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Zimbabwe Update: SADC To Discuss Zimbabwe On Tuesday, Next Week

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Zimbabwe’s political situation is set to be discussed on Tuesday when four countries with the southern African regional bloc meet in Angola.

The Southern African Development Community summit will include the heads of state of South Africa, which has sent Cabinet members to negotiate with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on a departure.

Also attending are the heads of state of Angola, Tanzania and Zambia.

Mugabe is under military house arrest after he fired his longtime deputy and appeared to position his wife to succeed him. He is said to be resisting efforts to step aside.

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15:10

South African President Jacob Zuma two days ago said Zimbabwe’s political situation “very shortly will be becoming clear”. Now Zuma says the situation is in “early days”.

Zuma says he’s cautiously optimistic it will be “resolved amicably” as Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resists stepping aside.

Zuma spoke with Mugabe under military house arrest earlier this week and sent Cabinet ministers to negotiate on Mugabe’s departure. He calls those talks “fruitful” but gives no details.

Zuma also says South Africa’s government supports “the people of Zimbabwe during this difficult period”. He reiterates the African Union’s stance against “unconstitutional changes in government”.

Zimbabweans are rallying outside their consulate in neighboring South Africa in solidarity with thousands marching in their capital against longtime President Robert Mugabe.

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14:10

Zimbabwe’s state-run broadcaster is calling the country “free and liberated” as the bulk of the capital’s population seems to be streaming toward the official residence of longtime President Robert Mugabe in a call for him to leave.

The broadcaster is showing previously unthinkable footage of speeches at a rally where speakers declare that “This is the new Zimbabwe”.

Mugabe is said to be resisting calls to step down even as he remains under military house arrest.

One speaker at the rally is expressing popular anger at first lady Grace Mugabe, whose apparent attempts to succeed her husband were a factor in the military’s move.

“You and your husband should go today and not tomorrow,” the speaker says.

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14:00

Zimbabwe’s military is urging the thousands upon thousands of people streaming through the capital to be orderly and “vigilant against agent provocateurs” who might wish to discredit the push to get longtime President Robert Mugabe to step aside.

The new statement read out on state-run television comes as much of Harare’s population appears to be marching toward Mugabe’s official residence, the State House. Mugabe lives in a mansion elsewhere in the city, however, and is under house arrest.

The military thanks the marchers and says its “operation” to arrest some top officials close to Mugabe and his wife continues.

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13:40

Zimbabwe’s state-run media are showing previously unthinkable images of demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe as several thousand exuberant people march toward his official residence, the State House.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation showed footage of people streaming through the streets of the capital, Harare, and one person carrying a sign saying “The people of Zimbabwe want Mugabe to go.”

The state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper reports the crowds are “wanting to see President Mugabe out.”

The report headlined “#Mugabe Must Go!” notes some of Mugabe’s achievements in his nearly four decades in power but says that “however the revolutionary train derailed somewhere along the way.”

The report says a rally with speeches has just ended at the Zimbabwe Grounds, where Zimbabweans in 1980 gathered to cheer Mugabe’s return from exile after the liberation war from white minority rule. Now they want to see him off.

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13:15

A former Zimbabwean Cabinet member says a “massive march” is being held in the country’s second-largest city.

Former education minister David Coltart says on Twitter he spoke at the march organized by churches in Bulawayo city to urge President Robert Mugabe to resign. He says thousands of people are there.

“I never thought I would see the day as we marched past central police station without being arrested!” he says. “Amazing scenes.”

Coltart says he called for the restoration of civilian rule and free and fair elections.

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12:25

A Zimbabwean newspaper publisher is tweeting a plea that addresses concerns about who might lead Zimbabwe after President Robert Mugabe steps aside.

Trevor Ncube says: “Dear world, we are fully aware of the possible risks and pitfalls beyond this tipping point. We are confident we are equal to the challenges. We remember Egypt too.

“After 37 years of repression, allow us to soak in this moment. Sincerely, #Zimbabwe.”

Several thousand exuberant people have gathered in Zimbabwe’s capital to urge Mugabe to go.

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12:00

Some of the several thousand exuberant demonstrators in Zimbabwe’s capital are removing street signs with the name of President Robert Mugabe and stomping on them, as pressure builds for the longtime leader to step aside.

