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EU, US Slams Zimbabwe’s Anti-Sanctions Day

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The United States and the European Union has labelled the anti-sanctions day held in the country as a distraction.

The world powers insisted sanctions were not Zimbabwe’s problem but corruption.

As such, it won’t help the government meet the strong reform agenda set out by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he came to power soon after the November 2017 coup.

Dr Stergomena Tax, the chairman of Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, in a statement prior to the anti-sanction day, rallied behind Zimbabwe in calling for the removal of sanctions imposed at the turn of the century when Harare embarked on gross human rights violations.

“Sanctions have caused suffering among Zimbabweans and continue to have a far-reaching effect on Zimbabwe and the entire Sadc region,” he said in the statement.

Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun also backed the call in a tweet, saying: “Injustices in international relations forced developing countries into subjugation and poverty & still hold them back in independently choosing a path of development. #ZimSanctionsMustGo.”

However, UK ambassador to Harare, Melanie Robinson, argued that sanctions cannot be blamed for the situation Zimbabwe finds itself in.

“It’s not sanctions, it’s corruption that drives away investors and leaves teachers, doctors, nurses and services struggling. Zimbabweans must be free to expose corruption, rights abuses and see perpetrators face justice,” she said.

The US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian A Nichols, said if the energy used by Zimbabwe to rally other SADC member states in call for an end to trade and travel restrictions imposed on Mnangagwa’s government, companies and individuals aligned to it was channelled into reform the country would greatly improve.

“I think if the government of Zimbabwe put the energy that they put into organising these types of events and generating statements from other Sadc members into pursuing the reform agenda the better,” he said.

“The government of Zimbabwe campaigned and talked about reform three years ago in November 2017 and 2018 at the inauguration of President Mnangagwa. If they have events on the reform agenda and the conditions, the restrictive measures that the US, the EU, Canada, Australia and others have imposed would be met.

“I think this is a hollow exercise in that it does not solve the interests of the people of Zimbabwe,” he told journalists.

It is the second year that the anti-sanctions solidarity day is being held.

North Africa Politics

Algeria’s President Tebboune to Return Home after COVID-19 Treatment in Germany

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Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is set to return home from a German hospital “in the coming days” after treatment for COVID-19.

“The president assures the Algerian people that he is recovering and will return to the homeland in the coming days,” the office said in a statement, published on Facebook.

In late October, Tebboune was transported to Germany for an in-depth medical examination following a doctor recommendation.

Shortly after, the office announced that the president was diagnosed with COVID-19.

In compliance with the recommendations of his medical team, the 75-year-old Algerian leader continues to undergo the rest of recovery procedures after leaving a specialised medical facility in Germany, the office added.

Tebboune has served as the president of Algeria since December 2019.

He assumed the post after the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika following months of protests.

Since the start of the pandemic, 83,199 cases of the coronavirus have been registered in Algeria.

To date, the North African country’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 2,431, while the number of recoveries is approaching 54,000.

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Ghana to Bury Ex-President Rawlings December 23

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Jerry Rawlings calls for review of Ghana's constitution

The remains of deceased former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, will be buried on December 23, his family has said.

James Victor Gbeho, Head of the funeral planning committee, in a press release on Monday, said the family, in consultation with government, has agreed on the date.

The funeral rites for the 73-year-old will come off at the Independence Square in Accra.

Mr Gbeho said, “The family is working in conjunction with government on the finer details of the funeral ceremony and will communicate the arrangements in due course.”

Rawlings, Ghana’s longest-serving head of state and founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), died on 12 November at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra after a short illness.

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Akufo-Addo, Mahama Go Toe to Toe as Ghana’s Presidential Election Draws Closer

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President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) will face former president John Dramani Mahama, leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the West African country’s December 7 presidential election.

The election has been dubbed the “battle of two giants.”

It is the third time Akufo-Addo and Mahama will compete against each other for the highest office in the country, with each previously having won one poll each– Akufo-Addo in 2016 and Mahama in 2012.

Although 12 candidates are vying for the presidency, including two women, only Akufo-Addo and Mahama are said to have a chance of coming out victorious.

The electoral campaign has been dominated by Ghana’s economy, infrastructure development, education, corruption, and debt relief.

Akufo-Addo, 76, has been touting economic growth during his current four-year term in office as well as the streamlining of government services and implementation of free schooling for senior high school pupils.

Mahama, 62, has meanwhile stressed the many infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, he realised during his presidency, promising do invest more in this area if re-elected.

Political analysts of the University of Ghana in the capital, Accra, predict a slim win for Akufo-Addo in the December elections.

Polls have indicated voters prefer Akufo-Addo’s policy-driven approach to run the nation of 30 million people, the university’s head of the political science department, Kaakyire Frempong.

A candidate is required to gain at least 50 per cent of votes to be elected in the first round.

Ghana’s roughly 17 million registered voters will also elect 275 legislators from 914 candidates on Dec. 7.

Akufo-Addo’s NPP is expected to once again gain the majority of seats in parliament.

Voting will take place at more than 33,000 polling stations between 7 am and 5 pm (0700 and 1700 GMT).

The electoral commission will announce results within 72 hours after the election.

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