Saturday, 18 November 2017

ARTS AND CULTURE

“These are tears of joy,” Frank Mutsindikwa, 34, told Reuters, holding aloft the Zimbabwean flag.

“I’ve been waiting all my life for this day. Free at last. We are free at last.”

NAN reports that on Friday, President Ian Khama of Botswana urged Mugabe to end his attempts to remain in office after the military seized power, as he has no regional diplomatic support to stay in power.

The military intervention, which political sources say could pave the way to a national unity government after 37 years of Mugabe rule, also presented “an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on a path to peace and prosperity”, Khama told Reuters.

“I don’t think anyone should be President for that amount of time. We are Presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just common sense,” Khama said.

Earlier, Mugabe arrived at a university graduation ceremony in the capital on Friday, his first public appearance since a military seizure of power that political sources say is aimed at ending his 37 years in office.

Mugabe, who is 93, opened a graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University in Harare.

He wore blue and yellow academic robes and a mortar board hat and appeared to fall asleep in his chair as his eyes closed and his head lolled.

Mugabe led the country’s liberation struggle and has dominated its politics since independence in 1980.

He said he is still in charge but a senior member of the ZANU-PF ruling party said it wanted him gone.

“If he becomes stubborn, we will arrange for him to be fired on Sunday,” the source said. “When that is done, it’s impeachment on Tuesday.”

In contrast, the military said in a statement on national television it was “engaging” with Mugabe. It referred to him as Commander in Chief and said it would announce an outcome as soon as possible.

Mugabe is revered as an elder statesman and member of the generation of Africa’s independence leaders but he is also viewed by many in Africa as a president who held his country back by remaining in power too long.

He calls himself the grand old man of African politics.

Zimbabwe’s official newspaper, the Herald, ran photographs late on Thursday showing him grinning and shaking hands with military chief Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, who seized power this week.

The images stunned Zimbabweans who thought it meant Mugabe was managing to hold out against Chiwenga’s coup, with some political sources saying he was trying to delay his departure until elections scheduled for next year.

The ZANU-PF source said that was not the case. Anxious to avoid a protracted stalemate, party leaders were drawing up plans to dismiss Mugabe at the weekend if he refused to quit, the source said.

“There is no going back,” the source told Reuters. “It’s like a match delayed by heavy rain, with the home side leading 90-0 in the 89th minute.”

The army is camped on his doorstep.

His wife, Grace, is under house arrest, and her key political allies are in military custody.

The police, once a bastion of support, have showed no signs of resistance.

Furthermore, he has little popular backing in the capital, a stronghold of support for opposition parties that have tapped into the anger and frustration at his handling of the economy, which collapsed after the seizure of white-owned farms in 2000.

Unemployment is now running at nearly 90 percent and chronic shortages of hard currency have triggered hyperinflation, with the prices of imports rising as much as 50 per cent a month.

The only words Mugabe spoke at the graduation ceremony were met with ululations from the crowd.

In a telling irony, one of the graduates was the wife of Chiwenga.

The U.S., a longtime Mugabe critic, is seeking “a new era”, the State Department’s top official for Africa said, an implicit call for Mugabe to quit.

n an interview with Reuters, acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto appeared to dismiss the idea of keeping Mugabe in an interim or ceremonial role.

“It’s a transition to a new era for Zimbabwe, that’s really what we’re hoping for,” Yamamoto said.

The army appears to want Mugabe to go quietly and allow a smooth and bloodless transition to Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president, whose sacking last week triggered the military takeover.

The main goal of the generals is to prevent Mugabe from handing power to his wife, Grace, who appeared on the cusp of power after Mnangagwa was pushed out.

(Reuters/NAN)

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday said it had tendered 25 exhibits and called six witnesses against a former Governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Sani Yerima, who is standing trial for allegedly mismanaging N464,820,189.24out of  N1billion loan meant for the repair of Gusau Dam in 2006.

The agency also said it had made its final submission before Justice Bello Tukur Gummi of Zamfara State High Court 5, sitting in Gusau.

