagenarian’s selfless character and leadership qualities, the February 21 movement, recently vowed to make the celebrations the biggest of them all.

Source: News 24


President Buhari Proceeds On Vacation, Hands Over To Osinbajo

President Muhammadu Buhari  will from today, Friday, proceed on a short vacation
which has been scheduled to end on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

This is contained in a statement by the  President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

While President Buhari is on vacation, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi
Osinbajo  will act as the President.

In compliance with Section 145 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution, President
Buhari has dispatched a formal notice of his vacation to the Senate
President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Zimbabwe: Mugabe to Rule Until He Is 100, We Will Design Special Wheelchair for Him – Grace

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“We are going to create a special wheelchair for President Mugabe until he rules to 100 years because that is what we want.”

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will rule Zimbabwe until he is 100 years old and, if need be, a special wheelchair will be designed for the veteran leader who now struggles to walk and has battled with swollen ankles for years.

Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980. He turns 92 next February and his Zanu PF party has already nominated him as its presidential candidate for the 2018 elections when he will be 94.

Recent stumbles at Harare international airport as well as during a foreign trip to India have drawn opposition calls for him to step down and allow a younger and more energetic leader to take over.

Never, said the president’s wife, Grace, while addressing supporters at Murewa Business Centre in Mashonaland East on Saturday.

“We are going to create a special wheelchair for President Mugabe until he rules to 100 years because that is what we want.

“That is the people’s choice. We want a leader that respects us,” said Grace.

She however, admitted that divisions in Zanu PF remained the main threat to her husband staying in power for life.

“But with factionalism that will not happen.

“There is a lot of factionalism but the grassroots people are not stupid and those fanning factionalism will reap what they sow,” Grace said without mentioning any names.

Although President Mugabe repeatedly indicates he will not retire, his lieutenants continue to bicker over his succession with turf wars splintering the ruling party.

The divisions saw the dismissal of former vice president, Joice Mujuru, and a scores of party leaders and cabinet ministers said to have backed the alleged coup.

Mujuru’s ouster has not ended to the squabbling with new rows said to pit a faction rallying behind vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, against the younger G-40 grouping which appears to support Grace.

On Saturday, the First Lady warned power hungry party officials to remember what happened to Mujuru’s bid to replace President Mugabe.

“Do not be deceived. Do not be short-sighted,” she said.

“Leaders come from God. It will not work now or in the future. Let’s be well mannered people. You should listen to me now.

“Therefore, let’s pray to God for many more years for President Mugabe. We say no to factionalism.

She added that Zanu PF should not be like the opposition MDC, which is “tearing itself apart”.

“The MDC is tearing itself apart; instead of taking advantage of that we are following what they are doing.

“You notice that its leader (Morgan Tsvangirai) seems to have lost his brains by calling for sanctions in order for him to become President.”

She added: “I am a 600 horse power and it will not happen.

“We have President Mugabe who is a 1000 horse power and he will not allow that. We have a President who does not fear anything.

“We will not allow ourselves to be controlled by a minority group. I won’t be intimidated by anyone. I am thick skinned like an elephant or a crocodile.”

She then she shifted her anger to journalists who she accused of writing falsehoods about her and threatened to withdraw rice that she had donated them.

“Why are you doing that? Is it hunger? Let us give each other respect. Inga ndino kurisipekitayi wani. Hokoyo ndinokudhuzha,” she said.

“Let us not write stories that destroy people’s lives. The coming Zanu PF conference has nothing about electing new leaders, she said.

Source : New  Zimbabwe

I have spent N2.1Billion, on my seven jets, not N6billion says Buhari


The Presidency said on Tuesday that a little above N2 billion and not N6 billion has so far been expended on maintenance of the presidential fleet between May 2015 and now and that the amount include salaries and repayment of old debts.

In a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity expressed frustration at what he described as a fictional report that has caused the government a lot of negative reviews, especially in the online media.

Shehu said: “The government is focused on solving the many major issues our country faces in the areas of the economy, corruption and security; yet, almost every week, the Presidency has to also deal with the distractions which do nothing but distract from the task of government.”

