Zimbabwe – internal ZANU-PF wrangles stall development


Internal Ruling Party Wrangles Stall Development in Zimbabwe

Supporters (wearing red) of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai after witnessing their party losing to President Robert Mugabe in last year's elections. They now face another disappointment as the fight to succeed Mugabe turns attention away from development. Credit : Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

Supporters (wearing red) of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai after witnessing their party losing to President Robert Mugabe in last year’s elections. They now face another disappointment as the fight to succeed Mugabe turns attention away from development. Credit : Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

HARARE, Nov 26 2014 (IPS) - With the ruling Zimbabwe Africa National Union Patriotic Front party in Zimbabwe seized with internal conflicts, attention to key development areas here have shifted despite the imminent end of December 2015 deadline for global attainment of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The eight MDGs targeted to be achieved by 31 December 2015 form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and the world’s leading development institutions.

“Every development area is at a standstill here as ZANU-PF politicians are scrambling to succeed the aged Mugabe here and they have apparently forgotten about all the MDGs that the country also needs to attain before the 2015 deadline” – Agrippa Chiwawa, an independent development expert

But, caught up in the succession fight among ruling party politicians as the country’s 90-year old President Robert Mugabe – who has ruled this Southern African nation for the last 34 years – reportedly  battles ill health ahead of the party’s elective congress in December, development experts say the Zimbabwean government has apparently shifted attention from development to party politics.

“Every development area is at a standstill here as Zanu-PF politicians are scrambling to succeed the aged Mugabe here and they have apparently forgotten about all the MDGs that the country also needs to attain before the 2015 deadline,” independent development expert Agrippa Chiwawa told IPS.

The battle to succeed Mugabe pits Justice Minister Emerson Mnangagwa and the country’s Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who is currently receiving a battering from the former’s faction which has won sympathy from the country’s first family, with First Lady Grace Mugabe venomously calling for the immediate resignation of Mujuru before the ZANU-PF congress.

Chiwawa told IPS that despite the government having contained recent strikes by medical doctors here through appeasing them by reviewing their salaries, the public health sector is in a state of decay amid acute shortages of treatment drugs.

Elmond Bandauko, an independent political analyst, agrees with Chiwawa. “Internal fights within the ZANU-PF party are stumbling blocks to national, social and economic prosperity; the ZANU-PF government is concentrating on its party succession battles as the economy is on its knees and there is no projected solution to the economic woes the country faces at the moment,” he told IPS.

Fighting over who will succeed 90-year-old Robert Mugabe at the head of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has relegated agriculture, like other development issues, to the side-lines if not outright neglect. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

“Policy makers from the ZANU-PF government, who are supposed to be holding debates and parliamentary sessions and special meetings on how to move the country forward, are wasting time on political tiffs that do not save the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans,” Bandauko added.

Even the country’s education system has not been spared by the ruling party political milieu, according to educationists here.

“Nobody is talking about revamping the education system here as government officials responsible are busy consolidating their powers in the ruling party while national examinations are fast losing credibility amid leakages of exam papers before they are written, subsequently tarnishing the image of our country’s quality of education,” a top government official in the Ministry of Education told IPS on the condition of anonymity, fearing victimisation.

Even the country’s ordinary subsistence farmers, like Edson Ngulube from Masvingo Province in Mwenezi district, are feeling the pinch of the failure of politicians. “We can’t beat hunger and poverty without support from government with farming inputs,” Ngulube told IPS.

Yet for many Zimbabweans like Ngulube, reaching the MDGs offers the means to a better life – a life with access to adequate food and income.

Burdened with over half of its population starving, based on one of the U.N. MDGs, Zimbabwe nevertheless committed itself to eradicating hunger by 2015. But, with the Zanu-PF government deeply engrossed in tense power wrangles to succeed Mugabe, Zimbabwe may be way off the mark for reaching this target.