A statement by the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs. Mrs Rasheedat A. Okoduwa (mni), said the ex-governor’s statement corroborated the charges preferred against him.

The statement said: “The commission’s prosecuting counsel led by Mrs. Christiana Onuogu, after calling six witnesses and tendering 25 exhibits made their final submission while the counsel for the ex-governor, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), tendered 8 exhibits.

“In her submission, Mrs. Onuogu argued that the prosecution had proved the essential elements of the offences with which the former governor was being charged, and that the principle of a no-case submission made by him failed where the defendant had explanations to make in response to the charges against him.

“She also averred that the defendant’s confessional statement that he had diverted part of the N1billion UBA loan to other projects and services corroborated the charges preferred against him.

“The action, according to her, was contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“Mrs. Onuogu, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the no-case submission entered by the defence counsel.

“Having listened to the submissions made by both the defence and the prosecution, the trial judge adjourned the case to 5th December, 2017 for ruling on the no-case submission”.

It should be recalled that Senator Yerima had earlier been arraigned in 2016 by the ICPC before Justice Bello Shinkafi of High Court 4, Gusau, Zamfara State on a 19-count charge bordering on  the alleged diversion of N385.5million and other sums from the N1bn loan meant for the repair of a collapsed dam and rehabilitation of flood victims while he was governor.

The case was subsequently transferred to Justice Gummi with the agreement of both the defence and prosecuting counsel on account of several adjournments because of the judge’s ill-health.

Some of the  charges against Sani, popularly called Yerima Bakura, are as follows:  “That you Ahmed Rufai Sani on or about November 2006, whilst being the Governor of Zamfara State at Gusau within the jurisdiction of this court did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and settlement of the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N20m purportedly on assistance to the INEC and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“ On another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N10million purportedly on donation and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“ Did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent N43,008,000 purportedly on surveillance of guests and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“That you Ahmed Rufai Sani on or about November 2006, whilst being the Governor of Zamfara State at Gusau within the jurisdiction of this court did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by  the Zamfara State House of Assembly allocated for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N21,450,000 purportedly on settlement of publication equipment and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000”.

Saturday, 18 November 2017 01:40

EFCC grills ex-SGF Anyim

Barely 24 hours after his arrest, detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday grilled a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, on how he allegedly laundered over N13billion out of N58, 146,983,677.85 in the Ecological Fund account.

He was also asked to explain how the ecological cash ended up in the accounts of about 15 companies linked with him.

A third peg of the interrogation bordered on why Anyim collected N520million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on the eve of the 2015 general elections.

The reasons for the payment of the N520million were described by investigators as “unclear” as at the time of filing this report. 

According to findings, Anyim, who was described as sober in custody, was said to have used two of the 15 companies to make several transfers to 37 entities.

It was learnt that the EFCC opted to arrest the ex-SGF after he failed to respond to a letter of invitation from the agency.

It was gathered that Anyim, who was aware of the EFCC trail on him in the last one year, had banked on a political solution to his travails.

His sudden attendance of a dinner in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abakaliki on Tuesday was said to be one of the rapprochements he was banking on to stave off the EFCC’s arrest.

But top sources close to investigation, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, claimed that Anyim had a lot of garbage to clear based on his conduct in office.

One of the sources said Anyim, who was SGF from May 2011 to May 29, 2015, was under probe for alleged “false declaration of assets, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering”.

The source said: “We have been conducting a covert investigation of Anyim in the last two years based on the alleged diversion and laundering of ecological funds.

“After reaching an appreciable stage, we invited Anyim, but he refused to honour the 10am appointment given to him. We had no choice than to effect his arrest at about noon on Thursday.

“We executed a search warrant in his house and we were able to recover some documents relevant to the investigation.”

Asked to be specific on the allegations against Anyim, another source added: There was the wild disbursement of cash from the SGF Ecological Fund account when Anyim was in charge. Most of the beneficiaries of the cash had nothing to do with ecological contracts.

