Category Archives: Africa

(Economist) What to do about Africa’s dangerous baby boom

(Economist) African countries do not need to resort to Asian-style illiberalism

THE 21st century, in one way at least, will be African. In 1990 sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 16% of the world’s births. Because African birth rates are so much higher than elsewhere, the proportion has risen to 27% and is expected to hit 37% in 2050. About a decade later, more babies will be born in sub-Saharan Africa than in the whole of Asia, including India and China. These projections by the UN, if correct, are astounding (see article). There is good reason for the world to worry about Africa’s baby boom.

The danger is not a Malthusian crisis, in which countries run out of food or farmland at some point in the future. It is true that Africa, although vast, is already a net food importer. But that would be fine if Africans were otherwise productive.

The real problem is that too many babies sap economic development and make it harder to lift Africans out of poverty. In the world as a whole, the dependency ratio—the share of people under the age of 20 or older than 64, who are provided for by working-age people—stands at 74:100. In sub-Saharan Africa it is a staggering 129:100.

In stark contrast with most of the world, notably Asia, the number of extremely poor Africans is rising, in part because the highest birth rates are in the poorest parts of the continent. On September 19th the World Bank reported that the number of people living in extreme poverty rose in sub-Saharan Africa between 2013 and 2015, from 405m to 413m (see article). Many African countries already struggle to build enough schools and medical clinics for their existing children, let alone the masses to come.

The experience of other countries where birth rates have fallen sharply is that the number of babies is determined more by parents’ wishes than by anything else. As people move from villages to cities, children become more costly, so couples want fewer of them. As they become wealthier, they have less fear that their children will die. So, on the face of it, economic and social forces should be left to do their work. Moreover, an odd chorus of leftists (who hate racism and Western meddling) and Christian conservatives (who hate abortion and some kinds of contraception) argue that nothing should be done.

The trouble is that the reduction in fertility—the number of births per woman—is happening much more slowly in Africa than elsewhere. Half of Nigerians already live in cities, compared with one-third of Indians. Yet Nigeria’s fertility rate is more than double India’s. Overall, the fertility rate in sub-Saharan Africa is dropping about half as quickly as it did in Asia or Latin America when families were the same size.

Four mouths good, two mouths better

African countries need not, and should not, go down the coercive route to smaller families once taken by India, which carried out mass-sterilisation campaigns, or China, which long enforced a one-child policy. This led to, among other horrors, large-scale sex-selective abortions.

Instead there are good examples from within Africa of how to make things better. These involve “small is beautiful” public-information campaigns combined with a government drive to get varied birth control to poor rural areas. Many African governments already have fine-sounding policies to promote contraceptive use, yet too few act on them. Where such policies are a priority, as in Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda, fertility rates fall faster than average (though they are still high). Just as many Africans leapfrogged from no phones to mobile phones, and from no power to solar power, so they can jump to innovations like self-injected contraceptives.

High fertility can also be tackled indirectly, by concentrating on the things that are known to affect it—above all, education for girls. Granted, many African schools are awful, with ill-educated teachers who rarely turn up. One way to change that is to encourage private providers, as Liberia has done. Better schools would bring many other benefits to African children—the living as well as the yet-to-be conceived.

(MDT) ANGOLA, PORTUGAL PUT AN END TO DOUBLE TAXATION

(MDT)

Angola and Portugal are due this week to sign a convention to end double taxation between the two countries, as part of a two-day visit to Angola that the Portuguese prime minister is due to start on Monday, financial newspaper Jornal de Negócios reported last Friday.

The newspaper reported that although Portugal’s finance ministry did not confirm that the agreement will be signed during the prime minister’s visit, the Angolan Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Domingos Vieira Lopes had already admitted the possibility of signing the agreement during Costa’s visit to Luanda.

“The agreement to avoid double taxation between Angola and Portugal is in progress and practically concluded,” the newspaper wrote quoting the Secretary of State for International Cooperation.

The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said the visit “will have a very important economic component because the commercial relationship and in terms of reciprocal investments of Portugal and Angola is very intense.”

Santos Silva said in Brussels on the sidelines of a NATO summit in July that Portugal and Angola will also sign the new strategic cooperation programme and meet with the Portuguese community in Luanda.

Jornal de Angola reported that the Portuguese prime minister spoke yesterday at the “Angola-Portugal Economic Forum: for a strategic partnership.”

The Forum is organised by Angola’s Private Investment and Export Promotion Agency (AIPEX) and its equivalent Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal (AICEP). The Minister of State for Economic and Social Development, Manuel Nunes, is to to make the opening speech at the meeting.

The schedule shows that the General Investment Plan will be presented during the meeting, with contributions from the presidents of Aipex, Licínio Contreiras and AICEP, Luís Filipe de Castro Henriques, as well as a letter of intent signed to support the Development Finance Company (Sofid) of Portugal for a project of Angolan company Metalser.

O.P. (JN) João Lourenço “rasgou compromisso” com Eduardo dos Santos

…E do meu ponto de vista rasgou muito bem …

(JNEsta leitura é feita por Alex Vines, director do Programa Africano no instituto de estudos britânico Chatham House. Segundo este especialista, o Presidente de Angola “rasgou um acordo de compromisso” feito com o seu antecessor.

O director do Programa Africano no instituto de estudos britânico Chatham House, Alex Vines, considerou esta quarta-feira, 22 de Novembro, que a onda de exonerações em Angola demonstra que o novo Presidente “rasgou o acordo de compromisso” negociado com José Eduardo dos Santos.

“Ao fazer isto [a onda de exonerações dos últimos dias], João Lourenço rasgou o Governo de compromisso negociado com (José Eduardo) dos Santos por alturas da sua tomada de posse como chefe de Estado, em Setembro”, disse Alex Vines em entrevista à Lusa.

“O Presidente (João) Lourenço também demonstrou que a família dos Santos já não é intocável”, acrescentou o conhecido analista britânico, que é também director de Estudos Regionais e Segurança Internacional na Chatham House, o Instituto Real de Estudos Internacionais.

“A Sonangol é a principal mudança, mas as mudanças nos meios de comunicação social e nas relações públicas também levaram a demissões nos membros da família” do antigo líder angolano.

O Presidente de Angola, na última semana, tem-se multiplicado em exonerações nos principais cargos da estrutura de poder no país, desde a principal empresa, a Sonangol, até aos chefes de polícia e também na área judicial.

“A prioridade de João Lourenço foi a reforma económica, como a indústria petrolífera”, diz Vines, acrescentando que “o despedimento de Isabel dos Santos é parte desta estratégia que apontou aos principais pilares da economia angolana: o petróleo, com a Sonangol, a indústria dos diamantes, com a Endiama, e as finanças, com o Banco Nacional de Angola”, cujos líderes foram exonerados.

No geral, vinca Alex Vines, “isto significa que a família dos Santos vai ter de andar com cuidado e mostrar cada vez mais as suas capacidades tecnocráticas”, apontando ainda que “o erro de Isabel dos Santos foi que tinha pouca experiência na indústria petrolífera e subcontratou [a gestão] a consultores quando ela própria não estava preparada para se focar completamente na Sonangol até chegar aos últimos meses”.

O panorama para a família do antigo Presidente pode até piorar, considera este analista, salientando que apesar de José Eduardo dos Santos “ainda ser o presidente do Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), está a perder força e com a saúde fraca”, por isso “não é certo quando o MPLA vai fazer um congresso para alinhar Lourenço como chefe de Estado e do partido” no poder.

“Quando deixar de ser presidente do MPLA, ou a sua saúde piorar, poderá haver mais pressão política sobre a sua família”, vaticina Vines.

Desde que tomou posse, a 26 de Setembro, na sequência das eleições gerais angolanas de 23 de agosto, João Lourenço procedeu a exonerações de várias administrações de empresas estatais, dos sectores de diamantes, minerais, petróleos, comunicação social, banca comercial pública e Banco Nacional de Angola, anteriormente nomeadas por José Eduardo dos Santos.

P.O. (BBC) Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe resigns, ending 37-year rule

P.O.  

Personally I wouldn’t hold talks with Mr Mugabe even on a choice of ice creams…

Got it?

FCMP

(BBC) Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has resigned, bringing an end to 37 years of rule and sparking jubilant celebrations in the nation’s streets.

A letter from Mr Mugabe read out by the speaker of parliament said the decision was voluntary and he had made it to allow a smooth transfer of power.

The news abruptly halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him.

The ruling Zanu-PF party says former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa will succeed Mr Mugabe, in power since 1980.

Mr Mnangagwa’s sacking earlier this month triggered a political crisis.