Based on documents he said he requested from the Operational Office of the Presidential Fleet after his attention was drawn to the speculative report, the Presidential spokesperson pointed out that N2.3 billion was released to the Presidential Air Fleet by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation between May and November 2015.

According to him, this includes releases for personnel cost, overhead and capital expenditure out of the N5,190,381,386.00 appropriated for PAF in the 2015 budget.

The documents also showed that N2,127,103,086.66 had so far been expended, leaving a balance of N172,568,912.34 from the amount released.

“However, the sum of N149,062,791.12 was transferred from the PAG’s operation account to the Treasury Single Account, following the President’s recent directive,” Shehu said.

He added that the sum of N23,801,122.17 remains unutilised out of the funds so far released.

During the period from May 31, 2015 till date, the Fleet expended N1,358,910,962.75 to settle outstanding liabilities carried over from last year till May 2015.

Furthermore, N500 million was refunded to the office of the National Security Adviser for financial support rendered to the Fleet prior to the release of funds from the OAGF.

Thus, the Fleet expended N449,081,037.25 within the last months.

This is made up of N98,500,218.00 for operations, N165,373,176.91 on training and N85,500,116.75 on personnel medicals and overhead.

Additionally, N99,715,493.51 was expended on aircraft maintenance, spares and subscription services required for operations.

Shehu said further in the statement: “Any of these documents could have been made available had the newspaper reached out to me or to any one of my colleagues. The damage to the image of government and the good management of the Presidential Air Fleet could have been avoided.”

The Senior Special Assistant also put the number of aircraft in the presidential fleet at 10 and not 14 as cited by that report.

He listed the aircraft in the inventory in the spirit of openness as transparency instituted by the Buahri administration as made up of:
1. 1× 737 BBJ
2. 1× G550
3. 1×G500
4. 2× Falcon 7X
5. 1× HS 4000
6. 2× Agusta139
7. 2× Agusta 101.

Source : Point Blank News

ACF Condemns Buhari over Dasuki

The youth wing of  the  Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari over the continued presence of officials of the Department of State Services (DSS). at  the Abuja home of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd).

This condemnation emanated from the national president of the youth wing of ACF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima in a caht with Journalists in Kaduna.

“We are saddened by the handling of the case of the former NSA because so many gaps can be seen in all the attempts to justify why such a high profile Nigerian should be treated the way he has been treated by this country. This is the first time an intelligence service official would be so treated”.

“On no account should the former NSA’s right as protected by a court in the land be trampled upon. This is taking us back to the dark days of military dictatorship and it is unfortunate.

“It is sad that the DSS offered explanation to its actions against Dasuki only when public outcry became louder.

“This Gestapo style is unacceptable under a democratic atmosphere. We view the action of the DSS with shock and surprise, considering the fact that rule of law is a pillar of any meaningful change. It will be suicidal to allow Nigeria to drift into a one-party state”.

“Much as President Buhari in particular and the administration in general, would want to sanction anyone for any wrongdoing, it should be seen to doing so in a civilized manner, free of any tendency towards partisanship.

“Even if it is a coincidence, the continuous arrest of people from one and the same political party is a bad coincidence that creates a wrong impression,” he said.



Uganda: Museveni Blames Party Disunity for Weakening Support

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Lira — President Museveni has used his campaign rally in Lira District to explain to why his performance during the last three general elections has been dwindling.

He said those who are ‘old enough’ and the young people who have a knack for reading or researching know his support has decreased from 75 per cent in 1996 to 68.38 per cent in 2011.

“That was because of disunity [in the NRM],” Mr Museveni told the crowd at Agweny Primary School in Ogur Sub-county, Lira District on Wednesday.

Mr Museveni, who peppered his speech with Luo words, however, did not delve further into the subject.

In some fora, Mr Museveni was accustomed to attribute the declining support to his long time ally and former secretary general of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Mr Amama Mbabazi (now a presidential candidate), who he said did not organise the party adequately.

That, however, would not explain why in 1996 Mr Mbabazi managed to pull off a 75 per cent win for the NRM.

According to his critics, his share of votes during the elections have been decreasing because he has not failed to fulfill most of the pledges he makes during campaigns for re-election.

