Sunday, 21 January 2018
Headliners

Headliners (1839)

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is rolling out his political armour against several Peoples Democratic Governors (PDP) in a fierce battle for the soul of the party at Saturday’s crucial national convention.

Also scheming for control of the party’s machinery are ex-Vice President Namadi Sambo; ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar (who is yet to officially join the party); ex-governors, loyalists of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida led by a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau; ex-President of the Senate, Chief David Mark; Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu; ex-Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu; members of the party’s Board of Trustees being coordinated by its chairman, Sen. Walid Jibrin, Sen. Ahmadu Ali and Prof. Jerry Gana, a former Minister of Information.

Serving governors are being coordinated by Mr. Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Ayo Fayose.

Former governors of the party including Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Ibrahim Idris and Idris Wada (both Kogi) are not left out.

Investigation revealed that almost every godfather in PDP is backing one candidate or the other for election into the National Working Committee (NWC).

The objective is to enable the godfathers have a say in the management of the party especially in the choice of the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 election.

It was gathered that the interest of the godfathers has complicated the intrigues surrounding the contest for party offices at the December 9 convention.

Although some party leaders are pushing for merit, some other leaders believe that all the candidates have been tested in the past.

The positions of National Chairman, National Secretary, Deputy National Chairman (North); Deputy National Chairman (South) , the National Organizing Secretary and the National Publicity Secretary are attracting more interest from the godfathers.

The top contenders for the national chairmanship are a former Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; a former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran; a former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George; a former Minister of Sports, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja; a former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; ex-Governor of Oyo State, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja; a media mogul, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi; and a former governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.

A breakdown of the support base of the chairmanship aspirants is as follows:

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Wike, Fayose, PDP governors, state PDP chairmen
Tunde Adeniran—-Jonathan, IBB Boys, Gusau, Gana, Ali, Mantu, BOT members
Otunba Gbenga Daniel—-Ex-governors, a splinter of IBB Boys,
Olabode George—-Some BOT members
Taoheed Adedoja—-BOT members, some Northern delegates
Jimi Agbaje—–South-West delegates, BOT members
Rashidi Ladoja—-Ex-governors but under pressure to accept concession of Deputy Chairman slot to his choice
A top party source said: “The jostle for offices at the national convention is going to be a battle royale because the godfathers in the party and the governors want to slug it out to install their loyalists.

“For ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, the convention will be a litmus test for his plans to be a father-figure for PDP. But if he fails, it might be another political setback for him after the loss at the poll in 2015.

“Jonathan and others, especially loyalists of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida, are working hard for a national outlook for PDP but some of the governors think otherwise. They said they are already conducting some permutations.

“Our greatest fear is that all these forces are trying to outsmart each other. If the party leaders can cage the governors and allow the delegates to have a final say, we will be opening a new chapter for PDP.”

A member of Board of Trustees of PDP said: “we are all worried because if we do not get it right, we might as well say goodbye to our chances in 2019.

“The party is on the edge again. We are however struggling to appeal to all groups to sheathe their swords and avoid implosion at the convention.”

Responding to a question, the BOT source added: “All our leaders are conscious of the 2019 poll and they are struggling to be relevant. You cannot blame them because in politics, relevance matters.”

A governor, who spoke with our correspondent last night, said: “I think the way out of any crisis at the convention is to allow for a free and fair contest. We need to live up to our appellation as a democratic party.

“We are already working on a unity list because we do not want to play into the hands of the ruling party. Certainly, there will be more horse-trading in the days ahead but we will survive it.

“We urge the judiciary not to entertain any frivolous application to stop the convention from holding.”

Posted On Sunday, 03 December 2017 02:01 Written by

A Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Thursday adjourned till 4th of December, 2017 when the former Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani will be re-arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N4.5 billion during his tenure as the governor of the state

When the case was mentioned on Thursday, a lawyer M. Bamidele from the law firm of Ricky Tarfa who represented the defendant told the court that his chamber was served with hearing notice six days ago, but that the time was too short for Nnamani to be in court as the defendant was not in the country and that they have not been able to get in touch with him.

The prosecutor, Kelvin Uzozie was also not in court, but wrote a letter to the court asking for adjournment; consequently the court adjourned till 4th of December, 2017, when the former governor would be arraigned.

However, the defense counsel Bamidele, objected to the date, on the ground that it might be difficult to get in touch with the defendant before that day but the Presiding Judge, Prof. Chuka Obizor frowned at his objection, as he observed that this might be a ploy to delay the trial, as he claimed that the case has just been assigned to him, therefore the counsel should take steps to make sure that his client come back to face trial.

thereafter Justice Obiozor adjourned till 4th and 14th of December, 2017 for arraignment and trial.

This fresh arraignment is coming ten years after the ex-governor and others were first arraigned before the court in connection with the alleged offence.

Nnamani was earlier arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar and re-arraigned before Justice Charles Archibong when Tijani Abubakar was elevated to court of appeal and later re-arraigned before Mohammed Yinusa when Justice Archibong retired.

The former governor was re -arraigned on a 105-count charge of money laundering and economic crime to the tune of N4.5 billion.

The case has just been reassigned to Obiozor to start afresh.

The ex-governor was arraigned before the court alongside his ex-aide, Sunday Anyaogu and six firms linked to them.

They are: Rainbownet Nig Ltd, Hillgate Nig Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

Mr Bamidele told the court that as of today, only Nnamani was the only defendant in the charge as the companies have been convicted.

The financial impropriety was alleged to have been committed while Nnamani held sway as governor of Enugu state between 1999 and 2007.

Nnamani, according to the charge, was alleged to have conspired with other accused persons to launder various statutory allocations of some local government areas of Enugu State.

The local governments are: Aninri, Enugu South, Agwu, Igbo Etiti and Isi Uzor.

In count nine, Nnamani was alleged to have stolen N1.4 billion from the Excess Crude Oil Funds allocated to the local governments in the state.

Besides, the former governor, through the help of one Chinero Nwigwe, who is now at large, was alleged to have fraudulently transferred millions of dollars of Enugu State funds to his personal accounts in the United States of America.

Posted On Friday, 01 December 2017 01:21 Written by

The Federal Government on Wednesday suspended the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir  Gwarzo.

A statement signed by Patricia Deworitshe, Deputy Director, Press, Ministry of Finance, said Gwarzo’s suspension is to allow for unhindered investigation of several allegations of financial impropriety against the SEC chief.

According to the statement, the suspension is in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRs) 03405 and 03406.

The Head of Media in SEC, Mr. Abdulsalam Naif Habu, and the Head of Legal Department, Mrs. Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, have also been suspended over alleged financial impropriety.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has set up an Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) to investigate and determine the culpability of Gwarzo in the matter and has directed the suspended DG to immediately handover to the most senior officer at the Commission pending the conclusion of investigation.

Posted On Wednesday, 29 November 2017 17:39 Written by

Robert Mugabe will continue to have a role to play in Zimbabwean politics, the Jesuit priest who helped negotiate his resignation has told the BBC.

Father Fidelis Mukonori said he would provide "advice" as an elder statesman, including to the new president.

Mr Mugabe, 93, resigned on Tuesday after a military intervention and days of mass protests.

Mr Mukonori said he could not confirm reports that the ex-leader was granted $10m (£7.5m) to ease him out of office.

Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in to replace Mr Mugabe as president on Friday.

Mr Mnangagwa, long a close ally of Mr Mugabe, was sacked earlier this month, triggering the political crisis that eventually saw his boss's downfall.

Father Mukonori, 70, who is close to Robert Mugabe and acted as a mediator between him and the military, said the new president would go to his predecessor for political counsel.

"In the African world, senior citizens are there for advice," he told the BBC's Richard Galpin at a church outside the capital, Harare, after leading a service that included prayers giving thanks for the peaceful transfer of power.

He referred to what Mr Mnangagwa said about his predecessor at his inauguration.

"When he says 'he's my father, he's my leader, he's my mentor', you tell me he's going to stay off from his father, from his mentor, from his leader? I don't think so."

The priest said that Mr Mugabe and his wife Grace remained at their house in Harare and had no plans to leave the country.

The military takeover came in response to Mr Mugabe's decision to position Grace as his successor and sack Mr Mnangagwa from the vice-presidency.

Father Mukonori said he could not confirm reports that the ex-president was granted millions of dollars and promised that his assets would not be touched to persuade him to step down.

"We didn't offer him anything... He resigned for the good of Zimbabwe," he said.

He added: "What I have read in the newspapers is about immunity [from prosecution], and that he will be looked after like any other former head of state."

Mr Mugabe leaving power, he added, was the best thing he had ever done.

 
President Mnangagwa called Robert Mugabe "a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader"

Separately on Sunday, Robert Mugabe was described as being "quite jovial" by a nephew in an interview with the French news agency AFP.

"He is actually looking forward to his new life - farming and staying at the rural home. He has taken it well," Leo Mugabe said.

He said that Grace wanted to focus on already announced plans to build the controversial $1bn Robert Mugabe University in Mazowe, near Harare.

There are fears that President Mnangagwa, who is associated with some of worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since independence in 1980, will not usher in the democratic reforms that many in Zimbabwe are hoping for.

But Father Mukonori said he believed the former spymaster knows that democracy is "crucial".

Posted On Sunday, 26 November 2017 18:36 Written by

Ex-President Robert Mugabe is reportedly worth more than $1bn despite his country being one of the poorest in the world.

Mugabe’s wealth has come under the microscope following a military coup earlier in the week.

The 93-year-old dictator has accumulated significant wealth during his rule under which thousands of people have been killed over the past 37 years.

Local media reports suggest a small part of his fortune was reaped from Zimbabwe’s diamond deposits. Mugabe owns the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co.

He has repeatedly been accused of stealing from the country’s coffers, while he also reportedly acquired 15 acres of land during land seizures in 2000.

According to a 2001 US diplomatic cable, later released by the whistle-blowing organisation WikiLeaks, Mugabe has about $1.75bn worth of assets, mostly invested outside Zimbabwe.

It said that while reliable information was difficult to find, there were rumours his assets “include everything from secret accounts in Switzerland, the Channel Islands and the Bahamas to castles in Scotland.”

Opposition politicians have claimed the Mugabes own 14 farms in the bankrupt country, which would be in contravention of the constitution, which limits land holdings.

The best known is the Omega Dairy farm, one of the largest dairy farms in southern Africa.

Although the family has claimed not to be wealthy, Mugabe has flaunted his wealth in the past. Just three years ago, he famously dined on elephant and lion meat at his lavish 90th birthday celebrations.

Mugabe’s home in Harare is said to be extraordinarily opulent but it’s not the only mansion in his property portfolio. The president purchased a $5.2m mansion in Hong Kong in 2013 and also owns Hamilton Palace in Sussex, UK, which was estimated to be worth about $40m before it became a construction site.

He is also said to own a custom-built Mercedes Benz s600L that is able to withstand AK-47 bullets, landmines and grenades. It also features a CD and DVD player, internet access and anti-bugging devices.

The Citizen reported that Mugabe — who is a trained teacher — also owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV: a colonial-era British luxury car so exclusive, only 18 were ever manufactured.

The vintage black car is estimated to be worth more than Zimbabwe’s entire GDP.
(News.com)

Posted On Friday, 24 November 2017 22:37 Written by

Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has addressed a packed stadium, vowing to serve all citizens.

He said he felt "deeply humbled" to take the role.

And he said he was "not oblivious to the many Zimbabweans from across the political and racial divide who have helped make this day."

He paid tribute to his predecessor Robert Mugabe - to muted applause - calling him "a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader".

Mr Mugabe left office dramatically this week after 37 years of authoritarian rule. His departure followed a power struggle in which Mr Mnangagwa was sacked as vice president to pave the way for Grace Mugabe, the then-first lady, to take up the presidency.

Mr Mnangagwa fled the country but returned to a hero's welcome and on Friday struck a conciliatory tone.

"The task at hand is that of rebuilding our country," he said.

"I am required to serve our country as the president of all citizens regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe, totem or political affiliation."

Although Mr Mnangagwa has unseated Zimbabwe's long-time ruler, he is still associated by many with some of the worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since the country gained independence in 1980.

Emmerson Mnangagwa in numbers

He was the country's spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict, in which thousands of civilians were killed. But he has denied any role in the massacres, blaming the army.

How did the inauguration unfold?

Tens of thousands of people packed the National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, to witness the inauguration. Pop singer Jah Prayzer provided the entertainment and, as people in the crowd danced, the atmosphere was closer to that of a concert.

Dignitaries, including leaders from various African countries, filed in to cheers.

Opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru - who both had their sights on the presidency at various times - were there.

Mr Mnangagwa was led in the oath of office by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, saying he would "be faithful to Zimbabwe", "protect and promote the rights and people of Zimbabwe" and discharge his duties to the best of his abilities.

Mr Mnangagwa was accompanied by his wife Auxilia and gave her a kiss after the green presidential sash was placed around his neck.

Was Mr Mugabe there?

No - and the official reason given was that at 93, the former president needed to rest.

But the fact he is not attending is a reminder that this is no ordinary transition, the BBC's Andrew Harding reports, and that despite Mr Mugabe's official resignation he was forced out by the military.

On Thursday, several reports suggested Mr Mugabe had been granted immunity from prosecution.

Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. Photo: 8 November 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
President Mugabe was accused of preparing the presidency for his wife Grace

Local media are reporting that Mr Mnangagwa has offered the Mugabe family "maximum security and welfare".

The former president "expressed his good wishes and support for the incoming president," the Herald newspaper reports.

How did Zimbabwe get to this point?

The news on Tuesday that Mr Mugabe was stepping down sparked wild celebrations across the country.

It came in the form of a letter read out in parliament, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him.

He had been under pressure since the military took control of the country a week before, seizing the headquarters of the national broadcaster.

Although Mr Mugabe was largely under house arrest for several days, he appeared to be resisting pressure to stand down.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets of Harare to urge him to go. The demonstration was led by veterans of the country's war of independence, who last year turned against him.

On Sunday, Zanu-PF sacked Mr Mugabe as its leader. Two days later, he resigned as president.

In his letter, he said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.

Will the change be good for the economy?

Zimbabwe's economy is in a very bad state. It has not recovered fully from crises in the last decade, when rampant inflation grew so bad the country had to abandon its own currency. Now, according to some estimates, 90% of people there are unemployed.

Its main industrial index has slumped by 40% since last week's military intervention and the stock market has shed $6bn (£4.5bn) in a week.

Analysts say the market is now correcting itself, optimistic of a change of economic policy under Mr Mnangagwa.

However, the International Monetary Fund has warned that Zimbabwe must act quickly to dig its economy out of a hole and access international financial aid.

In his speech, Mr Mnangagwa said he would base a new economic policy on agriculture and foreign direct investment. He has pledged to create jobs.

What comes next?

On Thursday, Zimbabwe's main opposition MDC party called for deep-rooted political reform to dismantle the repressive apparatus that sustained Mr Mugabe's regime.

 
Leader of the opposition MDC party, Morgan Tsvangirai, warns of a "power retention agenda"

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the "culture of violence" and "culture of corruption" had to be changed after "after so many years of Zanu-PF misrule".

It is unclear whether Zanu-PF will govern alone ahead of scheduled elections next year, or whether a coalition government of national unity that includes opposition groups will be formed.

Mr Mnangagwa confirmed in his speech that elections would be held as planned.

 
Posted On Friday, 24 November 2017 12:18 Written by

Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa flew home on Wednesday to take power after the resignation of Robert Mugabe put an end to 37 years of authoritarian rule.

Mnangagwa flew into Harare’s Manyame airbase from South Africa and met key members of the ruling ZANU-PF there before heading to the nerve-centre of power, State House, for a briefing, his aide Larry Mavhima told AFP.

He will be sworn in as president at an inauguration ceremony on Friday, officials said. 

Mugabe’s iron grip ended on Tuesday in a shock announcement to parliament where MPs had convened to impeach the 93-year-old who dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life for decades.

He was last seen in public on Friday and gave a televised address on Sunday but neither he, nor his wife Grace, have been seen since, with their whereabouts unknown.

On the streets, the news that his long and often brutal leadership was over sparked wild celebrations which lasted late into the night, with crowds dancing and cheering ecstatically amid a cacophony of car horns.

Mnangagwa, 75, was sacked by the president on November 6 in a move that pushed infuriated army chiefs to intervene, triggering a series of events which led to Mugabe’s ouster.

Excited crowds
Ahead of his arrival, hundreds of people gathered outside ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare in the hope he would address them, some holding placards welcoming him home, while others wore shirts emblazoned with his likeness.

A former key Mugabe ally, Mnangagwa had fled the country after his dismissal, saying he would not return without guarantees of his safety.

His sacking was the result of an increasingly bitter succession battle with first lady Grace, who had been pushing to take over from her ageing husband.

In a highly symbolic scene shortly after his resignation, a man took down a portrait of Mugabe from a wall inside the building where MPs had assembled for the extraordinary session to impeach the defiant president.

Another person replaced it with an image of the ousted vice president. 

Mnangagwa is a political veteran long-time party loyalist who has served in a host of different cabinet positions since independence in 1980 and who has close ties with the military.

But critics describe him as a ruthless hardliner behind years of state-sponsored violence, warning he could prove just as authoritarian as his mentor.

And Rinaldo Depagne of the International Crisis Group said Mugabe’s departure “does not necessarily mean more democracy”.

Meeting Zuma
At Harare’s Manyame airbase, senior military commanders and a gaggle of journalists were waiting for him as his business jet touched down at around 1400 GMT, AFP correspondents at the scene said.

Before leaving South Africa where he had been staying, Pretoria published a photograph of Mnangagwa shaking hands with President Jacob Zuma following a meeting earlier in the day, with both men grinning broadly.

Mugabe’s resignation capped a chaotic week in which the military seized control and tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets in an unprecedented show of dissent against Mugabe.

“We want our new president to make sure power hungry gangs don’t infiltrate,” said Talent Chamunorwa, 37, a brick seller.

“We hope to be able to access our money from the bank come December and the US dollar must come back.”

He was referring to Zimbabwe’s chronic shortage of cash and a mistrusted “bond note” scheme intended to be pegged to the greenback but trading at a lower rate in reality.

Outstayed his welcome
Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe almost unopposed since independence and until his exit, he was also the world’s oldest serving head of state.

But efforts to position his 52-year-old wife Grace as his successor were his undoing.

Although Mugabe’s fate remains unknown, ZANU-PF has said he deserved to be treated with respect after leading the country for nearly four decades.

“He deserves to rest and I believe every Zimbabwean agrees with this,” said ruling party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo.

“But I think he had overstayed the hospitality of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Last week’s military takeover had all the hallmarks of a coup, but the generals stopped short of forcing Mugabe out.

As the crisis grew, the ZANU-PF party, an instrument of Mugabe’s brutal reign, removed him as party leader and began parliamentary proceedings to have him impeached.

‘Extraordinary opportunity’
The international community hailed his exit as a chance to reshape Zimbabwe’s future, with British Prime Minister Theresa May saying it offered “an opportunity to forge a new path free of the oppression” that characterised Mugabe’s rule.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it offered Zimbabwe “an extraordinary opportunity to set itself on a new path”.

And Beijing, which became a major political and economic partner of Harare as it was shunned by the west, said it respected Mugabe’s decision, describing him as a “good friend of the Chinese people”.

