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Zimbabwe: A look at the controversial cabinet featuring the president’s son, nephew

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Barely weeks after being declared winner of the presidential elections, Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed his son as the deputy finance minister, and his nephew as deputy minister of tourism and hospitality.

As part of the parliament’s youth quota, President Mnangagwa named Soda Zhemu to lead the mining ministry and named his son, David Mnangagwa to serve as deputy finance minister, Mthuli Ncube’s deputy. His nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, was assigned the deputy tourism and hospitality minister post.

Winston Chitando, who had led the ministry since November 2017, was replaced as the Minister of Mines by Zhemu. Since 2020, he has served as the minister of energy and power development.

Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, national chairman of the governing ZANU-PF party, was reappointed as the defence minister.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had last month announced that the 80-year-old politician, who contested under the ruling ZANU-PF, had been re-elected after his main challenger, Nelson Chamisa, who leads the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party, secured 44% of the presidential vote.

Mnangagwa, after announcing the new cabinet, had no opposition officials in it. He defended his decision not to appoint opposition members amid speculations on a possible unity government. “I have a huge majority and I think the opposition would enjoy being in actual opposition rather than in government”, he said.

The country is currently faced with a huge economic burden. According to the World Bank, Zimbabwe’s economic development continues to be hampered by price and exchange rate instability, misallocation of productive resources, high informality, low investment, and limited structural transformation.

More than half of Zimbabwe’s export revenue comes from mining, and Mnangagwa has declared that the industry, which is luring investors into the lithium mining industry, will underpin future economic growth.

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South Africa: Parliament reelects Cyril Ramaphosa as president

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President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Julius Malema, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighter, was also put forward for the nation’s presidency, necessitating a vote in parliament to determine the winner.

With a majority of votes in the National Assembly, Chief Justice Ramaphosa was proclaimed president. Julius Malema, the leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, received 44 votes, while Ramaphosa received 283.

The Democratic Alliance party said earlier in the day that it would support Ramaphosa in the election as part of a deal to establish a unity government with the African National Congress.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Out of the 400 seats in the recently elected National Assembly, 246 are held by the ANC and DA.

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Niamey court revokes immunity of overthrown Nigerien president

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The State Court of Niamey has revoked the immunity of Niger’s deposed President, Mohamed Bazoum, signalling the start of criminal proceedings against him by the junta, according to a statement from his attorneys on Friday.

In July of last year, a military coup overthrew Bazoum. Since then, he and his spouse have remained in custody despite numerous requests for his release from Western nations and the ECOWAS regional political and economic grouping.

 

Colonel Amadou Abdramane, the junta’s spokesperson, stated on state television in August that the military government had “gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute the ousted president and his local and foreign accomplices for high treason and for undermining the internal and external security of Niger before competent national and international authorities.”

In a statement, one of his attorneys, Moussa Coulibaly, claimed that the court’s ruling cleared the path for Bazoum to face charges of treason and conspiracy to compromise state security.

The court proceedings “violated (ed) the absolute rights of the defence: we were not authorised to meet our client and the court refused to hear our arguments,” he added.

It was not immediately able to get in contact with the Niger government for a response. Because of Bazoum’s interactions with foreign heads of state and international organizations, the junta declared last year that it would bring high treason charges against him.

Following 2020, there have been eight coups in West and Central Africa that have brought the military government to power. Calls for Bazoum’s reinstatement have gone unanswered, including by the ECOWAS Court of Justice, which declared last year that his arrest was unjustified.

According to Bazoum’s attorneys, he and his spouse had never appeared before a magistrate. Lawyers said that since October, when their phone line at the White House was taken away, they have been cut off from the outside world and are only permitted to have visitors from their doctor.

Mohamed Bazoum Salem, the 23-year-old son of the deposed president, was given provisional parole from house imprisonment by the Niger military tribunal in January.

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