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Zimbabwe: President Mnangagwa, ‘the crocodile’ escapes assassination

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president of Zimbabwe, has escaped an apparent assassination attempt during an election campaign rally in the southern city of Bulawayo

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Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president of Zimbabwe, has escaped an apparent assassination attempt during an election campaign rally in the southern city of Bulawayo.

Local media reported that security personnel, several ministers and possibly the vice-president were hurt in the blast in the White City stadium on Saturday.

George Charamba, the president’s spokesman, told the Herald, a local newspaper, that Mnangagwa had not been injured in the attack, which occurred as the 75-year-old head of state had just finished addressing the crowd and was leaving the podium.

“Investigations are under way and more details will be given to the public. There have been multiple attempts on the president’s life over the past five years.”

Footage posted online showed Mnangagwa waving to the crowd, turning to step off the podium and walking into the open-sided VIP tent, where seconds later the explosion occurred. People ducked and screamed and smoke billowed. State television immediately cut its broadcast.

The incident came hours after a blast struck a large rally by supporters of Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, in the capital, Addis Ababa, wounding dozens of people. The coming election in Zimbabwe is the latest turning point in the most tumultuous few months in almost four decades of Zimbabwe’s political history.

In November, Robert Mugabe was forced out of power after 37 years, following a peaceful military takeover supported by the vast majority of the 17 million population.

The poll on 30 July pits Zanu-PF, the ruling party, against the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the longstanding opposition.

Zanu-PF is led by Mnangagwa, a former vice-president known as “the Crocodile” who took power when Mugabe was ousted. Polls indicate a potentially close race, but one that Zanu-PF should win. Though hard fought, the campaign so far has seen little of the violence associated with previous elections in Zimbabwe.

Past votes have been marked by systematic intimidation of the opposition and fraud, and the US and others have said a credible vote is key to lifting international sanctions.

The EU has deployed election observers in Zimbabwe for the first time in 16 years.

Few experts and analysts, or politicians, have raised the possibility that Mnangagwa might be targeted for assassination. Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, is traditionally an opposition stronghold but there was no indication of who might be responsible for Saturday’s attack.

Politics

Weeks after justices protest, Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammad resigns

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Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has resigned.

Sources confirmed that Justice Muhammad resigned on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

Hint of potential crises in Nigeria’s judiciary played out last week when fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, lamenting the parlous state of affairs in the court.

The petition is the first-of-its-kind in the 58-year history of the apex court, the justices chronicled the operational challenges that have almost crippled the efficient adjudication of cases at the court.

Arrangements are said to be ongoing to swear in the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 suspended Justice Tanko’s predecessor Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, 15 days after allegations of impropriety were lodged against the most senior judge in the country. It was the first time that Nigeria’s head of state had sacked a chief justice since 1975, when the country was under military rule.

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18 years after suspension, Zimbabwe lobbys for readmission into Commonwealth

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Southern African Zimbabwe has continued with lobbying for readmission 18 years after it was thrown out of the body over allegations of human rights abuses.

The country made its latest move to be readmitted at the ongoing Commonwealth summit in Rwanda.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Rwanda Charity Manyeruke, who is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali as an observer alongside other top government officials, told newsmen that the country’s participation at the summit was a “positive development.”

“Zimbabwe is excited to be participating in Commonwealth forums as this presents opportunities to network with the international community taking into account the government of Zimbabwe’s policy of engagement and reengagement,” Ms Manyeruke said.

“The Commonwealth meeting in Kigali has provided opportunities for our Zimbabwean diaspora across the globe, who are participating as panellists, facilitators and as delegates in the forums.

Zimbabwe was first suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth for one year, after international observers condemned disputed presidential election as unfairly tilted toward Robert Mugabe in 2022.

One year after the suspension, Mr Mugabe revealed that he did not accept a Commonwealth decision to prolong Zimbabwe’s suspension from the group until the country mended its ways.

“Accordingly, Zimbabwe has withdrawn its membership from the Commonwealth with immediate effect,” said a government statement.

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs deputy minister David Musabayana said he had held meetings with influential people to discuss the country’s potential readmission.

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