Mnangagwa Wins Zimbabwe’s Presidential Election

Emmerson Mnangagwa has won Zimbabwe’s presidential election in a poll marred by violence and charges of fraud.

The election commission gives Mnangagwa 50.8 percent of the vote, barely ahead of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

Chamisa is calling the results fake and promises a court challenge.

Before the final results were announced about 1 a.m. Friday, an opposition spokesman appeared on the stage in front of multiple microphones and cameras to denounce the results and say his party has not verified them.

He was shouted down and could scarcely be heard before security escorted him away.

The election commission said turnout was high in most provinces and that a large number of votes had to be rejected.

The commission declared the election an unqualified success, but it also said it deeply regrets the violence between protesters and police that left at least six people dead in Harare.

Mnangagwa was vice president when he took over the presidency when the authoritarian Robert Mugabe was forced from office last year after 40 years.

But Mnangagwa was elected with a bare majority, and Chamisa says he has no interest in being part of a coalition.

Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party must try to fix Zimbabwe’s ailing economy and poor international image on its own, while also dealing with a population demanding change after 40 years of Mugabe.

Mnangagwa has also said he will call for an investigation into election violence when hundreds of Chamisa supporters, angry that the election results were postponed, threw rocks at police outside commission headquarters Wednesday.

Police responded with tear gas and water cannons. The army was called in and witnesses say soldiers beat and shot at marchers, leaving at least six dead and 14 wounded.

Chamisa said the place to challenge the election results is in the courts, not in the streets.

Source: Voice of America

Developing Africa’s pharmaceutical sector crucial, says Economic Commission Africa’s Soteri

There is an urgent need to develop the pharmaceutical sector in Africa to reduce the continent’s dependence on imported pharmaceutical and medical products, says Economic Commission for Africa’s Soteri Gatera.

Mr. Gatera, Chief of the Industrialization and Infrastructure Section at the ECA, says Africa bears a disproportionate burden of disease with, for example, more than 70 percent of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases and 90 percent of deaths due to malaria raising the need to encourage local production of drugs.

Non-communicable diseases are also becoming increasingly prominent across the continent given the demographic changes that are taking place,rdquo; he told participants in the meeting hosted by the ECA, the African Union Commission and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Non-communicable diseases are predicted to overtake infectious diseases as the leading causes of death in Africa by 2030.

The situation is worsened by the continent’s significant challenges in accessing high-quality pharmaceuticals, exacerbating a continued high burden of disease.

The availability of essential drugs in the public sector across the continent has been reported to be less than 60 percent. The major factor being that Africa is hugely dependent on imported pharmaceutical and medical products.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of ARVs used on the continent are imported from outside the continent with 70 percent of the pharmaceutical and medical products market being served by foreign imports.

An international standard, commercially viable pharmaceutical industry in Africa can contribute to improved access to effective, safe and affordable essential medicines and economic development,rdquo; said Mr. Soteri.

From the health perspective, he added, a key potential benefit is to develop a source of quality assured medicines across products including those for the pandemic diseases (HIV, TB and malaria) as well as the broader range of essential medicines.

Through proximity of production, resource-constrained regulators can properly oversee the manufacturing of products produced in the region compared to the level of scrutiny that is possible for distant suppliers, said Mr. Soteri.

The immense need for drugs presents a potential market opportunity for pharmaceutical companies on the continent.

For example, he said, the current number of persons on ARV treatment on the continent represents a market opportunity of over US$ 1 billion.

This market will more than treble over the next decade as more people are placed on ARV treatment and other uses of ARVs are expanded.

The total pharmaceutical spending for the continent in 2012 was estimated at US$ 18 billion and it is projected to reach US$ 45 billion by 2020.

In addition to providing a secure source of medicines and a potentially large market, local production of pharmaceuticals also:

* advance industrial development,

* move the continent towards sustainability of the health sector response,

*reduce external dependency,

*facilitate stronger regulatory oversight to curtail counterfeit products,

*enable production of drugs for diseases that primarily affect Africa,

*improve the trade balance,

*create jobs

*and could serve as a catalyst to developing a broader manufacturing and knowledge-based economy.

Mr. Soteri also enunciated a number of measures taken by the AUC and its partners to promote the manufacture of medicines in Africa in line with the accelerated industrialization initiative for the continent’s socio-economic transformation.

The untapped opportunities lend themselves to a wide array of partnerships for the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrial development. The partnerships would create higher-skilled jobs, build equitable societies and safeguard the environment, while sustaining economic growth,rdquo; he said.

The workshop sought to validate an ECA report titled; Review of Policies and Strategies for the Pharmaceutical Production Sector in Africa: Policy coherence, best practices and future prospectiverdquo; in which policies and strategies for the pharmaceutical sector in Africa are reviewed with a view to assess the level of policy coherence, capturing best practices and painting future prospects for the sector.

The report provides an overview of the status of pharmaceutical production in Africa and identifies levels and quality of production on the continent.

It is hoped, the final knowledge product will influence African governments to take appropriate actions that will transform the sector from being a coffer-drainer to a substantive contributor to Africa’s GDP, said Mr. Soteri.

Source: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Zimbabwe Human Rights Groups Condemn Post-Election Violence

Zimbabwean human rights activists on Thursday strongly condemned soldiers’ actions in post-election violence that left at least six people dead and 14 wounded in Harare, the capital, as the nation’s electoral commission promised that tensely awaited presidential poll results would be issued soon.

