Sunday, December 17, 2017

#ANC54: VOTING BEGINS FOR TOP SIX LEADERS
The ANC formally nominated Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the only candidates to run for the presidency of the party.

Delegates sing and dance during the nominations process at the ANC's national conference on 17 December 2017. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

Ray White & Gaye Davis
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - After much toing and froing late on Sunday, over 4,700 ANC delegates have started voting for the party's top six leadership.

It was initially expected that voting at the party's 54th National Conference would get underway at 10pm, before officials informed the media that the process had been postponed until Monday morning.

However, just after midnight, the party confirmed that voting had begun.

Voting is expected to take at least six hours, stretching into morning.

The ANC's elective conference has been plagued by setbacks, with many items on the programme of events running up to 24 hours late.

Earlier on Sunday evening, the party formally nominated Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former Cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the only candidates to run for the presidency of the party.

Independent electoral commissioner Bontle Mphakonyane said: “Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa nominated by 1,469 branches across six provinces and he has accepted the nomination. Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has been nominated by 1,094 branches across six provinces and she has also accepted the nomination.”

Straight after that was the announcement on the nominees for deputy president

“Comrade David Mabuza nominated by 1,128 branches across six provinces and he has accepted the nomination. Our second candidate is comrade Zweli Mkhize, who is nominated by 193 branches across one province and he has accepted the nomination.”

In a surprise move, Mkhize the withdrew his nomination for deputy president while Nomvula Mokonyane also declined to stand for the position of treasurer.

The options for national chairperson are Gwede Mantashe and Nathi Mthethwa.

The fight for secretary-general is between Senzo Mchunu and Ace Magashule.

The choice for deputy secretary general is between Jessie Duarte and Zingiswa Losi.

Candidates for treasurer general are Paul Mashatile and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (275).

At the same time, Eastern Cape ANC chair Oscar Mabuyane has told Eyewitness News that the province had decided to throw its weight behind Sisulu's bid to become the deputy president of the party.

Mabuyane also says they approached Mkhize as he was their initial candidate for deputy president, but he did not receive the desired number of nominations and the gender issue could not be ignored.

He says they engaged Mkhize on Sunday morning and came to an agreement that he would withdraw his candidacy for the deputy president position.

Mabuyane praised the outgoing treasure general for being a disciplined and mature cadre and for showing that the contest is not about an individual, but about the good of the party.
ANC ANNOUNCES NOMINATIONS FOR PARTY LEADERSHIP
After protracted delays, the ANC has announced which candidates will be vying for the party’s top positions.

Baleka Mbete during the nominations process at the ANC's national conference on 17 December 2017. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/EWN

Janice Healing & Clement Manyathela

JOHANNESBURG – The ANC has released its list of contenders for the top party positions at the party’s 54th national conference being held at Nasrec in Soweto.

The nominees for president are Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma by 1,094 branches across 6 provinces and Cyril Ramaphosa by 1,469 branches across 6 provinces.

The official nominations, announced by an election official, come after months of campaigning that's set the stage for the start of voting by 4,776 delegates in the tight race between the two candidates.

The position of deputy president is being contested by David Mabuza (1,128) and Lindiwe Sisulu (619) who have accepted the nominations, while Zweli Mkhize (193) and Naledi Pandor declined.

The options for national chairperson are Gwede Mantashe (1,499) and Nathi Mthethwa (804).

The fight for secretary-general is between Senzo Mchunu (1,479) and Ace Magashule (930).

The choice for deputy secretary general is between Jessie Duarte (845) and Zingiswa Losi (361).

Candidates for treasurer general are Paul Mashatile (1,581) and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (275). Nomvula Mokonyane (289) declined the nomination.

The nominations for the positions of top officials started with heckling about voting procedures, with delegates in support of Dlamini Zuma pushing for members to be allowed into the voting booth with a list of a slate when the voting for 80 NEC members begins.

Ramaphosa's supporters argued this voting process would promote slates, something the electoral commission agreed to.

No agreement was reached on this and the NEC is expected to take the final decision later on.
SISULU: I WANTED TO PROVE THE POSSIBILITY OF SLATELESS CAMPAIGN
Deputy president nominee Lindiwe Sisulu says she wanted to prove that it's possible to run a campaign without a slate.

FILE: Lindiwe Sisulu. Photo: Bertram Malgas/EWN
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) deputy president nominee Lindiwe Sisulu says she's glad she went through the campaign process for the party's top position.

Speaking on 702 on Sunday evening, Sisulu says she wanted to prove that it's possible to run a campaign without a slate.

“The point that I wanted to drive home was that it is possible to do it. It is possible to go on a slateless campaign, that has absolutely no resources because we would like to revive and renew the ANC.”

She says she did not make any deal with Zweli Mkhize for him to decline his nomination for deputy president.

“I went up to him to ask why he had turned it down and he said he thought it was the right thing to do. I wish he had stayed on, but nonetheless no, I didn’t make a deal with him, it’s not in my interest to do that.”

Sisulu says she approached Cyril Ramaphosa to be her deputy to do away with the patriarchal mentality that says women should always be second to men.

“The point I’m making is that it comes so naturally to say to a woman ‘why don’t you become a deputy’, and I wanted to put a different perspective to society which is why would he not be my deputy?”
Unforgivable Treachery Against Zimbabwe
December 18, 2017
Reason Wafawarova
Zimbabwe Herald

IT is hard to understand what Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti and Dewa Mavhinga thought they were doing flying to the United States to engage the Americans over the future of our own country.

The agenda was politically disastrous, there was no strategy in the decision-making process preceding the fateful trip, and from the viewpoint of international relations the idea of going to engage the Americans in the way that happened is just naïve.

The propaganda scoop for Zanu-PF was as predictable as Biti’s froth.

Nelson Chamisa is an international relations practitioner, and he must have known before hand that a trip of this nature would attract a backlash, not only from social media and the public in general as happened, but also from political opponents, like those from Zanu-PF.

Let me dare say here even top MDC-T officials were infuriated by the idea, and many other top officials from other opposition parties.

Nelson Chamisa had the temerity to defend the treacherous trip whose clear sole purpose was to urge Americans to shun our efforts to rebuild Zimbabwe; to maintain the ruinous isolation of the country implemented through the ZDERA administered sanctions.

Chamisa says he was “delighted” to go to Washington because he believed the trip was “hugely beneficial,” and that it was “for you and me and our children and generations to come.”

Chamisa says he could not make any presentations because his status as a sitting MP would not allow him to make such presentations, and also that he did not speak because of considerations of “political correctness.”

In other words Chamisa went to the United States to shut up.

Forget the law and political correctness.

What was the point of going there?

To cheerlead Tendai Biti and Dewa Mavhinga? I do not think so.

Chamisa wanted to stand in for Morgan Tsvangirai, and wanted to sell himself as the natural replacement for the spent force ailing opposition politician.

The political ambitions of Nelson Chamisa always stand marvellous.

Of course, Chamisa knows it is politically incorrect to urge the Americans to maintain sanctions on our country, so he would do not do the speaking.

He had to leave it to Dewa Mavhinga who did the explicit begging; and to Tendai Biti for providing the cover for the treacherous trip.

Biti said sweet nothings about legitimacy and other legal hullaballoo.

Never mind the pontificating about the need for wonderful elections in 2018, and I would not bother attending to Nelson Chamisa’s bullet points on Election 2018.

We have heard every word in those bullet points on a daily basis from way back in 1999 when the MDC was formed.

Dewa Mavhinga is a systematic liar and a beggarly cheat: a poltroon and swindler who has committed every crime that does not require courage.

The man is a daring coward of sorts, earning a living through small time cheap lies.

He makes his living by pretending to be managing crises in the sub continent.

From his days at Crisis International to his days now at Human Rights Watch, all Mavhinga knows is sensationalisation of little events so he can paint a picture of donor-attracting doom.

Mavhinga’s script was very predictable. Robert Mugabe was an authoritarian whose rule was “marred by countless serious human rights violations.”

His replacement Emmerson Mnangagwa has a “long record of rights violations.”

Our military is “credibly implicated in rights violations,” and our military has taken over our politics.