“For instance, from May 2012 to May 2015, the SGF Ecological Fund Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria received an inflow of N58,146,983,677.85. From this fund, three of the companies linked to Anyim (Foundation Years, Obis Associate and Eldyke Engineering) received contracts worth over N13billion. Foundation Years alone received a net payment of N10,308,017,838.85 between 2014 and 2015.

“Curiously, on receiving the fund, Foundation Years and another Anyim’s company, Br-Kthru, made several transfers to 37 entities. Some of the organizations and individuals have no nexus at all with ecological issues. Investigators are probing the reasons behind the wild disbursement.

The source listed companies which Anyim allegedly used as fronts to “obtain contracts or laundered proceeds of the ecological funds contracts as Foundation Years Limited, Precious Integrated, Precious Petroleum, Mak & Mak, Chap Construction, Eldyke Engineering, Pryke Limited, Chipa Nigeria Limited, Prima A11 Limited, Pima International, Chanto Engineering, Ishiagu Microfinance Bank, Mulak Ventures, Vitro Engineering and Tip Top Nigeria.”

A third source said  Anyim has cases to answer in connection with alleged “false assets declaration, receiving N520m from the Office of the National Security Adviser on the eve of the 2015 general elections for unclear reasons and using proxies and companies in which he had interest to corner contracts from the Ecological Fund.

“So far, he is looking sober in our facility, but we have asked him to give account of the N13billion curious payments/ withdrawals/ transfers from the Ecological Fund account. We have conducted searches on the 15 firms, identified their accounts.

“More amazing was the transfer of the N520million to Anyim by ONSA on the eve of the 2015 general elections. He needs to account for this cash too.

“We have other strands of investigation, including the Centenary Project, alleged cornering of NDDC projects by cronies and alleged building of a 297-bed hotel within two years of becoming SGF. But we have not gone into these other allegations.

“Anyim knew all along that the EFCC had been on his trail. At a point, he wanted a political solution to his travails, but this has not worked for him. What is at stake has to do with public funds.”

All the efforts to contact Anyim or any of his aides for comment did not succeed as the mobile telephone numbers of virtually all the contacts were switched off.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has made his first public appearance since the army took over on Wednesday.

He attended a graduation ceremony in the capital, Harare, handing out degrees.

Mr Mugabe had been under house arrest for days. The army made its move after a power struggle over his successor.

The military said on Friday it was "engaging" with Mr Mugabe and would advise the public on the outcome of talks "as soon as possible".

Meanwhile Christopher Mutsvangwa - the leader of the influential war veterans' association, once loyal to Mr Mugabe - said he should step down at once.

He called for a huge turnout in street protests on Saturday.

"We want to restore our pride and tomorrow is the day... we can finish the job which the army started," Mr Mutsvangwa said.

"There's no going back about Mugabe. He must leave."

Liberal groups opposed to the president have also backed the rally.

The leader of last year's #Thisflag protests, Evans Mwarire, urged people to turn up.

President Mugabe at graduation ceremony - 17 NovemberImage copyrightAFP
Mr Mugabe is chancellor at the Open University

Mr Mugabe's attendance at the graduation is an annual tradition but he was not expected this year.

BBC Online Africa editor Joseph Winter says he was allowed to be there partly to keep up the pretence that the military have not staged a coup and partly because of a genuine, deeply felt respect for him going back more than 40 years.

Mr Mugabe walked slowly up a red carpet and joined the crowd in singing the national anthem, then opened the graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe's Open University, where he is chancellor.

One of the people he conferred a degree upon was Marry Chiwenga, the wife of the general who detained him on Wednesday, the state broadcaster reports.

Neither the 93-year-old president's wife, Grace Mugabe, nor Education Minister Jonathan Moyo - an ally of hers whose house was reportedly raided by the military - were present.

The army acted after Mr Mugabe sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week.

Mr Mnangagwa was seen as a potential successor and his sacking was supposed to have paved the way for Grace Mugabe - who is four decades younger than him - to take over the presidency instead.

Zimbabwe's long-time President Robert Mugabe is reportedly refusing to step down immediately, despite growing calls for his resignation.

The 93-year-old was put under house arrest during a military takeover on Wednesday, amid a power struggle over who would succeed him.

