Category Archives: International News

Watch: Ramaphosa charms Liberian ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

President Cyril Ramaphosa turned on the charm in an encounter with former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday.

The two met at the Financial Times Africa Summit in London, where Ramaphosa delivered a keynote address.

He shared a video of their encounter on Twitter and said he had the “joy and honour of being in the presence” of Sirleaf.

In the 30-second clip, he’s heard telling Sirleaf, “You’re looking so much younger. You’ve always been beautiful, but [now you’re] even more beautiful. You make the hearts of young men like me flutter.”

The two, along with another gentleman, shared a laugh before Ramaphosa sauntered to the stage.

The President repeated joke in the opening remarks of his keynote address, drawing laughter from the audience.

Ramaphosa and Sirleaf first met in August 2017 during the latter’s state visit to South Africa when she was still Liberian President. Ramaphosa was Deputy President at the time.

‘Invest in Africa’

Ramaphosa used his address to invite foreign investors to invest in Africa and South Africa in particular.

He cited the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which he said “will bring together into a single market 54 nations of some 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of over $3 trillion.”

ACFTA’s operational phase is set to be launched in July 2020. 54 out of 55 African countries have signed it, with many of them also ratifying it in their domestic laws.

Ramaphosa added that African countries are implementing economic reforms and taking measures to improve their ease of dong business.

Unity in Africa

He also appealed to African countries to unite and “use our considerable collective resources to uplift our people.”

He explained, “We may come from different parts of the world, we may speak different languages and have different cultures. 

“But our fortunes are intertwined. Our destinies intersect. And ultimately, our success story will be a shared one.”

Ramaphosa slams ‘outside interference’ in Africa, calls for African unity

President Cyril Ramaphosa has spoken out against “outside interference” in Africa that advances “the interests of powers beyond our shores.”

Speaking at the Financial Times Africa Summit 2019 in London on Monday, Ramaphosa said the continent should seek “African solutions to African problems.”

“Africa wants to deal with the rest of the world on its own terms. It wants to see an end to outside interference, particularly from those countries that continue to fuel conflict in African countries,” he said.

The president added, “The continent cannot develop fully for as long as parts of Africa remain theatres of war to advance the interests of powers beyond our shores.”

He lambasted “foreign money that buys the weapons” used in African conflicts, saying this money should instead be used to build Africa’s infrastructure.

‘Invest in Africa’

Ramaphosa talked up Africa, and particularly South Africa, as an investment destination.

He cited the soon-to-be-launched African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which he said “will bring together into a single market 54 nations of some 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of over $3 trillion.”

He also spoke against Africa’s “borders drawn up in the palaces of Europe,” saying ACFTA will make them “less significant.”

The president said the fact that elections have taken place or will take place in 11 African countries in 2019, including South Africa, signals the continent’s growing political stability.

African countries are implementing economic reforms and taking measures to improve their ease of dong business, he added.

Ramaphosa said South Africa’s land reform process is aimed at resolving “one of the great injustices of our colonial and apartheid history.”

African unity

Ramaphosa appealed to African countries to unite and “use our considerable collective resources to uplift our people.”

He explained, “We may come from different parts of the world, we may speak different languages and have different cultures. 

“But our fortunes are intertwined. Our destinies intersect. And ultimately, our success story will be a shared one.”

Ramaphosa held other meetings on the sidelines of the Summit, including with Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wins 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has been awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee made the announcement in a statement on Friday morning.

The statement said, “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.”

Peace with Eritrea

The Committee recognised Ahmed’s intention to make peace with Eritrea as soon as he assumed office in April 2018.

Thanks to his initiative, the two countries signed agreements to end a decades-long “no peace, no war” stalemate in July and September 2018.

The Committee also hailed Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s role, adding it “hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.”

It further recognised Ahmed’s initiatives to implement democratic reforms in Ethiopia, including lifting a state of emergency and releasing thousands of political prisoners.

Ahmed also contributed to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti among other regional initiatives, the Committee said.

Ethiopia expresses “pride”

Minutes after the official announcement, the Ethiopian Office of the Prime Minister issued a statement expressing “our pride” in Ahmed’s selection.

