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Zimbabwean Military Places Mugabe Under House Arrest

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Zimbabwean Army
  • Zimbabwean Military Places Mugabe Under House Arrest

Zimbabwe’s military said on Wednesday that it was holding President Robert Mugabe and his family safe while targeting “criminals” in the entourage of Mugabe who has ruled the South African nation for 37 years.

A general appeared on state television to announce the takeover as armoured vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare. The atmosphere in the capital remained calm.

Mugabe was said to have spoken by telephone to the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, and told him he was confined to his home but fine.

Reports said it was unclear whether the coup would bring a formal end to the 93-year-old Mugabe’s rule; the main goal of the generals appeared to be preventing Mugabe’s wife Grace, 41 years his junior, from succeeding him.

“We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Reuters quoted Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, as saying on television.

“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy,” he added.

Western countries mostly called for calm. “We cannot tell how developments in Zimbabwe will play out in the days ahead and we do not know whether this marks the downfall of Mugabe or not,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told parliament.

“We will do all we can, with our international partners, to ensure this provides a genuine opportunity for all Zimbabweans to decide their future.”

Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, a leading member of the ruling party’s ‘G40’ faction, led by Grace Mugabe, had been detained by the military, a government source was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe’s political crisis reached a boiling point last week with the dismissal of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, clearing the way for Mugabe’s wife, also a vice president, to succeed him.

Mugabe told supporters he had dismissed Mnangagwa for disloyalty and disrespect, as well as using witchcraft to take power.

The move exacerbated divisions in the ZANU-PF party, where the youth faction is firmly on Grace Mugabe’s side, while many older veterans of the struggle against white rule look to Mnangagwa. As a former defence minister, Mnangagwa has strong support with the military.

At one point last month, Grace Mugabe even warned that supporters of Mnangagwa were planning their own coup. He later fled to South Africa.

Political commentator Maxwell Saungweme was quoted as saying by phone that the military would probably try to pressure Mugabe to step down in favour of Mnangagwa as acting president.

“But this plan may not pan out as Mugabe might resist this. So the whole thing may be messy,” he warned.

Business as usual in Harare suburbs

By Wednesday afternoon it was business as usual in Harare’s suburbs while there was less traffic than normal in the city centre. Soldiers continued to man armoured cars but had relaxed searches on vehicles on some checkpoints. Residents spoke in awe of events that had previously seemed unthinkable.

“I don’t support the army but I am happy to see Mugabe gone, maybe this country can start to develop again,” said Rumbi Katepfu, preparing to shut her mobile phone shop early in downtown Harare. “I did not think this would ever happen… We used to think Mugabe and Grace were invincible.”

Mugabe supporters seemed disinclined to fight to defend him. Tinashe Murisi, washing a car emblazoned with a picture of Mugabe in the poor township of Mbare a few minutes from the city centre, said: “All I need is peace in the country and the rest we don’t have to get involved in what does not concern us.”

Whatever the final outcome, the events could signal a once-in-a-generation change for the southern African nation, once a regional bread-basket, reduced to poverty by an economic crisis Mugabe’s opponents have long blamed on him.

Even many of Mugabe’s most loyal supporters over the decades had come to oppose the rise of his wife, who courted the powerful youth wing of the ruling party but alienated the military, led by Mugabe’s former guerrilla comrades from the 1970s independence struggle.

“This is a correction of a state that was careening off the cliff,” Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of the liberation war veterans, told Reuters. “It’s the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife.”

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change called for a peaceful return to constitutional democracy, adding it hoped the military intervention would lead to the “establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation state”.

Zuma – speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – expressed hope there would be no unconstitutional changes, and urged Zimbabwe’s government and the military “to resolve the political impasse amicably.”

President Muhammadu Buhari said, “Every attempt must be made to resolve all contentious issues by constitutional means in Zimbabwe to save the country from avoidable political instability.”

Economic implosion

While most African states gained independence by the end of the 1960s, Zimbabwe remained one of the last European colonies on the continent, ruled by white settlers as Rhodesia until 1980. Mugabe took power after a long guerrilla struggle, and two decades later ordered the forcible seizure of white-owned farms.

The fall in output that followed was one of the worst economic depressions of modern times. By 2007-2008 inflation topped out at 500 billion per cent. Mugabe blamed Britain and the United States for sabotaging the country to bring it to heel. His followers used violence to suppress a growing domestic opposition he branded lackeys of former colonial powers.

The economy briefly stabilised from 2010-2014 when Mugabe was forced to accept a power-sharing government with the opposition, but since then the recovery has unravelled. In the last year, a chronic shortage of dollars has led to long queues outside banks. Imported goods are running out and economists say that by some measures inflation is now at 50 per cent a month.

The economic implosion has destablised the region, sending millions of poor labourers streaming out of the country, mostly to neighbouring South Africa.

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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