In addition, in September, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa, David Phiri went on record as saying that Zimbabwe could fail to meet the target to eradicating hunger by 2015 owing to conflict and natural disasters.

Zimbabwe’s 2012 National Census showed that more than two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people live in rural areas and, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), this year about 25 percent of them need food aid or they will starve, and between now and 2015, 2.2 million Zimbabweans will need food support.

Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Minister Joseph Made is, however, confident the country is set to end hunger before the 2015 deadline. “We have land and we have hardworking people utilising land and for us there is no reason to doubt that by 2015 we would have eradicated hunger,” Made told IPS.

Claris Madhuku, director for the Platform for Youth Development (PYD), a democracy lobby group in Zimbabwe, perceive things rather differently.

“What actuates Zimbabwe’s failure to attaining MDGs is the on-going governance crisis, a result of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s internal wars to succeed the party’s nonagenarian President, which have not made development any easier,” Madhuku told IPS.

According to the PYD leader, in order for Zimbabwe to experience magnificent development, “the ruling party has to try and get its politics right.”

But with Zimbabwean President Mugabe apparently clinging to the helm of the country’s ruling party with renewed tenacity, it remains to be seen whether or not real development will ever touch the country’s soils.


African court to hear Kenya Mau Forest land case

Star (Nairobi)

African Court to hear Ogiek case against the Kenya government

BY LYDIA MATATA Some of the Ogiek evicted from Mau forest in 2010. Photo/FILEThe African Court on Human and People’s Rights will on Thursday and Friday hear a case filed by the Ogiek community against the Kenyan government for consistent violations and denial of their land rights. “This is the violation of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights to which Kenya is a signatory,” the petition by one of Kenya’s remaining forest dwellers reads. In the petition, the Ogiek allege the government’s violation of their rights to property, natural resources, development, religion and culture. The case on indigenous peoples’ rights will be a first by the African Court in operation since 2006. It was first lodged with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights but was reportedly referred to the African court because of serious alleged human rights violations. The case was filed by three organizations, Minority Rights Group International, the Ogiek People’s Development Programme and the Center for Minority Rights Development. – See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/african-court-hear-ogiek-case-against-kenya-government#sthash.m77yNJa1.dpuf

Nigeria to charge Shell $4bn for oil spill

ReutersNigeria’s parliament says Shell should pay $4 billion for 2011 oil spill


A view of the shore of the Atlantic ocean at Orobiri village,days after Royal Dutch Shell's Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria's delta state December 31, 2011.REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

A view of the shore of the Atlantic ocean at Orobiri village,days after Royal Dutch Shell’s Bonga off-shore oil spill, in Nigeria’s delta state December 31, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s National Assembly said on Wednesday oil major Shell (RDSa.L) should pay $3.96 billion (2.51 billion pounds)for a 2011 spill at its offshore Bonga oilfield in the latest assessment of damage to the environment.

The non-binding decision comes after years of analysis by various Nigerian state agencies, which have proposed a range of fines as high as $11.5 billion.

The parliament finally reached a decision based on the report of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), which previously recommended a fine of $5 billion.

Shell declined to comment. The company has previously said it took responsibility for the spill and had cleaned the area.

The parliament’s decision is non-binding as it only has the power to recommend fines to the government and cannot enforce them.

NOSDRA estimated that around 40,000 barrels were spilled when a tanker was loading crude at the offshore platform operated by Shell’s subsidiary SNEPCO. The Bonga field was producing 200,000 barrels per day at the time.

NOSDRA has previously said the spill had hurt locals in the area who rely on fishing for their livelihoods as the slick covered an area of around 950 square km.

“Since all efforts by this committee were tactfully rebuffed by SNEPCO, (it) has decided to adopt the damage assessment report submitted by NOSDRA as the lead agency in all oil spill management,” Uche Ekwunife, chairman of the environmental committee told the assembly.

Shell is also being pursued in a class action case for two other spills in the Niger Delta in 2008. In June, it offered 30 million pounds ($51 million) in compensation to 15,000 residents in the Bodo Community but this was rejected.