It had been seen by many as an attempt to clear the way for Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as leader and riled the military leadership, who stepped in and put Mr Mugabe under house arrest.

After the resignation announcement, lawmakers roared in jubilation.

Mr Mugabe, 93, was until his resignation the world’s oldest leader. He had previously refused to quit despite last week’s military takeover and days of protests.

Media captionScenes of jubilation on the streets of the capital

According to the constitution his successor should be the current vice-president, Phelekezela Mphoko, a supporter of Grace Mugabe.

But Zanu-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke told Reuters news agency that Mr Mnangagwa would be in office “within 48 hours”.

Speaking from an undisclosed location earlier on Tuesday, Mr Mnangagwa said he had fled abroad two weeks ago when he learned of a plot to kill him.

Presentational grey line

An untypical end

Analysis by BBC world affairs editor, John Simpson

Robert Mugabe in 1980Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Most people assumed that the only way Robert Mugabe would give up being president was to die in his bed. He probably thought so too.

In fact the last of the old-style 1970s and 80s liberation leaders, most untypically, resigned in writing. Perhaps that says something about the way the world has changed in the 21st Century.

No storming the presidential palace, no ugly end at the hands of a crowd like Col Gaddafi, no execution by firing squad like President Ceausescu of Romania, no hanging like Saddam Hussein.

Zimbabwe, in spite of everything Robert Mugabe visited upon it, is essentially a peaceable, gentle country. And despite all the immense crimes for which he was responsible, he is in some ways an intellectual, rather than a brutal thug along the lines of, say, Idi Amin.

He’ll be remembered for the massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s, for the farm invasions of the 1990s and later, and for the brutal repression of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change when it seemed on course to win the 2008 presidential election.

The man who seems about to take his place, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was deeply involved in most of those crimes, yet people in Zimbabwe, like the outside world, will be so relieved to see Mr Mugabe go that they will be tempted to forget all that.

They’ll also forget the few unquestionably good things Robert Mugabe did. Zimbabwe, for instance, has an extraordinarily high literacy rate, because of him. But that’s certainly not what he’ll be remembered for.

Presentational grey line

‘Let him rest in his last days’

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr Mugabe’s resignation “provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression that characterised his rule”.

She said that former colonial power Britain, “as Zimbabwe’s oldest friend”, will do all it can to support free and fair elections and the rebuilding of the Zimbabwean economy.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he hoped that Zimbabwe was on a “new trajectory” that would include free and fair elections. He said Mr Mugabe should be allowed to “go and rest for his last days”.

In other reaction:

  • The US Embassy in Harare, the capital, said it was a “historic moment” and congratulated Zimbabweans who “raised their voices and stated peacefully and clearly that the time for change was overdue”
  • South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance welcomed the move, saying Mr Mugabe had turned from “liberator to dictator”
  • Prominent Zimbabwean opposition politician David Coltart tweeted: “We have removed a tyrant but not yet a tyranny”
  • Civil society group the Platform for Concerned Citizens called for dialogue between all political parties, which it said should lead to the formation of a national transitional authority

Robert Mugabe won elections during his 37 years in power, but over the past 15 years these were marred by violence against political opponents.

He presided over a deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe, where people are on average 15% poorer now than they were in 1980.

Media captionActivist and political candidate Vimbaishe Musvaburi breaks down in tears of joy

However, Mr Mugabe was not forced out after decades in power by a popular mass movement but rather as a result of political splits within his Zanu-PF party.

The leader of the influential liberation war veterans – former allies of Mr Mugabe – said after the army takeover that Mr Mugabe was a “dictator”, who “as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife”.

Both he and Grace, 52, are believed to be at a mansion in Harare.’

Mr Mugabe’s decision to finally resign sparked joy in the streets.

Media captionMorgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he hoped that Zimbabwe was on a “new trajectory”

“We are just so happy that things are finally going to change,” Togo Ndhlalambi, a hairdresser, told the AFP news agency.

“I am the happiest person under the sun right now, because I always believed that Mugabe was going to step down in my lifetime and it has happened,” human rights activist Linda Masarira told the BBC.

“And now going forward it’s time for the opposition to reorganise and ensure that we will have a government that cares for the people. And everyone has to be included.”

Presentational grey line

Robert Mugabe – Timeline of a political life

Grace and Robert Mugabe togetherImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Mugabe was accused of preparing the presidency for his wife Grace
  • 1924: Born in Kutama
  • 1964: Imprisoned by Rhodesian government
  • 1980: Wins post-independence elections
  • 1996: Marries Grace Marufu
  • 2000: Loses referendum, pro-Mugabe militias invade white-owned farms and attack opposition supporters
  • 2008: Comes second in first round of elections to Morgan Tsvangirai who pulls out of run-off amid nationwide attacks on his supporters
  • 2009: Amid economic collapse, swears in Mr Tsvangirai as prime minister, who serves in uneasy government of national unity for four years
  • 2017: Sacks long-time ally Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for his wife Grace to succeed him. Army intervenes and forces him to step down

Media captionMugabe: From war hero to resignation

(BBG) Mugabe Faces Impeachment as He Resists Zimbabwe Resignation

(Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe remains in political limbo after
President Robert Mugabe failed to announce his much-anticipated
resignation in a televised address and said he’ll preside over a
ruling party conference next month.
Mugabe deviated from his agreed-upon speech, and
impeachment proceedings spearheaded by his ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front will begin on Monday to
force an end to this 37 years in power, according to three
senior party officials who declined to be identified because
they aren’t authorized to comment.
Delivering the nationally televised address with the armed
forces commanders who took power last week looking on, Mugabe,
who is the world’s oldest serving leader at 93, frequently lost
his place and had to repeat himself.
“We cannot be guided by vengefulness or bitterness,” he
said. “Let us all move forward.”
Earlier Sunday, Zanu-PF central committee decided to fire
him as its leader and ordered him to step down. Emmerson
Mnangagwa, who Mugabe dismissed as vice president this month,
will be reinstated, take over as interim president and be Zanu-
PF’s presidential candidate in elections next year, the party
said. It also expelled the president’s wife, Grace, Phelekezela
Mphoko, the nation’s other vice president, along with several
other senior officials.
The ruling party’s decision to dump Mugabe came four days
after the military placed him under house arrest and detained
several of his closest allies — a move triggered by his
dismissal of Mnangagwa, 75. Seeing the likelihood of Mugabe’s
ouster, joyous crowds turned out in Harare and Bulawayo —
Zimbabwe’s second-largest city — on Saturday to celebrate.
“It’s not clear what happened but we are proceeding
tomorrow,” Chris Mutsvanga, the head of the Zimbabwe War
Veterans Association, said in reference to the planned
impeachment proceedings in parliament. “Mugabe is deaf to the
people of Zimbabwe. The people are 100 percent behind removing
him.”
The political crisis comes at a time when the economy is in
free-fall. An estimated 95 percent of the workforce is
unemployed, public infrastructure is crumbling and about 3
million Zimbabweans have gone into exile.
“We all thought he was going to resign. Then it became
clear he was disassociating himself from this and was
positioning himself as the answer to Zimbabwe’s problems,” Nic
Cheeseman, professor of democracy at the University of
Birmingham in the U.K., said by phone from Harare. “This might
be a last gambit by Mugabe. It’s unclear why the military
allowed him to make this speech.”

(NYT) Behind Mugabe’s Rapid Fall: A Firing, a Feud and a First Lady

(NYT)

President Robert Mugabe inspecting an honor guard at a Heroes Day event held at National Heroes Acre in Zimbabwe in August. CreditJekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The rapid fall of Zimbabwe’s president, whose legendary guile and ruthlessness helped him outmaneuver countless adversaries over nearly four decades, probably has surprised no one more than Robert Mugabe himself.

For years, he was so confident of his safety — and his potency — that he took monthlong vacations away from Zimbabwe after Christmas, never facing any threat during his long, predictable absences. Even at 93, his tight grip on the country’s ruling party and his control over the military made his power seem impervious to question.

But in just a matter of days, Mr. Mugabe, who ruled his nation since independence in 1980, was largely stripped of his authority, even as he still clung to the presidency.

In a much-anticipated speech on Sunday night, Mr. Mugabe, instead of announcing his resignation as most of the country had expected, stunned Zimbabwe by refusing to say he was stepping down. While he conceded that his country was “going through a difficult patch,” he gave no sign that he recognized, or accepted, how severely the ground had shifted under him in such a short time.