It said, “This recognition is a timeless testimony to the MEDEMER ideals of unity, cooperation and mutual coexistence that the Prime Minister has been consistently championing.”

The Office added that Ahmed has made “peace, forgiveness and reconciliation key components of his administration” since becoming Prime Minister.

“This victory and recognition is a collective win for Ethiopians and a call to strengthen our resolve in making Ethiopia – the New Horizon of Hope – a prosperous nation for all,” it added.

Amnesty International was among the first world bodies to react to Ahmed’s win.

In a tweet, it said the “award should push and motivate him to tackle the outstanding human rights challenges that threaten to reverse the gains made so far.”

Cyril: Xenophobic unrest ‘challenged efforts to build stronger ties with African countries’

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the recent spate of xenophobic unrest compromised South Africa’s relations with other African countries.

Ramaphosa said this in his weekly newsletter, From the Desk of the President, on Monday.

“The recent public violence targeting foreign nationals has challenged our efforts to build stronger ties with other African countries,” the President said.

Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit

He was reflecting on last week’s state visit by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, saying many people had expected it to be “tense and difficult.”

The visit came soon after the Gauteng unrest in which foreign nationals were reportedly targeted. Hundreds of them, including over 600 Nigerians, opted to leave the country.

However, Ramaphosa said Buhari’s visit turned out to be “extremely successful” and cemented relations between South African and Nigeria.

He added, “We emphasised the need for South Africans in Nigeria and Nigerians in South Africa to respect and obey the laws of their host countries.”

He and Buhari agreed that the two countries, as the two largest economies on the continent, have a key role to play in shaping Africa’s future.

‘South Africa’s future lies in Africa’

President Ramaphosa also emphasised the centrality of Africa in South Africa’s future, especially through trade and investments.

He hailed the Africa Continental Free Trade Area as a “game-changer” that offers massive opportunities for Africa.

“The time is right for a new era of intra-African trade, where African countries no longer look abroad for the products and services they need, but to other countries on this continent,” Ramaphosa added.

The president said South Africa’s commitment to African integration is not merely sentimental or ideological, but a matter of national interest.

He explained that this is because integration will bring “very real material benefits” for South Africa. He added, “Our future is in Africa, with Africa.”

Ramaphosa’s newsletter served to outline a key component of his administration’s foreign policy as South Africa prepares to assume chairmanship of the African Union in a few months’ time.

Man seeks R227k from Apple because ‘an iPhone app turned him gay’

A man from Russia has taken legal action against global cellphone manufacturer Apple for apparently turning him gay, AFP reports.

The man, identified as D Razumilov, claims an iPhone app drove him into trying out a gay relationship that he now regrets.

He reportedly wants Apple to pay him $15,000 (about R227,000) as compensation for “moral and mental harm.”

GayCoin

Razumilov says he ordered Bitcoin recently, but received another cryptocurrency called “GayCoin” through the iPhone app.

He claims his GayCoin delivery came with a note that said, “Don’t judge until you try.” Hilariously, he claims this compelled him to start a gay relationship with another man.

Now I have a boyfriend and I do not know how to explain this to my parents… my life has been changed for the worse and will never become normal again.

D Razumilov

Razumilov believes Apple “manipulated” him and should therefore be made to pay him compensation.

According to reports, Apple has not yet reacted to the lawsuit. The matter is set to be heard on 17 October in a Moscow court.

Some more hilarious lawsuits

The world isn’t short of hilarious lawsuits as Razumilov ably demonstrates. He probably took some notes from others before him.

In 2006, a US man sought a whopping $416 million (R6.3 billion) from basketball legend Michael Jordan because Jordan resembled him.

Allen Heckard claimed this resemblance caused him “defamation and emotional distress.” Not surprisingly, he withdrew the case before the hearing.

Another funny lawsuit involved a prison inmate in Virginia, United States. He reportedly sued himself for a staggering $5 million (R75 million).

Reason? He had violated his own civil rights by getting himself into prison.

Even more hilariously, he expected the government to pay the damages because he had no income of his own.