Essentially the three went to America to report our army as partisan, criminal, meddlesome, and also to say supporters of the opposition MDC-T needed protection from our military, if not from the Mnangagwa administration as a whole.

Dewa’s call was to urge Americans to stay away from funding anything in Zimbabwe until “the country holds free, fair and credible elections.” Dewa’s idea of credibility is winner specific. To him Zanu-PF can only lose a credible election — never win.

Then came the explicit begging for “maintaining existing policy toward Zimbabwe until the military removes itself from politics and the 2018 elections are legitimately assessed to be peaceful, transparent, free, and fair; and that power is smoothly transmitted to the newly elected government.”

The existing US foreign policy on Zimbabwe is the ruinous illegal sanctions — illegal in the sense that at international law these sanctions have not been endorsed or supported by the UN.

They are a bilateral showdown of power adopted by the US in 2001, and the sanctions remain in place as punishment to the people of Zimbabwe for failing to facilitate regime change in the country as desired by Washington.

Douglas Mwonzora would want us to crucify Dewa Mavhinga and leave the other two robbers out of it.

He suggests that Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa should not be crucified together with civil society because they do not represent civil society. Fair enough. But surely they walked together with the messenger of death, and they together with Mavhinga crucified our poor masses.

Here are three men that connived to embark on a 13 000 km flight for the sole purpose of crucifying the nation so that Mnangagwa finds it hard, if not impossible to turn around the economy. It is very simple.

There must be no goodwill towards the Mnangagwa administration so that there is no distinction between Mnangagwa and his predecessor.

Poverty and economic decline must by definition define the two.

Unemployment must remain, cholera must remain, suffering must increase, cash shortages must persist, and hunger must bite so Mnangagwa can be blamed. So Biti’s reasoning goes.

We have an opposition that does not see itself winning an election because it has better sounding alternative policy. Instead our opposition is a protest movement that thrives on crises. People’s rights have to be violated, malnutrition must be killing thousands a week, health facilities must collapse, schools must fail to deliver education, soldiers must be rogue — and hell must rain its fires on Zimbabwe so our opposition can find something to point its finger at.

Mnangagwa must be accused of being a serial human rights violator; he must be painted as the father of poverty, as a failure with no clue on how to turn around an economy like ours.

I have no respect for politicians that believe Gukurahundi is a selling point to discredit Zanu-PF. Tendai Biti’s only burden with Gukurahundi is the political weight he believes the atrocity carries — it is the expediency that comes with Gukurahundi tears. I do not feel any mourning or sorrow in Biti’s Gukurahundi narrative, especially when he spares such narratives for American politicians.

Tendai Biti goes to tell the Americans about the importance of acknowledging and apologising for historical atrocities. Yes, the Americans that have neither acknowledged nor apologised for the genocide on Amerindians.

The Americans that have recently bombed and killed civilians without remorse in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Like Dewa Mavhinga, Tendai Biti believes Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina, Patrick Nabanyana and Itai Dzamara are convenient crises very useful to opposition politics.

It is sad that we choose to politick and pontificate over past tragedies so we can bring down political opponents — with very little regard for justice for the victims.

Tendai Biti did not go to Washington to seek justice for the victims of the tragedies he mentioned. He is a lawyer and he knows seeking justice for these people through a presentation to American politicians is nonsensical from a justice point of view – from the viewpoint of the law itself.

Biti’s mission to Washington was not legal but political, and as such whoever maybe a victim of any kind of crisis becomes a tool in Biti’s box.

After the Washington meeting Nelson Chamisa was beaming with joy saying they had met people with money – people who would make Zimbabweans “swim in oceans of money and wealth.”

Tendai Biti was hysterical about something he called “goodwill”.

He was bragging that him and Chamisa were going to take this “goodwill” to the voters for Election 2018.

He even claimed to have keys to Zimbabwe’s economic problems. Of course the keys he refers to are the donor funds the two excitable politicians were bragging about.

Now there is only one goodwill that matters in the politics of Zimbabwe. That goodwill is not found in the Senate Houses in America. That goodwill is found in the hearts of Zimbabwean voters.

If Tendai Biti believes donor goodwill is public policy then he is developmentally illiterate.

No country was ever developed by the goodwill of international aid. Never.

That simply does not happen. Aid is like a painkiller that temporarily relives pain without curing the disease, and Biti must have been told this somewhere in his sorry political life.

The treacherous trio must be ashamed of their own names, must apologise to Zimbabweans for betraying the great hope prevailing in the nation today.

I hear the US Embassy could have funded the trip.

That is not the problem.

The problem lies in the funded puppets and their telling ignorance.

There are no children, and there will never be a generation that will celebrate the isolation of Zimbabwe; let alone one advocated by our own politicians.

This was a trip of shame. Nelson Chamisa you surely know better than this.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

· Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia
Land Reform a Zimbabwe Success Story

December 18, 2017
Joseph Hanlon Correspondent
Zimbabwe Herald

In his speech after being sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new President on November 24, Emmerson Mnangagwa, stressed the role of the country’s land reform farmers in boosting the country’s economic recovery.

They have excelled recently.

Zimbabwe produced more maize in 2017 than was ever grown by white farmers, who have repeatedly been praised for making the country the breadbasket of Africa.

Maize production in 2017 was 2.2 million tonnes, the highest in two decades.

Good rains helped, but even the United States Department of Agriculture said the huge increase in maize production was “mainly due to favourable weather conditions and a special programme for import substitution, commonly termed “Command Agriculture”.

That programme was implemented last year by Mnangagwa, when he was vice president.

Under the programme, land reform farmers signed contracts for a certain number of hectares and agreed to sell at least five tonnes of maize per hectare to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

The Government provided seed, fertiliser, and, if needed, tractors and fuel for ploughing, and the cost was deducted from the sale price of the maize.

Compared to 2011, another good rainfall year, maize production jumped 700 000 tonnes — more than half of which was due to the Command Agriculture programme.

Earlier this year, before he was dismissed as vice president, Mnangagwa announced that the programme would be expanded for the coming agricultural season — when more good rains are also forecast.

The politics of land reform

Robert Mugabe was displaced as president partly by pressure from the war veterans, who he led to victory in Zimbabwe’s independence struggle. But they had stood up to him much earlier, in 2000, as I documented in a book on the issue, written with Teresa Smart and Jeanette Manjengwa, who was recently appointed to the Zimbabwe Land Commission.

Mnangagwa was a liberation war veteran, and as he said in his inauguration speech: “Dispossession of our ancestral land was the fundamental reason for waging the liberation struggle.”

As we showed in our research, by 2000 the white farms were mostly under-used and the war veterans were fed up with Mugabe’s refusal to take them over. They moved against him. In a carefully organised campaign over the Easter weekend that year, 3 000 huge white-owned farms were occupied by 170 000 Zimbabwean families.

Mugabe was initially opposed to the move, but when he saw the popularity of the occupation, he reversed his position — and was happy to be blamed for the occupation by the British Press and media.

The occupation was legalised and small farms were marked out on the land that had been formerly owned by the white farmers. But the new farmers received little support and had to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. It took a decade, and the economic mismanagement and hyperinflation of the 2000s did not help, but the 146 000 smaller farmers with land of six hectares saved and reinvested and became highly productive — and created 800 000 jobs. The development economist Ian Scoones points to the way vibrant market towns have grown up around the land reform farms.

But a group of 23 000 medium-sized farmers with 10-50 hectares had limited capital to get start and farmed only part of their land.

From their limited production they could not save enough to buy the fertiliser and tractors needed for the larger farms. Mnangagwa’s Command Agriculture programme was aimed at this group, and credit provided by the programme more than doubled their maize production.

The other success has been tobacco, with US$576m produced in 2017 — mainly by land reform farmers. Clearly, Zimbabwean farmers are willing to work hard, given the land and the opportunity.

The compensation question

Mnangagwa has been part of the Government since independence, so this is only a change of leadership. Corruption dogged Zimbabwe under Mugabe, but nevertheless, Mnangagwa was already moving to curb it. Participation in the Command Agriculture programme was voluntary, but Mnangagwa used the army to check that the agreed number of hectares had been ploughed and planted. Some senior figures from the ruling zanu-pf party were arrested for fraud for selling fertiliser and diesel that was meant for other farmers.