The United Nations Environment Programme has criticised Shell in the past for not doing enough to clean up spills and maintain infrastructure.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter and an OPEC member but the environmental toll has been huge. The mangrove creeks of the delta region are heavily polluted mainly due to leaks from illegal pipeline tapping and sabotage.

Foreign companies have been selling their stakes in onshore oilfields after becoming frustrated with industrial scale theft and resulting spills, which show no signs of abating.

On Monday, Shell had to shut down a pipeline as a result of a new leak close to where it was removing oil taps.


South Africa – EFF threatens to disrupt Zuma state of nation address

Mail and Guardian

Floyd Shivambu has warned Baleka Mbete that if President Zuma does not come to Parliament the EFF will disrupt his State of the Nation Address.

The opposition parties demanded that President Jacob Zuma be called to answer oral questions before the house adjourns for Christmas holidays. (David Harrison, M&G)

The acrimonious relationship between the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete and Economic Freedom Fighters’ MP Floyd Shivambu came to a head on Wednesday afternoon with Mbete reminding Shivambu that as an African child, he had to respect her.

This was at a meeting of the National Assembly’s programme committee where opposition parties disagreed with Mbete about what should be on the programme of the assembly’s last sitting on Thursday.

The opposition parties demanded that President Jacob Zuma be called to answer oral questions before the House adjourns for Christmas holidays, but Mbete and the ANC reiterated that a failure by opposition MPs to give assurances of a conducive climate for Zuma to answer questions, has made it difficult for the president to be in Parliament.

Shivambu urged Mbete to ensure that Zuma comes to Parliament to answer questions before the end of the year. He threatened that a failure to do so will see EFF MPs disrupting the State of the Nation Address in an attempt to force Zuma to answer questions at the event.

The State of the Nation Address is one of the key events in the calendar of the South African Parliament. It is scheduled for February 12 and normally, the president addresses the joint sitting without any interruptions. A debate on his address is then held over two days, following the address.

“The next time he comes here, he is going to answer questions whether he likes it or not … whether it is state of the nation address or whatever gathering it is. There won’t be a Jacob Zuma who speaks here before he answers questions, that is the commitment of the EFF,” said Shivambu.

‘You are not my mother’
He then addressed Mbete by her first name, saying she knew that the EFF was not intimidated by the ANC. Mbete snapped. “Angiyona intanga yakho, Floyd. [I’m not your peer, Floyd]. “You are an African child, brought up by people I respect. And I’m quite sure you are not reflecting the way they brought you up.

Shivambu responded: “This is a professional relationship. This is not a mother and child relationship. You are not my mother.”

Shivambu said as members of Parliament, they were equals and they could engage openly and honestly without raising issues of culture. The meeting was heated throughout, but in the end the ANC made several concessions but would not give in on the major issue raised by the opposition – calling Zuma to account before the end of this year.

Mbete assured MPs that she also wanted Zuma to answer oral questions in the National Assembly. “I have pursued the presidency on the issue of finding a date when the president can come and answer questions,” she said.

She reminded MPs of their role on the last occasion that the president was in the National Assembly to answer questions. “He sat in the holding room here in Parliament, hoping that he would be called back to the House to finish off the questions that were on the order paper that day, but we couldn’t,” she revealed.

‘Pay back the money’
EFF MPs chanted to Zuma to pay back the money spent on non-security measures at his private home in Nkandla, after he failed to respond to a question on when he would make the repayments as recommended by the public protector.

Mbete also revealed that she stopped engaging with the presidency about Zuma coming to Parliament when the opposition parties started meeting with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa last week. She said matters became complicated when that process was scuttled by opposition parties who refused to give assurances that Zuma won’t be heckled.

In the meeting on Wednesday, MPs wanted to know if there were any assurances on whether Zuma would deliver the State of the Nation Address in February, seeing that he wants assurances before appearing in Parliament.

EFF MP Godrich Gardee asked: “If you are saying that the president is awaiting for assurance for him to come to Parliament, to ensure that he will not go through what he went through on August 21 … and the State of the Nation Address is coming, does the president have assurance?”

Gardee said Zuma was creating a constitutional crisis because it was “peremptory and obligatory” and not by choice whether he comes to Parliament or not. “Heckling and shouting is found in Parliaments throughout the world. He can’t say he can’t be heckled and shouted at when people feel like the president is out of order,” he added.

Gardee also blamed Mbete and Parliament for being complicit in Zuma’s “unconstitutional conduct”, the refusal to come to Parliament waiting for assurances. “We are very quick in having other unfinished business being finished, but not on the one of the president to come and finish his business.”

This was speaking in reference to a report of the powers and privileges committees, which found EFF MPs guilty of contempt of Parliament by chanting “pay back the money” at Zuma, and which proposes sanctions of up to 30 days suspension from Parliament without pay. The report is set to be adopted by the National Assembly during Thursday’s sitting, and this will see the sanctions against EFF MPs kicking in the following day.

Constitutional obligations
Freedom Front Plus MP Corne Mulder warned Mbete, saying the process that the opposition parties had with Ramaphosa could never have been about the president not fulfilling his constitutional obligations.

Mulder also noted a press statement issued by the presidency on Tuesday that insisted that Zuma had fulfilled his parliamentary obligations as “shocking and misleading” to South Africans because it created an impression that when Zuma pitches up in Parliament, he is fulfilling that obligation. “He doesn’t,” said Mulder.

Mulder also wanted to know whether Zuma would deliver the State Of the Nation Address, in the light of the assurances that he wants. He urged Mbete to explain parliamentary rules and the constitution to Zuma, adding: “I hope that the people who drafted that statement yesterday are not the people advising the president.”

DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane was also “disturbed” by the presidency’s statement saying that it was misleading. He said it was wrong to spend millions of taxpayers’ money to reconvene Parliament for one report and then not call the president on the basis that a deal with opposition was scuttled. “If we are going to call a special sitting to consider one report, surely we can call in the same sitting for the president to come and complete question session as is his constitutional duty and as per the rules of this Parliament,” said Maimane.

Mbete dug in her heels about Zuma, but conceded on a number of issues on the programme. The report dealing with the EFF MPs was only going to be considered or adopted without a debate; but at the request of the DA, an 85-minute debate will be held on the matter.

Opposition parties have rejected the findings against EFF MPs and have questioned the “harsh” sanctions. The ANC also agreed to a snap debate that was also proposed by the DA on the escalating crisis at Eskom.

The DA’s Natasha Michael requested the debate on Wednesday afternoon, and it was granted in unprecedented time – less than three hours after the request was made. The house will also have members’ statements, which are basically political statements about current affairs and farewell speeches will also be held as Thursday’s is the last scheduled sitting for this year.

Zimbabwe – V-P Mujuru loses bid for ZANU-PF Central Committee place

Herald Reporters—
Vice President Joice Mujuru yesterday lost her bid to secure a Central Committee post after her district of origin, Mt Darwin, rejected her application in elections that saw a number of other zanu-pf bigwigs linked to her nefarious activities to oust President Mugabe also failing to make it. Other Politburo members who suffered the same fate include Cdes Dzikamai Mavhaire in Masvingo, Tendai Savanhu in Harare, Francis Nhema, Flora Buka and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi in the Midlands and Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu in Matabeleland South.

They join other bigwigs like secretary for Administration Cde Didymus Mutasa in Manicaland and Cdes Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Absolom Sikhosana and Angeline Masuku in Bulawayo who have already fallen by the wayside.

VP Mujuru submitted her CV to the provincial elections directorate which rejected it last Sunday on the basis that she was implicated in leading a faction that was plotting to assassinate President Mugabe.

Acting Mashonaland Central provincial chair Cde Wonder Mashange said yesterday that the province did not want to be associated with anyone plotting to kill the party’s First Secretary.

Instead of VP Mujuru, Mount Darwin District seconded Politburo member Cde George Rutanhire.

Addressing the zanu-pf leadership in Mount Darwin yesterday, Cde Mashange said: “As a party we should listen to the voice of the people. The CV of Cde Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru was not recommended.

“We sat last week as the provincial executive council and agreed that we should defend our President. We agreed that any member of the party who is accused of plotting to assassinate the President we are not going to accept his or her CV.”

In Harare, the Central Committee elections were marred by violence, with Politburo member Cde Tendai Savanhu, who had already been barred from contesting, facing allegations of instigating the disturbances.

Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Cleveria Chizema confirmed the disturbances.

Big wigs that fell in the province were Cdes Joseph Macheka and Stalin Mau Mau, while suspended ZBC acting chief executive Allan Chiweshe also bit the dust.

Cdes Lloyd Bhunu, Endy Mhlanga, Patrick Nyaruwata, Cleveria Chizema, Jackson Maombera, Retired Brigadier General Boniface Hurungudo, Oliver Mandishona, Sabina Thembani, Evermary Marwa and Justice Zvandasara secured their posts.

Zanu-PF bigwigs in Mashonaland East who included former provincial chairperson Cde Ray Kaukonde did not submit their CVs for nominations following a vote of no confidence passed on them recently.

Others who failed to make it were ousted secretary for finance Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, political commissar Cde Tendai Makunde and his deputy Cde George Katsande, deputy secretary for security Cde Washington Musvaire, deputy secretary for finance Cde Felix Mhona, secretary for education Cde Taurai Pasirai, secretary for administration Cde Peter Murwira and Cde Boniface Mutize.

The province yesterday held its inter-district meeting in Marondera where the co-ordinating committee announced members who were nominated into the Central Committee.

These included Cdes Sydney Sekeramayi, Marbel Chinomona, Jerry Gotora, David Parirenyatwa, Paddy Zhanda, Joel Biggy Matiza, Dr Olivia Muchena, Rosemary Goto, Dorothey Chigweremba, Marbel Katazo and Tabeth Murwira.

Cde Sekeramayi urged the members to represent the interests of the people and not to forget that they were chosen by the people.

“You should be able to come back and listen to the grievances of the people since you will be representing the people. Let’s work together for developmental purposes,” he said.

Cde Sekeramayi urged party members to be disciplined, after some party members demonstrated outside the provincial headquarters.

“I agree that some people may have grievances but the grievances should not destroy the party,” he said. “Let us have respect of our leaders. Problems are there and they can be solved.”

In Masvingo, embattled Politburo member and Cabinet minister Cde Mavhaire led a cast of other senior party officials and Cabinet ministers in the province who failed to make it into the powerful Central Committee.

Cde Mavhaire, the Zanu PF secretary for production and Labour and Energy and Power Development minister failed to bag one of the four Central Committee slots in Masvingo District after losing the election to Masvingo Urban Member of Parliament Cde Daniel Shumba who garnered 151 votes against his 51.

Masvingo South Member of Parliament and Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Cde Walter Mzembi also failed to make it into the Central Committee after he was outpolled by Cde Exavier Magweva by 154 votes to 49 in Masvingo District.

Cdes Clemence Makwarimba and Masvingo Central Member of Parliament Cde Edmund Mhere filled the other slots in the district.

Others notables who failed to make it in Masvingo were Cdes Samuel Mumbengegwi, Retired Colonel Claudius Makova and former Masvingo governor Willard Chiwewe.

Cdes Josaya Hungwe, Paul Mangwana, Kennedy Matimba, Jerifanos Matorofa, Tobias Jaboon, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Lemson Matavire, Tafadzwa Shumba, Nyasha Gavaza and Retired Brigadier General Livingstone Chineka also made it.

Rtd Col Makova conceded defeat.

