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ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe president concentrates all power after Mugabe

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Raised to power after removing Robert Mugabe four years ago, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is gradually consolidating his grip on power in a style similar to his predecessor.

Mnangagwa, 78, has ruled Zimbabwe since November 2017, days after Mugabe’s forced resignation in a military coup. Eight months later, he won an election hotly contested by the opposition.

The next ones are only planned in two years, but he has already started to tinker with the constitution, both to consolidate his power and to disarm his opponents.

A few weeks ago, he approved a constitutional amendment that gives him the power to choose judges and extend the terms of senior magistrates, including beyond retirement age.

The opposition is worried about these changes which give the president excessive powers.

This constitutional change “is evident in its intention to consolidate the president’s position ahead of the 2023 elections,” the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said in a statement.

It is “the deadliest blow to constitutionalism,” lamented Dzikamai Bere, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association.

Days after the amendment was passed, Mnangangwa extended the tenure of Chief Justice Luke Malaba, widely regarded as his ally, by five years, when he was due to retire at 70.

An association of lawyers successfully contested the renewal of its mandate, reassuring on the strength of institutions and civil society to limit the complete seizure of power.

The presidential camp did not hide its rage, with Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi even going so far as to threaten to “hit the enemy in the eye”, claiming that the courts were being manipulated by foreign forces.

  • “A real mess” –

Succeeding Mugabe, Mnangagwa portrayed a “new democracy on the march”, promising to depart from the authoritarian style of the former independence hero, who ruled the country for 37 years.

But for his detractors, the former vice president did no better than his ex-boss, seeking to consolidate a one-party state by weakening the main opposition party, the MDC.

To further silence the opposition, the government has concocted a draft “patriotic law” to prohibit any Zimbabwean from “deliberately communicating messages intended to damage the image and reputation of the country”.

If adopted, this text will allow the government to interfere in private communications between citizens and representatives of foreign governments.

“Together, the constitutional amendment and the + patriotic + bill constitute a big step backwards in terms of democracy,” Judge Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe.

According to him, these two texts “animated by authoritarian impulses, are really conceived to concentrate the power in the hands of the president”.

“It’s a big mess,” he says. “Patriotism cannot be legislated. It is simply a question of muzzling the critics.”

At the MDC, legal affairs official Kucaca Phulu said the texts “are designed to anchor an imperial executive” without sufficient controls.

But for political analyst Alexander Rusero, Mnangagwa is playing a thinner game than before.

“In the past, the Zanu-PF (in power) used violence and kidnappings to intimidate its opponents, there they choose more subtle means,” he told AFP.

“We are on a roller coaster ride, the rule of law versus the rule of law. The beating of people is no longer viable,” he said, but “the way has been cleared” and the elections of 2023, “it is as if it was done”.

Source : SlateAfrique

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POLITICS

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

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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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POLITICS

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

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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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POLITICS

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

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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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