There has been no official word on the outcome of talks he had with regional envoys and the army chief earlier.

But sources say he has so far refused to agree to move aside.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said earlier it was "in the interests of the people" that Mr Mugabe "resign... immediately".

The army moved in after Mr Mugabe last week sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, signalling that he favoured his wife Grace Mugabe to take over his Zanu-PF party and thus the presidency.

The BBC's Andrew Harding, in Zimbabwe, says that if President Mugabe can be persuaded to step down officially it could help legitimise the military's dramatic intervention.

On the streets, it is hard to find anyone who wants Mr Mugabe to stay on, our correspondent adds, but negotiating the manner of his departure and some sort of transitional agreement to follow could take some time.

So what's going on in Harare now?

It's very unclear.

Photos in the Zimbabwe Herald earlier showed Mr Mugabe meeting army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga and the two envoys from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) at State House in Harare.

Alongside them was Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Roman Catholic priest known to Mr Mugabe for years, who has been brought in to mediate.

Sources close to the talks say Mr Mugabe - who has been in control of Zimbabwe since it threw off white minority rule in 1980 - is refusing to stand down voluntarily before next year's planned elections.

"I think he is trying to buy time," one source close to the army leadership told the AFP news agency.

Some observers suggest that Mr Mugabe may be trying to seek guarantees of safety for himself and his family before stepping aside.

Zanu-PF officials had earlier suggested Mr Mugabe could remain nominally in power until the party congress in December, when Mr Mnangagwa would be formally installed as party and national leader.

Mr Mugabe in the meeting at State House in HarareImage copyrightZIMBABWE HERALD
Mr Mugabe met officials at State House in Harare
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 18:56

Yvonne Nelson’s Baby Daddy Is Married

Yvonne Nelson

An interview with pregnant Ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson was published by WOW magazine on Sunday, November 12, alongside photos.

The actress spoke about her pregnancy and parenting with the father of her child. She revealed that the father of her child is London-based but did not reveal any further details.

According to popular Ghanaian celebrity blog, Zionfelix, Yvonne Nelson’s baby daddy is a Fashion Photographer.

An article published on the blog on Monday, November 13, named the man as Jamie and he is indeed a photographer who is based in London.

He travelled to Ghana from London to witness the birth of his daughter with the Ghanaian actress. He currently lives in Ghana.

Jamie Roberts

On 1st November, GhanaCelebrities.Com reported that Yvonne Nelson’s invisible baby father is allegedly someone’s husband–and now, mounting evidence seems to confirm this.

Apart from published screenshot conversation of a Nigerian woman who claims to be his wife, the online platform has identified the baby daddy as Jamie Roberts–and the Nigerian wife as Keela Harrison.

Here’s what looks like a photo from their wedding in London, indicating that indeed Jamie and Keela married.

With Keela saying there has not been any divorce yet, it seems the reason why the man who got Yvonne Nelson pregnant could not marry her is that he’s married to another woman–with whom he has kids.

Yvonne confirmed in her interview with WOW Magazine that, Jamie has kids with another woman.

Keela Harrison Roberts

Aside these interesting findings, the wife of Yvonne Nelson’s baby father has described him as useless, the same man Yvonne claimed is responsible.

The wife in what’s said to be a leaked chat said Jamie is a “lazy ass, broke ex-convict and woman abuser.”

Keela
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 18:46

Drama as Ndume resumes

…I don’t begrudge anybody, says Ndume

 

The resumption of former Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume Wednesday after serving out 90 legislative days of suspension did not go without drama.

The drama played out when Ndume in his usual boisterous manner raised a Point Order apparently to announce his return to the chamber. 

It was obvious that senators were wondering what the Borno South lawmaker wanted to say so soon after he was left off the hook.

Ndume surprised everybody in the chamber when he recalled the sudden death of Senator Isiaka Adeleke (Osun West) whom he said sat behind him in the chamber.

Ndume who told his colleagues that he used to call Adeleke his “landlord” in the chamber prayed the Senate to observe a minute silence in honour of late senator.