The military, which put Mugabe under house arrest this week, has approved the demonstration that includes people from across the political spectrum.

The state-run broadcaster says it will be airing the speeches planned at the Zimbabwe Grounds, which was chosen for its symbolism. The location is where Zimbabweans gathered to cheer Mugabe’s return from exile in 1980 after the liberation war from white minority rule. Now they want to see him off.

People of all races are marching by the State House, Mugabe’s official residence, though he now lives in a mansion elsewhere. Soldiers guarding the State House are waving to the marchers.

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10:20

Soldiers have begun approaching the several thousand demonstrators in Zimbabwe’s capital and urging them to head to the Zimbabwe Grounds, where speeches are set to be delivered.

Saturday’s events are an extraordinary show of support for the military’s move to step in and put longtime President Robert Mugabe under house arrest. Impatient Zimbabweans are urging the reluctant Mugabe to step aside.

The Zimbabwe Grounds were chosen for the symbolism. The location is where Zimbabweans gathered to cheer Mugabe’s return from exile in 1980 after the liberation war from white minority rule.

Now the crowds wish to meet there and urge Mugabe’s departure.

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9:25

Opponents of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe are preparing to demonstrate for the ouster of the 93-year-old leader who is virtually powerless and deserted by most of his allies.

Zimbabwe’s generals have placed Mugabe under house arrest and have allowed him limited movement while talks on his exit from office unfold. But many Zimbabweans are growing impatient and want him to leave immediately.

Protesters hope a big turnout on Saturday will speed up the official end of Mugabe’s rule, which is widely blamed for the collapse of an economy that was once one of Africa’s wealthiest.

Euphoric crowds are gathering on some main streets in downtown Harare and motorists are honking their horns and people are whistling and cheering even as many go about their daily business.

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Crime

Terrorists Bomb Bar In Kampala Killing 2, Several Injured

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Residents in Uganda’s Capital Kampala are in total panic following a deadly IED bomb denoted on Saturday night at a popular pork bar pub killing 2 and injuring several others.

According to an eyewitness account, a man believed to be a terrorist walked towards the bar counter at a fully packed pub (Digida Pork Joint) a Komamboga a residential suburb in Uganda’s Capital Kampala on saturday night and requested to be served two buckets of iced beer.

He later walked to a table and briefly sat there and was joined by two other colleagues, the iced beer buckets were brought to their table. These men later walked out of the bar for a chat outside.

One of the men who had earlier requested to be served beer returned but this time carrying a polythene bag containing a beer bottle and placed it under the table and walked outside again.

“When i came to bill these clients, i didn’t find them on the table and asked others sitting nearby, they told me the men were outside. The buckets still contained some unconsumed beers, i returned to the counter,” a waitress was quoted by local media in Kampala.

“After a few minutes, these men returned to the table and I also brought the bill and handed it to the man who had earlier placed the order. He rolled it and threw it at me telling me he will pay. No problem,” the frightened waitress said, adding that she walked back to the counter.

“It was the second time this man had come to this bar. I recognised him and trusted he would pay his bill. However, these men later walked outside again and few minutes later we heard a big explosion,” she said.

The waitress recognised one client dead. The explosion had ripped the victim exposing the intestines, one other male client died on the way to hospital according to this waitress who narrated her eyewitness account to the local media.

Several other people were badly injured and have since been rushed to various hospitals in the capital Kampala.

“It seems to be a terrorist act,” President Yoweri Museveni Tweeted on Sunday.

“The information I have is that 3 people came and left a package in kaveera (plastic bag) which later on exploded,” Museveni said.

Specifically, the bomb blast occurred at Digida Pork Joint, a restaurant, local media reported. Videos shared on social media showed panicked and confused revellers.

Meanwhile, this blast comes days after the British and French embassies had issued a security alert to their citizens saying the country faces a terror attack.

Police on Monday called for calm, saying for now security agencies would not heighten the threat level although the concerns raised by the embassies are taken seriously.

Uganda has its troops deployed in far away Somalia where they are pursuing Somalia’s al Shabaab islamist militants.

In 2010, Kampala suffered a major attack by Somalia’s al Shabaab that killed dozens. The group said it had attacked Uganda as a punishment for its deployment of troops in Somalia.

