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ZIMBABWE – Presidential and legislative elections: An election in a climate of repression



Some six million voters are called to the polls on Wednesday, August 23, 2023 for presidential, legislative and local elections, with two names that stand out among the 11 candidates for the presidency: Emmerson Mnangagwa, candidate for his own succession, and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, a young lawyer and pastor. This in a tense climate: the opposition has denounced a growing repression in the country that faces poverty and soaring inflation.

The presidential election is like a return match between the two main candidates: they had already opposed in 2018, in the first elections without Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 30 years.

The incumbent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, of the ruling Zanu-PF party, did not propose an electoral platform. He says his party’s record is good enough. It focuses on infrastructure such as the construction of schools, highways and bridges, proof that the president keeps his promises, his supporters believe.

But suspicions of corruption have tarnished the image of these national projects, also pushing the United States to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe. These are pointed out by the outgoing president Emmerson Mnangagwa, nicknamed «the crocodile», to explain the origin of the economic difficulties of the country.

As for Nelson Chamisa, his rival who had already narrowly lost in 2018, he launched his program just two weeks before the elections: some blame him for a lack of vision. His party, the Citizens’ Coalition for Change – or the «Triple C» – denounces intimidation and the banning of its meetings by the authorities: on August 3, a CCC activist was stoned to death by alleged supporters of the Zanu-PF.

Human Rights Watch has already predicted a “severely flawed electoral process.”

The president is elected by an absolute majority. A second round is organized only if no candidate wins 50% of the votes plus one.

Acute economic crisis with chronic hyperinflation
According to a recent poll, the economy and unemployment are the main concerns of voters. The country is facing an acute economic crisis. Among other evils, the Zimbabwean economy suffers from chronic hyperinflation. After soaring in 2020, inflation slowed in July, but it still officially exceeds 100%: some economists actually believe it is much higher than the official figure.

But there are other structural problems in the country. “About 90% of Zimbabweans are hired informally. And nearly 42% of the population lives in extreme poverty,” says Prosper Chitambara, development economist in Harare.

A former cereal granary in the region, Zimbabwe saw its agricultural production drop after the agrarian reform of the 2000s. After 2008, growth rebounded but other shocks shook the country’s economy. Prosper Chitambara cites the climate, the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Moreover, the environment is not conducive to investment: “Access to credit is difficult and very expensive. The reference interest rate is 150%.”

Infrastructure projects through Chinese loans
Prosper Chitambara says there are some good things for the economy: “There have been a number of investments in infrastructure projects, such as highways, dams and increased electricity generation.”

Four energy projects were undertaken thanks to a loan from China. In debt, Zimbabwe is not eligible for funding from international donors, such as the IMF and the World Bank, precisely because of arrears.

In addition to Western sanctions for suspected corruption, Harare is also subject to sanctions for rights violations.

The risk of electoral violence is low, analysts say. They predict a low turnout after a campaign that attracted little voters.

According to political analyst Ringisai Chikohomero, these elections take place when «there is no real enthusiasm and it is unusual during an election». This is mainly due to a «climate of intimidation» pushing «Zimbabweans to self-censor themselves for fear of reprisals».

These elections take place in a much different context from the previous ones in 2018: it was the first time that Zimbabweans did not have Robert Mugabe as their candidate.

Now, there is a weariness among voters, because the hope of change after nearly 30 years of power of Robert Mugabe has quickly fallen: Parliament passed laws that, according to human rights organizations, silence civil society and limit any criticism of the government. And among the voters there is a certain weariness, explains Ringisai Chikohomero.

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SENEGAL – Harassment, food tampering, communication ban: the Diomaye Coalition President alert on the conditions of detention of his candidate



Bassirou Diomay Faye

The Diomaye Coalition President warns about the conditions of detention of candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye. The members of the said coalition inform that his visiting days have been changed and he can only receive visits on Tuesdays and Wednesdays within the Court. He is also prohibited from telephone communications. The Diomaye Président coalition denounces this relentlessness against its candidate and holds the regime responsible for any attack on the physical or moral integrity of their candidate.

