Top Africa stories: Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Gabon, Libya – News24

Mugabe to attend Lesotho’s independence celebrations, after ‘snubbing’ Khama

Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabeis set to attend Lesotho’s  50th independence anniversary later this week, after he recently “turned down” a similar invite from Botswana, a report said on Monday.

According to NewsDay, Information minister Christopher Mushowe confirmed that Mugabe would be travelling to Lesotho for the celebrations.

Mushowe, however, played down an alleged fallout between between Zimbabwe and Botswana, saying that Mugabe could not attend Botswana’s celebration due to a “busy schedule”.

He said that Botswana’s independence anniversary celebrations coincided with a Zanu-PF event that the veteran leader could not afford to miss.

“The Botswana event coincided with the Zanu-PF women’s league meeting that was so important the president had to be there. Botswana and Zimbabwe are friends and have been since the struggle because our people sought refuge in that country,” Mushowe was quoted as saying. 

Robert Mugabe

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 Gabon unveils ‘inclusive’ government after poll violence

Libreville – Gabon’s prime minister has unveiled a new cabinet that includes few opposition figures, despite promises by re-elected President Ali Bongo to be more inclusive after disputed elections in August.

As part of the shake-up, the defence ministry will also be brought under the control of the office of the president.

The 40-strong team promises to be “largely open to the nation’s active movements” and is made up of around 30% women, Prime Minister Emmanuel Ngondet said at a press conference at the presidential palace after days of negotiations.

Very few opposition figures made it into the final team, which is meant to help “reconcile” Gabon after Bongo’s wafer-thin victory in the August 27 vote sparked deadly unrest and opposition accusations of voter fraud in the oil-rich country.

Defeated presidential candidate Jean Ping filed a legal challenge after Bongo was declared the winner by a mere 6 000 votes, but the court dismissed opposition claims of vote fraud.

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Ethiopia mourns 52 killed in festival stampede

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia began three days of national mourning Monday for 52 people who were killed in a stampede at a religious festival after police clashed with anti-government protesters, according to state-controlled media.

The country’s Oromo community had gathered on Sunday in the town of Bishoftu near the capital Addis Ababa for their Irreecha (thanksgiving) ceremony to mark the end of the rainy season.

Chaos erupted after police charged protesters among those at the festival and fired tear gas, triggering a stampede.

The regional government said in a statement that 52 people had died after panic swept through the massive crowd, with some festival-goers falling into a deep ravine.

An opposition leader said he believed the real toll was much higher, possibly more than 100.

The national flag was being flown at half-mast in government institutions and regular radio programmes were replaced with music as the nation mourned those killed.

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‘He’s buying time’: Twitter roasts Mugabe over two-watch pic

News24 Correspondent

Harare – Does President Robert Mugabe wear two watches to keep up not just with Zimbabwean time but with the time in Singapore, a favoured destination of his? 

Or is it because the ageing Zimbabwe leader is now  “buying time”, as one Twitter user suggested dryly?

Zimbabweans have been scratching their heads over a photo that reappeared this weekend on social media showing the president in full academic regalia wearing not one but two timepieces. 

One of the watches looks to be silver, one gold.

Though some thought the picture was taken during a graduation ceremony at the University of Zimbabwe on Thursday, it actually dates back to October 2015.

Tweeted @ConcernedZimCitizen: “Can someone explain why our old president is wearing two watches here?”.

See picture below

The responses came thick and fast. They were mostly from those who are less fond of the Zimbabwe president, who is now 92 and has been trying to clamp down on rising social discontent in the last few months.

Former finance minister @BitiTendai asked: “But on a very serious note under what circumstances does a man need and indeed proceed to put on 2 wrist watches?”

Robert Mugabe

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Dutch journalist killed as clashes rock Libya’s Sirte

Tripoli – A Dutch journalist was killed by sniper fire on Sunday while covering clashes in Libya’s coastal city of Sirte, as unity government forces battled Islamic State group holdouts in the jihadist bastion.

Dr Akram Gliwan, spokesperson for a hospital in Misrata where pro-government fighters are treated, told AFP that photographer Jeroen Oerlemans was “shot in the chest by an ISIS sniper while covering battles in Sirte” 450km east of Tripoli.

Gliwan said his body had been transferred to Misrata, 200km west of Sirte.

Oerlemans was working in Libya for a number of organisations, including the Belgian weekly Knack magazine, which confirmed his death.

A message on Knack’s website said Oerlemans was shot on a reporting assignment and that the publication “wishes his family much strength”.

Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders also mourned his death.

Unity government 

“Oerlemans is a journalist who went where others would not go. He was driven to bring us the news through his pictures especially from the world’s trouble spots,” Koenders said in a statement.

“That he has now paid the highest price is incredibly sad. I wish his wife, children and family every strength at this great loss. A great photographer is gone.”


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