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Zuma Under Fire as ANC Bleeds Support in South Africa’s Cities

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South Africa President Jacob Zuma

South African President Jacob Zuma will face renewed pressure to quit after partial election results showed his African National Congress losing outright control of the capital, Pretoria, and Johannesburg in its worst electoral showing since apartheid ended.

The ANC and the Democratic Alliance were running neck and neck in both towns, with about 86 percent of votes counted from Wednesday’s local government election. The ruling party conceded that it lost the southern Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, a key port and vehicle manufacturing hub.

“Whichever way you look at it, people are saying they are dissatisfied with either Zuma or the way the ANC is dealing with its leadership crisis,” said Abdul Waheed Patel, managing director of Cape Town-based Ethicore Political Consulting.

Calls for Zuma, 74, to resign have mounted since the nation’s top court ruled in March that he violated the constitution by refusing to repay taxpayer money spent on upgrading his private home. He may also have to face 783 charges of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering, following a high court decision that prosecutors erred when they decided to drop a case against him just weeks before he became president in 2009.

Yet, Zuma’s allies in the ANC National Executive Committee and in the government may shield him for being replaced before his current presidential term ends in 2019.

“It’s not going to be a quick process,” said Patel. “I don’t think it’s going to be an automatic exit for Zuma just because the ANC has done so dismally. He still has some sway; I don’t think he becomes powerless.”

The ANC also has little appetite to oust another leader after the party’s removal of Thabo Mbeki in 2007 allowed Zuma to take over the leadership, Peter Attard Montalto, an economist at Nomura International Plc, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“All sides have already agreed they cannot remove another president,” he said.

Rand Strength

The rand gained 0.2 percent to 13.6812 per dollar at 9:50 a.m. in Johannesburg on Friday. It was the best performer of 24 emerging-market currencies monitored by Bloomberg on Thursday. The currency is still down about 40 percent against the dollar since Zuma took office on May 9, 2009.

Besides unhappiness with Zuma, the ANC has also come under criticism for failing to reduce a 27 percent unemployment rate, improve living standards and reignite an economy that the central bank projects will post zero percent growth this year. Communities staged 102 protests against a lack of decent housing, education and other services in the first seven months of the year, up from 89 in the same period last year, according to Municipal IQ, which monitors the municipalities.

“We can’t blame President Zuma,” ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said. “The party leadership will take collective responsibility.”

Pretoria Vote

The ANC fell behind in Tshwane, the municipality that includes Pretoria, with 42.3 percent of the vote, narrowly behind the Democratic Alliance with 43.4 percent, partial tallies released by the Independent Electoral Commission show. In Johannesburg, the ruling party had 42 percent support compared with the DA’s 41.7 percent. The DA was well ahead in Nelson Mandela Bay, which includes the city of Port Elizabeth, with 46.7 percent support, compared to the ANC’s 41.2 percent, and increased its majority in Cape Town.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, which advocates the nationalization of mines, banks and land, holds the balance of power in Pretoria and Johannesburg. Like the DA, it has said it is prepared to enter into coalitions with other opposition parties, but not the ANC.

With 13.1 million, or about 86 percent of the estimate of proportional representation votes cast nationally in the election counted as of 8:20 a.m. on Friday, the ANC had 54.7 percent of the total support, followed by the DA with 26.6 percent, according to the commission. The Economic Freedom Fighters stood at 8 percent. The ANC garnered 62.9 percent support in the 2011 municipal election. Including votes for ward councilors, the ANC had 54.3 percent overall support.

“We will not lie and say that we are not worried when we lose a metro like Nelson Mandela Bay,” the ANC’s chief whip in parliament, Jackson Mthembu, said in an interview in Pretoria. “We need to jack up our act.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

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The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.

The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.

Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.

British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use” 

“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.

“It is very good news,” Hancock said.

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Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.

On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.

Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.

“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.

“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.

“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”

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Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria

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Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.

The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.

However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.

Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.

In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.

Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.

“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.

“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.

On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.

The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.

He added that people are facing desperate choices.

In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.

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