Earlier in the day, the governing ZANU-PF party, over which he had always exercised total domination, expelled Mr. Mugabe as leader, with cheers and dancing erupting after the vote. He was given a deadline of noon on Monday to resign or face impeachment by Parliament.Just days earlier, on Wednesday, soldiers put him under house arrest, and his 52-year-old wife, Grace Mugabe, whose ambition to succeed him contributed to his downfall, has not been seen in public since.

Photo

Christopher Mutsvangwa, center, head of the war veterans association, celebrated the dismissal of the president of the ruling ZANU-PF party on Sunday in Harare.CreditJekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But in his speech, Mr. Mugabe even declared that he would preside over his governing party’s congress in a few weeks. After 37 years in control of the nation, he was refusing to let go easily.

A Fateful Firing

The chain of events leading to Mr. Mugabe’s downfall started on Nov. 6, when he fired his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close ally of the military, and then tried to arrest the nation’s top military commander a few days later. Mr. Mugabe had finally come down against the military and its political allies in a long-running feud inside the governing party.

“He crossed the red line, and we couldn’t allow that to continue,” said Douglas Mahiya, a leader of the war veterans’ association, a group that has acted as the military’s proxy in the country’s political battles while allowing uniformed generals to remain publicly neutral.

A few hours after he was fired, Mr. Mnangagwa, fearing arrest, fled with a son into neighboring Mozambique, where he has strong military ties. He eventually made his way to South Africa, allies said.

July Moyo, a close ally of Mr. Mnangagwa, said the vice president had prepared himself for the possibility of being fired. “He accepted that things can turn very bad, so he had conditioned himself,” Mr. Moyo said.

Several hours before the vice president escaped to Mozambique, Christopher Mutsvangwa, the head of the war veterans’ association and one of Mr. Mnangagwa’s closest allies, had boarded a plane to South Africa.

Over the following days, Mr. Mutsvangwa met with South African intelligence officers, he said, warning them of a possible military intervention in Zimbabwe. He said he had tried to persuade South African officials not to describe any intervention as a “coup” — an important concession to get from South Africa, the regional power.

Though this account could not be verified with South African officials on Sunday, the South African government did not mention the word “coup” in its official statement after the military intervention occurred on Wednesday.

“I knew that the way they were driving, the military, inevitably, there would be one at one stage or another,” Mr. Mutsvangwa said, referring to a military intervention.

While Mr. Mutsvangwa worked on South African officials, Zimbabwe’s longtime top military commander, Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, was in China on an official trip. He was tipped off while abroad that Mr. Mugabe had ordered him arrested upon his return home, according to several people close to the military. The police were going to grab the general as soon as his plane touched down, on Nov. 12.

But as General Chiwenga prepared to land, soldiers loyal to him infiltrated the airport. His troops — wearing the uniforms of baggage handlers — surprised and quickly overwhelmed the police. Before departing, the general is said to have told the police officers that he would “deal” with their commander, a Mugabe loyalist.

Within just a couple of days, tanks had rumbled into the capital and soldiers had effectively deposed Mr. Mugabe.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, center, arriving at a funeral ceremony at the National Heroes Acre in Harare in January. CreditJekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Fierce Infighting

The president’s decision to fire his vice president and arrest the general was the culmination of a long — and increasingly vicious and personal — battle inside ZANU-PF, the party that has controlled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. The so-called Lacoste faction was led by Mr. Mnangagwa, whose nickname is the Crocodile, and was backed by the military and war veterans.

The rival faction was led by the president’s wife and supported by the police, whose loyalty Mr. Mugabe had ensured by, among other moves, naming a nephew to a top command. This faction included mostly younger politicians with no experience in the war of liberation and was christened Generation 40, or G-40, by Jonathan Moyo, a fearless, extremely ambitious politician widely regarded as the mastermind behind this group.

As Lacoste and G-40 fought each other to eventually succeed Mr. Mugabe, the president did not give either side his declaration of support. To both factions, the biggest factor was Mr. Mugabe’s age and increasingly visible frailty. It was only a matter of time before “nature will take its course” and “the old man goes,” as the political class said.

Time was on Lacoste’s side. Once nature did take its course, power would naturally slip to Mr. Mnangagwa and his military backers, they believed.

Mr. Mnangagwa remained largely quiet, refraining from responding to attacks, and treated Mr. Mugabe with extreme deference. Whenever Mr. Mugabe flew home from a trip, state media invariably showed Mr. Mnangagwa greeting the president on the tarmac, displaying an almost obsequious smile and body language.

To the younger members in G-40, time was against them. Their biggest asset, Mrs. Mugabe, would lose all value once her husband died. So they were in a rush to get a transfer of power while Mr. Mugabe was still alive.

Delegates at the extraordinary ZANU-PF party central committee meeting in Harare on Sunday.CreditAaron Ufumeli/European Pressphoto Agency

Just a few months ago, Mr. Moyo confided in a friend that he was “less than confident” about G-40’s standing with the president. Despite his efforts to win over the president through Mrs. Mugabe, Mr. Moyo still remained unsure about the “old man’s standing vis-à-vis Mnangagwa and Chiwenga,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversation had been private.

“He felt he had to disqualify Mnangagwa very soon because the old man was still tentative,” the friend said.

The First Lady and the Fall

Mr. Mugabe’s downfall was rooted in his wife’s decision to become a political force in mid-2014, most politicians and experts believe.

“Mrs. Mugabe’s entry into politics caused elite rupture in Zimbabwe,” said Tendai Biti, a lawyer, opposition politician and former finance minister in a coalition government a few years ago. “This coup was the result of a disagreement between people eating at the same table, whereas most coups in Africa are done by people eating under the table and receiving crumbs.”

Why Mrs. Mugabe, now 52, suddenly dove into politics is not exactly clear. Married for decades to Mr. Mugabe, she had been known as “Gucci Grace,” someone interested in shopping and leading a lavish lifestyle. She was a typist in the presidential pool when she and Mr. Mugabe began an affair while the president’s first wife, Sally, was dying of cancer. Unlike the much-beloved first wife, the second Mrs. Mugabe was widely disliked among Zimbabweans.

Some politicians and experts point to the hand of Mr. Moyo, the originator of the G-40 name, for Mrs. Mugabe’s political intentions.

In ZANU-PF’s ever-shifting alliances, Mr. Moyo had a checkered past. In 2004, he was expelled from the party after planning a power play with — critically — none other than Mr. Mnangagwa himself, who managed to escape politically unscathed. Feeling betrayed by Mr. Mnangagwa, Mr. Moyo vowed never to work with him again, setting off a decade-long feud that fed into the recent military takeover.

Mr. Moyo, reportedly admired by Mr. Mugabe for his intelligence, was rehabilitated, rejoined the party and was given ministerial positions in the cabinet.

But in June 2014, Mr. Moyo was again on the outs. At a funeral for a party stalwart at National Heroes Acre, a burial ground and national monument in Harare, the capital, Mr. Mugabe criticized Mr. Moyo for causing dissension in the party. The president referred to him as a “weevil” — an insect that eats corn, Zimbabwe’s staple food, from the inside.

“Even in ZANU-PF, we have the weevils,” the president said. “But should we keep them? No.”

To secure his survival, Mr. Moyo urged Mrs. Mugabe to enter politics, according to politicians, friends and analysts.

“He preyed on her fears,” said Dewa Mavhinga, a Zimbabwe researcher for Human Rights Watch, referring to Mr. Moyo. “You’re a young wife with an old husband in his sunset moments. You have to guarantee your future. You need people who are loyal to you. And who better to protect your interests than yourself.”

Very rapidly, Mrs. Mugabe and her allies orchestrated the removal of rivals, including Joice Mujuru, a vice president, as well as Mr. Mutsvangwa, who had been Mr. Mugabe’s minister of war veterans affairs.

The wife of the new president of the ZANU-PF party, Auxilia Mnangagwa, was congratulated on her reinstatement to the party on Sunday in Harare. CreditJekesai Njikizana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But even as the president’s medical trips to Singapore were getting increasingly frequent, he was not making a final decision on his succession.

Time was running out.

And so, Mr. Moyo, shortly after expressing his growing frustrations to his friend, appeared to go for broke. In July, in a meeting of party leaders, he launched a direct attack on Mr. Mnangagwa, presenting a 72-minute video said to show his rival’s duplicity and desire to topple the president.

At the same time, Mrs. Mugabe intensified her faction’s attacks, describing Mr. Mnangagwa as a “coward” and “coup plotter.”

At a rally in the city of Bulawayo early this month, some youths, presumably from the rival Lacoste faction, began heckling Mrs. Mugabe, calling her a “thief.”

“If you were paid to boo me, go ahead,” she said. “I am the first lady, and I will stand for the truth. Bring the soldiers and let them shoot me.”

