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South Africa’s ANC Sec Gen, Ace Magashule, To Appear In Court On Corruption Charges

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Ace Magashule, the Secretary General of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC), is due to appear in court later in the city of Bloemfontein.

The high ranking ANC official is accused of corruption over the awarding of asbestos contracts in 2014 when he was the head of the provincial government in Free State.

Magashule, who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the ANC which has governed South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994, said he is not worried as he has done nothing wrong.

The $16m (£12m) contract was issued to private firms for the removal of asbestos from low-cost homes, but it is alleged that there were kickbacks and suspicious payments.

His supporters have gathered outside the magistrate’s court ahead of his appearance.

Magashule is from a faction within the ruling party that has opposed President Cyril Ramaphosa since he replaced Jacob Zuma as head of state in February 2018.

Ramaphosa has been on a campaign to clean up the ANC’s image after a series of damaging scandals during Zuma’s nine-year tenure. Since Ramaphosa supporters engineered Zuma’s ouster, Magashule has urged ANC members to support the former president.

The president promised to tackle corruption and promote good governance when he took office, describing his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s time in office as “nine wasted years”.

Magashule catapulted on to the national political stage when he was elected ANC secretary-general in 2017 after narrowly defeating a candidate allied with Mr Ramaphosa.

Politics

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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North Africa Politics

Libya Prepares for Elections

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The Libyan National High Electoral Commission (HNEC) has begun discussions with the chairmen of boards of electoral departments of the Commission in all Libyan regions preparations for the general election due in December next year.

An official source in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, said the managing director of the HNEC, Yahya al-Jadid, met with more than 20 participants via Zoom to discuss obstacles, challenges and the means to overcome them.

In a statement, the commission said al-Jadid underlined “the importance of that communication between the general department and its offices, in light of the developments of the political process and tasks awaiting the commission”.

He stressed the need for concerted efforts to raise the level of preparation and address the potential needs and obstacles.

The chiefs of office reviewed the need to procure office materials and to resolve the obstacles linked to the administrative aspect and the state of preparation of the commission.

The HNEC heads the electoral department which in turn counts 24 offices shared in all Libyan regions charged with implementing the electoral process, each within its electoral area.

The participants in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum held on 9-15 November in Tunis, under the aegis of the UN Support Mission in Libya, agreed on a roadmap setting a transitional period and the date for the presidential and parliamentary elections for 24 December 2021.

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East Africa Politics News

Ethiopian Forces Capture Tigray’s Capital In Final Offensive

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Ethiopian forces have captured Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced this in tweets on Saturday, as he said the “Tigrayan criminals” will now be hunted by the Federal Police.

Ahmed on Friday met African envoys in Addis Ababa and reiterated that civilians in the region will not be harmed in the final offensive.

“I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the #Tigray region.

“Our focus now will be on rebuilding the region and providing humanitarian assistance while Federal Police apprehend the TPLF clique.”

He said the town is now under the control of National Defence Forces, as humanitarian assistance will be provided to inhabitants of the region.

Recall that Ethiopia earlier announced that a Tigrayan town, Wikro, 50km north of Mekelle has been captured.

Tigray officials are yet to react to the Prime Minister’s claims as the region has been cut off from internet and phone access.

Both forces have been at daggers drawn since the 4th of November when Ethiopia accused Tigrayan forces of attacking state properties.

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