Officially no family can have more than one land reform farm . . . Last year, under pressure, a Land Commission was named, and in his inaugural speech Mnangagwa increased support for it “to ensure that all land is utilised optimally.”

The new President will need to rebuild links with the international community, and a vexed issue has been the demand for compensation for displaced white farmers.

Mnangagwa said in his speech that “the principle of repossessing our land cannot be challenged or reversed”.

But, he continued: “My government is committed to compensating those farmers from whose land was taken.”

But that is a fraught issue inside Zimbabwe, because the white farmers received their land in the 1930s to 1950s only by expelling tens of thousands of Zimbabwean farmers already on the land.

Restarting and restructuring the economy will now be a priority.

But Mnangagwa recognises the centrality of farming and the success of the land reform, so agriculture is likely to take the lead.

— Conversation Africa.
Governing: People the Only Arbiters
December 18, 2017
Tendai Mugabe and Innocent Ruwende
Zimbabwe Herald

Any political party seeking to govern Zimbabwe should draw its mandate from the people through the ballot box, as no such entity has the divine right to rule despite its rich past history, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

President Mnangagwa was chosen by the Zanu-PF Central Committee, according to the country’s Constitution, to complete former President Robert Mugabe’s term after he resigned from the post last month.

In tandem with the vision of drawing the mandate from the people as pronounced by President Mnangagwa, the Zanu-PF commissariat department has since crafted a plan-of-action directed towards active preparations for 2018 harmonised elections, in which the party intends to woe five million voters.

Closing the Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress that endorsed him as the revolutionary party’s Presidential candidate for next year’s harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa assured the nation that the polls would be free, fair and credible.

“As we approach the 2018 harmonised elections, let me reiterate that these will be credible, free and fair,” he said. “We must always be mindful that no party, however rich its past, has a divine right to govern. That is something we must earn at the ballot box. As such, the party must invigorate its structures, organise, mobilise and rigorously ensure that all its members are registered voters. If we do this, we are sure to renew the sacred trust that exists between Zanu-PF and the Zimbabwean people, and we will prevail in the 2018 elections. In the next few months, we will be informing you the concrete plans with regard to these elections.”

To win next year’s polls, President Mnangagwa said, Zanu-PF should show practical action towards economic recovery anchored on sound political policies. He said the party should also pioneer women projects and embrace the youths in its structures to ensure continuity.

“We have a crucial year ahead of us, with two main goals,” he said. “We must gain the support and trust of the Zimbabwean people in the 2018 harmonised elections, so that they elect us to lead them for another five years. And we must resurrect the economy, delivering real gains for each and every citizen of this great nation. These two tasks are interconnected. We will only win at the ballot box if we can show signs that we are reviving our economy; and at the same time, we will only be able to make real economic gains if we can secure re-election. Therefore, I see these two domains, the political and the economic, as equally significant for our future. Hence, the party must be about politics and economics.”

The plan-of-action for the 2018 harmonised elections drawn by Zanu-PF’s commissariat department includes mobilisation programmes from the Women’s League, Youth League, war veterans, war collaborators and ex-political detainees and restrictees.

It has already been adopted by the party’s Politburo.

According to the party’s Central Committee Report to the 2017 Special Extraordinary Congress last week, the adoption of the annual plan resulted in the “Dandemutande/Uhlelolobulwembu” and the “Musangano kumaCell” themes which shaped the 2017 programmes leading to 2018 elections.

“The party has a strong followership that has to be sustained, particularly in light of the impending harmonised elections,” reads the Central Committee report. “The department’s focus for 2017 was to mobilise and register voters for a resounding win in 2018.

“The “Dandemutande/Uhlelolobulwembu concept seeks to link every member of the party to a defined cell. The ultimate goal is to create party cells around the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission designated polling station specific voter registration and voting centres.”

This, the report indicated, would enable the party to establish its membership, which enhances its chances of election victory.

The department said it held fortnightly meetings with party provincial chairpersons, provincial political commissars, and representatives from women, youth, war veterans, war collaborators and ex-political prisoners, detainees and restrictees, which provided a platform to gather information and get feedback on important issues facing the party.

“The department commissariat) been implementing mobilisation strategies in urban centres, especially in Harare and Bulawayo,” reads the report. “It collaborated with Government ministries responsible for service delivery in urban areas namely, health, refuse collection, delivery of portable water, energy, employment creation, small and medium businesses, as well as local government to address service challenges in the urban areas.”

For the 2018 harmonised election, commissariat department said it was targeting to mobilise five million members to vote for the party.

It said special messages on voter education and voter registration continued to be packaged and sent out by senior party members who were periodically deployed to provinces since the mid-year inter district conference in August.

Addressing the Extraordinary Congress, President Mnangagwa said: “On the political front, we must all acknowledge that we inhabit a rapidly changing world, and our success will be dependent on how well we adapt. Almost half of all Zimbabweans were born in this millennia, and over three quarters have been born since independence. These young people have different expectations, and their skill set and technological know-how is completely different to those born even a decade before. They also have different experiences. The frame of reference for this generation are the economic struggles of the past decade, we must also listen to them. We must hear their hopes and fears. Our youths want to know how we will create jobs and opportunities for them. We must provide them with answers, rooted in the future.”

He continued: “Meanwhile, more effort must be put towards policy interventions which deliberately empower women with sustainable business opportunities. The Women’s League, during its mobilisation activities must keep its membership abreast with regards business possibilities, across all the economic sectors. The party will harness the collective experience from those fraternal parties who assisted us during our war of liberation and steadfastly supported us in the post independence of our country. To this end, we will see intensified and more coordinated approach to ideological training under the auspices of the Chitepo Ideological College.”
Another Timely SB Moyo Intervention
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Richard Runyararo Mahomva
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso B. Moyo must be commended for expeditiously pronouncing Zimbabwe’s foreign policy and situating its principles within the context of Operation Restore Legacy.

The pronouncement rebuts calls by the opposition for continued hostilities between Zimbabwe and the West.

This follows the much-criticised MDC Alliance’s anti-Zimbabwe propaganda trip to the United States to seek strategic “opposition global repositioning”.

Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and opposition activist Dewa Mavhinga tell us their treacherous mission was merely to attract Western mediation in Zimbabwe’s “political crisis”.

Crisis? What crisis?

MDC’s conduct has widely been viewed as an open villain agenda to undermine President Mnangagwa’s Government as it pursues a new trajectory of political pluralism and economic revival.

What the MDC Alliance has done is discount the reality of unfolding political progress to the outside world.
This is the same old opposition anti-narrative of soiling Zimbabwe.

Instead of reforming, MDC-T remains bent on disparaging the country as being a captured space lacking the culture of “free and fair” elections.

However, it is pleasing that Dr Moyo dispelled this misguided neo-liberal misgiving of Zimbabwe’s alienation from the global community of democrats.

He exposed the MDC Alliance’s anecdotal deconstruction of Zimbabwe’s political landscape by stating that the political transition was sponsored by citizens yearning political reform.

“The advent of the new dispensation in our country, Zimbabwe, was realised at the inauguration of HE President ED Mnangagwa. This new era was achieved by our people, at home and abroad, who demanded change for the better.

“Street manifestations, which were joyous and peaceful, were constructed by all our citizens in their colourful diversity without regard to political affiliation.”

The solidarity of Zimbabweans at home and abroad on November 18, 2017 attested to coalescing and demonstrated the collective political direction Zimbabweans had taken.

Therefore, November 18 outmatched the pretentious mantra of the opposition being the sole liberal interlocutor for democratising the country.

From the outset, MDC-T fell short of understanding November 18’s philosophical mobilisation gravitas which emanated from the historical interconnectedness of the gun and politics.

In that regard, Operation Restore Legacy indented an indelible statement of cordial civil-military relations.
The same was also pronounced during agrarian reforms at the turn of the millennium. Further, Command Agriculture excelled under the stewardship of Air Marshal (Retired) Perrance Shiri, a liberation war hero and now Land, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister.

