Zimbabwe Protesters, Security Forces Clash as Election Results Delayed

Zimbabwe waited Thursday for the results of its presidential election, a day after security forces clashed with protesters who were demanding to know who will be the country’s next leader.

The voting took place Monday and election officials were expected to have results by Wednesday, but they delayed the release at least one more day.

In the capital, Harare, the clashes between protesters and police left three people dead and afterward authorities invoked a law formally calling on the army to help maintain order.

President EmmersonMnangagwa called Thursday for an independent investigation of the violence while stressing the need for the nation to move forward together.

We believe in transparency and accountability, and those responsible should be identified and brought to justice, he wrote on Twitter. It is also more important than ever that we are united and commit to settling our differences peacefully and respectfully, and within the confines of the law.

Mnangagwa said his government has been in communication with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to discuss ways to immediately diffuse the situation.

Chamisa and his opposition Movement for Democratic Change party have alleged cheating in the election and say Chamisa won the vote.

Results from parliamentary races have been announced, with the ruling ZANU-PF party winning a majority in that body.ZANU-PF is the party of longtime ruler Robert Mugabe who stepped down under pressure from the military in November, and the parliamentary result could signal a strong showing for Mnangagwa.

Election office protests

Wednesday’s violence happened after about 150 demonstrators gathered outside the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Police tried to disperse the protesters using water cannon and tear gas. Protesters threw rocks in their direction and started fires in the street.

Then the army appeared, in armored personnel carriers on Harare’s main boulevard, and overhead in a helicopter. VOA saw five armored vehicles with mounted high-caliber weapons, navigating around large rocks that littered the road. Gunfire echoed in the distance.

VOA saw three soldiers beating a young man with batons; other witnesses reported seeing one man shot dead and a woman face-down on the pavement, a bullet hole in the middle of her back.

Protesters did not give their names, but had plenty to say.

You see, they are using military! How can a general be a president? That government is full of military personnel! shouted one young man.

Chamisa’s spokesman, NkululekoSibanda, rejected an accusation from Mnangagwa that the opposition was responsible for the violence.

President Nelson Chamisa has not ordered any guns on the street. So he cannot be accused of being violent, because he has put no guns on the street, Sibanda said.

He said the opposition has serious doubts about official results that show the ruling ZANU-PF party is winning control of parliament and has suspicions about the delay in the presidential results.

How do we have results from a place that has no telephone line first before we have results from Harare central? he said. Harare is an opposition stronghold.

Inside the headquarters of ZEC, international observers aired their concerns, with the EU and American observer missions voicing worry over subtle intimidation ahead of the vote and noting that the longer the results take, the more tense this wounded nation will be.

Former Ethiopian prime ministerHailemariamDesalegn urged ZEC to conclude the electoral process in a speedy manner in accordance with the law.

We also urge other stakeholders, particularly political party leaders and their supporters, to continue to maintain peace and refrain from acts that might undermine the integrity of the process or threaten the peace and stability of the country.

Mnangagwa has promised to restore the nation’s fractured international relations.

Difference for Zimbabwe

U.S. Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, who is in Harare, says this election could make a difference in Zimbabwe.

Shortly before coming here, we passed out of the House of Representatives a resolution really calling on the Zimbabwean people to have a peaceful, transparent and fair election, and raising the possibility of evaluating U.S. policy. So that hangs in the air, she said.

Source: Voice of America

RUSSIA PROBES MURDER OF THREE JOURNALISTS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

MOSCOW– The Russian Investigative Committee, the country’s main probe agency, on Wednesday said it is investigating the murder of three Russian journalists in Central African Republic (CAR) on Monday.

OrkhanDzhemal, Alexander Rastorguev and Kirill Radchenko, were working on a film on a Russian private military company when they were ambushed and killed by unidentified men some 200 km northeast of the capital city Bangui.

The three Russian journalists were on their way to meet a local contact, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Russian online news organisation, Investigation Control Centre on Monday.

Their driver managed to escape and informed the local authorities of the attack.

However, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova expressed doubt over the presence of the three journalists in CAR, saying it is “an open question” to what they were actually doing in the African country.

On Wednesday.she wrote on Facebook that the three journalists had travelled to CAR on a tourist visa and had ignored warnings by the local law enforcement agencies not to leave the safety zone.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the Russian Embassy in CAR had not been informed of their presence in CAR.

It added that its staff were in close contact with the local authorities to find out the circumstances of the deaths. They were also making arrangement to send the bodies back to Russia.

Early this year, Russia sent small arms and ammunition and five military and 170 civilian instructors to CAR, the Russian foreign ministry said in April.

It was done with consent of the United Nations Security Council.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

CALL FOR PRIVATE SECTOR IN SOUTHERN AFRICA TO BE MORE PROACTIVE IN DRIVING INVESTMENTS

WINDHOEK– The private sector in the southern Africa sub-region needs to be more active in driving the regional integration process by creating better opportunities for investments, says the Director for Investment and Trade of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), TapiwaSamanga.