Most Zimbabweans had only known life under Mugabe, whose time in power was defined by violent suppression, economic collapse and international isolation.

Posted On Thursday, 23 November 2017 01:39 Written by
Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president on Friday following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, state broadcaster ZBC reported on Wednesday.

Mnangagwa, who fled for his safety after Mugabe sacked him two weeks ago, will land back in Zimbabwe at 6pm (1600 GMT) at Manyame Airbase in Harare, ZBC said.

Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end four decades of rule by a man once feted as an independence hero who became feared as a despot.

Mnangagwa, whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out, was expected to land

in Zimbabwe at 1130 GMT, Larry Mavhima, an ally of the former vice president, told Reuters.

Mnangagwa, 75, who fled from Zimbabwe in fear of his safety after being sacked this month, could be sworn in as president later on Wednesday or on Thursday and is likely to lead ZANU-PF into elections in 2018.

Mugabe resigned as Zimbabwe’s president on Tuesday, a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end four decades of rule by a man once feted as an independence hero who became feared as a despot.

The 93-year-old Mugabe had clung on for a week after an army takeover, with ZANU-PF urging him to go.

He finally resigned moments after parliament began an impeachment process seen as the only legal way to force him out.

People danced in the streets of Harare and car horns blared at the news that the era of Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, was finally over.

Some brandished posters of Mnangagwa and army chief General Constantino Chiwenga.

Speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda is due to hold a news conference at 8.30 GMT.

Posted On Wednesday, 22 November 2017 12:41 Written by

Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe Tuesday, swept from power as his 37-year reign of brutality and autocratic control crumbled within days of a military takeover.

The bombshell news was delivered by the parliament speaker to a special joint session of the assembly which had convened to impeach Mugabe, 93, who has dominated every aspect of Zimbabwean public life since independence in 1980.

It was greeted on the streets of the capital Harare with car horns and wild cheering.

“I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation… with immediate effect,” said speaker Jacob Mudenda, reading the letter.

“My decision to resign is voluntary on my part. It arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.”

It capped an unprecedented week in which the military seized control, tens of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans took to the streets to demand that the president go and Mugabe wrestled to remain in power.

– ‘Things are finally going to change’ –
“We are just so happy that things are finally going to change,” Togo Ndhlalambi, 32, a hairdresser, told AFP.

Mugabe had ruled Zimbabwe almost unopposed since the country won independence from Britain but his efforts to position his wife Grace as his successor triggered fury in the military that had underpinned his regime.

His grip on power was shattered last week when the armoured military vehicles took to the streets, blockaded parliament and soldiers placed the president under house arrest in an operation that had all the hallmarks of a coup. 

But instead his generals stressed they were simply “arresting” criminals around Mugabe — a reference to supporters of Grace — and even allowed the one-time liberation hero to appear at a public function and deliver a TV speech stressing that he retained control.

Open dissent 
It is expected that he will eventually be replaced by former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been Grace Mugabe’s chief rival to succeed her husband and whose dismissal earlier this month triggered the army takeover.

Grace has not been seen since the start of the crisis.

However, under Zimbabwe’s constitution, second Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko stands to be elevated as head of state.

Veterans of the independence war — who were also formerly key Mugabe allies — had compounded mounting pressure on the former leader, demanding that he leave office immediately and helping to rally the weekend’s vast protests.

On Saturday, in scenes of public euphoria not seen since independence, huge crowds marched and sang their way through Harare and other cities in peaceful celebrations to mark his fading power.

The demonstrations drew citizens of all ages and races, jubilant that Mugabe’s fate had been sealed.

In central Harare, a group of young men tore down a green metal street sign bearing Robert Mugabe’s name and smashed it repeatedly on the road.

Such open dissent would have would have been routinely crushed by security forces before this week’s shock events.

The majority of Zimbabweans had only known life under Mugabe’s rule, which was defined by violent suppression, economic collapse and international isolation.

