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South African President Ramaphosa denies ever stealing money anywhere

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has broken his silence following an allegation by a former head of the country’s intelligence agency, Arthur Fraser, who accused him of kidnapping, bribery and attempting to steal the sum of $4 million in 2020.

Last Wednesday, Fraser had filed a legal complaint against Ramaphosa in which he accused the President of “kidnapping and bribing robbers who stole millions of dollars from one of his properties” in a bid to “conceal the crime from the South African police service and the South African revenue service.”

In the court filing, Fraser, a strong ally of Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma, said he had ample evidence to prove his accusations of criminal charges against the President.

But after maintaining silence for a week, Ramaphosa decided to give a fire back at Fraser following a response from the presidency which did not do much to assuage the feelings of the people.

In a Twitter response to Fraser’s accusations, Ramaphosa confirmed that there was indeed a robbery at his farm in 2020 in which “proceeds from the sale of game were stolen.”

Ramaphosa explained that as a farmer, he frequently bought and sold cattle and people often paid in cash, but he denied that the amount stolen was anywhere near the $4m Fraser quoted.

“All this was money from proceeds from selling animals… I have never stolen money from anywhere… and will never do so.”

Ramaphosa who replaced Zuma as South Africa’s President in 2018 after Zuma was forced to step down amid corruption allegations, has been having a running battle with many of Zuma’s loyalists after his government decided to clamp down on the former head of state which led to his indictment and subsequent imprisonment.

Fraser who is now South Africa’s head of Correctional Service, got himself into hot water last year when he unilaterally ordered Zuma’s release from prison on medical probation barely months into his 15 months jail term for failing to appear before a judicial panel.

Ramaphosa has made combatting corruption a priority of his government but his efforts have been marred by a plethora of allegations of corruption against him, notably from the Zuma camp.

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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