“After all has been said and done, the fact remains that I lost,” he said in an interview. “I wish the winners all the best.’’

In the Midlands Cdes Buka, Nhema and Mumbengegwi lost by huge margins and provincial spokesperson Cde Cornelius Mpereri confirmed the results.

In Matabeleland South, Cde Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu confirmed his defeat yesterday.

Ousted provincial chairperson Cde Andrew Langa, who before his sacking was eyeing a central committee post, did not contest.

In Matabeleland North, only one Politburo member, Cde Samuel Mugande from Binga, contested in the central committee elections after his district did not agree that his position should not be contested.

Provincial chairman Cde Richard Moyo confirmed that Cde Mugande lost to Cde John Mzamba.

Former Governor for Masvingo Cde Titus Maluleke was elected unopposed to claim the Zanu-PF Chiredzi District Central Committee post at elections which were held at Chitsanga Hall.

Announcing the results to voters, presiding officer Cde Ronald Ndava said Cde Maluleke was unanimously elected as no one challenged him.

Other newly elected central committee members from the district were Cdes Jimmy Simon Mahiya, Petros Chivhinga and Abrham Mataleni Sithole.


Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Joyce Mujuru has been barred by the ruling Zanu-PF party from serving on its powerful central committee, state media reports.

She had failed to win nomination after being linked to a plot to oust President Robert Mugabe, The Herald newspaper reports.

Mrs Mujuru’s fall from grace damages her chances of one day succeeding the 90-year-old, correspondents say.

Zanu-PF is due to hold its elective congress next month.

Mr Mugabe has said he does not intend to quit.

Mrs Mujuru was a close comrade of Mr Mugabe, but the two have have since fallen-out.

First Lady Grace Mugabe, who has recently entered politics, has led a sustained campaign against Mrs Mujuru, accusing her of being “demonic”.

‘Boost for rival’
Last week, Mrs Mujuru said she had ordered her lawyers to restore her “political standing” after being falsely accused by state-owned media of treason and corruption.

Mrs Mugabe joined her husband in politics earlier this year – and plans to lead the Zanu-PF women’s wing
Wonder Mashange, the acting Zanu-PF chairman in Mrs Mujuru’s home province of Mashonaland Central, said the party had decided to “defend” Mr Mugabe by rejecting Mrs Mujuru’s bid for a seat on the central committee, The Herald reports.

“We agreed that any member of the party who is accused of assassinating the president – we are not going to accept his or her CV [curriculum vitae],” he is quoted as saying.

Mrs Mujuru has not commented on the decision.

BBC Zimbabwe analyst Stanley Kwenda says a complex power-struggle is raging within Zanu-PF, as Mr Mugabe plays his opponents against each other and consolidates his grip over the party and government.

Mr Mugabe may favour another leader for the post of Zanu-PF vice-president, while keeping Mrs Mujuru as vice-president of the country, he says.

Even though Mrs Mujuru’s bid to be elected to the central committee has been thwarted, Mr Mugabe still has the power to appoint her to serve on the powerful leadership body, our analyst says.

Mr Mugabe may decide to do this to show her that he remains the boss, he says.

Either way, Mrs Mujuru’s political star has waned, while that of her rival, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, has risen, he adds.

Both Mrs Mujuru and Mr Mnangagwa have long been seen as possible successors to Mr Mugabe.

Mrs Mugabe’s surprise entry into politics this year, and her nomination to lead Zanu-PF’s women’s wing, has also fuelled speculation that she could be planning to take over from her husband one day.

Mr Mugabe has governed Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

Mrs Mujuru took part in the 1970s guerrilla war against white-minority rule when her nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood).

She married Solomon Mujuru, the former army chief seen as Zimbabwe’s king-maker in 1977.

He died in a fire at his farm in 2011.



Zambia – Sata’s son withdraws bid for PF presidency

Mail and Guardian

Son of late Zambian president Michael Sata, Mulenga has withdrawn his candidature for presidency of the Patriotic Front.