The critics say many young voters have cannot appreciate his messages since they are hardly surviving thanks to alarming levels of employment.

Mr Museveni has in the previous rallies refuted this; he reeled off the number of jobs he says have been created over the years.

Waving his 2016-2021 manifesto, which indicates over the last five years the NRM government created 2.5 million casual, contractual as well as permanent jobs, he said those who refute his achievement either do not have eyes or have ears but do not hear.

Yet other critics attribute his declining support to increased awareness among some voters, resisting intimidation and due to entry of formidable challengers in the contests.

The president has since said his party, whose secretariat in now managed by young people, is now better-organised.

The same secretariat, however, recently oversaw the chaotic NRM primaries, which resulted in the destruction of some party offices in various places of the country.

Source : The Monitor

Angola: Independence celebrations marred by crackdown on human rights


President José Eduardo dos Santos’s tightening stranglehold on freedom of expression in Angola and his government’s decades of fear and repression will cast an indelible stain on the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence, said Amnesty International today.

As dignitaries and foreign leaders gather in the capital Luanda to mark four decades of independence, at least 16 activists continue to languish in Angolan jails.

40 years after independence, many Angolans still have a long way before they realise their human rights freedoms
Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa

“40 years after independence, many Angolans still have a long way before they realise their human rights freedoms. Those who express views that differ from those of the regime are subjected to brutal treatment. Independence should also be about people being allowed to freely express themselves,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

Those who express views that differ from those of the regime are subjected to brutal treatment.
Muleya Mwananyanda

“Many human rights defenders are suffering in jail merely for asking for accountability and respect for human rights. The state is using police and the judiciary to entrench fear and to silence critical voices.”

Those who have challenged President José Eduardo dos Santos’s government in recent years have been subjected to extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and torture by state security forces.

Authorities continue to use repressive tactics including arbitrary arrests and detentions, politicization of the judiciary and other forms of harassment and intimidation to suppress freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression.

A notorious case involves 15 activists who have been in jail since June 2015 after being arrested in Luanda in connection with a meeting to discuss governance issues. One of the activists, Luaty Beirão, spent 36 days on hunger strike in protest against their arbitrary detention.

The 15 were formally charged on 16 September, but their lawyers were only officially informed of the charges on 30 September. The activists were held in pre-trial detention for longer than the 90 days permitted by law. They were kept in solitary confinement for several days and were allegedly subjected to ill-treatment. They are due to appear in court on 16 November 2015 to face charges of preparing a “rebellion and a coup attempt” against the president.

In a separate case, on 14 September 2015, the Cabinda Provincial Court sentenced human rights defender José Marcos Mavungo to six years in prison after he was convicted of “rebellion”. He was arrested on 14 March 2015 for helping to organize a peaceful demonstration against bad governance in Cabinda Province.

Amnesty International considers the 16 aforementioned activists to be prisoners of conscience, whom the authorities must release immediately and unconditionally.

Journalist and human rights defender, Rafael Marques de Morais, was convicted by the Luanda Provincial Tribunal on 28 May 2015 for committing “slanderous denunciation” against 12 individuals, including members of the armed forces. He was tried following the publication of his book, Blood Diamonds, which alleged that military generals and two mining companies were complicit in human rights abuses committed in the diamond fields of Lundas province. He was sentenced to 15 days in prison for each charge, resulting in six months in prison. The Court suspended the sentence for two years.

The human rights situation in Angola is in serious decline. Citizens’ right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly has been taken away by a state determined to crush dissent.
Muleya Mwananyanda

“The human rights situation in Angola is in serious decline. Citizens’ right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly has been taken away by a state determined to crush dissent. There is no independence without freedom,” said Muleya Mwananyanda.

“Angola must uphold its legal obligations to protect human rights as enshrined in the country’s constitution as well as regional and international instruments that it has signed up to. Authorities must not violate citizens’ human rights with impunity.”


Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 after a war of liberation. Agostinho Neto became the country’s first post-independence president after leading the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola. He was an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience.

Current president, José Eduardo dos Santos, has ruled Angola for 36 years under the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

Source : Amnesty International