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East-Africa

EAC Partner States Fight Over Bloc Jobs

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The EAC recruitment drive risks being derailed following opposition by Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The EAC Secretariat, early this year, advertised at least 60 vacant positions.

In a letter dated October 18, Uganda’s East African Community Affairs minister Rebecca Kadaga said the interviews for the advertised positions should not be conducted “unless and until all the partner states have been given information about their quota”.

“I would like to remind you Secretary General that compliance with Article 14(3) (g) of the Treaty, the Council issued rules and regulations in particular regulation 4.6, which provides ‘At the beginning of each recruitment exercise, the Secretariat shall inform each partner about her balance of weighted points’”.

“The operative word is ‘At the beginning’ and this cannot be shifted to any other stage of the recruitment,” Kadaga, who doubles as Uganda’s deputy prime minister, said in the letter to secretary general Peter Mathuki.

Kadaga said once the partner states are informed about their quotas, it will eliminate countries that have exhausted their quotas and are therefore ineligible to participate.

“I need not remind you that one of the reasons for the previous collapse of the old East African Community was disappropriate sharing of benefits of the community among partner states,” she added.

Last week, Ugandan lawmakers staged walkouts due to what they termed an unfair process.

On the same day, October 18, Burundi’s EAC minister Ezechiel Nibigia wrote to Mathuki, saying his country had suspended attendance of the interviewing panels for the advertised EAC positions.

The interviews were slotted for October 18 to November 2.

“The ongoing recruitment process does not guarantee the implementation of the quota system within EAC since this has not been clarified before the said process begins,” Amb Nibigia said.

The quota system is captured in the EAC regulations to ensure and reflect equal representation of partner states.

South Sudan has also expressed dissatisfaction.

“We and the Ugandan chapter are concerned about the unfairness of the recruitment process. The quota system has not been used, so we want the recruitment process to stop so that it can start correctly,” Dr Anne Itto Leonardo, who replaced Juba MPs chair Thomas Dut Gatkek, told The EastAfrican.

The Juba chapter wants affirmative action applied so that South Sudanese benefit the way Rwanda and Burundi did upon joining the bloc.

Mathuki, in a letter dated October 13, acknowledged their quest and promised to act on it.

An extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting scheduled for last Wednesday, which was expected to finalise the staff recruitment process, had to be moved to a later date, perhaps in the next week, at the prompting of Kadaga, who had reportedly travelled.

Mathuki had on August 11, while marking his first 100 days in office, highlighted unlocking staff recruitment standoff “as one of his achievements. He said the process was in full gear. It now appears not.

In a statement on October 19, Mathuki said the interviews for the positions could not commence as scheduled due to lack of quorum.

“The interviews have therefore been postponed to a later date that will be communicated accordingly. The EAC is committed to providing an equal opportunity for all East Africans,” Mathuki said.

The 42nd Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers in May approved the filling of the vacant positions in organs and Institutions through competitive recruitment.

Consequently, the EAC Secretariat initiated the recruitment on May 19 by advertising the posts.

“More than 15,000 applications were received from all the six EAC partner states. All EAC partner states’ delegates profiled/sorted and subsequently shortlisted candidates,” Mathuki said in the October 19 statement.

Some regional lawmakers have alleged the process was marred with irregularities and unfair treatment of citizens from some partner states.

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East-Africa

Covid-19 Pushed 1million Tanzanians Into Poverty

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Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has launched a Shs 1.3trillion robust Development Program which according to her government will see major reforms in the country’s socio-economic sectors mainly Education, Health, Water and Tourism in response to Covid-19 pandemic.

Her government said the program will be implemented for nine months and aims at boosting the country’s economy that has bee battered by the global health pandemic.

Samia said, her government had secured a concessional financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of U$ 567.25billion through Rapid Credit Facility (RCF).

This RCF was created under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) as part of a broader reform to make the Fund’s Financial Support more flexible and better tailored to the diverse needs of Low income Countries including times of Crisis.

According to Dr. Mpango Phillip the Vice President, the multimillion facility extended to Tanzania would help bring changes to the country.

He said Covid-19 pandemic had affected Tanzania and families as the country’s work force had been reduced.

“Some families lost their breadwinners and about one million people have now entered into a list of poor people due to the pandemic,” he said.

He added that because of travel restrictions, the toursim sector has also suffered because the number of tourists visiting the country had significantly dropped.

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