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Tuesday, 17th July 2018
1:33:18am

Southern Africa

Articles related to Southern Africa

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly told the country's war collaborators this week that they "should not lose sleep" over demonstrations by opposition parties, whom he claimed were already sensing defeat in the forthcoming polls".

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Mnangagwa said this while addressing members of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Collaborators (Ziliwaco).

The war collaborators had met with the president in the capital Harare to hand over their grievances.   

"You must not lose sleep over those who are making unnecessary noise. Those who are making noise are already sensing defeat. Demonstrations do not vote. What votes are the people. Those who want to be voted into power go to the people. They do not expend their energy on demonstrations," Mnangagwa was quoted as saying. 

Free and fair election

The president's remarks came after the country's opposition parties took to the streets on Wednesday to demand fair elections following alleged irregularities in the electoral roll ahead of the elections, according to AFP.

Zimbabweands were expected to go to the polls to chose their next president on July 30.

The Movement for Democratic Change -Alliance claimed that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was biased towards Zanu-PF, with its presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa saying that the electoral body was losing its credibility.

Mnangagwa, a longtime ally of former president Robert Mugabe until he was fired as a result of a ruling party feud, was under pressure to deliver a free and fair election as a key step in lifting years of international sanctions.

Zimbabwe's past elections had been marked by accusations of violence and fraud. Mugabe banned Western election observers but Mnangagwa has welcomed them for the first time in almost two decades.

-News24

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party marched to the independent election agency for the second time in as many months on Wednesday, demanding reforms it said were vital for a credible vote this month.

Zimbabwe will choose a new president and members of parliament on July 30 in the first election since Robert Mugabe was forced to resign after a de facto army coup late last year.

The election will pit Mugabe’s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ZANU-PF party against challengers led by Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Thousands of MDC supporters in the party’s red colours and holding placards that read ‘No Reforms, No Elections’ and ‘No to vote rigging’ marched to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in Harare, where MDC leaders are expected to hand in a petition with their demands. 

“ZANU-PF is shamelessly trying to steal the election by using ZEC,” Costa Machingauta, an MDC member of parliament told the crowd.

The MDC is wary of any attempt to put it at a disadvantage to Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF, insisting there be a deal on how to design, print and store ballot papers.

At the last march in June, Chamisa said the ZEC should allow an independent audit of the new voter register and ensure equal coverage by public media, among other demands.

Chamisa has rejected the ballot papers being printed by the ZEC. However, its chief Priscilla Chigumba has said her commission alone is empowered to deal with the issue, and demands by the MDC are meant to usurp its powers.

A European Union election observer mission urged the ZEC last week to be more open about the printing and storage of the ballot papers to enhance the credibility of the vote.

-Reuters    

Four men were beheaded by suspected jihadists in northern Mozambique, a week after President Filipe Nyusi visited the area and pledged a "ruthless" campaign against the shadowy group.

The strike happened on Saturday in Macanga, about 20km from the town of Palma and near the Tanzanian border, targeting men working in farms.

"Four men were killed and decapitated. One who managed to flee was shot and is under treatment. Five houses were burned. This was around 19:00 Saturday," a local resident told AFP by phone.

The attackers are believed to have come from Tanzania. 

"We are investigating this information," police spokesperson Inacio Dina told reporters on Tuesday in the capital Maputo.

"The attack was in a non-residential area. Our force is concentrated in the villages and the attack took place in farms," the commander of a police unit in Palma told AFP.

"We advise people not to circulate outside the radius protected by the security forces but because people have their crops, they insist on going out. Our forces are more in the villages to ensure the safety of homes, schools, hospitals," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

On a visit to Palma last month, one of the districts most devastated by jihadist attacks, Nyusi vowed that security forces would be "firm and ruthless" in pursuing a group blamed for more than 30 deaths.

Vast reserves of natural gas were recently discovered off the region's coast but the violence has thrown the viability of exploiting the reserves into doubt.

There have been more than 10 attacks on villages in northeast Mozambique since October, featuring beheadings and arson.

Thousands of soldiers and police have been deployed to Cabo Delgado to confront the wave of attacks but the violence has continued unabated.

Since the first attack in October there have been reports of hundreds of arrests - as well as extra-judicial killings.

-AFP

Rights group Amnesty International has urged the government of Botswana not to force any of the Caprivi refugees to return to their home country Namibia if there is "a risk of persecution".

According to BBC, authorities in Botswana have said that they intend to go ahead with "repatriating displaced Namibian people, who originate from the Caprivi Strip".

There had been a long standing agreement – facilitated by the United Nations refugee agency - for more than 3 000 Namibians, who fled the Caprivi Strip in the 1990s during a secessionist uprising, to stay as refugees in Botswana 

The agreement, however, was expected to end on Wednesday. 

In a statement, Amnesty international said that the development had left more than 900 refugees, including at least 400 children, who have never lived in Namibia, in limbo.

Amnesty international's deputy director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, said that there was a lot at stake, and as a results the refugees should not be returned home if their safety could not be guaranteed.

'Stay away from secessionism'

"A lot is at stake here. If the government of Botswana forces people to return to Namibia where they may face human rights violations, it will be breaching its international and national obligations under law," said Mwananyanda.

The rights group said it visited Botswana last month where some of the remaining refugees expressed fears to return back home.

The Namibian government has, however, indicated its willingness to welcome the remaining refugees, assuring them that they will be safe back home. 

According to Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) the Zambezi governor, Alufea Sampofu, reassured the refugees that they were Namibian citizens and were, therefore free to come back home. But he warned them to "stay away from secessionism".  

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More than 2000 people have already returned home, the report said.  

-News24

A scandal over leaked data has hit Zimbabwe's election after the ruling party sent personalised, unsolicited campaign messages to potential voters' mobile phones.

The opposition says thousands of supporters reported receiving the messages.

"Zanu-PF has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar. There is no legal way for any political party to access voter phone numbers," opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said Tuesday on Twitter.

Some of the messages seen by The Associated Press solicited support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the July 30 election and were issued in the language of the area where the voter lives. Zimbabwe, like many countries in Africa, is multilingual. 

Mnangagwa, who took office in November after longtime leader Robert Mugabe was pressured into stepping down, has pledged a free and fair election in the hope that years of international sanctions will be lifted.

Violence and fraud

Past elections in the southern African nation have been marked by alleged violence and fraud, and the main opposition under Chamisa has raised a number of concerns about transparency that have been echoed by Western election observers who have been welcomed for the first time in almost two decades.

Another opposition politician and former finance minister, Tendai Biti, said the data leak "proves beyond reasonable doubt collusion between (the election commission), Zanu-PF and mobile networks".

The electoral commission denied sharing voters' data with the ruling party.

"There are so many instances where you leave your phone numbers where you buy your goods," one commissioner, Netsai Mushonga, told reporters.

Another commissioner, Qhubani Moyo, called the messages "bulk telemarketing adverts that we have always seen and received from various suppliers of services".

Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed the party sent the messages but denied allegations that the data came from the elections body as "hogwash". He won't say how the party obtained it.

-AP

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