- Economic woes, factionalism haunt Mugabe party ahead of meeting
Chinhoyi (Zimbabwe) (AFP) - Zimbabwe’s ruling party opens its annual conference Thursday with the twin spectres of the moribund economy and infighting over veteran President Robert Mugabe’s succession casting long shadows. The three-day conference is ZANU-PF's last before its elective congress next year and comes against the backdrop of renewed clashes among contenders to succeed Mugabe,who at 89 is Africa's oldest head of state. "The conference is an opportunity to heal the rift between the main factions in the party and to craft a post-election message," said Rushweat Mukundu, a political analyst with the Zimbabwe Democratic Institute. "There is a lot of despondency and uncertainty over the economy.
- Thailand's self-exiled ex-PM may never return home
BANGKOK (AP) — Since being ousted as Thailand's prime minister in a 2006 military coup, Thaksin Shinawatra has been a very busy man. The billionaire bought and sold England's Manchester City football club, acquired a titanium mine in Zimbabwe, started a lottery in Uganda and acquired a Nicaraguan passport. He met with Vladimir Putin and Nelson Mandela.
- Afghanistan cricket team to tour Zimbabwe next month
Afghanistan will travel to Zimbabwe next month, an official said Wednesday, marking the fast-improving side's first international series tour hosted by a full member of the ICC governing body. The series, planned for the end of January, is part of the team's development programme ahead of the World Cup in 2015, Afghanistan cricket board spokesman Farid Hotak told AFP. Afghanistan have established themselves as one of the best associate sides in the International Cricket Council (ICC) by qualifying for their third successive World Twenty20, to be held in Bangladesh next year. Cricket has boomed in Afghanistan since the 1996-2001 Taliban era despite the bloody insurgency, and games are now a regular sight on any piece of open ground ranging from scruffy city parks to rural roads.
- South Africa's Zuma gets 'rain boo' wake up, but will tough it out
By Peroshni Govender JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The booing of South African President Jacob Zuma at Nelson Mandela's memorial laid bare popular anger against him, but the thick-skinned ANC leader can call on a powerful political base to carry him and the party through elections next year. Zuma, who was popular when he took over the presidency of Africa's largest economy in 2009, suffered public humiliation on Tuesday in front of world leaders when thousands attending the rain-soaked Mandela commemoration booed and jeered him. But it must have hurt him to hear those who booed, some wearing African National Congress (ANC) T-shirts, then cheering U.S. President Barack Obama and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. Even more painful would have been the audible cheers for apartheid's last white leader, former President F.W. de Klerk, and even for former President Thabo Mbeki, the man Zuma replaced as ANC leader in 2007 in a tumultuous party takeover.
- Obama, hailing Mandela, chides other leaders who stifle dissent
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama hailed Nelson Mandela as a "giant of justice" on Tuesday but said too many leaders in the world claimed solidarity with his struggle for freedom "but do not tolerate dissent from their own people". Obama, speaking at a memorial in Johannesburg for Mandela, made the comment in front of an audience of leaders that included Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, Cuban President Raul Castro and Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe. (Reporting by Ed Cropley and Pascal Fletcher)
- Friend and foe, world leaders coming together for Mandela
By Ed Cropley and Pascal Fletcher JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - More than 70 leaders from across the world, some of them locked in enmity, are flying to South Africa for memorials to Nelson Mandela that will hail one of humanity's great peacemakers, officials said on Monday. U.S. President Barack Obama and Raul Castro from Cuba, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Britain's David Cameron will be among those attending Tuesday's main send-off in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium, reflecting the global appeal of South Africa's first black leader, who died on Thursday aged 95. "The whole world is coming to South Africa," foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said, playing down concerns about the logistics and security of such a large event organized at only five days notice.
- Mugabe mourns 'champion of the oppressed' Mandela
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe paid tribute to Nelson Mandela on Saturday, describing the South African liberation icon as "a champion of the oppressed". "Mr Mandela's renowned political life will forever remain a beacon of excellence," Mugabe, Africa's oldest ruler at 89, said in his first official reaction, carried by the state-run newspaper The Herald. Mandela, the founding father of modern South Africa and its first black leader, died late Thursday aged 95. "The late Nelson Mandela will forever remain in our minds as an unflinching fighter for justice," said Mugabe, who early this year criticised Mandela for being too soft on whites after the end of apartheid.
- In a South African corner of New York, mourners pay tribute to 'Madiba'
By Edith Honan NEW YORK (Reuters) - At "Madiba," a South African-themed bar in Brooklyn named for Nelson Mandela, mourners responding to news of the anti-apartheid champion's death on Thursday gathered to launch giant white lanterns and to consider how they would pay tribute. The bar, which takes its name from Mandela's Xhosa clan name and is decorated with huge Mandela posters and Zulu designs, has long been a home away from home for South Africans in New York. He taught us about forgiveness and peace," said Michelle Andrews, 43, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, who has lived in New York for 18 years. Carl Hlazo, 40, who was born in Zimbabwe but now lives in New York, said he planned to part his hair to the side, as Mandela once did, as a small tribute.
- Zimbabwe state TV fails to pay workers as debt mounts
Zimbabwe's state broadcaster has debts of more than $44 million and has failed to pay its workers for the past six months, the government said Thursday, a month after it sacked the operator's entire top management. "We are talking about a debt of $44,586,493," George Charamba, the permanent secretary in the information ministry told a parliamentary committee on media. The financial woes of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) have been blamed primarily on poor revenue inflows. The government last month dissolved the entire ZBC board and sent its top managers, including the chief executive officer, on forced leave.
- Over 100 die in Zimbabwe jail 'death traps'
More than 100 prisoners have died this year in Zimbabwean prisons which have been hit by food shortages due to a lack of funds, a rights group said Tuesday. "More than 100 prisoners have perished in Zimbabwe's prisons since January 2013 as the country's correctional centres turn into death traps," Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said in a statement. The group said justice and prison services officials had told a parliamentary committee that the prisoners died "owing to nutrition-related illnesses induced by food shortages and natural causes". "Food stock outs had reached precarious levels owing to a shortage of financial resources to purchase monthly food rations for the country's prison population which stands at 18,460 inmates," the group said, quoting officials.
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