Africa Politics Report

Africa News Tit-bits ANC Loses Power in South Africa’s Major Cities

South Africa’s governing ANC Party has lost control of the country’s largest city and economic center, Johannesburg.

The city council elected as Mayor Herman Mashaba from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
The ANC had run the city since the fall of apartheid for over two decades. For the first time it lost its council majority in local elections, although it is still the largest party but it has also lost control of the capital Pretoria and Cape Town.
This follows at the tail of local elections earlier that produced no outright winner in most districts, resulting in hung municipalities and forcing parties to form coalitions to govern.
Of the country’s six biggest cities, the ANC only won an outright majority in Durban, seen as a stronghold for South African President Jacob Zuma.
Overall, the ANC had won 45.5% of the vote, more than the DA’s 38.4%. But the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 11% found itself in the position of kingmaker and refused to give its votes to the ANC.
The election of the Democratic Alliance’s Herman Mashaba as Mayor of Johannesburg represents a huge shift in South African politics.
Mr. Mashaba, a 56 year old businessman, has promised to reform the city administration. “As of this evening, corruption is declared public enemy number one in this city,” he told cheering supporters.
“Public monies that have been misspent, misused, over the last five, ten years or so…we’re going to take this money, we’re going to look after it, so we can provide basic services to our people,” he said.
Political observers believe what happened in Johannesburg is an indication of what could happen in the general election in 2019; a possibility that signals the tilt in ANC’s ouster as the ruling party in South Africa.
US Secretary of State Visits Nigeria
The United States of America’s Secretary of State John Kerry visited Northern Nigeria on his third and likely last trip to Africa’s most populous country.
During his one day working stopover at the Sultan’s palace in Sokoto state, the Secretary of State spoke to the government’s top Muslim leader on what ought to be in place in order to stop terrorism in the region.
“Religiously motivated extremist group such as Boko Haram will only be stopped when governments cut down on corruption and offer opportunities to their young people,” he said.
Kerry stated that extreme right wing bands cannot be defeated with repression and fear alone since corruption and poverty remains the escalating factors of extremism and suggested that the religious leaders and the authorities must work together to stop the terrorist threat.
The US Official stressed that many young people joins Boko Haram and other terrorists groups due to lack of options to prosper in their communities, and expressed his conviction that it is possible to finish with terrorism if the whole society works together.
“We know that defeating Boko Haram is just the beginning,” he said. While also calling on Nigeria’s security forces to up the ante in their efforts towards gaining the gaining the confidence of the Nigerian population.
On a related development, the Nigerian Air Force confirmed that the head of the Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, turned out to be seriously injured during a bombing raid in Sambisa forest where the terrorist group has its main refuge.
Zambia’s President Lungu re-Elected
The Zambian Electoral Commission announced that incumbent President Edgar Lungu had secured 50.35% in the votes cast for the presidential election, just over the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second round under a new electoral system.
His main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, who alleged electoral fraud, won 47.67%.
Earlier, his UPND party withdrew from the ballot verification process.
Zambia’s capital Lusaka was brought to a standstill as thousands of Lungu’s jubilant supporters dressed in the green and white of the Patriotic Front are celebrating on the streets of the city. Some were carrying mock coffins with opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema’s name on them.
But the declaration by Zambia’s Electoral Commission announcing Edgar Lungu as president-elect wasn’t welcomed by all.
Mr. Hichilema described this election as a sham which did not reflect the will of the people.
He plans to petition the constitutional court to challenge the result. He may well be going at it alone because of the fluidity of Zambia’s political landscape.
The shifting of political allegiances, which in other parts of the continent would be seen as a betrayal, would mean those who left the Patriotic Front may go back to President Lungu, begging to have their old positions back.
The UPND has accused the electoral commission of colluding with the governing Patriotic Front (PF) to rig the result.
“We have evidence to the effect that the votes for Hakainde Hichilema have been deliberately reduced in collusion with the Electoral Commission of Zambia,” UPND lawyer Jack Mwimbu told pressmen.
The PF rejected the allegations.
Election officials also denied the fraud claims, saying the slow publication of the results was because there were five different votes – for president, parliament, mayors, local councilors and an amendment to the constitution on changes to the bill of rights.
Mr. Lungu defeated Mr. Hichilema in the previous election, last year, by less than 28, 000 votes. This time, his margin of victory was about 200, 000 votes.
Last year’s election was held because President Michael Sata died in office, the second time a serving leader has died in Zambia in the past five years.
Kenyan Policeman Kills 7 Colleagues
A Kenyan police officer went on a shooting spree recently, killing seven colleagues including a hostage response team member before the standoff ended in a shoot-out, according to police report.
The suspect Abdihakim Maslah, was shot death said the report provided Associated Press.
Police at first suspected an extremist with the al-Shabab group based in neighbouring Somalia but the report revealed that, Maslah, a station guard, got off work the previous day but eventually returned to the Kapenguria station shortly after 5 a.m. the next day and started shooting.
A separate police statement to the media said the officer, “for yet unknown reasons went berserk and grabbed a firearm and started shooting”.
The statement also stated that the officer wore a “turban that covered his whole face, leading to the initial suspicions” that he was an extremist.
Police Commandos were deployed to rescue prisoners held at the station and end the standoff, Kenya’s Police Chief, Joseph Boinnet said before the untoward happening ended.
Boinnet said, “The gunman’s escape was thwarted by the prompt arrival of other officers”.
All but one of the officers killed worked at the station. The station commander was among them, West Pokot County Commissioner Wilson Wayanga said.
UN To Work on Proposal for ‘Combat Force’ in South Sudan
The United Nations is ready to work with East African bloc IGAD to refine the group’s proposal for an intervention force within the U.N peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, U.N. Peacekeeping Chief Herve Ladsous told the Security Council recently.
After an outbreak of deadly violence between rival troops in South Sudan’s capital Juba in July, IGAD demanded the creation of an intervention brigade, similar to a U.N. combat force in Democratic Republic of Congo that is mandated to enforce peace by targeting and neutralizing armed rebel groups.
“The goal, as I understand it, being to secure Juba and, if possible, its airport through demilitarization so that the government of transition of national unity can get to work without worrying about security issues,” he said.
Such a combat unit would need to be authorized by the U.N. Security Council, which urged states in the region to prepare to send additional troops to South Sudan in the event that the 15-member body decides to reinforce the U.N. mission.
Ladsuos said that it was likely that the mission would need to be boosted with additional troops and more robust capabilities, such as attack helicopters and surveillance drones, to fulfill its mandate to protect civilians.
Two Soldiers with Suspected Al-Qaeda links Apprehended in Cote d’Ivoire
Two soldiers have been arrested in Cote d’Ivoire accused of failing to denounce suspected members of an al-Qaeda cell that killed 19 people in an attack earlier in the year in a beach resort town according to military officers recently.
The raid on Grand Bassam, 40 km (25miles) from the commercial capital, Abidjan, by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM), the jihadist group’s North African affiliate, was the furthest yet from its traditional desert base.
Authorities in Cote d’ Ivoire and neighbouring Mali have arrested a number of suspects since the attack. The country’s military prosecutor Colonel Ange Kessi said the soldiers were not accused of participating directly in the Grand Bassam plot.
“The two soldiers knew certain members of the unit that attacked the beach in Grand Bassam and did not signal that to their hierarchy which is a serious offence under the military code of justice,” he said.
They are due to stand trial at the end of August, Kessi added.

About the author

Dante

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment