Zimbabwe fuel protest: activist pastor arrested, charged with inciting violence

1 day 4 hours ago

Armed police in Zimbabwe have arrested a political activist at his home on Wednesday, his lawyer said.

It comes as protests against fuel price hikes enters day 3 Wednesday. Evan Mawarire, a Harare pastor, rose to prominence as a critic of former leader, Robert Mugabe.

Beatrice Mtetwa is lawyer for Evan Mawarire.

“They are alleging that he has incited violence through twitter and other forms of social media particularly in the central business district. We have asked for full particulars, when, how, they said they don’t know and will give that at the police station. We have asked how asking for people to stay away can constitute incitement to violence, but of course this is the new dispensation guys”, she said.

Businesses and schools remain closed while mobile telecom networks enforce a government internet shut down in this Southern African nation.

“I cannot say the stay away has been successful but at the end of the day we await to hear what the government will do because the people have spoken, they were not happy and up to now they are still in fear”, said Harare resident, Ronald Gwasira.

“The way it looks people want to go to work but unfortunately it seems the transport operators are not willing to take them”, said Terrence Gumbi, another resident.

Wednesday is the third and final day of stay-at-home protests called by unions in response to the steep hike in fuel prices.

Mawarire, who led a national shutdown in 2016, told Reuters police had surrounded his house after he used Facebook posts to urge Zimbabweans to heed the unions’ calls.



Prosecutors plan to appeal Gbagbo ruling

1 day 4 hours ago

Prosecutors at the International Criminals Court (ICC) have said they plan to appeal the acquittal of Ex- Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo, according to a document cited by AFP.

Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, who were charged with crimes against humanity, were freed by judges at the ICC on Tuesday. The judges ordered their immediate release.

But the release was suspended during a hearing that begun Wednesday at 9: 00 GMT at the Hague, where prosecutors will be able to voice their objections.

In a petition, prosecutors say there are ‘‘exceptional reasons’‘ to oppose Gbagbo’s unconditional release, citing a ‘‘concrete risk’‘ in the event of the continuation of trial.

But they added that they will accept release in an ICC member country, either than Ivory Coast, ‘’ if the risk of flight can be mitigated by imposing series of conditions’‘.

Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were charged with four counts of crimes against humanity- including murders, rapes and persecution as well as other inhumane acts, for which they have always pleaded not guilty.

The ICC judges justified their ruling saying ‘’ the prosecution has not met the burden of proof in accordance the required criteria’‘ by international justice.



What next for Zimbabwe's govt after fuel price hike backfires?

1 day 4 hours ago

Zimbabweans have reacted with anger and frustration to last week’s announcement of a fuel price hike by president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In a televised address last Saturday, Mnangagwa said prices of petrol and diesel would more than double to tackle a shortfall caused by increased demand and “rampant” illegal trading.

Petrol prices have been raised from $1.24 a litre to $3.31 (2.89 euros) and diesel from $1.36 a litre to $3.11.

The president’s announcement came after fuel shortages which began in October last year worsened in recent weeks with motorists sometimes spending nights in fuel pump queues that stretch for kilometres.

Reactions to fuel hike

Citizens, activists and opposition political parties blasted the government for being insensitive to the plight of the common man.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions called for a three-day stayaway and shutdown strike that has paralysed banks, schools, businesses and the stock market in the capital Harare and the second city of Bulawayo.

The country’s labour minister, Sekai Nzenza announced on Monday that public workers will be given a cost of living allowance of between 5 percent and 23 percent of their monthly salary from January to March.

The president himself, flew out of the country on Sunday for a five-nation tour of Eastern Europe that will end at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

READ MORE: Mnangagwa begs ‘senior brother’ Putin to help him develop Zimbabwe

We talked to Kudzanai Sharara, a financial journalist in Harare, to share his assessment of why the government’s intervention seems to have backfired.

What should be done to resolve the ongoing fuel crisis, considering that the price hike has backfired?