“Following the official launch of the Diomaye President Coalition and the massive adhesions of opposition leaders, it was expected that the government in power would reinstate the candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye in his rights, particularly in the context of a presidential election of which he is undoubtedly the favourite,” reads a statement.

However, the Coalition announces that the Prison Administration, under the responsibility of the Minister of Justice, has decided to unilaterally and without justification tighten the conditions of detention of candidate Bassirou Diomaye FAYE by:

“A unilateral modification of his visiting days now, the candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye can only receive visits on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and this within the Court itself. A ban on telephone communications under the pretext that the favorite candidate in the presidential election whose campaign begins in two days has conversations whose purpose is political. A continuous harassment of the room of the candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye is now searched at every turn.”

Moreover, she notes a «lack of security measures despite her status as a candidate in the presidential election of February 25, 2024 and multiple alerts on probable alterations of the food served to her. Candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye no longer has breakfast.”
The Diomaye President coalition denounces this relentlessness against its candidate. “We strongly denounce this umpteenth violation of the principle of equality between candidates in the presidential election of February 25, 2024. We call for the immediate release of Bassirou Diomaye Faye to actively participate in the election campaign.”

In any case, she stresses, «the State of Senegal has the responsibility to ensure its protection if it unjustly decides to maintain it in the bonds of detention».

In short, the Diomaye Coalition President indicates that «Macky Sall, Aissata Tall Sall and Amadou Ba will be held responsible for any attack on the physical or moral integrity of the candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye».

Source : PressAfrik

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SENEGAL – 100.000 Housing: Ismaila Madior Fall á Bambilor for the inauguration



This Friday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese from outside, Ismaila Madior Fall, accompanied by Minister Annette Ndiaye Seck, will inaugurate the “City of the Diaspora” in Bambilor. This project aims to prevent the creation of new slums and encourage the mass production of accessible housing.

According to the Observer, the aim is to boost and diversify the supply of housing for low-income and/or irregular households, while facilitating access to adapted bank financing. With a clear vision of strengthening the construction ecosystem, this initiative demonstrates the commitment of the Senegalese government to its diaspora.

The 100,000 units planned in this project were developed in partnership with the Senegalese government and its collaborators, seeking to meet the specific housing needs and concerns of Senegalese living abroad.

Source: PressAfrik

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SENEGAL – Thione Niang “I have no program, I have a vision”



Thione Niang ©Ze-Africanews

Social entrepreneur Thione Niang is a candidate in the February 2024 election. In this exclusive interview, he reveals his vision, his projects in particular, “Give One project”, “JeufZone” which includes an agricultural component, training but also women’s empowerment. 

It was an opportunity for the social entrepreneur to look back on his beginnings, on the process of returning to his country of origin, Senegal. He addressed the political question: his involvement in the political ring while giving his opinion on the Senegalese political landscape. 

African politics is another aspect of this interview. The urgency of the industrialization of the continent, the urgency of helping African youth so that they have the same opportunities for development as other young people in the world, is close to his heart. 

On the question of the African school, Thione Niang proposes a redesign of it, starting with a paradigm shift and especially the content of the teachings. According to him, we must return to our fundamentals, namely our own models of identity representations, notably Cheikh Anta Diop or Nkrumah. 

Thione Niang, also told us about vision, his vision and not a program, to give each Senegalese what he deserves both in terms of education, health, but also on the development of infrastructure, which, according to him, necessarily passes first and foremost through food self-sufficiency, hence his return to the land for an assertive agricultural progress.

He ended up sending a strong message to all Senegalese.

The rest of the interview on this link:

Thione Niang ©Ze-Africanews
Thione Niang ©Ze-Africanews
Thione Niang ©Ze-Africanews
Thione Niang ©Ze-Africanews
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