It is undisputed that war veterans play a key role in preserving the national memory; simultaneously being points of reference for consolidating liberation gains.

Operation Restore Legacy and the people’s triumph pushed the opposition against the wall and an alternative truth. And this alternative truth has merely been aimed at negating Zimbabwe’s efforts towards constructive engagement with the West, principally America.

The MDC Alliance’s trip ignored Dr Moyo’s diplomatic brief with Ambassador Harry Thomas Jnr, Washington’s top man in Harare.

Addressing Heads of Missions accredited to Zimbabwe in the capital last week, Dr Moyo further stated that beyond the odds of opposition demonisation, Zimbabwe will reinvigorate its global engagement.

“I have already begun serious and focused dialogue with key constituent countries of the West, amongst them our erstwhile coloniser, the United Kingdom, United States of America, Germany and others, with the objective of normalising our relations,” he said.

In the same context, Dr Moyo declared Zimbabwe’s commitment to mutually transactive international relations, also making it clear that developing such relations did not equal compromising national economic development.

This declaration speaks to Operation Restore Legacy’s exhortation to transcend asymmetrical multilateral interactions that subjugate national interests to external domination.

Dr Moyo’s position thwarts potential subjection to linear political and economic dictates.

Through this stance, Zimbabwe has opened its doors to better international relations. This is because the legacy under restoration embodies our informed nationalist defence of collective African interests in global dialogue and policy-making.

Therefore, the Zanu-PF Government must continue to inspire Africa as a leading example of practically carving the notion of post-colonial power matrices.

That said, past hostilities must not destroy Zimbabwe’s present and future diplomatic architecture.
Richard Mahomva is an independent researcher and a literature aficionado interested in the architecture of governance in Africa and political theory. He wrote this article for The Sunday Mail
I’m Everyone’s President
 LINCOLN TOWINDO
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says he will represent cross-sectional interests, standing for the rights and aspirations of all Zimbabweans.

His remarks follow an edgy period in domestic politics that saw the highly divisive G40 cabal channel factionalism, regionalism and tribalism; in addition to fuelling cronyism that drove alleged criminal activity by a few elites.

Cde Mnangagwa, who was endorsed as Zanu-PF President and First Secretary and the party’s Presidential candidate for the 2018 harmonised elections, preached unity at his inauguration on November 24.

He continued on this note at Zanu-PF’s Extraordinary Congress in Harare last Friday, saying: “I urge the party to introspect and self-adjust in conformity with the principles, mores and genes of Zanu-PF.

“In this regard, Article 2 (Section 14) of our party’s constitution outlines the aims and objectives of our party as inter alia being ‘to oppose resolutely tribalism, regionalism, nepotism, corruption, racism, religious fanaticism, xenophobia and related intolerance, discrimination on the grounds of sex and all forms of exploitation of man by man in Zimbabwe’.

“In line with this instruction, therefore, my ascendance to the helm of the party must never be interpreted as a defeat of one faction and installation of another. My Presidency should not be perceived as a rise in the fortunes of a region, or a tribe or a totem, no. My Presidency is about a united Zanu-PF, a national party with a national outlook.”

The President said he would unite all Zimbabweans under the national flag and around the national anthem.

“I stand before you, therefore, as the President of a united, non-racial Zimbabwe, itself home to many tongues, dialects, cultures, colours, age groups.

“I am a President of women and men; the young and the old; the able-bodied and the physically-challenged; the rich and the poor; the well and the sick. I am an emissary of all the veterans and heroes, dead or alive, who through their blood sketched the cause and mission which my Presidency must promote, must actualise and advance.

“I am a President for Ndebeles, Shonas, Zezurus, Ndaus, Karangas, Manyikas, Vendas, the Chewas, Sothos. I am also the President for the Tongas, Tswanas, Xhosas, Khoisans, Shangaans, Kalangas, Nambyans and other races, all who are celebrated in our national Constitution. The role you have given me, and the Office you have inserted me into can never be partitioned to  anyone.”

Political scientist Professor Charity Manyeruke said President Mnangagwa’s national outlook reflected political maturity and statesmanship.

“It is a very important message coming from a national leader. It shows that President Mnangagwa has a vision in terms of nation-building and he is already taking practical steps to unite the people,” said Prof Manyeruke.

“It shows that unity will be a key factor under his administration where he is seeking to pull Zimbabweans in one direction, working in unison to develop the country.

“The message shows that he is not discriminatory and he is prepared to unite the people under the banner of one Zimbabwe. His message also shows that he is anti-racist.

“It is derived from the unity shown by the people of Zimbabwe during the solidarity march which was organised by the war veterans where Zimbabweans of all races, creed and political affiliation came together as one for a common                                                                                        cause.”

University of Pretoria PhD scholar and political commentator Mr Alban Gambe added: “After a period of political polarisation, it was important for the President to deliver a message of unity.

“He did just that by pledging to represent all Zimbabweans and not just those who support his political party or those who come from his province.

“It is critical at this juncture, especially when we are due to hold elections in a few months’ time. Given the history of political intolerance in some areas, it was important that President Mnangagwa assured all the people of Zimbabwe that they are well represented through his administration.”
Pumping Operations Begin at Egypt’s Giant Zohr Gas Field
Ahram Online
Sunday 17 Dec 2017

The start of production from Zohr has been eagerly awaited since the gas field was discovered in 2015

Pumping operations began on Saturday on Egypt's super-giant Zohr gas field, bringing the country closer to achieving its goal of self-sufficiency in the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Experimental production began at Zohr at an initial 350 million cubic feet per day (mcfd), an event eagerly awaited since the field was discovered by Italian energy company Eni in 2015, making Egypt the owner of the largest gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.

Experimental operation means that gas is now being pumped from the wells at Zohr field to the pipelines and transferred to the Port Said land refinery before it is linked to the national natural gas grid, petroleum ministry spokesperson Hamdy Abdel-Aziz told Ahram Online.

The date of the official opening of the project is yet to be determined, Abdel-Aziz said.

A milestone in history of gas production: Minister

Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla described Saturday’s “record and unprecedented pumping” as a milestone in the history of international gas production in general and Egyptian gas production in particular, according to a statement issued on Saturday.

Once the first stage of the project is completed in June 2018, production will increase to 1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), meaning Egypt will have achieved self-sufficiency in LNG supply.

The second stage is due to be finalised by the end of 2019, with production reaching 2.7 bcfd, El-Molla said.

Investments for the first and second stages are estimated at over $12 billion.

“Production from Zohr will contribute to turning Egypt into a regional hub for trading gas and petroleum production,” ministry spokesman Abdel-Aziz said.

Zohr to save Egypt $2 billion: Ministry spokesperson

The Zohr project will lead to a decrease in liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports, saving Egypt $2 billion when production reaches 1 bcfd by the end of the first phase in June 2018, Abdel-Aziz said.

The production of 350 million cubic feet per day is equivalent to three LNG shipments costing $90 million, Abdel-Aziz explained.

With production costs estimated at a monthly $30 million, gas from Zohr will save a monthly $60 million, i.e. $720 million per year.

The Zohr gas field is expected to alleviate pressure on the budget and the petroleum balance of payments and save foreign currency that is spent on imports, Abdel-Aziz said.

This is in addition to increasing the allocation of money to services that help citizens.

Abdel-Aziz also told Ahram Online that trial operation began at BP’s Atoll field in the past few days.

Last week, El-Molla said that Egypt aims to achieve self-sufficiency in LNG supply before the end of 2018.

Egypt was a net exporter of LNG until 2014. However, it became a net importer in recent years due to a declining output and power shortages amid political turmoil.

In October, El-Molla announced that $27.3 million would be invested in three Egyptian natural gas fields – Zohr, North Alexandria, and Nooros – during 2018.

The three gas fields are expected to raise Egypt's natural gas output by 50 percent in 2018 and 100 percent in 2020, according to the ministry.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/285496.aspx
Egypt Joins Unified Arab TV Broadcast in Support of Palestinian Jerusalem 
Ahram Online
Sunday 17 Dec 2017

The joint broadcast is intended to show support for Palestinians following the announcement last week that the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Egypt joined a unified Arab television broadcast on Sunday to show support for Palestine and a rejection of a US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the city as Israel's capital.