Son of late Zambian president Michael Sata, Mulenga has withdrawn his candidature for presidency of the Patriotic Front. (Reuters)

Son of late Zambian president Michael Sata, Mulenga has withdrawn his candidature for presidency of the Patriotic Front (PF) saying he wants to dispel the notion that the family is at war with itself.

“Having carefully reflected on this matter for several days, I have come the rational conclusion that one or some of us have to take the logical and selfless step backwards in the best interests of the party. A polarised and divided party does not augur well for our future,” Mulenga said.

Mulenga is one of four of Sata’s relatives who filled in nomination papers to stand as presidential candidates for the PF. His withdrawal leaves Miles Sampa (nephew of Sata), Christine Kaseba (widow of Sata) and Robert Sichinga (Sata’s in-law) still in the race.

Mulenga who is Lusaka mayor, says there have been hurtful comments made by party members and others intimating that the Sata family is greedy and wants to perpetuate a legacy which could be likened to an “imperial monarchy”. “On the contrary, the Sata’s entered the presidential race out of a genuine desire to serve the party and the country”.

Mulenga (50) added that in political terms he is still a young man and can stand for the presidency in the future.

Thick political skin
While not endorsing any of the remaining candidates, Mulenga who once boasted he had a thick political skin,  said the forthcoming conference should elect a leader that would carry on his father’s legacy and vision for the PF and Zambia. “We shall need mature and level heads to prevail. This will be the best way of honouring and respecting my father’s legacy and everything that he stood for.”

Mulenga, who started his political career as a councillor, had earlier this month announced his intention to take over from his late father saying as his son, he wanted to carry out his father’s vision.

On Saturday, the PF will hold a conference to choose its presidential candidate for the January 20 poll. Excluding Mulenga, the party has nine candidates who have designs on the presidency. The party has been split over who will replace Sata.

Sata, who died on October 29 after a long illness had no clear preferred successor. Also vying for the position is Defence minister Edgar Lungu whose popularity within the party is growing.

South Sudan rejects proposal for separate armies in interim peace period

Sudan Tribune

November 25, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government has rejected a proposal by the armed opposition allied to the former vice-president Riek Machar which sought to allow the existence of two armed forces during the pre-interim period should there be a consensus for the proposed government of national unity.

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Soldiers from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) at Jonglei’s Bor airport in January 2014 (AFP)

The opposition group says allowing two armies would enable them assemble and organise their forces in designated areas ahead of the reintegration process.

However, government officials have interpreted the demand as an attempt by the opposition to prepare for a referendum in the event the agreement is not fully implemented.

Defence minister Kuol Manyang Juuk told reporters on Tuesday that the leadership meeting had agreed for one national army, saying it rejected the proposal to allow another group to operate under a different command.

“The leadership has agreed that there will be one army under one command. It was also resolved that those who defected will be reintegrated at the same rank [held] when they left,” he said following the meeting on security arrangements.

“The other issue which was also discussed and agreed was that the integration process should only be limited to those who defected. Those who joined the rebels and were not in the SPLA (South Sudanese army) [previously] shall not be accepted,” he added.

Cabinet affairs minister Martin Elia Lomuro also confirmed to reporters on Monday that the consultative meeting, which brought together senior government and party members from across the country’s 10 states, had unanimously agreed to reject the existence of two armies.

“The unanimous decision of the conference is that we are one country and we have 64 communities or tribes. Therefore there is no way one community can demand to have 50 per cent or 70 per cent of the army,” said Lomuro.

Government and rebel forces have been locked in an armed struggle since mid-December last year after a political split in the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) turned violent.

Peace talks in Ethiopia between the rival parties, which are being mediated by the Intergovernmental Violence Authority on Development (IGAD) have been marred by ongoing delays and political differences.

Previous ceasefire deals agreed by both sides have failed to hold amid fresh outbreaks of violence between the warring factions on the ground.