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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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Father Of Ivory Coast Boy Smuggled In A Suitcase Walks Free

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The father of a boy who was hidden inside a suitcase in an attempt to smuggle him into Europe has been allowed to walk free from court.

Adou was just eight years old when a shocked border official spotted his figure – crushed into the fetal position – on an X-ray at the border of Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in May 2015.

His father Ali Ouattara, 45, was waiting on the other side, having been promised by the smugglers that his son was being brought from his home in the Ivory Coast to Europe by car.

Attempts to have their son join them in Spain legally failed, Mr Ouattara explained, and after Adou’s grandmother died, leaving him with just his 18-year-old brother, the family had resorted to paying a criminal gang 5,000 euros ($6,200; £4,400).

But after Adou was found inside the suitcase, the one-time French and philosophy teacher faced charges of facilitating his son’s illegal entry into Europe and threatening the child’s life.

Prosecutors were hoping for a three-year jail sentence, and the cruelty – and danger – of making the crossing this way was not lost on judge Fernando Teson.

“The child’s life was endangered, he was inhumanly curled up in a tiny suitcase, without ventilation,” he told the court in Ceuta, according to news agency AFP.

However, it was 10-year-old Adou’s testimony which saved his father from a long sentence.

The little boy said a “Moroccan girl” forced him into the suitcase, which made it difficult for him to breathe.

But Adou said Mr Ouattara – who has spent a month in prison – had always told him the journey would be made “by car” – and the court could find no evidence the family had known any different.

Mr Ouattara was ordered to pay a 92 euro ($114) fine, but could walk free.

“It’s all over and we can begin to resume out lives, together, my wife, my daughter my son and I,” he said, revealing the family would start a new life in northern Spain.

 

Source: BBC

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Nigeria Boko Haram: Schoolgirls Escape Militant Attack

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Schoolgirls and teachers in north-eastern Nigeria have escaped an attack on a boarding school by Boko Haram jihadists, witnesses say.

They say the militants in pick-up trucks arrived in the town of Dapchi, Yobe state, on Monday evening, shooting and setting off explosives.

Alerted by the noise, staff and students were able to flee.

In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 girls from a school in the north-eastern town of Chibok.

Residents and civilian militia in Dapchi say they believe the jihadists had planned to kidnap schoolgirls in their town too.

After finding the school empty, the militants looted the building.

They say that Nigeria’s security forces – backed by military jets – later repelled the attack.

Last September, a group of more than 100 of the Chibok girls were reunited with their families at a party in the capital Abuja.

Most of the group were released in May as part of a controversial prisoner swap deal with the Nigerian government that saw five Boko Haram commanders released.

But more than 100 schoolgirls are still being held by Boko Haram, and their whereabouts are unknown.

Boko Haram militants have been fighting a long insurgency in their quest for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The conflict is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people.

The Chibok girls represent a fraction of the women captured by the militant group, which has kidnapped thousands during its eight-year insurgency in northern Nigeria.

 

Source: BBC

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BBC Starts Igbo And Yoruba Services In Nigeria

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Two new language services have been launched by the BBC World Service for Igbo and Yoruba speakers in Nigeria and West and Central Africa.

Their digital content is mainly aimed at audiences who use mobile phones.

Igbo is primarily spoken in south-east Nigeria and Yoruba in the south-west, as well as in Benin and Togo.

The new services are part of the World Service’s biggest expansion since the 1940s, following a government-funding boost announced in 2016.

In total, 12 services are being launched by the BBC in Africa and Asia.

Igbo – seven things

  • Best-known Igbo speaker was Chinua Achebe, regarded as the founding father of African literature
  • Estimated to have more than 30 million speakers, mainly in south-eastern Nigeria
  • A word with the same spelling can have different meanings, for example “akwa” is bed, egg, cloth or burial rights – depending on its tone
  • An Igbo secessionist movement sparked a brutal civil war in 1967
  • The caffeine-rich kola nut is all important in Igbo culture – always offered to welcome guests
  • A famous proverb: “Onye wetara ọjị, wetara ndụ” meaning: “He who brings kola, brings life”

 

Source: BBC

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