Not done, Ndume also recalled the recently signed North East Development Commission Act.

The Bill that led to the Act, he said, was spearheaded by him and Senator Kabiru Gaya to address the humanitarian crisis created by the activities of Boko Haram in the North East geo-political zone.

He thanked his colleagues for ensuring speedy passage of the Bill and President Muhammadu Buhari for appreciating the necessity to sign the Bill into law in record time.

While Ndume was marshaling his points, Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) was gesturing at the back ground to raise another point of order.

It was not clear what Melaye (Kogi West) wanted to say but Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who might have sensed trouble, did not recognise him.

When Ndume was done, Saraki simple ruled that “the points made by Ndume are noted” and quickly moved on to other legislative matters listed for the day.

At a press briefing, Ndume said that he went to court to challenge his suspension to seek clarification on the position of the law about the way and manner the Senate suspended him.

The lawmaker said that he did not go to court for any personal benefit but to seek clarification in the interest of democracy.

He insisted that there was nothing personal about his suspension neither is he holding anybody responsible for his suspension.

He also said that he went to court to test the law in defence of democracy and reiterated that he does not begrudge anybody over his suspension.

He noted that the court had since declared his suspension as illegal, null, void and of no effect.

Ndume who added that the Senate has signaled its intension to appeal the court ruling declared “we will watch how it goes.”

He said, “There was nothing about what happened. I did not see anything personal; I did not take anything personal. I don’t begrudge anybody but if there is anybody who took personal leave that to God.”

Zimbabwe's military has placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest in the capital Harare, South African President Jacob Zuma says.

Mr Mugabe told Mr Zuma in a phone call that he was fine, the South African leader's office said.

Troops are patrolling the capital, Harare, after they seized state TV and said they were targeting "criminals".

The move may be a bid to replace Mr Mugabe with his sacked deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, BBC correspondents say.

Mr Mnangagwa's dismissal last week left Mr Mugabe's wife Grace as the president's likely successor.

Heavy gun and artillery fire could be heard in northern parts of Harare early on Wednesday.

Mr Mugabe, 93, has dominated the impoverished country's political scene since it gained independence from the UK in 1980.

The UK Foreign Office advised Britons "currently in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer", while the US embassy in Harare advised US citizens in Zimbabwe to "shelter in place" until further notice.

China, Zimbabwe's biggest trading partner, says it is closely watching the situation and hopes that the relevant parties can properly handle their internal affairs.

 

What do we know of Mr Mugabe's situation?

The firing heard during the early morning came from Harare's northern suburbs, where Mr Mugabe and a number of government officials live, the BBC's Shingai Nyoka reports from Harare.

In a statement, Mr Zuma's office said: "President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine."

Young women walk past an armoured personnel carrier in Harare, 15 NovemberImage copyrightAFP
Troops are patrolling Harare

Special envoys from the Southern African Development Community would be sent to Zimbabwe, he added.

A Zimbabwean army officer, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, went on TV after the takeover to say Mr Mugabe and his family were "safe and sound and their security is guaranteed".

 

How did the military justify its move?

"We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes... that are causing social and economic suffering in the country," Maj Gen Moyo said, reading out a statement.

 
Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo read out a statement on national TV early on Wednesday

"As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy."

Maj Gen Moyo also called on the security services to co-operate "for the good" of the country and warned that any provocation would "be met with an appropriate response".

It is not clear who is leading the military action.

Army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga, who visited China last week, said on Monday the army was prepared to act to end purges within the ruling Zanu-PF party.

In Harare, some people greeted the news with delight. "We are going to have a good life, we are looking forward to Christmas, because of what has happened," one woman told BBC News.

"I want to thank the general for removing this tyrant," said a man. "He was ruling the country as if it belonged to his family."

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 13:26

Power slips from Mugabe as military steps in

Zimbabwe's military appeared to be in control of the country Wednesday as generals denied staging a coup but used state television to vow to target "criminals" close to President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe's decades-long grip on power was dramatically weakened as military vehicles blocked roads outside the parliament in Harare and senior soldiers delivered a late-night television address to the nation.