Posted On Tuesday, 21 November 2017 18:45 Written by
Fresh facts emerged last night that the jealous wife, Maryam Sanda, who stabbed her late husband, Bilyamin Bello, the son of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mohammed Haliru Bello, was earlier prevented four times from carrying out the act.

It was also alleged that bloodstains in the couple’s flat had been mopped up and murder weapon cleared by unknown persons before homicide detectives stormed the place on Sunday.

The deceased also at the last minutes went to an ATM and withdrew cash to pay for the balance of the repair of his wife’s crashed car.

But Maryam was said to have demanded for a divorce with the threat of cutting off her husband’s manhood.

These facts were contained in the testimony of a witness, Habib Gajam (aka Gidado), which was published in the Lifestyle Section of  inside are wa.com.ng

Gajam, who is a family friend, gave the graphic details of what transpired and how the embattled wife had tried to cover up the act.

Gajam said: “Today, I witnessed the most wicked and shameful display of arrogance in Bilyaminu’s death case.

“At about 9 to 10p.m. last night  (Saturday),  tension started to build between Bilyaminu  and his wife, Maryam,  at his residence.

“Maryam demanded a divorce with the threat of cutting off his manhood. Ibrahim Aliero, Bilyaminu’s friend (in whose instance the drama started) intervened four times to stop Maryam from stabbing her husband.

“Ibrahim called Auta (Maryam’s uncle) and Abba (Bilyaminu’s cousin), who had left the house moments before the drama started, to come and intervene.

“After a short calm, Maryam broke a bottle of groundnut and attempted to stab Bilyaminu, again, but this time he held both her hands and struggled to take the bottle from her, injuring himself in the process. Unrelenting and wild, she bit his finger.

“Uncle Auta had arrived this time to calm the situation. They both committed to Uncle Auta to let go of the grievances (at least for the night).

“After the situation had become calm, Bilyaminu and his friend went to the Pharmacy to get his hand treated from the bite he sustained from Maryam.

“They later went to the ATM and made a withdrawal to pay up the balance of a spare part for Maryam’s crashed car. By 11pm, Bilyaminu and Ibrahim had gone back to a calm home. Abba (Bilyaminu’s cousin) joined them in the living room.

“They stayed till almost midnight and decided to call it a night.

In the emotional piece, Gajam related the parting words of Bilyamin to his cousin and others.

He also captured attempts by the detained wife to change the story at the police station in order to cover up her crime.

The witness said: “When Bilyaminu was seeing them off, he told Ibrahim that ‘I don’t want to go back until she’s asleep’. They called it a day. Abba and Ibrahim left.

“At around 2pm Sunday afternoon, family members were summoned to Maitama Hospital, where Bilyaminu was lying in a pool of his blood with multiple stabs on his chest, shoulder, a deep cut on his inner thigh and many bite wounds on his stomach.

“Maryam had confessed to stabbing him to the hospital authorities. Maitama Police Station was the next point of call.

“At Maitama Station, where Maryam was asked to write her statement, story changed. She claimed they got involved in a fight and Bilyaminu sustained injuries from a broken Shisha pot and that she never stabbed or hit him.

“She was later taken to the FCT Command in Garki II for further investigation. The police commissioner instructed that the crime scene should be visited.”

Gajam explained: “To the amazement of Abba (Bilyaminu’s cousin) and Ibrahim (his friend), who are key witnesses in the investigation, bloodstains had been mopped up, murder weapon disappeared, but flower vases and shisha pot were broken to corroborate Maryam’s earlier statement at the station.

“In the midst of this tragedy and confusion, Maryam had the audacity and courage to change her story. More disgusting is her lack of remorse and respect for the victim’s family.

“Someone, who divorced his first wife to be with you doesn’t deserve this. #JusticeForBilyaminu shall be served by the Almighty Allah on the day of resurrection.

“May Allah grant Bilyaminu Jannah and bless the life of his eight months old daughter, Sa’adatu.”

Posted On Tuesday, 21 November 2017 07:05 Written by
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