‘‘I think what we need now is some kind of a social contract, where government, labor and employers sit down and deliberate on issues. For example, if they have done this with a few of them and say that look guys this is what we want to do as government,what do you think? And then business as well as labor will probably point out and find tune the laws’‘.

Is a new currency as announced by the finance minister last week, feasible and necessary?

‘’ Mostly it is not about the currency that is used. We can take the strongest currency in the world. We can take the Japanese yen, which is seen by many as a safe haven…you can take the US dollar , but it will still collapse as long as we do not have the proper fundamentals on the ground. We have a huge budget deficit, which the minister is working on through this austerity measures. We have got a huge trade deficit which also needs to be looked at. So we have got so many challenges that we have and fundamentals that we really need to sort out first before we introduce our own currency.’‘



At least 15 dead in Nairobi hotel attack [The Morning Call]

1 day 5 hours ago

A horrible tale at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday when gunmen set off a bomb and opened fire at the complex leaving at least fifteen people dead.

The attack at Nairobi ‘Dusit’ hotel began around 3:30 pm Tuesday afternoon with a huge explosion outside the property. Gunmen then charged onto the grounds and opened fire.

Security forces in response then combed their way through the building in attempt at rescue of the frightened many trapped in the building.
Around 30 persons are reported to have suffered various forms of injuries from the attack and the Somalia-based militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement.


Laurent Gbagbo's acquittal hailed [The Morning Call]

1 day 5 hours ago

Free at last! After spending seven years in custody, Cote d’Ivoire’s former president Laurent Gbagbo is acquitted of all charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

The ICC in the Hague acquitted and set the former Ivorian leader free of crimes against humanity on Tuesday. The crimes were in connection with violence following a disputed 2010 election that left 3,000 dead and 500,000 displaced.

Now the reactions to the news have been huge with celebrations at the Hague with some of his supporters and a lot of ongoing discussions on what his release mean for the current politics in Ivory Coast ahead of general elections in 2020.

With us in the studio to help us understand what this release means for the country is our Ivorian journalist Ruth Lago.


Male grooming products soaring in Africa [The Morning Call]

1 day 5 hours ago

Male grooming is often ignored as society has always dismissed the idea of men paying detailed attention to their appearance. But male beauty parlours are springing up daily in South Africa in response to what has been described as a ‘metrosexual wave’.

So, if you thought grooming, beauty and makeup was for women only, then it’s time to change that perception.


Kenyan president vows to avenge Nairobi terror attack

1 day 6 hours ago

Kenyan security forces have neutralised all four terrorists involved in the attack on a hotel complex in the capital Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday.

Kenyatta said about 700 people had been safely evacuated, vowed to avenge the 14 “innocent” lives lost.

“We are a nation that never forgets those who hurt our children. We will pursue relentlessly those involved in the planning and execution of this attack,” the president said.

‘‘I take note of Kenyans who took to social media to spread hope and criticise false information. You have shown the world bravery, patriotism and love.’‘

READ MORE: Kenyans attack New York Times, want editor deported

Fellow Kenyans, we all have a duty to secure our families, community and nation. I urge you to ensure that you inform the police of any suspicious individuals or actions around you – President Kenyatta. #RiversideAttack pic.twitter.com/CZXUkzqMVA— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) 16 janvier 2019

The attack in numbers

14 civilians confirmed dead
700 people safely evacuated

4 attackers neutralised


An earlier estimate put the death toll at 15.

11 Kenyans
1 American
1 Briton

2 unidentified victims

Timeline of the attack

Tuesday 3pm (local time): Attack on dusitD2 hotel begins with two explosions
Tuesday 5:55pm: Al Shabaab claims responsibility
Tuesday night: AU, EU, UN, United States, Somalia condemn the attack
Tuesday night : Police announces it has secured 7 out of eight floors
Wednesday 6am: Gunshots ring out as police say at least two groups of people still trapped inside complex

Wednesday 8am: President Kenyatta declares terror attack and security operation ‘over’.

48 minutes 27 seconds ago
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