The heckling visibly angered Mr. Mugabe, who immediately accused Mr. Mnangagwa of being behind it.

“Did I err in appointing Mr. Mnangagwa as my deputy?” the president said. “If I erred, I will drop him even tomorrow.”

Two days later, he fired Mr. Mnangagwa, opening the path for Mrs. Mugabe to become vice president and, once nature took its course, her husband’s successor.

Mrs. Mugabe and her allies had finally won. But the victory would soon prove Pyrrhic.

As the Lacoste faction solidified the takedown of Mr. Mugabe, party officials on Sunday removed Mrs. Mugabe as head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League and barred her from the party for life. Mr. Moyo, too, was barred forever. Mr. Mugabe’s second vice president, Phelekezela Mphoko, who had served for three years, was fired.

The ending was much sweeter for Mr. Mnangagwa: On Sunday, the party named him as its new leader.

(CNN) People for sale: Where lives are auctioned for $400

(CNN)

Exclusive: Migrants being sold as 'slaves'
Exclusive: Migrants being sold as 'slaves'

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — “Eight hundred,” says the auctioneer. “900 … 1,000 … 1,100 …” Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars — the equivalent of $800.

Not a used car, a piece of land, or an item of furniture. Not “merchandise” at all, but two human beings.

One of the unidentified men being sold in the grainy cell phone video obtained by CNN is Nigerian. He appears to be in his twenties and is wearing a pale shirt and sweatpants.
He has been offered up for sale as one of a group of “big strong boys for farm work,” according to the auctioneer, who remains off camera. Only his hand — resting proprietorially on the man’s shoulder — is visible in the brief clip.
After seeing footage of this slave auction, CNN worked to verify its authenticity and traveled to Libya to investigate further.

Carrying concealed cameras into a property outside the capital of Tripoli last month, we witness a dozen people go “under the hammer” in the space of six or seven minutes.
“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig,” the salesman, dressed in camouflage gear, says. “What am I bid, what am I bid?”

Buyers raise their hands as the price rises, “500, 550, 600, 650 …” Within minutes it is all over and the men, utterly resigned to their fate, are being handed over to their new “masters.”
After the auction, we met two of the men who had been sold. They were so traumatized by what they’d been through that they could not speak, and so scared that they were suspicious of everyone they met.

Crackdown on smugglers

Each year, tens of thousands of people pour across Libya’s borders. They’re refugees fleeing conflict or economic migrants in search of better opportunities in Europe.
Most have sold everything they own to finance the journey through Libya to the coast and the gateway to the Mediterranean.

But a recent clampdown by the Libyan coastguard means fewer boats are making it out to sea, leaving the smugglers with a backlog of would-be passengers on their hands.
So the smugglers become masters, the migrants and refugees become slaves.
Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean arrive at a naval base in Tripoli in October.

The evidence filmed by CNN has now been handed over to the Libyan authorities, who have promised to launch an investigation.
First Lieutenant Naser Hazam of the government’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in Tripoli told CNN that although he had not witnessed a slave auction, he acknowledged that organized gangs are operating smuggling rings in the country.
“They fill a boat with 100 people, those people may or may not make it,” Hazam says. “(The smuggler) does not care as long as he gets the money, and the migrant may get to Europe or die at sea.”
“The situation is dire,” Mohammed Abdiker, the director of operation and emergencies for the International Organization for Migration, said in a statementafter returning from Tripoli in April. “Some reports are truly horrifying and the latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages.”
The auctions take place in a seemingly normal town in Libya filled with people leading regular lives. Children play in the street; people go to work, talk to friends and cook dinners for their families.
But inside the slave auctions it’s like we’ve stepped back in time. The only thing missing is the shackles around the migrants’ wrists and ankles.

Deportation ‘back to square one’

Anes Alazabi is a supervisor at a detention center in Tripoli for migrants that are due to be deported. He says he’s heard “a lot of stories” about the abuse carried out by smugglers.
The Treeq Alsika Migrant Detention Center in Tripoli, where some migrants are held by Libyan authorities before they are repatriated.

“I’m suffering for them. What I have seen here daily, believe me, it makes me feel pain for them,” he says. “Every day I can hear a new story from people. You have to listen to all of them. It’s their right to deliver their voices.”

One of the detained migrants, a young man named Victory, says he was sold at a slave auction. Tired of the rampant corruption in Nigeria’s Edo state, the 21-year-old fled home and spent a year and four months — and his life savings — trying to reach Europe.
He made it as far as Libya, where he says he and other would-be migrants were held in grim living conditions, deprived of food, abused and mistreated by their captors.
“If you look at most of the people here, if you check your bodies, you see the marks. They are beaten, mutilated.”

When his funds ran out, Victory was sold as a day laborer by his smugglers, who told him that the profit made from the transactions would serve to reduce his debt. But after weeks of being forced to work, Victory was told the money he’d been bought for wasn’t enough. He was returned to his smugglers, only to be re-sold several more times.
The smugglers also demanded ransom payments from Victory’s family before eventually releasing him.
Nigerian migrant: 'I was sold'

“I spent a million-plus [Nigerian naira, or $2,780],” he tells CNN from the detention center, where he is waiting to be sent back to Nigeria. “My mother even went to a couple villages, borrowing money from different couriers to save my life.”

As the route through north Africa becomes increasingly fraught, many migrants have relinquished their dreams of ever reaching European shores. This year, more than 8,800 individuals have opted to voluntarily return home on repatriation flights organized by the IOM.

While many of his friends from Nigeria have made it to Europe, Victory is resigned to returning home empty-handed.

“I could not make it, but I thank God for the life of those that make it,” he says.
“I’m not happy,” he adds. “I go back and start back from square one. It’s very painful. Very painful.”

(BBG) A Half-Hearted Coup, Extending Zimbabwe’s Reign of Terror

(BBG) Leadership is likely to fall to the corrupt first lady or the president’s vicious deputy.

If there were justice in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe would be removed from power by a free and fair election. The promise of the independence struggle Mugabe led 40 years ago could finally be fulfilled. The country he ruined could begin the long process of recovery.

Zimbabwe is a basket case of a nation, but its ruling regime does have an opposition, and it has had elections. In 2009, Zimbabweans came close to a decent end to their national nightmare when Mugabe agreed to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the man who likely won the election in 2008. And for a period it worked. But then in 2013, Mugabe stole the election again. Tsvangirai left the government, Mugabe accused him of treason, and Zimbabwe continued to spiral.

Today it looks like Mugabe is finally out. The military leaders who ousted him say he is safe and secure. South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, said Wednesday that he had spoken with the 93-year-old Mugabe, who said that he was safe and confined to his home.

Getting rid of Mugabe is a good thing. He was a tyrant in senescence, known for falling asleep in government meetings. (North Koreans would call him a “dotard.”) But the military coup that unseated him shows no signs of ending Zimbabwe’s political and economic decline. This is not a moment of hope like the 2009 power sharing agreement was. It is really a power struggle between his wife and former typist, Grace Mugabe, and his former vice president and all-around enforcer, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Consider the context of this week’s coup. Last week Robert Mugabe stripped Mnangagwa of his position as vice president, and his government accused him of disloyalty and deceit. This was largely seen as a way to clear the path to power for Grace Mugabe, who has been positioning to take over the country herself after her husband finally died.

Now consider the statement from Maj. Gen. S. B. Moyo, the chief of staff to the military, in the aftermath of the coup. He said the military was not assuming political power from the deposed leader. “We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” he said.

That statement was almost definitely directed at Grace Mugabe. Among the ruling elite, she has earned the moniker, “Gucci Grace” for her expensive shopping sprees. Earlier this year she used her diplomatic immunity in South Africa to avoid charges from the police for assaulting a model with an electric plug. (Zimbabwe’s first lady pulled a similar maneuver in 2009 when she was accused, along with her bodyguards, of assaulting a photographer.)

None of this is to say Mnangagwa is better. His nickname is “the Crocodile,” because that is the symbol of his family and clan. But he has himself acted like something of a swamp monster during his years by Mugabe’s side. Some of the highlights of his brutality include overseeing the crackdown on Mugabe’s political opposition in 2008 after Tsvangirai won the first round of elections. Mnangagwa was the minister of state security for Mugabe in the early 1980s during what was known as the Gukurahundi massacres, where as many as 20,000 people were slaughtered in a campaign in the eastern part of the country. Recently the Crocodile hinted that he was willing to come forward about the atrocity and pin the blame on his old boss.

Zimbabwe deserves better than Gucci Grace or the Crocodile. It’s not too late for the military to prepare for a real transition to democracy and call for elections. But for now, it appears the generals have paved the way for the dictator to be replaced by one of his henchmen.