"We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed," Major General Sibusiso Moyo said, slowly reading out a statement.

"We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes... As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy."

Moyo said "this is not a military takeover of government".

But the generals' actions posed as a major challenge to the ageing Mugabe, 93, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

Tensions between the veteran leader and the military, which has long helped prop up his authoritarian rule, have erupted in public in recent days.

The ruling ZANU-PF party on Tuesday accused army chief General Constantino Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct" after he criticised Mugabe for sacking vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Government silence
Mnangagwa's dismissal left Mugabe's wife Grace, 52, in prime position to succeed her husband as the next president -- a succession strongly opposed by senior ranks in the military.

As the situation deteriorated overnight, prolonged gunfire was heard near Mugabe's private residence.

The US embassy warned its citizens in the country to "shelter in place" due to "ongoing political uncertainty".

Armoured vehicles in the capital alarmed residents as Chiwenga had warned of possible military intervention. The army's spokesman was not available to comment.

"The government's silence on the military deployments seem to confirm that President Mugabe has lost control of the situation," Robert Besseling, of the London-based EXX Africa risk consultancy, said.

"Any coup would be likely to involve the imposition of a curfew. 

"The main indicator of a broader outbreak of violence would be the reaction of the Presidential Guard, which remains loyal to President Mugabe."

Mugabe is the world's oldest head of state, but his poor health has fuelled a bitter succession battle as potential replacements jockey for position.

In speeches this year, Mugabe has often slurred his words, mumbled and paused for long periods.

His lengthy rule has been marked by brutal repression of dissent, mass emigration, vote-rigging and economic collapse since land reforms in 2000.

The main opposition MDC party called for civilian rule to be protected.

"No one wants to see a coup... If the army takes over that will be undesirable. It will bring democracy to a halt," shadow defence minister Gift Chimanikire, told AFP on Tuesday.

Grace's ambitions
Speculation has been rife in Harare that Mugabe could seek to remove Chiwenga, who is seen as an ally of ousted Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa, 75, was widely viewed as Mugabe's most loyal lieutenant, having worked alongside him for decades.

Earlier this year the country was gripped by a bizarre spat between Grace and Mnangagwa that included an alleged ice-cream poisoning incident that laid bare the pair's rivalry.

Grace Mugabe -- 41 years younger than her husband -- has become increasingly active in public life in what many say was a process to help her eventually take the top job.

She was granted diplomatic immunity in South Africa in August after she allegedly assaulted a model at an expensive Johannesburg hotel where the couple's two sons were staying.

As the economy collapsed, Zimbabwe was engulfed by hyperinflation and was forced to abandon its own currency in 2009 in favour of the US dollar.

The country, which has an unemployment rate of over 90 percent, is due to hold elections next year with Mugabe pledging to stand for office again.

Friday, 10 November 2017 21:30

Senegal book World Cup ticket

Senegal on Friday sealed a return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time since their 2002 debut thanks to a 2-0 win over South Africa in World Cup qualifying African Group D.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Diafra Sakho scored the opener for the visitors in Polokwane, before a somewhat fortuitous Thamsanqa Mkhize own goal sealed the three points for the Teranga Lions.

The visitors are now five points ahead of nearest Group D challengers Burkina Faso with one game remaining.

Senegal stunned the world by beating World Cup holders France in their first ever game at the global finals in 2002.

If they are to produce performances to match that at Russia 2018, it is likely that Liverpool’s Sadio Mane will be the catalyst.

Unsurprisingly, Mane was integral to the victory that booked their World Cup return, with a wonderfully incisive through ball teeing up Sakho for the opener.

2010 World Cup hosts South Africa played their part – and even dominated possession for spells – in a lively match, with Lebogang Manyama hitting the crossbar.

But the second goal, just before half-time, knocked the wind out of their sails.

Head coach Aliou Cisse was the Senegalese captain during their 2002 debut, which saw them follow up that remarkable opening win against France to reach the quarter-finals.

The former midfielder will be hoping he can inspire them to achieve similarly superlative heights next year in Russia. (NAN)

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