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Mugabe’s Wife Grace Rises to Pinnacle of Power in Zimbabwe

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  • Mugabe’s Wife Grace Rises to Pinnacle of Power in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe fired a vice president who his wife Grace accused of plotting against her husband for the second time in three years, highlighting the first lady’s rise to the pinnacle of power in the southern African nation.

The dramatic dismissal of Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday came a day after Grace Mugabe publicly accused the former spy chief of plotting against the president. In 2014, similar allegations led to the ouster of Mugabe’s then deputy, Joice Mujuru, who like Mnangagwa fought in the liberation war against the white-minority regime of Rhodesia.

“It’s clear that Grace Mugabe is calling the shots,” said Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean law lecturer who is based in the U.K. and helped design Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution. “No other person has wielded as much public power as Grace has, apart from her husband. She is certainly the most powerful person in Zimbabwe at the moment after Mugabe.”

Mnangagwa’s firing marks a decisive break by Mugabe with allies who fought in the independence war and propelled him to power in 1980 as well as a victory for Grace’s Generation-40 faction of younger members of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. It comes amid growing tensions in the ruling party before elections next year when it may face a seven-party opposition alliance that’s capitalizing on public discord over cash shortages, crumbling infrastructure and a collapse in government services.

“We are not surprised with what happened yesterday,” Victor Matemadanda, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, said by phone from Harare, the capital, on Tuesday. “It is the work of our erstwhile enemies since they have an agenda to remove every person who has liberation-war credentials. Those who have become dear to the dear leader are calling the shots, but as war veterans we are not going to be defeated.”

Grace Ready

While Mugabe is the party’s candidate for the elections, Grace, the president’s former secretary whom he wed in 1996 after the death of his first wife, said on Sunday that she’s ready to succeed him.

Her announcement came as Zanu-PF is planning to amend its constitution at a congress next month to ensure that a woman is appointed to its top body, known as the presidium. It currently comprises the president, Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe’s other vice president, Phelekezela Mphoko.

Nicknamed “Gucci Grace” in Zimbabwe for her extravagant lifestyle, her lawyers filed suit last month in the High Court against a Lebanese national over his purported failure to supply a $1.35 million ring she’d ordered for her wedding anniversary. In August, neighboring South Africa granted her diplomatic immunity after she was accused of assaulting a woman in a Johannesburg hotel with an electric extension cord in a dispute involving her sons.

Grace has already picked up support from Zanu-PF’s youth league to take Mnangagwa’s place as vice president.

Mnangagwa’s Downfall

For Mnangagwa, the dismissal marks a stunning downfall for a leading candidate to succeed Mugabe and who’s been his comrade for the past 50 years during the armed struggle against Rhodesia and after independence.

He was fired because of “disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability,” Information Minister Simon Khaya Moyo told reporters Monday at Mugabe’s office.

In recent weeks, he lost his position as justice minister in a cabinet reshuffle and was publicly criticized by Mugabe. His faction of supporters is known as Lacoste, taken from the French sportswear company’s Lacoste’s logo, a crocodile — the nickname he earned during the liberation war.

The current divisions in the ruling party are the worst since Mugabe fired Mujuru as vice president. She’s now part of the opposition alliance that includes former Finance Minister Tendai Biti and ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mnangagwa, who enjoys support in the military and among war veterans, will have to decide whether to go quietly or seek to reverse his downfall, either by challenging Grace Mugabe in the party or forging links with the opposition.

“As things stand, the Zanu-PF old guard is gone and the Mugabe’s have opened another opposition front as they have to contend with the Mnangagwa’s supporters,” Rashweat Mukundu, an analyst with the Harare-based Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said by phone. “Zimbabwe is in uncharted waters.”

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

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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