Finally, in 2016, a man in California sought damages from Starbucks for adding ice in its cold beverages.

He claimed this amounted to “misrepresentation” to Starbucks customers and therefore fraud. He lost the case.

Ramaphosa to Buhari: Xenophobic unrest not targeted at Nigerian nationals

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that the recent xenophobic incidents were not targeted at Nigerian nationals.

The two Presidents met on Thursday on the occasion of Buhari’s state visit to South Africa.

According to a joint communiqué issued after their meeting, Ramaphosa said the recent incidents affected other foreign nationals and South Africans as well.

President Ramaphosa also dispelled the notion that incidents of violence affecting foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals, as other foreign nationals and indeed South Africans were affected as well.

South Africa – Nigeria joint communiqué

‘South Africa fully in control’

Ramaphosa also assured Buhari that the government is “fully in control” of the situation through various interventions such as security operations.

They both condemned the recent unrest, including retaliatory incidents that took place in Nigeria, and pledged to take measures to prevent future recurrences.

The two Presidents also announced the establishment of an “early warning mechanism” to alert authorities in time to prevent future escalations.

Apology

President Buhari’s visit comes just weeks after Ramaphosa dispatched his Special Envoy Jeff Radebe to Nigeria.

Radebe met Buhari and conveyed Ramaphosa’s apologies for the now-infamous xenophobic unrest in parts of Gauteng.

Ramaphosa similarly apologised to African states during the funeral service of the late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in September.

During his meeting with Buhari, he reiterated that South Africa “advocates for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa.”

Reciprocal state visit

Ramaphosa’s diplomatic endeavours seem to have assuaged Nigeria and its leaders.

This is because Buhari has invited him to visit Nigeria on a reciprocal state visit on a date to be agreed upon.

Ramaphosa was in Nigeria in July 2018 on a working visit, whose diplomatic status is below a state visit.

Uganda’s govt bans wearing of red beret, opposition’s trademark inspired by EFF

The Ugandan government has banned the public from wearing the red beret, which is the trademark symbol of Uganda’s prominent opposition leader Bobi Wine.

The country’s army designated the red beret and tunic as “official military clothing” on Monday, AFP reports.

This means that civilians wearing them run the risk of being arrested and imprisoned.

‘A sham’

In a statement, Bobi Wine slammed the ban as “a sham.”

It is a blatant attempt to suffocate a successful threat to the autocratic status quo. But People Power is more than a red beret, we are bigger than our symbol.

Bobi Wine

Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, set aside a successful career as a musician to become an activist and opposition politician.

He is one of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s fiercest opponents and has vowed to contest him in the country’s 2021 elections.

He adopted the red beret as his trademark symbol soon after it was popularised by Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in South Africa.

Frequent detentions

Ugandan authorities have frequently detained Bobi Wine for leading anti-government protests.

In September 2018, he had to seek hospital treatment in the United States after a stint in police custody.

73-year-old Museveni has been Uganda’s president since 1986 when he seized power after leading an armed rebellion.

In July, Uganda’s highest court approved a constitutional change removing the presidential age limit of 75 that was previously in place.

This allows Museveni to seek a sixth term as president in 2021.

ZANU-PF ‘considering converting Mugabe’s Blue Roof residence into museum’

Zimbabwe’s ruling party ZANU-PF is reportedly considering turning the palatial Blue Roof mansion into a “museum or monument for the benefit of the party.”

This is according to the state-owned Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation.

The publication attributed the revelation to ZANU-PF’s Secretary for Administration, Obert Mpofu, on Monday.

Blue Roof is the name popularly given to the Harare residence the late President Robert Mugabe and his family lived in.

‘Blue Roof belongs to ZANU-PF’

This follows an earlier revelation that the Blue Roof mansion did not belong to Mugabe or his family, but to ZANU-PF.

Mugabe’s nephew and family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe, made the revelation to the surprise of many.

He added that ZANU-PF was in the process of transferring ownership to the Mugabe family, according to a Newzimbabwe.com report.

Obert Mpofu reportedly confirmed plans to transfer ownership.

If the latest reports are true, it’s unclear what changed between then and now.

