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Sunday, 20th May 2018
3:42:26pm

Southern Africa

Articles related to Southern Africa

Swaziland has reportedly said that the issue involving Zambian President Edgar Lungu's plans to build a mansion in that country is a "private matter".

According to Lusaka Times, Swaziland's government spokesperson Percy Simelane was quoted by the Times of Swaziland newspaper as "reluctantly saying that the purchase of land to build a family house for president Lungu is a private issue".

Simelane reportedly made reference to a Swazi citizen whom he said had a family ranch in one of the First World countries. "That country's government had nothing to do with it. It was as private as the alleged construction of the Zambian president's house," Simelane was quoted as saying.

This came falling media reports that Lungu was building a mansion worth millions of dollars for himself in the southern African country.

Reports, according to BBC, put the mansion's price tag at around $4 million.

Gift

Zambian media quoted the country's minister of information Dora Siliya as confirming the reports.

According to Zambia Eye, Siliya maintained, however, that there was nothing sinister about the development, as King Mswati "gave Mr Lungu the land as a gift". 

"These are normal practices when the president travels, that various gifts are given in various forms. In this case it was land that was given to the president. This land was processed and given to the president in title," Siliya was quoted as saying by Lusaka Times, which cited other online publications.

The Times of Swaziland said that Lungu's mansion would be built on Lot 225 of Farm Nkonyeni III.

The newspaper said that despite the Zambian government saying the land was a gift, it had seen documents from the Deeds Registry which showed that it was one of around 90 plots owned by Inyatsi Properties Limited, which had acquired it lawfully from Rudolph Investments last year.

-News24

Zimbabwe's electoral body has reportedly said that it would not be pressured into disclosing who the suppliers of ballot papers for this year's crunch elections are.

According to NewsDay, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said that there was no law compelling it to involve political parties in its procurement deals.

ZEC said that it would make such information available at an appropriate time and would comply with current legislations.

"... there is no legal provision which requires Zec to involve political parties in its procurement processes for the ballot paper and the printer. Section 52A of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] only requires the commission to disclose the following information to all political parties and candidates contesting an election, and to all observers — (a) where and by whom the ballot papers for the election have been or are being printed; and (b), the total number of ballot papers that have been printed for the election; and (c), the number of ballot papers that have been distributed to each polling station," the electoral body was quoted as saying.  

ZEC indicated recently that it won't go to tender over ballot printers.

It said that it had already selected the company that would print ballot papers for the forthcoming polls and won't put the job out to public tender because there was not enough time, the state Sunday Mail reported.

Transparency

"Government has selected a company to print ballot papers and supply indelible ink for the forthcoming harmonised elections.... due to security and time considerations," the report said.

"The tender would normally have been announced in the Government Gazette [but]...it was felt there was not enough time to follow this process," the paper continued.

The move had since led to opposition parties and pressure groups to pile up pressure on the electoral body demanding it to name suppliers and printers of the ballot papers before proclamation of election dates "to enhance transparency" in the electoral process.

Reports indicated last week that opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa had threatened a "national shutdown" if his Movement for Democratic Change Alliance's demands for transparency and electoral reforms in the forthcoming watershed polls were not met.

Zimbabwe was expected to go to the polls before the end of August.

-News24

Social media is abuzz in Zimbabwe after the country's biggest brewer and Anheuser-Busch InBev associate unit Delta Corporation said it is running out of ingredients for the manufacture of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, raising fears beer could run out in the next few days.

This is because Delta Corp, one of the largest companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, is unable to import concentrates and other ingredients for its manufacturing lines owing to difficulties in paying foreign suppliers.

Zimbabwe is battling foreign currency shortages due to an ongoing liquidity crunch. Delta's production of the opaque Chibuku traditional brew has also been affected, and officials say they are left with only a week's supply.

Traders in Harare say some beer products have already been in short supply in the past few weeks.

They expect the situation to continue or worsen after Delta officials said ingredients had run low.

Others have blamed the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the foreign payment bottlenecks companies are facing. Mnangagwa came into office in November last year after the ousting of former leader Robert Mugabe, and has pledged to turn the economy around.

“This is a catastrophe, why don't you stop manufacturing soft drinks so that you can make more beer,” tweeted Primrose Dzotswa in response to the development.

-News24

A Portuguese court on Thursday ruled that former Angolan Vice President Manuel Vicente, accused by Portuguese prosecutors of corruption and money laundering, can be tried in Angola, which Portugal hopes will remove a major thorn in the bilateral ties. 

The long-running case, which will now be sent to the African nation, has angered Angolan authorities, including its new president, Joao Lourenco, who argued that the investigation by Angola’s former colonial master challenged his country’s sovereignty.

Lourenco, who has vowed to clamp down on widespread corruption in his country insisted that Angola should judge any perpetrators. He took over last year after a nearly four decade rule by his predecessor, Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Most Angolans live in poverty despite the country’s massive oil wealth.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Souza said the court’s decision “removes an irritant” in the bilateral ties. Angola is Portugal’s major trading partner and tens of thousands of Portuguese live and work there.

Vicente’s lawyers, cited by Lusa news agency, said they were satisfied with the decision.

Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told SIC television: “The effect of this decision for foreign policy ... should create conditions for the deepening of the bilateral relations”. 

“Angola has been seeing this issue as an obstacle not allowing the relationship to reach a higher level which can now be easily attained. It is now a job for us, diplomats, to make it possible.”

Last month, Lourenco relieved the Angolan ambassador to Lisbon of his duties, but did not name a new envoy in a sign of pressure on Portugal to give up the Vicente case.

Vicente, who was once seen as a possible successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is accused of bribing a magistrate in Portugal when he was chief executive of Angolan state oil company Sonangol. He has denied any wrongdoing and has not visited Portugal since the investigation began.

Former Portuguese prosecutor, Orlando Figueira, who was arrested in early 2016, is on trial on charges of receiving a bribe of 760,000 euros ($850,000) to suspend an inquiry into Vicente’s dealings in Portugal before he became vice president. 

According to local media, the investigation that was suspended in January 2012 focused on the origin of funds with which Vicente had bought a luxury apartment in Lisbon.

Angola ranked 167th of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions index.

-Reuters

Zimbabwe's vice president, Constantino Chiwenga, says he suffers from a skin disease that first surfaced last year as he and other military commanders planned Operation Restore Legacy, the army takeover that preceded Robert Mugabe’s resignation.

Chiwenga, the former defence forces chief, dismissed claims that his lighter complexion and the pale patches visible on his hands are a result of him using skin lightening creams.

Whole body affected

"It was during (the military operation) that I fell ill. I had this skin disease that affected my whole body from beneath my feet to my back and the journalists started saying I was using skin lightening creams but that was not the case. I was sick," he said in quotes and a video clip carried by the state-run Chronicle

"We then sent everything to South Africa to find out what was causing the sickness but they failed to treat it," he added.

Nun supplied herbs

Chiwenga, who was speaking at the funeral of his sister in the eastern town of Marondera on Tuesday, said he had since been healed with herbs supplied by a Roman Catholic nun.

The private NewsDay said Chiwenga – who is married to a former Zimbabwean model – had recently been derided on social media with names like "Bleachy Chiwenga" and "General Ambi" – after the famous make of skin cream. 

-News24

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