“There’s absolutely no skulduggery or anything untoward happening,” said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairman Emmanuel Magade, when asked why the results had not yet been announced. Legally, officials said, they have until August 4 to release results, and promised they would do so “very soon.”

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa held firm, just hours before the announcement was due. Chamisa maintained that he had won.

“You can’t rig an election, or manipulate an election, and then use that as a basis of engagement,” he said. “That’s deceitful.”

When asked what he would do if the results did not come out in his favor, he said, “We’ll do a lot of things within the confines of legality and the constitution.” When asked if he had had any contact with President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as the president indicated on Twitter, Chamisa denied it.

“There’s no communication,” Chamisa said.

The president’s side also claimed victory.

“I know we have won the presidential election, but we will wait for the proper announcement of the results. Nevertheless, in the unlikely event that we do not win the presidential election, we will still request our supporters to accept the verdict of the people and allow Chamisa to take over,” said Paul Mangwana, spokesman for the ruling ZANU-PF party led by President Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa appeared to strike a conciliatory tone on Twitter, saying he would call for an investigation into the violence. In contradicting Chamisa, Mnangagwa also said, “We have been in communication with (presidential challenger) Nelson Chamisa to discuss how to immediately defuse the situation, and we must maintain this dialogue in order to protect the peace we hold dear.”

On Wednesday, hundreds of angry Chamisa supporters thronged the election commission. Protesters threw rocks as police fired back with tear gas and water cannon. Later, army vehicles rolled through the streets, and soldiers were seen beating and shooting at pedestrians.

The streets of central Harare, usually a hive of activity and a snarl of traffic, were eerily quiet Thursday morning as soldiers and police manned them and told shopkeepers to close early and go home. Police also surrounded opposition headquarters in central Harare, ratcheting up the tension even more.

On Wednesday, police announced that they had called in the army to assist in keeping order, invoking the controversial Public Order and Security Act. That act was used during previous elections under the iron-fisted rule of President Robert Mugabe, who held power for close to 40 years before resigning late last year.

Activist Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, described the soldiers’ response to the protests as “outrageous.”

“Reports indicated that the police were in control of the situation when military vehicles were observed driving into the central business district,” she said. “Gunshots were fired randomly throughout the central business district, and forum observers witnessed soldiers randomly firing live bullets and beating up bystanders who were not involved in the protest. The military’s conduct fell short of internationally accepted standards in controlling protesting crowds.”

Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the country’s leadership needs to do more than make statements.

“What is needed is a commitment that what happened yesterday will never happen again,” he said. “The statements may just be words loaded with promises, but the real issue is: what are they telling the soldiers that are on the street, what are they telling the police that are on the street in response to what is going to happen if citizens protest? What are the orders that are being given?”

Source: Voice of America

South Africa: Committee to Visit Mangaung Health Facilities

The Select Committee on Social Services will this today continue with its oversight programme in Free State province to assess progress of commitments made by the Provincial Department of Health during the 2017 Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) programme in the Province.

The Committee will visit various healthcare sites to see first-hand if indeed interventions have been implemented. Today, the Committee will visit the following healthcare facilities, MUCPP CHC, Thusong Clinic, Kagisanong Clinic and Gabriel Dichabe Clinic.

Details of the Visit

Date: Wednesday, 01 August 2018

Venue: MUCPP CHC

Time: 09:30

Source: Republic of South Africa: The Parliament

Djibouti Slams Call for End to Eritrea Sanctions

Djibouti, an increasingly strategic nation in the Horn of Africa, has condemned last week’s call by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed for the lifting of U.N. sanctions against Eritrea.

During his three-day visit to Eritrea’s capital last week, the Somali president urged an end to the economic sanctions and arms embargo that the U.N. Security Council imposed on Eritrea in 2009 for its alleged support of Islamist militant forces in Somalia.

Mohamed said lifting the sanctions would promote the economic integration of the Horn of Africa region.

Mohamed’s statement angered Djibouti, which says Eritrea is occupying the disputed Doumeira islands and is holding more than 10 Djiboutian prisoners.

In an interview with VOA’s Somali service, Djibouti’s ambassador to Somalia, Aden Hassan Aden, described the Somali president’s statement as deeply shocking.

As a sovereign state, there is no doubt that Somalia has the right to establish diplomatic relations with the countries in the region. However, it is unacceptable to see our brotherly Somalia supporting Eritrea, which is occupying part of our territory and still denying having Djiboutian prisoners, Aden said.

Djibouti hosts military bases for five countries: the United States, France, China, Japan and Italy.

The tiny nation is also one of five African countries with troops in AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The mission has protected Somali governments from attempted takeovers by Islamist militant forces for more than a decade.

Our boys in uniform who sacrifice their blood and life for peace in Somalia, whose brothers are held prisoners in Asmara, would not be happy to hear such a miscalculated statement from a Somali president, Aden said.

As part of a flurry of reforms and peacemaking efforts, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Eritrea last month to end a 20-year state of war between the countries.

Last week, Somalia’s president became the second head of state in the region to visit Eritrea.

Aden, the Djiboutian ambassador, said his country welcomed the diplomatic movements and talks in the Horn of Africa. But he emphasized that Djibouti’s conflict with Eritrea was unresolved.

Our president has no plans to visit Asmara unless Eritrea releases the Djiboutians it detains and withdraws from the territory it occupied, Aden said.

Source: Voice of America