Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Should South Africa’s ANC split?

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Supporters of Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa’s ruling ANC, chant slogans at the Pietermaritzburg high court outside Durban, August 5, 2008. Zuma appeared in court in a bid to win the dismissal of a graft case that could wreck his chances of becoming the nation’s president next year. REUTERS/Siphiwe SibekoThe African National Congress faces the biggest internal crisis of its history after the decision to oust President Thabo Mbeki following suggestions of official interference in the corruption case against his rival, party leader Jacob Zuma.

South Africa’s ruling party has stressed that the decision of the executive was unanimous. Mbeki’s resignation speech also made clear he was not planning to fight.

But despite the show of unity, there is talk of some ANC members splitting to form a new party before the 2009 election.

While that might not seem such a great idea from the ANC’s point of view, would it be so bad for South Africa?

Is Mbeki’s time up?

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Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, speaks during a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York

South African President Thabo Mbeki did not get to bask long in the success of securing Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal before finding himself in the firing line again at home.

Now his most strident foes - who can be found within his ruling African National Congress – say he should be pushed from office after a judge made clear he saw political interference in the corruption trial against ANC leader and longstanding Mbeki rival Jacob Zuma.

What chance for Zimbabwe’s deal?

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President Robert MugabeThere have been so many swings from optimism to pessimism and back again, that Zimbabweans might find it hard to believe there finally appears to be a power-sharing deal after two months of talks.

According to both sides, President Robert Mugabe has agreed to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after 28 years of rule that concentrated power in his own hands.

How well can African elections work?

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By the standards of other recent African elections, the aftermath of Angola’s parliamentary ballot at the weekend has been fairly tame.

But polling station chaos that led to an extra day of voting and accusations of cheating from the opposition badly undermined Angola’s hope that the ballot would set a example for the continent after elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Angola votes

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UNITA leader votes in Angola******Angola’s last election led to the resumption of civil war that took another decade to end and cost countless lives.******This time the atmosphere  around the election is very different, despite some initial problems at voting stations – scores failed to open on time in Luanda, which could lead to an extension of voting.******The ruling MPLA won the war in 2002 when UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi was killed. His former rebel group has now been transformed into a political party, but it is given little chance of electoral success and is unable to do much but complain the campaign has been unfair.******mesavoto2.jpg******Angola is one of the world’s fastest growing economies thanks to booming oil production – not that much of the wealth has trickled down to the two-thirds of Angolans who live on less than $2 a day.******The election is being touted by Angola’s government as a demonstration of how far the country has come from the civil war and an example in Africa after flawed elections elsewhere.******Angolan ruling MPLA party stand******But the MPLA’s electoral dominance meant the contest was very one-sided and there appears little chance of a dispute on the scale of those that led to the troubles in Kenya and Zimbabwe, where election results were close.******The election is undoubtedly a big step for Angola. How significant will it prove for Africa as a whole?

Is the balance shifting in Zimbabwe?

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Zimbabwe's President Mugabe arrives for the official opening of the Parliament in Harare

This week’s reopening of Zimbabwe’s parliament had been seen by many as a show of defiance by President Robert Mugabe against an opposition that has so far rejected terms of a power-sharing deal that appear more acceptable to the veteran leader and to at least some of his regional counterparts.

But it may not have gone quite to plan.

The election of the parliamentary speaker chosen by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) came in spite of efforts by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF to bring in the candidate of the breakaway MDC faction. Members of that faction appear to have sided with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai rather than their own party leadership.

What people in Germany are saying about Obama’s visit

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obama.jpgObamamania has hit Germany hard, but many here are wary of the big show the Democratic presidential candidate will put on in Berlin on Thursday, when his speech at the “Victory Column“ could attract hundreds of thousands.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Die Zeit magazine that the “young and open” Obama was raising hopes of a renewal in transatlantic relations and for that reason he should be heeded.

Is Africa beginning to stand up to Mugabe?

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Nigeria is unhappy at Robert Mugabe’s continuing presidency in Zimbabwe.

The opinion of Africa’s most populous nation and its second biggest economy is hard to ignore, although some may observe Nigeria’s own presidential elections last year were not above reproach. “We express our strong displeasure at the process leading to the election and its outcome,” Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe told reporters, saying any negotiations over the future shape of Zimbabwe’s government should set the flawed election process to one side.

Robert Mugabe

A few hours earlier, Botswana had called on southern African nations to refuse to recognise Mugabe.

from Africa News blog:

Has Mugabe out-foxed the African Union?

It would be out of character for the African Union (AU) to order any tough sanctions against Zimbabwe's strongman President Robert Mugabe at its summit in Egypt on Monday. But has his swearing-in on Sunday for a new five-year term after a widely condemned election further narrowed the AU's latitude for action? Mugabe defied international calls to cancel a presidential election run-off and negotiate with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who defeated Mugabe in the first-round ballot on March 29 but fell short of an outright majority. Mugabe was the only candidate in the second round after Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic change pulled out because of widely reported government-backed violence and intimidation.

Mugabe was heading for the AU summit after Zimbabwe's electoral commission declared him the winner as expected. He was immediately inaugurated in Harare, extending his 28-year rule. This could force the AU to deal with him as the legitimate head of state of Zimbabwe, in the face of calls from the likes of South Africa's Bishop Desmond Tutu for the pan-African body not to recognise his election.  A defiant Mugabe vowed to confront his critics at the summit. The wily Mugabe invited Tsvangirai to the inauguration ceremony and pledged at the event to talk to the opposition to solve the country's political crisis. Tsvangirai rejected the invitation.

Should Tsvangirai abandon poll?

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rtx74fw.jpgIt’s decision time again for Morgan Tsvangirai. 

With violence spreading and African countries joining the ranks of those who say Zimbabwe’s election run-off cannot be fair, the opposition leader is considering whether to withdraw – which would leave President Robert Mugabe to continue his 28 year rule unchallenged.

Talk is still doing the rounds that South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki has been trying to get the sides to call off the election and form a national unity government, but progress seems limited at best. South Africa’s Star newspaper said Mugabe rejected the proposal.

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