According to Al-Ahram Arabic, the unified broadcast is an initiative by Hussein Zein, the head of Egypt's National Media Authority, under the umbrella of the Arab League and in coordination with the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU).

The unified live broadcast runs from 12pm to 10pm on Sunday, with the participating channels – from Palestinian and Jordanian television and radio authorities – broadcasting several historical documentaries on the Arab heritage of Jerusalem.

At 10:30pm, Egypt’s state-run television will host a discussion by several Islamic scholars on a planned symposium in support of Jerusalem, to be held at Al-Azhar, the world's oldest seat of Sunni Islamic learning. The programme will feature phone-ins from various Arab and Muslim nations around the world.

A documentary will be broadcast showing Egypt’s role in supporting the Palestinian cause since the 1948 war, as well as reports on the history of Palestine, Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the violations it has suffered under occupation.

Sunday’s combined broadcast is the latest act of opposition by Arab nations to Trump's decision on Jerusalem.

Trump's announcement sparked a wave of condemnation and protests in the Occupied Territories and around the world. Protests also took place in several Arab countries, including Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Egypt has decried the US decision stressing that such unilateral decisions violate international resolutions.

"Egypt is extremely concerned about the possible impact of [Trump's] decision on the stability of the region," the foreign ministry said last week.

It added that Trump's decision would not change the legal status of Jerusalem as an occupied city, referring to a number of UN Security Council resolutions regarding this issue, including resolution No.242/1967, which demands that Israel withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/285510.aspx
Buhari to Leave Nigeria for Niger Monday
December 17, 2017
By Fikayo Olowolagba
Nigeria Daily Post

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday leave Nigeria to attend the 59th Proclamation of Republic of Niger.

Buhari will also attend bilateral meetings before returning to Nigeria.

He will be accompanied on the trip by Governors Aminu Masari, Ibrahim Gaidam and Kashim Shettima of Katsina, Yobe and Borno States.

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

“Pres @MBuhari will tomorrow attend the 59th Proclamation of Republic of Niger Ceremony in Tahoua, Niger.

“The President will participate alongside Presidents of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania & Niger.

“After the ceremony, the Nigerian leader will hold bilateral meetings with some of his counterparts before returning to Abuja same day.

“President Buhari will be accompanied on the trip by Governors Aminu Masari, Ibrahim Gaidam and Kashim Shettima of Katsina, Yobe and Borno States respectively,” the statement read.
U.S. Soldier in Niger Was Killed by Enemy Fire, Not Captured, According to Report
Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
3:48 p.m. ET Dec. 17, 2017

Army Sgt. La David Johnson was killed by enemy rifle and machine gun fire during an October ambush in Niger that killed three other soldiers, according to a newly revealed report.

The military investigation, reported by the Associated Press on Sunday, cited that Johnson of Miami Gardens, Fla., was fighting to the end after fleeing an attack by an offshoot of the Islamic State and wasn’t captured or executed, as previously believed. U.S. officials familiar with the findings spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to describe details of the investigation, which has not been finalized or publicly released.

Johnson’s body was recovered by local forces two days after the Oct. 4 attack, found in thick brush where he tried to take cover, the AP said. His boots and other equipment were stolen, but he was still wearing his uniform.

Johnson’s death was at the center of a heated controversy between President Trump and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., after Trump told Johnson’s pregnant widow that the soldier “knew what he signed up for.” Wilson overheard the phone call and publicly denounced Trump’s remarks.

John Kelly, a former four-star Marine general and Trump’s chief of staff, joined the controversy by saying he was stunned at Wilson’s remarks, calling the congresswoman an “empty barrel.”

The soldier's widow, Myeshia Johnson, later told ABC’s Good Morning America that she was “very angry” at the tone of Trump’s voice during their call and how the president struggled with the slain soldier’s name.

She said she wanted to know more about how her husband died and why his body wasn’t recovered for 48 hours. She said she wasn’t allowed to look in his casket when it arrived.

“I need to see him so I know it’s my husband,” she said. “They won’t show me a finger, a hand; I know my husband’s body from head-to-toe and they won’t let me see anything.”

The Pentagon is investigating the incident and has not released details about the exact mission of Johnson’s commando team. U.S. officials have said the joint U.S.-Niger patrol had been asked to assist a second American commando team hunting for a senior Islamic State member, who also had former ties to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The team had been asked to go to a location where the insurgent had last been seen and collect intelligence.

After completing that mission, the troops stopped in a village for a short time to get food and water, then left. The U.S. military believes someone in the village may have tipped off attackers to the presence of U.S. commandoes and Nigerien forces in the area, setting in motion the ambush.

Military officials told the AP that a medical examination concluded that Johnson was hit by fire from M-4 rifles — probably stolen by the insurgents — and Soviet-made heavy machine guns. It is believed he died in the attack.

The bodies of the three other U.S. Green Berets were located the day of the attack but not Johnson’s, leading to speculation that he was carried away or executed by the enemy. The other Americans killed were: Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash.; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Ga.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

ZUMA: THE ANC IS AT A CROSSROADS
The outgoing ANC president told delegates at the party’s national conference that factionalism had become the biggest threat to the ANC.

President Jacob Zuma addresses delegates at the ANC's 54th national conference on 16 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

Gaye Davis
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - In his final address as ANC president Jacob Zuma has acknowledged the party is at a crossroads, with corporate greed and factionalism among the threats to the 105-year liberation movement.

But he has also lashed out at the media, civil society organisations and big business in his swansong political report to the party’s 54th national conference at Nasrec in Soweto.

Zuma told delegates that “our people are not happy with the state of the ANC” as reflected by its loss of support in the local government elections.

He told delegates factionalism had become the biggest threat to the ANC and said people were worried about corruption, crime and unemployment.

But he launched a stinging attack on the media, civil society organisations and the private sector – at the same time taking a swipe at the judiciary and suggesting that ANC MPs had gone too far in their efforts to hold the executive to account.

Zuma accused the media of having become a player rather than an impartial observer and a vehicle used “to fight personal battles” with the ANC, despite the damage this caused the party and South Africa internationally.

He accused some civil society organisations of existing only to “mobilise hostile opposition” to the ANC and the government and referred to the “unusual activism of the private sector” in supporting such NGOs.

While an “activist parliament” was necessary, Zuma said this had resulted in confusion of the ANC’s role with opposition parties and warned of the danger of personal and factional battles playing out “to the extent of the ruling party voting itself out of power” – a reference to the motion of no confidence he survived but that saw ANC MPs for the first time breaking ranks and voting in their numbers with the opposition.

Zuma also referred to judgments “that give the impression we disregard the Constitution”, saying these “set a difficult precedent”.

He lamented ANC members for taking disputes to the courts rather than solving them internally, saying this was eroding the party’s authority.

Referring to the ANC’s troubled relationship with its alliance partners Cosatu and the SACP, Zuma said delegates needed to discuss recent developments, including the SACP’s decision to contest elections on its own.
#ANC54 WHAT ZUMA SAID: STATE CAPTURE & RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
Jacob Zuma delivered his final official address as ANC president at the party's 54th national conference in Nasrec on Saturday.

President Jacob Zuma addresses delegates at the ANC's 54th national conference at Nasrec on 16 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Jacob Zuma delivered his final official address as ANC president at the party's 54th national conference in Nasrec on Saturday.

He addressed a number of issues, including state capture & economic transformation. It's worth noting that he didn't really say what radical economic transformation really means.

This is what he did say:

The 54th National Conference is convened under the theme: "Remembering Tambo: Towards unity, renewal and radical socio-economic transformation.”

We are building on the instructive theme of the 53rd conference in Mangaung, which was unity in action towards radical socio-economic transformation.

Going to that conference, we had become alive to the fact that the country needed to get onto a higher development trajectory in order to move more speedily to the national democratic society envisaged by the Freedom Charter.

We recognised that the project of nation-building and social cohesion made possible by the democratic breakthrough of 1994 was coming under threat.

