After Mugabe who is Next in Africa?

Robert Mugabe
Mugabe

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA | Associated Press

KAMPALA, Uganda – The bloodless coup of of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, has turned attention to other longtime African leaders accused of trying to extend their rule.

For Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s sudden move last week to decorate over 300 army officers in a rare mass promotion suggested the jolt of realization across the continent: If Mugabe, who ruled for 37 years, could be forced from power by the military, perhaps anyone can including himself.

With Mugabe’s sudden departure, Museveni is one of just four African leaders in power who have ruled for more than three decades. The group also includes Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who has been head of government or president for 42 years; Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled since 1979; and Republic of Congo’s Denis Sassou Nguesso, who during two spells in office has ruled for 33 years.

Museveni, a key U.S. security ally, is the most visible of the four. He has ruled this East African nation for three decades and now seeks to extend his rule by removing a presidential age limit from the constitution. The opposition has loudly objected.

His mass promotions in the Ugandan army promotions signal that Museveni was startled by the sight of Zimbabwe’s military takeover that ended the rule of the 93-year-old Mugabe, who led his country since independence and had vowed to rule until death.

The promotions were meant to appease army officers after Mugabe’s ouster, said Gerald Bareebe, a Ugandan academic at the University of Toronto who is researching the role of African armies in regime consolidation. “Museveni knows that without the support of the army he cannot survive longer in power,” he said.

“There are fundamental similarities between Uganda and Zimbabwe. Both Mugabe and Museveni have been pushing fate,” said Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, a Ugandan attorney who has represented Museveni’s opponents. “What will cause a spark in Uganda, no one knows.”

As in Zimbabwe, the military is seen as the most powerful institution in Uganda, and many people despair over Museveni’s seemingly tight control of it. The newly promoted officers include the chief of military intelligence and the commander of the elite special forces, which is in charge of protecting the president and until recently was led by Museveni’s son, Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Museveni over the years has boasted of his ability to “tame” the army following violent coups that deposed past Ugandan leaders. Museveni himself took power by force in 1986 after toppling a military junta that had removed an elected president. He has since purged many peers who had become generals and replaced them with younger officers deemed loyal to the first family.

Still, some doubt that an aging Museveni can continue to wield firm control and are urging him to initiate democratic reforms.

“Zimbabwe’s lesson for Africa is that an imperial presidency backed by the organizational ideology of militarism is not sustainable,” said Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a political historian at Uganda’s Makerere University. “It has an end.”

Over the years, Museveni has won four elections marred by allegations of vote fraud. Lawmakers are now working on a bill that seeks to remove a clause in the constitution that prevents anyone over 75 from running for president. At 73, Museveni is ineligible to run again if the barrier remains. The bill almost certainly will pass because the ruling party enjoys an overwhelming majority in the national assembly.

Uganda is on a “downward spiral of declining governance” as Museveni appears unwilling to retire, said the International Crisis Group in a Nov. 21 assessment that Uganda’s government has disputed.

“Major violence is unlikely for now, but Uganda nonetheless faces the gradual fraying of order, security and governance. Discontent is growing, particularly among youth,” said the group. “The president cannot continue to rely on patronage and coercion by loyal security services instead of initiating the reforms necessary to reverse the decline of the economy.”

As in Zimbabwe, where huge demonstrations after the military’s takeover pressed for Mugabe to step down, leaders across Africa risk being swept from power with support from a popular uprising, especially one angry over economic stagnation or decline.

Early this year Gambia’s longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh was forced to flee into exile in Equatorial Guinea after losing an election and refusing to step down in a political standoff that led to a threat of regional military intervention. In Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore was forced to step down in 2014 after 27 years after protests erupted when he tried to amend the constitution to seek another term in office.

Now the spotlight has turned to Uganda, according to Makau Mutua, a prominent Kenyan lawyer based in the United States, who said on Twitter after Mugabe’s resignation last week: “Ugandans need to give Yoweri Museveni the Mugabe treatment. Strike while the iron is hot.”

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MCP Slain For Water Scandal

MCP Headquarters

The involvement of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in defrauding Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and the subsequent defence they have offered on the same is a cause for concern for a party that pretends to stand on high moral ground on issues of fraud, corruption and theft
of public resources.

The sentiments are contained in a statement that has been released by individuals calling themselves Concerned Citizens who have further called on the party to own up the illegal connection, pay all associated fines and issue a public apology on the same within 14 days.

This has been followed by reports that have come to light that have revealed that MCP has been defrauding LWB for over 2 years coupled with failure to pay K6.8 million in water bills at its National
Headquarters in Lilongwe.

In the statement which has been signed by Chairman of the Concerned Citizens Phillip Kamangila, it says it is a pity that an institution which plays a holier than thou attitude towards fraud and abuse of
public resources is at the centre stage of defrauding a public institution.

“MCP was on top of its voice accusing LWB and Government for failure to fix the water and sewage problem in Area 18 in time yet the money that the party has been defrauding LWB through the illegal connections was enough have the problem fixed.

“We find the explanation by the Deputy Security General of the party to be abysmal as he wants us to believe that the accumulated bill of K6.8 million is nothing.

How can a responsible party that wants to be trusted with power accumulate such bills? Read the statement in part.
The statement says the excuse that the party is giving for the illegal connection as being based on the connection to fire hydrant is lame as it is common knowledge that fire hydrants public water and cannot connect to one single building.

It says; “By failing to acknowledge the problem, the MCP leadership is convincing us that they do not see
anything wrong with the illegal action and criminal intent provided it is done by them,”

The party has been called upon to name and shame all individuals who were involved in the illegal connection of the water otherwise Malawians will be left with a feeling that the entire party leadership including its President sanctioned the criminal act.

“Government and LWB must treat all illegal connections of water as criminal offences and ensure that any institution and company heads involved in the malpractice must face criminal proceedings,” it says.

In a separate interview Kamangila said as Concerned Citizens they thought of coming in after noting that some institutions and companies feel they are above the law and are bent towards crippling public so service providers.

“We believe that water is life and any attempt that appears to defraud the very body that provides water to Malawians is a human right issue,” he said.

LWB loses 40% of its water to illegal water connections and just last year the body lost K4 billion through
such illegal connections.

Cattle rustler gets 18 years IHL in Chikwawa

The Chikwawa Second Grade Magistrate’s Court Friday convicted and sentenced 18 year old Banga Bilimusi to 42 months imprisonment with hard labour for stealing cattle.

Chikwawa Police Prosecutor, Denford Otala, told the court Bilimusi stole four cattle valued at K600, 000 at Lundu 2 Village in Traditional Authority Chapananga. The cattle belonged to Elizabeth Lackson.

Otala also told the court that Bilimusi was working as a herd boy for Lackson, the owner of the cattle and committed the offence on November 10, 2017.

“On 10th November, the suspect herded the cattle away from its kraal and handed them over to an unidentified man to look for a potential market,” said Otala, adding that the accused pleaded guilty to the charge.

He explained that on that day in the evening, Lackson observed that Bilimusi did not return from wherever he went with the cattle for grazing, so, she reported the matter to police.

The police arrested Bilimusi after two days who admitted to have handed the cattle to his friend to look for a market. His friend is still at large.

In mitigation, Bilimusi asked the court for lenience, saying he has a family to look after.

However, in his ruling, Second Grade Magistrate Zebron Joram observed that the accused breached the trust that existed between him and his employer.

He therefore slapped Bilimusi with a 42 month jail sentence with Hard Labour to serve as a deterrent measure to would be culprits.
Bilimusi comes from Makina Village in Traditional Authority Chapananga in Chikwawa District.

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DPP ropes in Lilongwe mayor, DEPECO Executive, former Attorney General

Lilongwe City mayor, Dr Desmond Bikoko, Fahad Assan and members from the Democratic People’s Congress (DEPECO) led by Secretary General, Smolet Kachere, have joined the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Speaking after joining the DPP in a colorful ceremony that was held at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe on Sunday, all members clarified that no-one has coaxed or bought them. Bikoko said, “I have joined the DPP on my own volition. I want to help the party to win with landslide victory in 2019, let me say it clearly that supporting the ambitious development projects this party and Lilongwe City Council have, has been my wish. “Emphatically, let me again hammer that I cannot hold people’s development which they are waiting from the council just because of personal gains, as mayor I need to work with government to foster developments.” He added that his political movement is not meant to win favors of business or any political positions from the DPP. Taking his turn DEPECO, Secretary General, Smolet Kachere said they reasoned to join the ruling party because they had made enough political searching and realized that DPP is the rightful quality to continue serving Malawians. “We saw DEPECO failing to get into government in 2019, DPP is obviously the winning party in the next tripartite elections. “President Prof. Peter Mutharika is very visionary, he took government at a time affairs of the country were in a very sorry situation, but he has taken us this far without failing Malawians,” Kachere said while echoing that he too has not been bought and that people should not misinterpret their political movement. While Fahad Assan, former Attorney General, in his acceptance speech hailed Mutharika for allowing other international electricity generating companies to try their opportunity in Malawi which he said would develop the country. “Mutharika is a president full of development agenda for his nation, I thank him for allowing other companies to sell their electricity energy to complement ESCOM gaps. “Previous governments failed to take this stand since 1946 during the colonial masters’ administration,” Ansan stated. He also applauded the president for fighting for Malawi’s economic independence, which he said, “it will very soon make Malawi a jewelry of Africa.” Led by DPP Secretary General, Grezzeder Jeffrey, Central Region Vice-president, Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba, Minister of Gender, Dr Jean Kailani, Central Region governor, Dean Josiah, Director of Political Affairs, Andrew Kamlopa among others welcomed the new members. “You are most welcome into this party. This is a good move, a right decision made by the wise people, DPP is the rightful party. The doors for DPP are wide open for everyone as the state president always advises,” Ntaba said. He then appealed for ‘unity, love and hardwork between old and new DPP members. “We will depend on each other, no backbiting, let us be united. You are a testimony that DPP is a democratic party full of development,” he added. The post DPP lopes in Lilongwe mayor, DEPECO Executive, former Attorney General appeared first on The Maravi Post.

Malawi First Lady hosts her Lesotho counterpart

First Lady Dr Gertrude Mutharika stated that she was delighted to host Maesaiah Thabane First Lady of the kingdom Republic of Lesotho on her historical visit.

She disclosed that the visit was a sign of strong bilateral relations between Malawi and the Kingdom of Lesotho. She further commended the warm friendship that exists between the people of the two countries.

Dr Mutharika was speaking Sunday during a dinner she hosted for the visiting Lesotho First Lady at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

She added that she had learnt with pleasure that there are some beauty similarities between Lesotho and Malawi.

“It is with little wonder that Lesotho is also known as “The kingdom in the Sky” because of the beautiful mountains with breath-taking serenity.

“The green environment that engulfs the city of Maseru reminds me of our duty to keep Malawi clean and green. As a matter of fact, Lesotho is a model county in as far as cleanliness is concerned.

“Through this visit, we will learn more about how you are providing leadership to address environmental challenges in your country,” she said.

Madame Mutharika said she appreciated the support received from Lesotho towards her initiative to make Malawi beautiful under the Beautify Malawi Trust (BEAM) noting that people are encouraged to keep their surroundings clean.

“They do this in the belief that a clean and green Malawi would attract more visitors, tourists and investors bearing in mind that a clean Malawi also guarantees healthy lives,” she explained.

Madame Mutharika told the visiting First Lady that BEAM also focuses on increasing girls’ access to education.

“We have embarked on a campaign to end child marriages and take girls back to school. Traditional leaders are in the forefront working hard to rescue girls and take them back to class,” Mutharika said.

Both First Ladies are members of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and Aids (OAFLA) and Malawi has taken extra steps to maintain the OAFLA agenda under the theme “Harnessing the demographic dividend through Youth friendly health services”.

“We are engaging youths across the country where we interact and share lessons as well as experiences on sexual reproductive health. We focus on health rights because the youths form the basis of a healthy population and a productive nation,” she explained.
“We need to increase interaction between our people . So that we share ideas on how we can map strategies and find common solutions on common challenges such as the adverse effects of climate change, trade and HIV and Aids among several others.”

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Kanengo Police on a DNA sample collection sensitization exercise

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- Kanengo Police Station is the first station in the Capital City Lilongwe to train its officers on DNA sample collection.

The developed comes amid rise of sexual offenses ranging from rape to defilement that have seen to be difficult to prove hence not many convictions have occurred in the courts.
With the initiative, offenses are expected to be tried in court with ease and speed.

The law enforcers have been equipped with skills on how to collect samples at the scene of crime.

DNA samples collected will be sent to the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) for analysis before tendered in the courts.

Apart from DNA sample collection, men in uniform are also equipped with skills on how to handle suspects living with HIV and AIDS.

This aims at reducing defaulter on drug prolonged-life, ARVs when are on remand cell.

In an interview with the Maravi Post over the weekend after training about 35 officers, Kanengo Police in-charge George Mtetemera said the station anticipate fast-tracking of cases in courts when handling criminal and sexual assault offenses.

On skills handling suspects living with HIV and AIDS, the officer-in-charge added that the station expects fewer lawsuits.

“With numerous cases of crime and sexual assault which are normally hard to prove in court will now be easier to prove. We expect our officers to handle them with urgency as will as follow correct procedure before tendering the evidence in court for smooth court trial.

“Our officers should also treat suspects with dignity. Those who take daily Medication should be permitted to do so when they are on remand. This will reduce drug defaulters and ease lawsuits the station receives,” says Mtetemera.

Misozi Kampake, one of the participating officers said the skills gotten were timely . As it will assist Police Officers to be able handle suspects with care to ease legal implications.

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