(BBG) Mugabe’s Era Comes to an End as Zimbabwe’s Military Seizes Power

(BBG) Zimbabwe’s military seized power and detained 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe in a struggle over the succession of the only leader the African nation has ever known.

Mugabe was confined at his home, while Zimbabwe Defense Forces spokesman Major-General Sibusiso Moyo said in a televised address that the military action was “targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes.” Ministers in Mugabe’s administration have been accused of corruption.

Troops took control of the state-owned broadcaster and sealed off parliament and the central bank’s offices, while armored vehicles were stationed in the center of the capital, Harare.

The military intervention followed a week-long political crisis sparked by Mugabe’s decision to fire his long-time ally Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president in a move that paved the way for his wife Grace, 52, and her supporters to gain effective control over the ruling party. Nicknamed “Gucci Grace” in Zimbabwe for her extravagant lifestyle, she said on Nov. 5 that she would be prepared to succeed her husband.

The takeover comes at a delicate moment for Zimbabwe, where an estimated 95 percent of the workforce is jobless and as many as 3 million Zimbabweans have gone into exile. With an economy that has halved in size since 2000 and relies mainly on the dollar because it has no currency of its own, a severe cash shortage is choking businesses and forces some people to sleep in the streets near banks to ensure they can make withdrawals, which are confined to as little as $20 a day.

President Jacob Zuma of neighboring South Africa called for calm and urged the military to maintain the peace. Western governments urged their citizens in Zimbabwe to remain indoors.

While declining to call the military’s move a coup, the U.S. State Department said in a statement Wednesday that “it is vital that Zimbabwean leaders exercise restraint and respect the rule of law. We do not condone military intervention in political processes.”

Zimbabwe stocks fell the most in two months and bitcoin climbed as much as 10 percent to $13,499 on the country’s Golix exchange. The currency of neighboring South Africa barely moved, with the rand less than 0.1 percent weaker against the dollar by 3:30 p.m. in Johannesburg. Zimbabwe buys manufactured goods and other products from South Africa.

The action came a day after armed forces commander Constantine Chiwenga announced that the military would stop “those bent on hijacking the revolution.”

As several armored vehicles appeared in the capital on Tuesday, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front described Chiwenga’s statements as “treasonable” and intended to incite insurrection. Later in the day, several explosions were heard in the city.

People involved in the “purge” of liberation war veterans from the government will be arrested and charged, according to a senior official involved in the army action, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public.

While the armed forces denied that their action represented a coup, the country is now under military rule, said Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean law lecturer who is based in the U.K. and helped design Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution.

Man In Uniform

“When you see a man in uniform reading news on national television, you know it’s done,” he said in a text message. “There are no more questions. Authority is now in the hands of the military.”

Mnangagwa, who said he fled Zimbabwe because of threats against him and his family, had been a pillar of a military and security apparatus that helped Mugabe emerge as the nation’s leader after independence from the U.K. in 1980. He was Zimbabwe’s first national security minister.

Johannesburg-based IOL reported Mnangagwa had returned to the Zimbabwean capital on Wednesday. Ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Mugabe rival, also returned to Zimbabwe amid the military intervention, Sky News reported.

Mnangagwa’s dismissal signaled Mugabe’s break with most of his allies who fought in the liberation war against the white-minority regime of Rhodesia, leaving his wife’s so-called Generation-40 faction of younger members of the ruling party in the ascendancy.

While Zanu-PF named Mugabe as its presidential candidate in elections next year against a possible seven-party opposition coalition, he’s appeared frail in public, sparking concern among his supporters that he wouldn’t be able to complete another five-year term.

The Southern African Development Community will closely monitor the situation in Zimbabwe and remains ready to assist where necessary to resolve the political impasse, Zuma, who’s currently head of the organization, said in a statement. Coups are uncommon in southern Africa and previous ones in smaller countries such as Lesotho have been overturned after regional intervention.

Moyo, in his statement, told members of parliament that the military’s “desire is that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective constituencies according to democratic tenets.”

Elections probably won’t be held as scheduled, Rashweat Mukundu, an analyst with the Harare-based Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said by phone.

“The military is going to determine the shape of Zimbabwean politics, although they’ve tried to say this is not a coup,” he said. “This may result in the creation of a new unity government which will involve the opposition.”

(BBG) Editorial Board: The Good and Bad News About Mugabe’s Exit

(BBG) Few will miss Zimbabwe’s autocratic leader — but military coups rarely end well.

Under renovation.

Photographer: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

The fall from power of Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe would be well worth celebrating — were it not for the manner of his exit and the danger it presents for his woefully mismanaged country.

Over the course of nearly four decades, Mugabe has brought what should have been one of Africa’s most prosperous economies to a state of outright collapse. Wishing to create a dynasty, he then tried to engineer the succession of his wife— ousting her most plausible rival, the former head of the nation’s security service. The armed forces stepped in, dethroning one dictator and perhaps making way for the next.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose removal precipitated this struggle, is no paragon of liberal democracy. He leads a rival faction of Zanu-PF, the ruling party, which has a long and brutal history of corruption and repression. Sadly, Zimbabwe’s defense forces are champions of their own economic interests, not the nation’s constitution or its long-suffering citizens.

Africa’s military coups have rarely given rise to democratic constitutional order, so it’s hard to be optimistic. Still, Mugabe has set the bar for political progress about as low as it can go. It wouldn’t be hard for his successor to ease the country’s suffering, and the new leader should be encouraged to make that his priority.

The longer the military remains in control, the worse Zimbabwe’s prospects. A speedy, orderly return to civilian control is essential, preferably through the formation of a transitional government that includes members of the political opposition.

Zimbabwe was supposed to hold elections next year. Letting that vote go ahead would help staunch growing unrest. For the same reason, the next government should also abandon Mugabe’s recent crackdown on social media.

Zimbabweans need relief from their desperate economic straits. The economy has shrunk by half since 2000. It’s impossible to say how many Zimbabweans are unemployed: Estimates run as high as 90 percent. U.S. dollars — Zimbabwe’s de facto currency since a prolonged spell of hyperinflation — are in such short supply that people sleep near ATMs to get the cash they need for daily purchases.

Above all, the next government needs to roll back Mugabe’s commitment to economic repression. As the economy hit bottom, a tentative start in this direction was made. This needs to go much further. Zimbabwe will need to re-engage with multilateral institutions, which can give technical and financial aid. Zimbabwe’s donors and partners, including China, should use their leverage to press for economic reform.

In the short term, the role for outsiders in this is limited, but Zimbabwe’s neighbors and the international community should do what they can to keep a dangerous situation turning into something worse. They need to assure the new government of support so long as it works toward a peaceful and, so far as possible, legitimate succession.

(JE) Zimbabué: Mugabe continua preso em casa e não se sabe da primeira-dama

(JE) O vice-primeiro ministro da Namíbia, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, negou esta manhã a especulação de que o seu país está a albergar a primeira-dama, depois de surgirem rumores de que Grace tinha fugido para a Namíbia assim que os militares tomaram as ruas de Harare.

O presidente do Zimbabué, Robert Mugabe, ainda está sob prisão domiciliária e o impasse no país continua, principalmente em relação ao paradeiro da sua mulher. A capital do Zimbabué, Harare, amanheceu esta quinta-feira em aparente calma apesar da tensão que se vive no país, mas o futuro do governante continua a ser incerto, revelam as últimas informações das agências internacionais.

O paradero de Grace ainda é desconhecido. O vice-primeiro ministro da Namíbia, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, negou esta manhã a especulação de que o seu país está a albergar a primeira-dama, depois de surgirem rumores de que Grace tinha fugido para a Namíbia assim que os militares tomaram as ruas de Harare. Ainda assim, o trânsito capital zimbabuana está a recuperar os níveis habituais. Na zona diplomática de Mount Pleasant desapareceram os controlos que foram montados na quarta-feira e as escolas retomaram as aulas.

O diretor da comissão da Administração Pública do Zimbabué, Mariyawanda Nzuwah, pediu a todos os funcionários para se apresentarem ao trabalho. “Espera-se que todos os funcionários se apresentem no seu local de trabalho todos os dias à hora normal para prestar serviço ao povo do Zimbabué”, manifestou Mariyawanda Nzuwah, que garantiu que todos os trabalhadores públicos – incluindo os membros do exército – vão receber o seu salário a tempo.

O jornal The Herald, ligado à União Nacional Africana do Zimbabué – Frente Patriótica, publica hoje um editorial no qual comenta que “se a intervenção militar pode fazer com que os dirigentes do partido voltem a focar a sua atenção nos que votaram neles, a ação terá feito muito” pelo partido.

