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South Africa: ANC ‘Decides Zuma Must Go’

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South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will formally ask for President Jacob Zuma to resign after he refused to do so earlier, reports say.

The reported decision to “recall” him followed marathon talks by senior party officials that continued into the early hours of Tuesday.

If Mr Zuma, 75, still does not budge, he will face a vote of confidence in parliament that he is expected to lose.

In power since 2009, he has been dogged by corruption allegations.

The ANC has not officially confirmed its plans but party sources have described them to South African media outlets and Reuters news agency.

Mr Zuma has resisted increasing pressure to quit since December, when Cyril Ramaphosa replaced him as leader of the ANC.

It is unclear how Mr Zuma will respond to the formal request to step down, which is expected to be issued later on Tuesday.

Earlier, Mr Ramaphosa left the meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee to travel to Mr Zuma’s residence, where he is said to have told the president he would be recalled if he did not step down. He later returned to the ANC conclave.

What has Mr Zuma done wrong?

Mr Zuma’s presidency has been overshadowed by allegations of corruption which he has always vehemently denied.

In 2016, South Africa’s highest court ruled that Mr Zuma had violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home.

Last year the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that he must face 18 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a 1999 arms deal.

More recently, Mr Zuma’s links to the wealthy India-born Gupta family, who are alleged to have influenced the government, have caused his popularity to plummet.

Both Mr Zuma and the Guptas deny the allegations.

How likely is Mr Zuma to quit?

Correspondents say it will be very difficult for him to resist a formal request to resign but he would not be legally obliged to do so and could technically carry on as president despite losing the faith of his party.

However, he would then be expected to face a confidence vote in parliament. This has already been scheduled for 22 February.

Mr Zuma has survived other such votes but he is not expected to pull it off again. A confidence vote would be considered a humiliating process for him and the party.

South African media are calling President Zuma’s seemingly inevitable exit “Zexit”.

His predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, resigned in 2008, also after a power struggle with his deputy.

The deputy in question was Jacob Zuma, who took over the presidency the following year.

Why is this happening now?

The ANC was badly rattled by its performance at the 2016 local elections when it won its lowest share of the vote since coming to power under the late Nelson Mandela in 1994.

It wants to project a fresh image for next year’s general election. Having served two terms in office (South African presidents are elected by parliament), Mr Zuma cannot legally return to power in any case.

On Monday, opposition parties called for an early election.

“Anyone from the ANC that wants to lead this country, must get their mandate from the people of South Africa,” Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters.

 

Source: BBC

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Body Of Beheaded Ghanaian Uncovered In Libya

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The bodies of 21 Egyptian Christians including a Ghanaian killed by Islamic State in 2015 in Libya have been uncovered and returned to Egypt.

Members of IS beheaded the Christians in its former Libyan stronghold of Sirte.

The bodies were recovered in October after the area where they were buried was recaptured from the jihadist group, according to Reuters.

The Coptic Christians were beheaded on a beach in February 2015 wearing orange jumpsuits, according to a video posted by Islamic State.

Their bodies will be flown from the western city of Misrata to Egypt, a Libyan official said.

Islamic State took control of Sirte in 2015 and lost the city late last year to local forces backed by U.S. air strikes.

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Jerusalem Embassy: US Officials To Attend Opening Ceremony

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The US is to open its new embassy in Jerusalem – a move praised by Israel but condemned by Palestinians who are gathering for mass protests.

Top US officials will attend the event, including President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.

Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv has angered Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

Israel regards it as its “eternal and undivided” capital.

President Trump’s decision last year to recognise it as Israel’s capital broke with decades of US neutrality on the issue, and put it at odds with most of the international community.

A small interim embassy will start operating on Monday inside the existing US consulate building in Jerusalem.

A larger site will be found later when the rest of the embassy moves from Tel Aviv.

The opening ceremony was brought forward to coincide with the state of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

President Trump is expected to address those attending Monday’s event via video link.

Alongside Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who are both senior White House advisers, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will be at the ceremony.

The EU has voiced strong objections to the embassy move.

 

Source: BBC

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Zimbabwe VP Denies Bleaching His Skin

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Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has denied he uses skin whitening creams, reports News 24.

According to the Chronicle newspaper, he made the denial after being mocked on social media – with some cruel users dubbing him “Bleachy Chiwenga” and “General Ambi”.

He took the opportunity to set the record straight at his sister’s funeral, Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper adds.

A video shows him explaining it was not a skin whitening cream, but an illness which caused the patches.

“I had this skin sickness that affected my whole body from beneath my feet to my back and the journalists started saying I was using skin lightening creams, but that was not the case. I was sick,” he said.

He said treatment in South Africa failed to work – but herbs did.

“This is what had affected me, and had also affected my wife,” said Mr Chiwenga.

 

Source: BBC

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