It was clear that we had to implement more radical measures to realize the injunction of the Freedom Charter that the People Shall Share in the Wealth of the Country or alternatively, we had to accept that it would forever remain a dream.

In a word, radical socio-economic transformation underpins the policy framework of the ANC in this current phase of our struggle.

The ANC NEC lekgotla in January produced a definition of radical economic transformation.

We said it meant the fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions, and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female, as defined by the governing party which makes policy for the democratic government.

Comrade Oliver Tambo had outlined this state of affairs decades before when he said: “We fight also for a South Africa whose wealth will be shared by its people equitably. We fight to abolish the system which obtains in our country today and which concentrates almost all productive wealth in the hands of a few, while the vast majority exists and toils to enlarge that wealth”.

We must be mindful of the fact that the primary beneficiaries of the current socio-economic status quo will by nature be opposed to any talk of radical economic transformation because it challenges and threatens the status quo and seeks to transform it fundamentally.

We have to act decisively, as doing nothing almost guarantees that there will be little progress in the resolution of the triple challenge of poverty, inequality, and unemployment. On the other hand, reckless action will plunge the country into deep economic and social distress.

We must tread carefully but act, because of the serious economic challenges facing our country currently.

The economy remains fragile. Economic growth of one point three percent is projected for 2017, reaching two point two percent by 2019, supported by global growth, stabilising commodity prices and a modest recovery in business and consumer confidence. Improved policy implementation, which must be a key focus area in this conference, will improve the employment and investment outcomes.

In the 52nd national conference in Polokwane, the ANC called for a mixed economy, where the state, private capital, cooperative and other forms of social ownership complement each other in an integrated way to eliminate poverty and foster shared economic growth.

Conference directed that the state must play a central and strategic role, by directly investing in underdeveloped areas and directing private sector investment.

The ANC government has indeed been directed to utilise to the maximum, the strategic levers that are available to the state to achieve transformation.

These include legislation, regulations, licensing, budget and procurement as well as Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Charters to influence the behaviour of the private sector and drive transformation. Conference will no doubt reflect on these and other instruments as we discuss the implementation.

The land question is a fundamental issue that the ANC needs to resolve and is a key factor in the transformation programme. This ultimate natural resource must be distributed in an equitable manner while enhancing its productivity and ensuring food security.

The ANC government has made considerable progress in the last five years especially in establishing a strong policy and legislative framework with regard to such matters as land tenure and the shift from “willing buyer willing seller” to “just and equitable.”

The Office of the Valuer-General has been set up, which has begun to change the manner in which the calculation of fair compensation is done. A new Bill has been developed to amend the Expropriation Act. Two land audits have been carried out to build a fact base planning purposes.

With regards to human settlements, we have to move with speed to roll back the legacy of apartheid spatial planning which condemns the majority of our people to be born and bred in areas determined for them by the racist Group Areas Act.

With regards to the ownership of the wealth beneath the soil, the Mining Charter was reviewed to determine progress in the achievement of the target of 26% ownership by black persons by 2014.

Some progress has been made but it is patchy. The Revised Mining Charter of 2017 takes this into consideration and among other things, raises the targeted black ownership to 30%.

The challenges facing the mining industry and the need to have policy certainty require action from us as the governing party. Conference should give direction on the matter in a manner that does not destabilise the industry further because of its strategic role in the economy as a whole.

We also need to protect jobs in a difficult economic environment in the mining sector. Our cadres in parliament should also ensure the finalisation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act soon in the New Year to ensure policy finality in this sector.

Among the key obstacles to transformation are the high levels of concentration in the economy as well as the collusion or corporate corruption and cartels.

Comrades will know the deep and bitter legacy of economic collusion, which is equivalent to a form of corruption, from the days of apartheid, when companies meet secretly and decide on prices or divide markets among themselves. These cartels squeeze out small players and hamper the entry of young entrepreneurs and black industrialists.

Since the last National Conference, the Competition Commission has uncovered cartels in sectors as diverse as construction, steel, banking, automobile components, food markets, telecommunications and transport.

In the construction industry, more than 20 companies were exposed as being part of cartels that rigged their bids for the 2010 World Cup stadium and road projects. The Competition Commission has also investigated collusion by eighteen global and local banks, involving the foreign exchange markets.

Earlier this year, the Commission concluded its investigation into the banks and proceeded to the prosecution stage.

Market inquiries are currently taking place into the private healthcare industry and corporate practices in the grocery sector, including in shopping malls and townships, in the public transport sector and in the data-services sector.

As these are uncovered, serious concerns have been raised that corruption in the private sector is treated with kid gloves, and is referred to in softer terms such as “collusion”, “accounting irregularities” or “lapses in corporate governance”.

Theft and corruption in the private sector is as bad as that in government and must be dealt with decisively by law enforcement agencies.

Corporate collusion is now a criminal offence, punishable with 10 years in prison, in terms of a new provision signed last year.

Legislation and institutions have been put in place by the ANC government to eradicate corruption in the public sector.

Since 2009, the President of the Republic has signed 84 proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit to investigate maladministration and corruption in government and state institutions.

The allegations made against some sections of the business community regarding the said capture of the state to advance business interests will be probed further in a judicial commission of inquiry that we committed to establish as the ANC some time ago, in order to uncover the truth.

Let me emphasise that we need to find ways of protecting the ANC from corporate greed and ensure that the decisions we take are informed by the policies of the ANC and are not dictated to by business interests.

Already we have received threats that the ANC will implode and the economy will collapse if certain outcomes arise from this conference, be it conference resolutions on the economy or the leadership elected, if these are not those favoured by business.

The ANC has 105 years of experience of managing contestation, which is an internal democratic process.

We must build a resilient ANC that can withstand such undue pressure and enable the ANC to conduct its organisational work freely.

Meaningful progress has been made through the ANC’s affirmative action and broad-based black economic empowerment programmes and policies.

The ANC must attend to the issues affecting the black middle class such as racism in the workplace or business. Concern has been raised by many black professionals and businesspeople that stereotyping is being entrenched. Being black and successful is being made to be synonymous with being corrupt.

The ANC must promote black advancement and success and fight attempts aimed at frustrating and undermining black economic empowerment and affirmative action.

Access to finance for black entrepreneurs also continues to be a challenge. We need to reflect on this as we discuss the transformation of our development finance institutions.
RAMAPHOSA, DLAMINI ZUMA IN TIGHT RACE TO LEAD ANC
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is seen as a fierce campaigner against racial inequality whose hostility to big business has rattled investors in South Africa.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s ruling African National Congress holds an election this weekend - seen as too close to call - to replace Jacob Zuma as party leader, with the winner also likely to become the next president.

The ANC will announce current president Zuma’s successor as party leader on Sunday, concluding a bruising leadership battle that threatens to split the 105-year-old liberation movement, which has been in power since 1994.

The race has been dominated by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, 65, generally favored by financial markets, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, a former cabinet minister and chairwoman of the African Union Commission.

South Africa’s rand firmed 2% after courts ruled that senior officials in two provinces seen as supporting Dlamini-Zuma had been illegally elected and could not attend the conference.

“Early signs of a win for Cyril Ramaphosa, the more investor-friendly option, have provided support for the rand,” John Ashbourne, Africa Economist at Capital Economics said.

“But while Mr. Ramaphosa is popular among party members, the result will be decided by political insiders, who may opt for his leftist opponent, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.”

Ramaphosa won a majority of the nominations to become leader of the party, but delegates at the 16-20 December conference in Johannesburg are not bound to vote for the candidate their ANC branch nominated, meaning it is unclear if he will actually win the post.

Ramaphosa has recently stepped up his criticism of Zuma’s scandal-plagued government, while Dlamini-Zuma has said her priority is to improve the prospects for the black majority.

To his supporters, Ramaphosa’s business success makes him well-suited to the task of turning around an economy grappling with 28% unemployment and credit rating downgrades.

In contrast, Dlamini-Zuma is seen as a fierce campaigner against racial inequality whose hostility to big business has rattled investors in South Africa.