Tensions between family and ZANU-PF government

There have been tensions between Mugabe’s family and the ZANU-PF government since his passing on 6 September.

The two initially disagreed on where Mugabe was to be buried.

While the government preferred the National Heroes Acre in Harare, his family insisted on his home town of Zvimba.

In the end, the government relented and Mugabe was laid to rest in Zvimba over the weekend.

Blue Roof mansion

According to thezimbabwean.co, the late Robert Mugabe’s Blue Roof mansion was built on a whopping 44 acres of land in 2003.

It reportedly has 25 bedrooms and a sophisticated radar security system. Its landscape apparently includes two lakes.

Shivambu credits ‘courageous’ Malema for decision to bury Mugabe in hometown

News emerged on Thursday that former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will finally be buried in his hometown of Zvimba.

And according to Floyd Shivambu, this is thanks to the “courageous leadership” of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.

In a tweet, the EFF deputy president suggested that Malema’s comments during his recent visit to Zimbabwe sparked the decision.

The Government of Zimbabwe has finally respected the last Wishes of President Mugabe & the family to bury him in Zvimba.

It took the courageous leadership of CiC @Julius_S_Malema to remind them of African tradition of respecting the wishes of the [departed].

Floyd Shivambu

Heroes Acre vs Zvimba

Mugabe passed away in a Singapore hospital on 6 September aged 95.

Recent reports indicated that there was disagreement between Zimbabwe’s government and Mugabe’s family over where he should be buried.

While the government insisted on Heroes Acre in the capital Harare, the family pushed for Mugabe’s home village, Zvimba.

Earlier this week, Malema visited Mugabe’s widow Grace Mugabe to offer his condolences.

He addressed the media afterwards and called on the government to respect Mugabe’s family’s wishes.

Part of respecting [Mugabe’s] legacy is first and foremost to respect his last wishes and to respect the wishes of his family.

It’s an absolute nonsense that you think declaring a person a national hero takes away the rights of the family.

Julius Malema

Government relents

In a statement on Thursday evening, the government finally relented and said it would “render all the necessary support” to the family.

Malema reacted to the decision by posting the government’s statement along with a “thankful” emoji.

He also retweeted Shivambu’s tweet crediting him for the decision.

ZANU-PF lambasts ‘political novice’ Malema for anti-Mnangagwa comments

Zimbabwe’s ruling party ZANU-PF has lambasted Julius Malema for his recent comments against President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

ZANU-PF slammed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader as a “political novice” who is a “puppet” and “decorated stooge” of the West.

Mnangagwa ‘tormented’ Mugabe

Malema kicked off the controversy during his visit to Zimbabwe on 23 September.

He visited Mugabe’s widow, former First Lady Grace Mugabe, to offer his condolences following Mugabe’s passing on 6 September.

After his meeting with the ex-First Lady, Malema criticised Mnangagwa for “tormenting Mugabe.”

The EFF leader also accused Zimbabwe’s government for “disrespecting” Mugabe’s final wishes by imposing burial arrangements on his family.

ZANU-PF hits back

In a statement, ZANU-PF hit back at Malema, describing him as a “restless and careless” leader.

Malema needs to be reminded that his illusion to equate youthful exuberance and verbosity for wisdom and grounded intellectuality exposes him for the political novice which he is.

That Malema is now a decorated stooge at the mercy of our yesteryear colonisers is now a public secret as exhibited by his constant verbiage against African leaders and their respective countries.

ZANU-PF

It slammed Malema for using a “sombre occasion” to score cheap political points.

The party also took a dim view of Malema’s criticism of the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC).

It reaffirmed Mugabe as a “global revolutionary icon” and said it was sad to have a “puppet” of former colonisers demeaning what he stood for.

Malema not a fan of Mnangagwa

The EFF leader has not yet reacted to ZANU-PF’s statement. However, he is known for his anti-Mnangagwa’s views.

He openly supported Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC) Nelson Chamisa, who was Mnangagwa’s main opponent in Zimbabwe’s August 2018 elections.

In April this year, he called the Zimbabwean president a “sellout” for planning to compensate white farmers whose land was expropriated in 2000.

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