Such investments are needed particularly in the areas of infrastructure development, manufacturing and creating opportunities for women and youth to participate in procurement, logistics and the distribution processes.

This observation was among conclusions and recommendation agreed by officials from SADC member States during the three-day SADC Industrial Week exhibition and conference which ended here Wednesday.

Announcing the recommendations, Samanga explained that the forum recommended that member States develop skills in the gas sector for youth and ensure that communities involved in gas-related projects benefit from job opportunities along the stages of their value chains, in order to execute the SADC Industrial Energy Efficiency Programme (SIEEP) effectively.

It thus declared plans to establish a Regional Gas Committee which is inclusive of the private sector to develop a Regional Gas Master Plan.

Samanga said the forum observed that youth, women and the private sector should be better involved in the policy-making processes on regional integration, industrialization and economic development.

He further noted that member States had declared their intention to provide conditions and incentives for the private sector and training institutions to build capacity of youth and women entrepreneurs through incubation, mentorship, internship and skills training programmes in key areas of industrialisation and to develop regional initiatives to enhance access for youth and women to capital and credit to launch start-ups.

Samanga said the forum further agreed to accelerate the establishment of the SADC Business Council as the overarching structure to engage the public sector in the region, while business organizations at country level will have to meet and nominate their apex business body to represent them on the council.

The recommendations will be taken to the SADC Council of Ministers who will deliberate on those to be presented at the 38th SADC Summit to be held here on Aug 17 and 18.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICA’S RULING PARTY INRODUCING STIMULUS PACKAGE TO CREATE JOBS

Pretoria– South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has announced the introduction of a stimulus package to curb unemployment and create jobs following the conclusion of the party’s two-day National Executive Committee (NEC) Lekgotla (meeting) here Tuesday.

The announced, which was made by President CyrileRamaphosa, in his capapcity as ANC president, follows the release of the latest unemployment figures, which show that unemployment in the country has risen to 27.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 from 26.7 per cent in the first quarter.

A number of burning issues were discussed at the bi-annual meeting, including the current state of the economy, jobs and land reform. The meeting took place at a time when unemployment remains stubbornly high.

The ANC president was quick to allay fears. He announced the introduction of a stimulus package, which aims to curb unemployment. It also aims to increase support for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as to create job opportunities for youth and women.

Ramaphosa says the initiative would target youth and women in townships and rural communities.

The ANC’s Head of Economic Transformation, Enoch Godongwana, announced protection measures to cushion certain sectors from import surges in order to protect jobs.

Another burning issue which has attracted major public interest in recent months is whether Section 25 of the country’s Constitution should be amended to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. Public hearings hosted by the Joint Constitutional Review Committee have been held in eight provinces so far.

The ANC says a comprehensive land reform programme will unlock economic growth. NEC member Ronald Lamola stresses that the programme does not involve nationalization.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICA, CHINA SIGN MOU TO BOOST INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

PRETORIA– The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of South Africa is partnering a Chinese organization in an effort to boost industrial development in Africa.

CSIR chief executive DrThulaniDlamini last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gold Yard International Exchange Service, an organization representing experts from various provincial bureau of the China State Administration of Foreign Affairs. Gold Yard General Manager Anquan Chi signed on behalf of the organization.

The two countries enjoy strategic relations in science, technology and innovation, with the CSIR having worked with several Chinese institutions in the energy storage and artificial intelligence sectors.

CSIR and Gold Yard have agreed to collaborate on a number of research activities aimed at accelerating research capacity and industrial development in Africa, the council said in a statement here Wednesday.

These include, but are not limited to, key initiatives in the fields of health, with a focus on nutrition and affordable, novel treatments; natural environment, where the emphasis is on the wise use of resources, with the aim of establishing a secure future environment; energy, with the focus on alternative and renewable energy; as well as defence and security, contributing to the readiness and capability of securing a safe future, the CSIR said.

Improving the competitiveness of the industry from large multinational to small and medium enterprises, which had the sharpest focus in critical economic sectors, was one of the objectives of the partnerships, the CSIR added.

DrDlamini said it was critical for South Africa and China to exchange ideas and technologies. This is a very important strategic development to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. This partnership will lead to mutual benefit for South Africa and China through the exchange of ideas and technologies. The hard work starts now in terms of realising the ambitions and the intentions set out in the MoU, he added.

Under the MoU, the CSIR will share technologies which are suitable for the Chinese markets for industrialisation and commercialisation in China. In turn, Gold Yard will provide the CSIR with some Chinese research projects for the organization to conduct research and development in South Africa to suit the market and to adopt the local standard.

Chi emphasized the need to strengthen relations further. He welcomed the partnership, saying that it is key for the countries to enhance their research and innovation capabilities.

China and South Africa have many things in common; we are all striving for economic development to improve our people’s lives. South Africa has a number of advanced technologies and talent. We would like to introduce the good technologies developed by the CSIR for commercialisation and industrialisation in China, in order to boost the South African economy, said Chi.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK