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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.

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Congo DR: Days after foiled coup, parliament elects speaker  

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The national assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo elected Vital Kamerhe, whose residence was severely attacked on Sunday, as speaker in a postponed vote, a crucial step towards establishing a government five months after a presidential election was taken.

As the country’s second-in-command, Kamerhe is a close supporter of President Felix Tshisekedi and holds the speaker position. A total of 371 members of parliament who participated in the polls on Monday supported Kamerhe’s bid for speaker. In addition, MPs scheduled six more lower house seats for voting.

The election makes it possible for Congo to form a cabinet, which hasn’t been done since Tshisekedi won a second term in the December 2023 presidential election although President Tshisekedi appointed Judith Suminwa as the first female prime minister of Congo in April.

Tshisekedi caused the vote to be postponed from May 18, which was the original date. Congolese security personnel claimed on May 19 that they had thwarted a coup attempt and stopped an attack on Kamerhe’s residence in the heart of the country’s capital, Kinshasa.

According to Michel Moto Muhima, a spokesman for Kamerhe, the attack claimed the lives of two guards.

With at least 90% of the 500 elected seats in parliament held by Tshisekedi’s alliance, the Sacred Union, holds a majority. In 2018, Kamerhe, 65, ran with Tshisekedi for president.

Kamerhe has previously held the positions of deputy prime minister of the economy and chief of staff to Tshisekedi. A graft investigation resulted in his incarceration in 2020.

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Nigeria’s Tinubu orders 47 ministers to present scorecards

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Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu, has ordered his ministers to give their performance reports to Nigerians about his first anniversary in office.

The low-key first-anniversary commemoration will be celebrated by sectoral media briefings by the 47 federal ministries beginning on Thursday (today), according to Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, who made this announcement during a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.

Senator George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and Abubakar Bagudu, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, joined Idris at the media briefing on Wednesday.

On March 1, 2023, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, announced that Tinubu had won the 2023 presidential contest.

With 8.7 million votes, Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress candidate, defeated PDP contender Atiku Abubakar, who received 6.9 million votes, and Labour Party candidate Peter Obi, who received 6.1 million votes.

The President said on November 1, 2023, that the ministers in his cabinet would only be allowed to stay in their positions based on performance, which would be evaluated every quarter, at the start of a three-day cabinet retreat for ministers, presidential advisers, permanent secretaries, and top government workers.

“If you are performing, nothing to fear. If you miss the objective, we’ll review it. If no performance, you leave us. No one is an island and the buck stops on my desk,” said the President.

Before the evaluation, on January 24, 2024, at least 140 officials received training from the Central Delivery Coordination Unit, the organization in charge of the assessment, on how to monitor and evaluate the performance of federal ministries, departments, and agencies.

In an April interview with the media, Hadiza Bala-Usman, the head of the CDCU and the President’s Special Advisor on Policy Coordination, confirmed that the organization has received performance reports from at least 20 of the 35 ministries. She clarified that a collaborative approach involving the ministers, public, and business experts will result in the assessment report.

Bala-Usman said, “Our submission is for the first quarter. So, the first quarter has just ended, and we have initiated the assessment process. The ministers have all been asked to submit their performance based on the deliverables.”

She stressed that ministers would be assessed “Based on what is out there in the public space. They would write to say, ‘Based on every deliverable you have given me, this is what I’ve done within the first quarter of the year.’

“Through the Citizens Delivery Tracker app, Nigerians will also say, ‘this is what we’ve seen the minister do’ and they would aggregate it.’’

To lower inflation, stabilize the economy, and draw in foreign investment, the Tinubu administration has carried out several important reforms. He brought a stop to the corrupt fuel subsidy system, which resulted in increasing gasoline and transportation expenses, food inflation, and suffering for the entire nation. The government gave the agriculture sector significant funding to combat food inflation, including N200 billion to increase agricultural production and guarantee food security.

But his reign has also ushered Nigerians into its worst cost of living crisis in decade, thus questioning the effectiveness of the reforms

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