“The outcome is difficult to predict. This creates considerable uncertainty that is reflected in significantly increased volatility for the rand,” Elisabeth Andreae, analyst at Commerzbank, said in a note.

Growth in Africa’s most industrialized economy has been lackluster for the last six years, and the jobless rate is near record levels. Analysts say the ANC leadership battle has made it hard to reform the economy and improve social services.

Zuma cracked jokes at an ANC dinner on the eve of the conference and said that “it has been a worthwhile experience” and that he looked forward to stepping down as leader. He is expected to make a more formal speech at the start of the conference. He can remain as head of state until 2019.

The 75-year-old president has denied numerous corruption allegations since taking office in 2009 and has survived several no-confidence votes in parliament.

“People can’t wait to see his back,” political analyst Prince Mashele said in a newspaper opinion piece.
ANC CONFERENCE: VOTING DECISION ON NULLIFIED STRUCTURES MET WITH MIXED REACTION
This came as ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe announced on Saturday that all provincial structures nullified by the courts would not be allowed to vote at the national conference.

Members of the ANC sing and dance outside the plenary at the #ANC54 in Nasrec on 16 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

Mia Lindeque
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – There has been a mixed reaction from Free State delegates who have arrived at the University of Johannesburg, the ANC’s registration centre for the 54th national conference.

This came as ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe announced on Saturday that all provincial structures nullified by the courts would not be allowed to vote at the party's national conference.

A bus transporting Free State delegates arrived at the university a few minutes after Mantashe’s announcement.

A Free State voting delegate told Eyewitness News he was concerned by the NEC’s decision.

“This is going to affect us big time and it will affect our support a lot.”

But another Free State voting delegate said the decision was insignificant.

“This will not affect the entire province, because it is only some of those branches.”

The decision by the NEC followed a special meeting on Saturday morning.

It means that some delegates from Kwazulu-Natal, North West and the Free State will not be allowed to vote at the national conference.

Mantashe announced: “The decision taken there is that it’s the Free State, it’s KwaZulu-Natal and then Bojanala. All the structures that are nullified will not be voting delegates at the conference. We’re not going to try any idea that will actually contaminate the conference.”

However, some appeared unaware of the ANC’s decision and made their way into the plenary, singing songs in support of their preferred candidates.

A briefing is also expected by the ANC at the University of Johannesburg in Soweto, where there have been some problems with registration.

The registration process has been delayed by several hours. Meanwhile, buses transporting delegates are still arriving at the university with members from provinces affected by the NEC’s decision on voting.
DLAMINI ZUMA’S SUPPORT COULD TAKE A KNOCK AFTER NULLIFIED STRUCTURES BARRED
The three province rallied behind Dlamini Zuma leading up to the conference.

FILE: African National Congress (ANC) presidential nominee Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on 5 December 2017. Picture: Sthembiso Zulu/EWN

Masa Kekana
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The decision to exclude KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the North West from voting will most likely have an impact on the support for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

The three province rallied behind Dlamini Zuma leading up to the conference.

Delegates who are still making their way in say they don’t think the decision will affect them. Both camps supporting Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa believe they have the numbers.

However, it’s the songs being sung that seem to be giving a slight indication as to who the delegates support.

Fewer buses can be seen arriving, but many delegates are still waiting outside as they slowly trickle in.

There has been a sense of friendly banter as delegates disagree on candidates.

What can also be seen are small groups of delegates huddled, whispering about numbers for their preferred candidates.
ANC NW: NOT ALL BRANCHES VOTED FOR DLAMINI ZUMA
The ANC in the North West says not all branches were able to get their votes in on time and the announcement that they voted for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is not entirely true.

ANC North West delegation in the main hall at the party's conference at Nasrec on 16 December 2017. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

Masego Rahlaga
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Delegates from several regions in the North West claim the results giving Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma their vote is not necessarily a true reflection of their decision on the next president of the African National Congress (ANC).

The delegates are gathered at the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus right now.

The North West’s Matlosana sub-region members say they have asked their representatives who have been registered to vote at Nasrec to raise their concerns about which presidential hopeful will be voted for on their behalf.

They say not all branches were able to get their votes in on time and therefore the announcement that the province voted for Dlamini-Zuma is not entirely true.

The ANC North West’s Tshidiso Ramphele says they are trying to find a way to ensure that their concerns are raised and addressed during credentials.

“We have exhausted avenues in ensuring that problems of our members who have been disputed are solved. Processes have been followed, but in the organisation usually when there are problems like that, there will be a right platform which will emerge during the plenary when credentials are raise. Those problems will be raised there.”

The North West’s Bojanala region will not be able to vote.
SONGS & LAST-MINUTE STRATEGISING AHEAD OF ANC CONFERENCE START
Some of the small groups huddled at Nasrec have been discussing the number of votes they believe they have in the bag.

ANC members from multiple regions sing and dance inside the plenary before proceedings began. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

Masa Kekana
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - As delegates wait for the African National Congress’s (ANC) national conference to start at this hour, small groups can be seen huddled discussing the election process.

Saturday morning’s urgent national executive committee meeting delayed the start of the much-anticipated conference.

Delegates from the various provinces have been singing their way into the plenary session.

A short while ago, a large delegation from Limpopo made their way in singing “make way for our new leader [Cyril] Ramaphosa”.

Small groupings are quietly doing some last-minute strategising outside.

Delays in the registration processes have led to delegates arriving late.

One delegate from the North West says his branch wrapped up their registration early on Saturday morning.

Some of the small groups huddled there have been discussing the number of votes they believe they have in the bag for their preferred candidate.

It's ultimately these delegates on the ground whose votes decide who becomes the next ANC president
ANC DELEGATES FROM NULLIFIED PROVINCES THREATEN COURT ACTION OVER VOTING
They gathered by the doors at University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus where registration for the national conference is taking place.

ANC delegates sing and dance outside the plenary at ANC’s 54th national conference. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

Masego Rahlaga
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – ANC delegates from the North West and Mpumalanga say they are ready to approach the courts because they are seeing names of people they don't know being registered to vote under their regions and wards.

They have gathered by the doors at University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus where registration for the national conference is taking place.

This follows ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe’s announcement on Saturday morning that that all provincial structures nullified by the courts would not be allowed to vote at the party's national conference.

It means that some delegates from Kwazulu-Natal, North West and the Free State will not be allowed to vote at the national conference.

Mantashe announced: “The decision taken there is that it’s the Free State, it’s KwaZulu-Natal and then Bojanala. All the structures that are nullified will not be voting delegates at the conference. We’re not going to try any idea that will actually contaminate the conference.”

A police officer told delegates that he would be closing the doors, but disgruntled members from wards in Mpumalanga and the North West approached the entrance and demanded to be let inside.

However, none of them could enter.

Dumisani Masina, from ward seven in the Ekangala branch in Mpumalanga, says they are angry because no one is explaining why there are people registered under their area that they don't know.

“We asked our regional secretary as to what happened now. She couldn’t answer. We went to the provincial secretary, Mandla Ndlovu, and he couldn’t’ answer.”

Mogapi Marumo, from ward 24 in the Matlosana sub region in the North West, says they are ready to take this matter to court.

“Who are these bogus delegates? We are here to fight it. This is very unconstitutional and we’re going to fight it. If push comes to shove, then we’ll go to court because it’s the only way they want us to resolve these issues.”

Mantashe supposed to address the media but left a short while ago.

In a separate dispute, Tshwane regional delegates have also gathered at UJ Soweto campus demanding their leaders remove their representative from the conference, saying he cannot vote as their branch general meetings didn't materialise.

Delegates from a branch from Mpumalanga say they are aware they will not be allowed inside the main venue in Nasrec, but were surprised to find a list of names under their branch that they don’t know.

Raphael Tloubatla of the Tshwane region he says they have always had only one delegate representing them, but they don’t want him at Nasrec because the branch did not have successful general meetings. He adds this delegate won’t know who the branch wants as ANC president.

“The problem now is, we want the delegate in the conference to be taken out. We are not fighting over this conference. We know him, but he was not properly delegated from the branch.”

He says the ANC only seems to listen to grievances when they approach the courts.