Ontem, o exército colocou Robert Mugabe em prisão domiciliária e tomou o controlo da capital, Harare, numa operação visando, segundo indicou, “os criminosos” que rodeiam o mais velho dirigente em exercício do mundo, com 93 anos, e não “um golpe de Estado contra o Governo”. A tensão escalou depois de, na segunda-feira, o chefe das Forças Armadas, o general Constantino Chiwenga, ter condenado a demissão do vice-presidente do país, e avisado que o exército poderia “intervir” se não acabasse a “purga” dentro do Zanu-PF, partido no poder desde a independência do Zimbabué, em 1980.

+++ (BBG) Zimbabwe’s Military Seizes Power, Threatening Mugabe’s Rule

…The end of a horrible dictator…

(BBG) Alex Magaisa, law professor at University of Kent, discusses the actions of Constantine Chiwenga, pictured here.

Zimbabwe’s military seized power and detained 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe in a struggle over the succession of the only leader the nation has ever known.

Mugabe told President Jacob Zuma by phone that he’s being confined to his home and is fine, the South African presidency said in a statement. Zimbabwe Defense Forces spokesman Major-General Sibusiso Moyo said in a televised address that the military action wasn’t a coup and was aimed at only “targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes.”

Troops took control of the state-owned broadcaster and sealed off parliament and the central bank’s offices, while armored vehicles were stationed in the center of the capital, Harare.

The military takeover comes at a delicate moment for Zimbabwe, where an estimated 95 percent of the workforce is jobless and as many as 3 million Zimbabweans have gone into exile. With an economy that has halved in size since 2000 and relies mainly on the dollar because it has no currency of its own, a severe cash shortage is choking businesses and forces some people to sleep in the streets near banks to ensure they can make withdrawals.

Zuma called for calm and urged the military to maintain the peace, while western governments including the U.S. urged their citizens in Zimbabwe to remain indoors.

The action came a day after armed forces commander Constantine Chiwenga announced that the military would stop “those bent on hijacking the revolution.”

As several armored vehicles appeared in the capital on Tuesday, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front described Chiwenga’s statements as “treasonable” and intended to incite insurrection. Later in the day, several explosions were heard in the city.

Political Crisis

The military intervention followed a week-long political crisis sparked by Mugabe’s decision to fire his long-time ally Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president in a move that paved the way for his wife Grace, 52, and her supporters to gain effective control over the ruling party. Nicknamed “Gucci Grace” in Zimbabwe for her extravagant lifestyle, she said on Nov. 5 that she would be prepared to succeed her husband.

People involved in the “purge” of liberation war veterans from the government will be arrested and charged, according to a senior official involved in the army action, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public.

Despite the armed forces’s denial of a coup, the country is now under military rule, said Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean law lecturer who is based in the U.K. and helped design Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution.

Man In Uniform

“When you see a man in uniform reading news on national television, you know it’s done,” he said in a text message. “There are no more questions. Authority is now in the hands of the military.”

Mnangagwa, who said he fled Zimbabwe because of threats against him and his family, had been a pillar of a military and security apparatus that helped Mugabe emerge as the nation’s leader after independence from the U.K. in 1980. He was Zimbabwe’s first national security minister.

Mnangagwa’s dismissal signaled Mugabe’s break with most of his allies who fought in the liberation war against the white-minority regime of Rhodesia, leaving his wife’s so-called Generation-40 faction of younger members of the ruling party in the ascendancy.

While Zanu-PF named Mugabe as its presidential candidate in elections next year against a possible seven-party opposition coalition, he’s appeared frail in public, sparking concern among his supporters that he wouldn’t be able to complete another five-year term.

The Southern African Development Community will closely monitor the situation in Zimbabwe and remains ready to assist where necessary to resolve the political impasse, Zuma, who’s currently head of the organization, said in a statement.

Moyo, in his statement, told members of parliament that the military’s “desire is that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective constituencies according to democratic tenants.”

Elections probably won’t be held as scheduled, Rashweat Mukundu, an analyst with the Harare-based Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said by phone.

“The military is going to determine the shape of Zimbabwean politics, although they’ve tried to say this is not a coup,” he said. “This may result in the creation of a new unity government which will involve the opposition.”

(JN) A ressaca de Angola – Celso Filipe

(JNA “notícia falsa” sobre a exoneração de Isabel dos Santos da Sonangol é a ponta do icebergue de uma realidade profunda. Angola está a viver (mal) a ressaca de 38 anos de José Eduardo dos Santos. Muitos querem urgência onde devia haver paciência, enquanto outros batalham para manter um “status quo” que terminou em Setembro com a tomada de posse do novo Presidente da República, João Lourenço.

A “notícia falsa” sobre Isabel dos Santos é uma das muitas que enxameiam a rede social Whatsapp, o veículo escolhido para espalhar boatos e disseminar a incerteza. Daqui a um, dois meses, talvez a notícia relativa a Isabel dos Santos se transforme em verdadeira, mas isso é irrelevante no actual contexto.

Esta “caça às bruxas” pratica-se no mesmo território, o do MPLA. Os que estavam na mó de baixo querem subir a escada do poder. Os que estavam lá em cima depositam todas as esperanças em José Eduardo dos Santos para lá continuar. Queriam uma mudança falsa e teimaram em não ver a realidade – João Lourenço tem vontade própria e rejeita ser uma marioneta do seu antecessor.

Esta ressaca de Angola apresenta, no actual quadro, riscos consideráveis. Não os de uma guerra, mas o de purgas que podem assumir contornos violentos.

João Lourenço deu sinais inequívocos de mudança. Substituiu o governador do Banco Nacional de Angola, Valter Filipe, afastou Carlos Sumbula da liderança da Endiama, e quer dar mais competitividade a sectores como os dos diamantes e das telecomunicações. Sendo possível que também pretenda eliminar o monopólio da importação de combustíveis que está nas mãos da Trafigura.

É claro que medidas desta natureza vão mexer com interesses instalados e diminuir os rendimentos dos muitos que beneficiam deles. Mas trata-se de medidas essenciais para assegurar o relançamento e o crescimento da economia angolana em bases sustentáveis.

Muitos anseiam que João Lourenço faça tudo num curto espaço de tempo. Trata-se de um desejo impossível de concretizar. E quem o pressiona a isso está a prestar um mau serviço ao país. A afirmação do novo Presidente da República de Angola passa pela certeza dos seus passos, num caminho que está minado, e pela obrigatoriedade de José Eduardo dos Santos e seus pares aceitarem que o tempo mudou. Sem bom senso, Angola corre o risco de implosão.

(Reuters) Angola’s Samakuva to step down as UNITA opposition party leader

(Reuters) The veteran leader of Angola’s largest opposition party said on Wednesday he would step down to allow someone else keep the new government of President Joao Lourenco to account.

Isaias Samakuva, who has led UNITA since 2003, said a new leader should take the party forward through the “new political cycle”.

He announced his departure a day after Lourenco was sworn in as only the third president of Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975, ending 38 years of rule by Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Samakuva had previously said he planned to step aside, but had appeared to seesaw on the decision in recent months.

“During the campaign, I said I would leave the presidency of UNITA to serve the party in another function. I maintain and reaffirm that decision,” Samakuva told a meeting of the party.

Samakuva took over the leadership of UNITA – the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola – after the death of founder Jonas Savimbi who led the movement during 27 years of civil war.

Savimbi’s death brought peace and the transition of UNITA into a political party.

Under Samakuva’s leadership UNITA increased its proportion of the national vote from 10 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2017.

Among those slated to succeed him are Adalberto da Costa, who was the party’s leader in parliament under the previous administration, Rafael Massanga Savimbi, son of UNITA’s founder, and Lukamba Paulo, a former secretary general of the party who lost a leadership election against Samakuva in 2003.

(ECO) Resultados provisórios das eleições em Angola dão vitória ao MPLA

(ECO) Os resultados provisórios oficiais, divulgados esta tarde pela CNE de Angola, dão a vitória ao MPLA. A confirmarem-se os resultados, João Lourenço será o próximo Presidente da República.

A Comissão Nacional Eleitoral (CNE) de Angola já divulgou os resultados provisórios das eleições gerais para a Presidência da República. Os primeiros números oficiais apontam para a vitória do Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA). O sucessor de José Eduardo dos Santos será, assim, João Lourenço.

Com 63% dos eleitores já escrutinados, anunciou Júlia Ferreira, porta-voz da CNE angolana, o MPLA é o partido mais votado, com 64,57% dos votos. Segue-se a UNITA, com 24,4% dos votos, e a CASA-CE, com 8,56%. A abstenção, informa ainda a CNE, terá sido de 23,17%.

Antes desta divulgação, o MPLA já tinha reclamado vitória e João Lourençodizia aguardar os resultados com confiança e tranquilidade. “Confiança na escolha do povo pelas nossas propostas e visão de país. Tranquilidade por saber que somos capazes de levar Angola a patamares cada vez mais altos de desenvolvimento”, escreveu o candidato na sua conta de Twitter. Os ex-Presidentes de Moçambique, Cabo Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe e Timor-Leste, na qualidade de observadores internacionais, já também reagiram a estes resultados provisórios, considerando as eleições “pacíficas, livres, justas e transparentes”.

A VITÓRIA É NOSSA!
MPLA – 64,57%
Unita – 24,4%
Casa – 8,56%
*Primeira divulgação dos resultados parciais.

Há ainda 15 assembleias de voto, de três províncias angolanas, que só vão votar no sábado. Por “situações de força maior”, como o mau tempo, não foi possível fazer a entrega de material logístico nestas assembleias de voto, afetando 1310 eleitores, que não puderam votar.

Os resultados definitivos só serão conhecidos a 6 de setembro e a tomada de posse do novo Presidente da República de Angola decorrerá a 21 de setembro.

(JE) UNITA não reconhece vitória do MPLA e admite impugnar eleições

(JE) O líder da UNITA Isaías Samakuya, afirma, em entrevista à TSF, não reconhecer a anunciada vitória do MPLA, chegando mesmo a admitir impugnar as eleições. Mas não coloca de parte uma coligação.

Depois do comunicado emitido pelo MPLA em que reclama a vitória nas eleições gerais por maioria qualificada, Isaías Samakuya, líder da UNITA, o maior partido da oposição, foi entrevistado pela TSF. Aos microfones da rádio lusa, Samakuya diz não reconhecer a vitória do MPLA, afirmando mesmo ter indicação de que o MPLA está em desvantagem na contagem dos votos, sobretudo em zonas onde há mais eleitores registados.

“As indicações que tenho são completamente diferentes. Posso dizer que há tendência que coloca o MPLA em posição de desvantagem”, começou por dizer Samakuya à TSF. “Não tenho informação clara neste momento. As indicações que tenho são satisfatórias. Vamos esperar. Devo dizer apenas que essas indicações dizem respeito a áreas bastante importantes do país, portanto com elevado número de eleitores.”

A corroborar estas afirmações estão os números divulgados à agência Lusa por Adalberto da Costa Júnior, dirigente da UNITA e membro da equipa de coordenação do centro de escrutínio do partido. Apuradas 6.150 mesas de voto, o escrutínio paralelo da UNITA coloca o MPLA com 47,60% dos votos, seguido da UNITA, com 40,20%. Atrás na contagem estão a coligação CASA-CE, com 9,15%, o PRS (1,55%), a FNLA (1,10%) e a APN (0,40%).

“Mas temos de ressalvar que já temos as atas síntese das assembleias de voto de Cacuaco e de Viana [dois dos municípios mais populosos de Luanda e do país] e do Huambo, em que os resultados são extremamente favoráveis à UNITA. Vamos aguardar pela sua inserção no sistema”, apontou Adalberto da Costa Júnior.

Impugnação e coligação 
Na mesma entrevista, Samakuya alega a existência de casos de irregularidades nas eleições e admite poder vir a impugnar as eleições. “Se houver razões para isso, naturalmente que seremos levados a tomar posições que a lei permite e prevê. Mas isso tudo depende de uma avaliação adequada”, afirma o líder da UNITA.

Também não está fora de cogitação uma coligação, segundo diz Samakuya à rádio portuguesa: “Estaremos abertos a fazer essa coligação de acordo com as circunstâncias que os resultados nos apresentem. Independentemente do partido, se os resultados recomendarem uma coligação para podermos estar em maioria na assembleia nacional, naturalmente que tentaríamos esta modalidade.”

(BBG) Angolans Start Voting in Election That Ends Dos Santos Rule

(BBG) Angolans began voting in an election that will bring about the first leadership change in almost four decades for Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.

“D-day has arrived,” Domingos Francisco said Wednesday as he stood in line behind dozens of voters outside a blue tent that served as a polling station in the Rangel neighborhood in Luanda, the capital. “I arrived at 5 a.m. because I was anxious to vote.” Balloting started at 7 a.m. and is scheduled to end at 6 p.m.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Africa’s second-longest serving ruler who led Angola through a civil war, an oil-fueled boom and a bust, is stepping down after 38 years in power. Defense Minister Joao Lourenco, the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola’s presidential candidate, is widely expected to win the vote, according to Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, an Oxford professor and the author of a postwar study on Angola.

A defeat of the ruling party is “almost unimaginable,” Soares de Oliveira said in an emailed response to questions. “The most probable outcome remains an MPLA victory, but with a much enhanced performance by the opposition.”

Dos Santos, 74, is credited for rebuilding Angola with income from oil through glitzy infrastructure projects. At the same time, some of his family members accumulated fortunes, while a third of the population still lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. His eldest daughter, Isabel, is Africa’s richest woman, with an estimated wealth of $2.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Corruption

Lourenco made the fight against corruption and poverty the centerpiece of his campaign. If elected, he will face the challenge of reversing the worst downturn since the country emerged from civil war in 2002, according to Manuel Alves da Rocha, chief economist at the Catholic University of Angola in Luanda.

“It’s not enough to say there’s a need to improve the economy and the financial sector,” Alves da Rocha said. “We need concrete measures because the situation is serious.”

The Angolan economy, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest, has been crippled by oil prices that have halved since mid-2014 and led to zero growth for 2016, an inflation rate of 30 percent and a shortage of dollars. Angola depends on oil for more than 90 percent of its export earnings.

Lourenco, a 63-year-old army general, may have limited room for maneuver if he is given the keys to the presidential palace overlooking the bay of Luanda. Dos Santos will remain MPLA chairman until at least 2018 and is likely to influence politics even after he steps down.

Still, “it’s normal” to expect that things will change, General Manuel Helder Vieira Dias Jr., an influential minister of state who is widely known by his nickname Kopelipa, said in an interview Wednesday. “Portugal isn’t the same Portugal it was 10 years ago, England isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago and, naturally, Angola’s future will also be different.”

Six parties are competing for 220 seats in parliament and the person heading the list of candidates for the winning party becomes president for a five-year term. About 9 million of Angola’s estimated 27 million people have been registered to vote, and the results have to be announced within 15 days, according to the National Electoral Commission.

Officials from the main opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, and the smaller opposition party, Casa-CE, have questioned the neutrality of the electoral commission. They’ve also accused state media of giving too much airtime to the ruling party, criticized the geographic allocation of polling stations and complained of difficulties registering opposition officials to monitor the vote.

Unita, which lost the civil war against the MPLA, has threatened to hold protests if it considers the elections unfair but excluded a return to armed conflict. “We’ve seen what war is,” Unita leader Isaias Samakuva said at his party’s final campaign gathering.

Dos Santos, flanked by his wife and dozens of bodyguards, didn’t speak to the media when he arrived in a black Mercedes-Benz to cast his vote at a school in downtown Luanda.

The voting process was going smoothly and there were no incidents reported, according to Manuel Pinto da Costa, a member of a team of election observers for the Community of Portuguese Language Speaking Countries.

(Economist) The MPLA’s grip on Angola is weakening

(Economist) The ruling party will probably win the coming election, but corruption is weakening it.

IT IS fitting that the black-and-red flag of Angola is hardly distinguishable from that of its ruling party. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has led the country since independence from Portugal in 1975. At the parliamentary election in 2008 it won 82% of the vote; in 2012 it won 72%. Few doubt it will win again when Angolans go to the polls on August 23rd.

Many Angolans credit the MPLA with bringing peace to the country after nearly three decades of civil war that ended in 2002. The party then presided over an oil-fuelled boom, with annual GDP growth averaging 7.2% between 2003 and 2015. New roads, railways and other infrastructure won it the support of voters. But just in case, the party is also accused of beating opponents, bribing local chiefs and keeping a tight grip on the media.

There are signs, though, that the MPLA’s stranglehold on Angolan politics is loosening. Its leader, José Eduardo dos Santos, is stepping down as president after 38 years in power. His handpicked successor, João Lourenço, does not have the same standing within the party—nor does he inspire the same fear in its opponents. Moreover, 66% of the country’s 28m people are under 25. Many will be voting for the first time. With little memory of the war, they tend to be more cynical about the MPLA.

