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  • Biafra separatists checked as Buhari gets top title on visit to Igboland

    Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday started his tour of the country’s southeast – known to be the heartland of the Igbo people.

    It is Buhari’s first visit to the region since taking office in 2015. It also came amidst tensions over deadly clashes between the Nigerian army and separatist group, the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB).

    Buhari arrived in Ebonyi State where he was received by the governor and other top brass of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

    He was also conferred with a top chieftaincy title in Igboland. The two titles were “Enyioma 1 of Ebonyi and Ochioha Ndi Igbo 1.” “Enyioma 1” means My Number 1 Good Friend, and “Ochioha Ndi Igbo 1” means Overall Leader Number 1 of the Igbo people.

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  • Mugabe under house arrest as military takes control

    Zimbabwe's military was in control of the country on Wednesday as President Robert Mugabe said he was under house arrest and his generals denied staging a coup.

    Mugabe's decades-long grip on power appeared to be slipping as armoured military vehicles blockaded parliament, soldiers took up positions at strategic points across Harare and senior soldiers commandeered state television to broadcast a late-night address.

    "The president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed," Major General Sibusiso Moyo said late Tuesday.

    "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."

    AFP/File / Jekesai NJIKIZANAThe ruling ZANU-PF party accused army chief General Constantino Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct" after he criticised President Robert Mugabe for sacking vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. 

    Moyo added: "This is not a military takeover of government".

    Their shock announcement was later followed by heavy gunfire close to the 93-year-old president's private residence, and prompted angry responses from around the world.

    Mugabe later told South African President Jacob Zuma that he was effectively under house arrest -- though unharmed. Several supporters of Mugabe and his wife Grace are reportedly in military custody.

    Pretoria said it would deploy a military and intelligence delegation to Harare to help broker a resolution to the crisis on behalf of southern Africa's regional bloc.

    The Southern African Development Community said it would hold an emergency meeting in Botswana on Thursday to discuss the situation.

    South Africa, the European Union, the United Nations and Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial master, all called for restraint.

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  • Mugabe: Liberation hero turned despot

    Zimbabwe's veteran leader Robert Mugabe once quipped that he'd rule his country until he turned 100.

    But, aged 93, his grip on power seems to be ebbing as tensions erupt between his loyal ZANU-PF party and the military that has helped keep him in office.

    First heralded as a liberator who rid the former British colony Rhodesia of white minority rule, Robert Gabriel Mugabe was soon cast in the role of a despot who crushed political dissent and ruined the national economy.

    The former political prisoner turned guerrilla leader swept to power in 1980 elections after a violent insurgency and economic sanctions forced the Rhodesian government to the negotiating table.

    In office he initially won international plaudits for his declared policy of racial reconciliation and for extending improved education and health services to the black majority.

    But his lustre faded quickly.

    Mugabe took control of one wing in the guerrilla war for independence -- the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and its armed forces -- after his release from prison in 1974.

    His partner in the armed struggle -- the leader of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), Joshua Nkomo -- was one of the early casualties of Mugabe's crackdown on dissent.

    Nkomo was dismissed from government, where he held the home affairs portfolio, after the discovery of an arms cache in his Matabeleland province stronghold in 1982.

    Mugabe, whose party drew most of its support from the ethnic Shona majority, then unleashed his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade on Nkomo's Ndebele people in a campaign known as Gukurahundi that killed an estimated 20,000 suspected dissidents.

    It was the seizure of white-owned farms nearly two decades later that would complete Mugabe's transformation from darling of the West into international pariah -- though his status as a liberation hero still resonates in many parts of Africa.

    Aimed largely at placating angry war veterans who threatened to destabilise his rule, the land reform policy wrecked the crucial agricultural sector, caused foreign investors to flee and helped plunge the country into economic misery.

    At the same time, critics say, Mugabe clung to power through increased repression of human rights and by rigging elections.

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  • Botswana president says he will step down at the end of his term in April

    Khama succeeded former President Festus Mogae as president in 2008 after serving as Vice President since 1998. He was elected for a full five-year term in 2009 and re-elected in 2014 for his final second term.

    The former military commander will also be replaced as the leader of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) by his vice president who was elected in July to lead the ruling party.

    Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi will serve as interim president until the election in 2019 which will see four main opposition parties standing as a coalition to topple the ruling party which has been in power since 1966.

    Ian Khama says the country can achieve its vision by coming together to build the country.

    “While we will undoubtedly continue to confront significant challenges, when we place the interests of Botswana first we shall find the strength to overcome all obstacles,” he said.

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