In the North West, delegates from the Matlosana sub-region say they are experiencing the same problem.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)
CARL NIEHAUS: ANC MEMBERS SHOULDN'T BE RUNNING TO COURTS TO SOLVE PROBLEMS
Court rulings on the eve of the ANC's national conference have resulted in a number of delegates being stripped of their voting rights.

Rahima Essop
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma's campaigner Carl Niehaus has criticised ANC members who've turned to the courts to resolve internal disputes.

Court rulings on the eve of the ANC's national conference have resulted in a number of delegates being stripped of their voting rights.

Niehaus says ANC members should not be running to courts to solve their problems.

He believes the party should table a motion at the conference which will make it impossible for members to take the party to court in future.

“We are a political party and political parties resolve their problems politically. It is unacceptable to use a court as an instrument by one particular group or faction within a political party to try and resolve their problems.”

In fact, he holds the view that members should be suspended if they head to court without trying to resolve their issues internally.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Somalia Suicide Bomber Kills Police at Mogadishu Academy
14 December 2017

A suicide bomber has killed at least 18 police officers during a parade at a training centre in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

At least 15 other people were wounded, officials said.

The bomber, disguised as a policeman, blew himself up at the General Kaahiye Police Academy.

The militant Islamist group al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack. The group regularly carries out bombings in Mogadishu and other towns.

Witnesses said the officers were crowded into an open square for their early morning parade when the bomber detonated his explosives.

"Some of the police were already in lines, and others were gathering, when the man in police uniform entered and blew himself up," said Hussein Ali.

One police officer, Ibrahim Mohamed, said the toll would have been higher if the attacker had managed to get into the centre of the crowd.

Police spokesman Maj Mohamed Hussein said officers had been rehearsing for national Police Day celebrations later this month.

Al-Shabab described the attack as a "martyrdom operation" in a statement posted online.

The group, which is allied to al-Qaeda, is battling the UN-backed government in Somalia. It has been driven out of Mogadishu and most of the main towns it once controlled but remains a threat.

In October, al-Shabab fighters stormed a hotel in the capital killing at least 20 people.

However, the group denied being behind a truck bomb attack in the city earlier in October that killed at least 500 people.

A 22,000-strong African Union force (Amisom) is in Somalia trying to help the government recapture territory from militants.

But the force is due to be trimmed back as part of a long-term plan to transfer security to the Somali army.
U.S. Suspends Aid to Somalia's Army Over Corruption
 Daniel Mumbere
REUTERS

The United States is suspending food and fuel aid for most of Somalia’s armed forces over corruption concerns.

The announcement comes at a critical time for Somalia as African peacekeepers start to withdraw this month.

The AU force – with troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda – is scheduled to leave by 2020. The first 1,000 soldiers will go by the end of 2017.

During recent discussions between the United States and the Federal Government of Somalia, both sides agreed that the Somali National Army had failed to meet the standards for accountability for U.S. assistance

African Union (AU) troops landed in Mogadishu a decade ago to fight al Shabaab Islamist militants and Somali forces are supposed to eventually take over their duties.

But the United States, which also funds the 22,000-strong peacekeeping force, has grown frustrated that successive governments have failed to build a viable national army.

Diplomats worry that without strong Somali forces, al Shabaab could be reinvigorated, destabilise the region and offer a safe haven to other al Qaeda-linked militants or Islamic State fighters.

The U.S. suspension of aid came after the Somali military repeatedly failed to account for food and fuel, according to private correspondence between the U.S. and Somali governments seen by Reuters.

“During recent discussions between the United States and the Federal Government of Somalia, both sides agreed that the Somali National Army had failed to meet the standards for accountability for U.S. assistance,” a State Department official told Reuters last week, on condition of anonymity.

Somalia’s defence minister confirmed the developments to Reuters news agency.

“It is true that some concerns have been raised on how support was utilised and distributed. The federal government is working to address these,” Somali Minister of Defence Mohamed Mursal told Reuters.

The U.S. suspension comes at a sensitive time.

The State Department official said Washington would continue to support small, Somali special forces units mentored by U.S. personnel and would work with the Somali government to agree criteria that could restore support to other units.

“We are adjusting U.S. assistance to SNA units, with the exception of units receiving some form of mentorship, to ensure that U.S. assistance is being used effectively and for its intended purpose,” the official said.

Between May and June, a team of U.S. and Somali officials visited nine army bases to assess whether the men were receiving food the United States provides for 5,000 soldiers.

“We did not find the expected large quantities of food at any location … there was no evidence of consumption (except at two bases),” the U.S. team wrote to the Somali government.

At one base, less than a fifth of the soldiers listed by Somali commanders were present. The best-staffed base had 160 soldiers out of 550. Only 60 had weapons.

“Many appeared to be wearing brand new uniforms. This implied they were assembled merely to improve appearances,” the letter, seen by Reuters, said.

An ongoing assessment of the Somali military this year by the Somali government, African Union and United Nations drew similar conclusions.

The joint report seen by Reuters said many soldiers lacked guns, uniforms, food, vehicles or tents. Troops relied on support from AU forces or local militias to survive.

“The SNA is a fragile force with extremely weak command and control,” the report said. “They are incapable of conducting effective operations or sustaining themselves.”

Most units don’t have radios, leaving soldiers to rely on runners to get help when mobile networks go down, the report said. Troops lacked paper to write reports, toilets, boots and medical equipment such as tourniquets. Many slept under trees.

SNA units were at 62 percent of their authorised strength on average. Only 70 percent of them had weapons, the report said.

Although the report was deeply critical, diplomats praised the government for trying to quantify the scope of the problem.

“The government deserves massive praise for doing it and being willing to talk about it,” Michael Keating, the U.N.’s top official in Somalia, told Reuters.

The United States also suspended a programme paying soldiers $100 monthly stipends in June after the federal government refused to share responsibility for receiving the payments with regional forces fighting al Shabaab.

Washington has spent $66 million on stipends over the past seven years but has halted the programme several times, concerned the money was not going to frontline soldiers.

One Somali document seen by Reuters showed members of a 259-strong ceremonial brass band were receiving stipends this year meant for soldiers fighting militants.

The State Department’s watchdog said in a report published in October there were insufficient checks on the programme and U.S. stipends could fund forces that commit abuses – or even support insurgents.

Officially, Somalia’s military is 26,000 strong, but the payroll is stuffed with ghost soldiers, pensioners and the dead, whose families may be receiving their payments, diplomats say.

Intermittent payments from the government have forced many active soldiers to sell their weapons, ammunition or seek other work – practices the U.S. stipends were designed to curb.

Washington has whittled down the number of troops it pays to 8,000 from over 10,000 but there is still no reliable payroll, said a Mogadishu-based security expert.

Defence Minister Mursal said the United Nations is creating a biometric database and plans to help the Somali government make cash payments directly to soldiers via mobile phones.

The new government will also set up a separate system for widows, orphans, and the wounded so the payroll would adequately represent military strength, he said.

The weakness of Somali forces has deadly consequences. The insurgency is striking with ever larger and more deadly attacks in the capital Mogadishu and major towns.

A truck bomb killed more than 500 people in October and a suicide bomber killed at least 18 at a police academy on Thursday.

Somalia’s national security plan calls for a military of 18,000 soldiers, funded by the central government and operating country-wide.

Getting there will be hard. Security experts say the military is dominated by a powerful clan, the Hawiye, which would be reluctant to lose control of the lucrative security assistance revenue stream.

Many regional governments within Somalia already see the Hawiye-dominated federal forces as rivals rather than allies.

The government’s ability to push reforms depends on balancing demands from federal member states, lawmakers, clan leaders and international partners, the U.N.’s Keating said.

“It’s going to take a long time and its going to run into massive clan resistance,” he said. “Some clans are very dominant in the security forces.”

Somalia’s partners also need to get serious and coordinate better, said Matt Bryden of the think-tank Sahan Research.

According to Sahan, donors – including the EU, AU, Turkey and Uganda – have trained more than 80,000 Somali soldiers since 2004. Bryden said records are so poor it was not clear if many had taken multiple courses, or just quit afterwards.

“It’s like sand through your fingers – where are they all?”