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Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa tries street campaigns in bid to hang on to power

Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is reported to be trying street campaigns as a means to woo voters and hang on to power as elections approach in just about a month

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Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is reported to be trying street campaigns as a means to woo voters and hang on to power as elections approach in just about a month.

In a recent stunt he queued along with ordinary citizens to buy fried chicken over the weekend.

State media had sought to highlight the president’s ‘everyday man’ credentials, after he made an unscheduled stop on Sunday at a fast food outlet in the small town of Chegutu, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of the capital Harare.

“He ordered a two-piecer and a minute maid (juice), paid $3.75 with $20 and told me to keep the change,” said Isabel Mtongerwa, the cashier who served Mnangagwa.

He ordered a two-piecer and a minute maid (juice), paid $3.75 with $20 and told me to keep the change.

Mnangagwa is working hard to shed his image as Mugabe’s enforcer, engaging the public on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, something Mugabe frowned upon.

Prior to coming to power last November when Mugabe was forced to resign following a de facto military coup, Mnangagwa was secretive and insular, preferring to operate under the radar, and was known by the monicker ‘Ngwena’, a Shona word which means ‘Crocodile’.

Twenty three candidates have registered to contest the presidential election on July 30 but Mnangagwa and 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, are the main contenders.

How much the street stunts would add to his electoral value remains to be seen.

On social media, many were reportedly not impressed, citing the fact that the president paid for his meal using hard cash yet many citizens have to stand in long tedious queues to get meagre amounts of cash.

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Senegalese opposition condemns President Sall’s ‘slow’ election date announcement

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The opposition presidential contenders in Senegal have claimed that the government is taking too long to announce a new date for the poll, following a court ruling that declared a 10-month postponement to be illegal.

This occurs just a few days after President Macky Sall pledged to comply with the Constitutional Council’s position that the election be held as soon as feasible following the parliament’s resolution to reschedule the election—which was initially set for February 25—was overruled by the court.

The situation in one of the more stable democracies in coup-hit West Africa led to violent public protests and threats of authoritarian overreach, and Sall came under intense pressure both domestically and internationally to accept the council’s decision.

However, no new date has been announced, which has angered opposition candidates who want the election to happen before Sall’s term expires on April 2.

In a joint statement released late on Tuesday, sixteen out of the nineteen presidential candidates bemoaned the “inexplicable slowness” with which the council’s decision was implemented.

It was their contention that Sall’s tardy return to electoral duty demonstrated his reluctance to initiate a process that would result in a transfer of power. A request for response from the presidency was not answered.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Justice Minister Aïssata Tall Sall said that there was room for discussion over the expiration of Sall’s mandate on April 2.

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South Africa wants Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories declared illegal

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South Africa is back at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s role in the ongoing Hamas war. On Tuesday, Johannesburg asked the World Court to issue a non-binding legal opinion that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal.

South Africa argued that the proclamation would help efforts to reach a settlement as its representative opened the second day of hearings at the court in the Hague.

Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the judges that “a clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement.”

Palestinian delegates asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, adding that the advisory opinion of the court might help bring about a durable peace and a two-state solution.

Israel sent a written statement claiming that an advisory opinion would be detrimental to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, despite not being present at the hearings.

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, has exacerbated the region’s long-standing grievances and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

It is anticipated that the judges will take about half a year to respond to the request, which also asks them to evaluate the implications of the occupation’s legal standing.

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