The party’s lustre has faded as the low price of oil turned Angola’s boom into a bust. In April the official statistics agency reported that GDP shrank by nearly 4% last year (it has since removed the figure from its website). The unemployment rate hovers above 20%. Foreign firms are leaving the country because of a shortage of hard currency. On the streets of Luanda, the capital, a dollar changes hands for more than double the official rate. Many Angolans wonder why the country’s oil wealth has not made them better off.

A big part of the answer is corruption. According to reports, the government is unable to account for billions of dollars in public funds over the past decade. In 2012 the IMF documented shoddy book-keeping at Sonangol, the national oil company. Anti-corruption investigators in China have probed its deals with Angola—and made arrests. Big oil-for-infrastructure contracts, often involving Mr dos Santos’s inner circle, seem to be deliberately opaque. The country ranks 164th of 176 on the Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International, a watchdog.

Still, few Angolans seem to be giving up on the MPLA. Polling data are fuzzy, but a survey conducted in July, before serious campaigning began, found that 61% of them plan to vote for the party. It is expected to lose support in Angola’s cities and may even lose most of the seats in Luanda, where the party was founded. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the MPLA’s civil-war adversary and the main opposition party, and CASA-CE, a coalition of parties formed in 2012 by a former UNITA leader, stand to benefit. CASA-CE’s push for political and economic reforms is resonating with young urban voters.

The largest party in parliament selects the president, so Mr Lourenço, a former defence minister, will certainly get the job. He enjoys strong ties to the army, but some question whether he has the clout to clean up the government and implement much-needed reforms. He was not the first choice of Mr dos Santos, who is said to have wanted a successor from his own inner circle. Opposition from within the party forced him to back away from that plan. But he is not completely giving way to Mr Lourenço. Though he is stepping down from the presidency, he will continue to lead the MPLA. His eldest son will still run Angola’s sovereign-wealth fund, while his daughter heads Sonangol.

“The MPLA needs to free itself of the control of dos Santos,” says Marcolino Moco, who served as Mr dos Santos’s prime minister and is now a critic of the government. But without a strong mandate, Mr Lourenço may find it difficult to do what is necessary. The government must devalue the currency, say analysts. Fast-rising debt, which helped the government maintain spending in the run-up to the election, may force Angola to ask the IMF for help. For any benefits to trickle down to the masses, Mr Lourenço must tackle corruption. To do that, he must stand up to the elite in his own party.

(Reuters) In economic crisis, Angola votes for first new leader in 38 years

(Reuters) Angolans voted in a parliamentary election on Wednesday expected to usher in the ruling party’s defense minister as the first new leader of Africa’s second-biggest oil producer for 38 years.

Joao Lourenco, who has pledged to boost growth and fight corruption, would inherit an economy mired in recession as gaping inequality, soaring inflation and high unemployment squeeze poor Angolans who have benefited little from a decades-long oil boom.

The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has ruled Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975, is expected to remain in power but with a reduced majority. Its support has waned due to widespread political cronyism, though many Angolans remain loyal to the party that emerged victorious from 27 years of civil war in 2002.

“I’ve been following the party (MPLA) all my life. I grew up with it,” 33-year-old bakery owner Telma Francisco told Reuters outside a polling station in the capital.

“The other parties don’t have the capacity to govern.”

Voters like Francisco waited in orderly queues on a cloudy morning in the capital Luanda as police and military manned street corners.

Lourenco, a quiet man more used to army barracks and the closed doors of party politics than the public spotlight, voted at the Luanda state university at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT), only stopping to praise a smooth electoral process.

Questions have been raised as to how much power Lourenco, 63, will have if he wins, given veteran leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos, 74, will continue as head of the MPLA and have potentially a sweeping say over decision-making.

His daughter, Isabel, heads national oil producer Sonangol and his son José Filomeno is in charge of the $5 billion state investment fund. A recent law gives immunity to dos Santos.

“Even if he wanted to, Lourenco may find it difficult to free himself from the control of dos Santos,” said Julia Westbury, Africa analyst at West Sands Advisory.

“Large-scale political change is unlikely, and the long awaited democratic reforms needed to turn Angola’s struggling economy around are unlikely to materialize.”

“ECONOMIC MIRACLE”

Joao Lourenco, presidential candidate for the ruling MPLA party, waits to cast his vote in Luanda, Angola, August 23, 2017.Stephen Eisenhammer

Lourenco on Tuesday dismissed suggestions he would be a puppet president, saying he would focus on leading an “economic miracle”, possibly with the help of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and prosecute corrupt politicians.

Angola’s economy is highly vulnerable to the price of oil. The IMF projects relatively minimal growth for the next two years and a continuing current account deficit.

Dos Santos, Africa’s longest-ruling president behind Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema, will step down after guiding the OPEC-member from Marxism to capitalism while embracing Chinese oil-for-infrastructure investment.

The MPLA’s main opponent will be its former civil war foe, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), while young voters have been lured by CASA-CE, which was formed in 2012 on a promise to disrupt 50 years of two-party politics.

Joao Lourenco, presidential candidate for the ruling MPLA party, speaks at a media conference in Luanda, Angola, August 22, 2017.Stephen Eisenhammer

“Today is a day of festivities, happiness, peace and of responsibility and I trust in the Angolan people that we have the conditions to bring change,” CASA-CE presidential candidate Abel Chivukuvuku said prior to casting his vote.

More than two-thirds of Angolans are below 25 so many people will be voting for the first time.

“We’re voting for change,” said 19-year old Joao Costa, who like most people who oppose the authoritative MPLA declined to say who he voted for.

Others were sticking by the ruling party.

“The opposition is a joke,” said out-of-work decorator Francisco, 32, declining to give his surname. “The MPLA is the only party that can change things and with a new candidate for president I think he can do a better job”

An unofficial result is expected by Friday. But there may be no formal announcement for two weeks as ballot boxes wend their way along pot-holed roads and dirt tracks in a country of 28 million spread across an area twice the size of France.

There are concerns about how fair the vote will be after the government cracked down on recently planned public demonstrations. UNITA has said it will lead protests if it believes the MPLA has manipulated results.

Angola has been largely peaceful since the end of a Cold War-era conflict between the MPLA, backed by the Soviet Union, and UNITA, supported by the United States and South Africa.

(Reuters) On eve of vote, Angola’s Lourenco denies he’d be puppet president

(Reuters) João Lourenço, Angola’s ruling party candidate for president, said on Tuesday he would not be hamstrung by his powerful predecessor if he wins election as he pledged to revive Africa’s third largest economy and tackle rampant corruption.

Speaking the day before a general election that will see the first change in president for 38 years, Lourenço said he wanted to lead an “economic miracle” and would consider seeking help from the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.

Lourenço is widely expected to win Wednesday’s vote, though it remained uncertain whether his party, facing discontent over the state of the economy and allegations of graft, would secure the two thirds majority needed to govern alone.

The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won 72 percent of the vote at the last election in 2012.

Questions remain about how much control Lourenço would have if he wins the presidency, given that veteran leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos will continue as head of the MPLA and have potentially sweeping powers over decision-making.

Dos Santos’ family hold top jobs with his daughter, Isabel, heading national oil producer Sonangol, and his son José Filomeno in charge of the state investment fund.

“I think I will have all the power. I only wouldn’t have all the power if there were two presidents of the country, which is not the case,” Lourenço told foreign media in Luanda.

In a rare press conference, Lourenço made clear that his priority would be to fix the economy which, after years of rapid growth, contracted 3.6 percent last year as Africa’s second largest oil producer was hit by a fall in crude prices.

ECONOMIC TURMOIL

Unemployment is officially over 20 percent, while a shortage of foreign currency has forced firms to pull back operations. Analysts expect Angola to devalue its currency by the end of the year and potentially seek help from the IMF.

“We will have to resolve this problem (the economy) in some way … It is not ruled out negotiating also with the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund,” Lourenco said.

The former defense minister, who joined the MPLA in his early 20s during the violent struggle for independence from Portugal, promised to combat graft but stopped short of offering unreserved help to international prosecutions against Angolans which he said were sometimes politically motivated.

In one such case, a judge in Portugal has ruled that Angolan Vice President Manuel Vicente should stand trial on corruption and money laundering charges.

Asked whether he could guarantee that under his government, graft would be prosecuted even among the political elite, Lourenço said: “That guarantee I give…The law is for everyone.”

But it was to the economy Lourenço kept returning, promising to develop agriculture and tourism in a bid to diversify away from a reliance on oil. “I would like to pass into history as the man of the economic miracle of Angola…That’s my mission.”