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Kofi Annan, ‘The Elders’ team to engage political stakeholders in Zimbabwe.

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Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan along with a team from ‘The Elders’ begin a three-day trip to Zimbabwe to engage political stakeholders ahead of general elections slated for later this month.

During the July 19 – 21 trip, the delegation is expected among others to meet political leaders, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the diplomatic community, civil society representatives and media.

A statement posted on the website of the Kofi Annan Foundation read in part: “The Elders, with the support of the Kofi Annan Foundation, will visit Zimbabwe from 19-21 July to meet political leaders and support all actors working for free, fair and transparent elections, an inclusive transition and a brighter future for the country.

“Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders and the Kofi Annan Foundation and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, will lead the delegation.

“He will be joined by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Lakhdar Brahimi, former Foreign Minister of Algeria and UN diplomat,” the statement added.

The July 30 elections is the first post-Mugabe polls which pits incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa against main opposition Nelson Chamisa.

It is the first time in over three decades that Mugabe will not be on the ballot paper. The nonagenarian was deposed in what has been described as a military-led coup d’etat last November.

 

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Motherland News

Mali: Apex court upheld Keita’s re election

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Mali’s constitutional court on Monday confirmed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s re-election in a run-off ballot, rejecting fraud accusations by the opposition candidate.

The decision clears the way for Keita to be inaugurated next month for a second five-year term, at a time when Malian authorities are contending with rising violence by jihadist groups and ethnic militia.

Challenger Soumaila Cisse had contested the electoral commission result of the Aug. 12 vote, which showed Keita winning 67 percent.

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The election was tainted by armed attacks in the centre and north, where hundreds of polling stations remained closed, and a turnout of only 34 percent reflected fears of violence as well as voter apathy.

Cisse says he would have won 51 percent of the vote but for ballot box stuffing and other cheating by Keita’s camp. Keita rejected the allegations.

The European Union observer mission and other local and international monitors said that, despite a number of irregularities and disruptions, they saw no evidence of fraud.

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Nigeria: More bodies discovered from collapsed building in Abuja

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About four more bodies have been recovered from the rubble of the four-storey building which collapsed in Jabi, Abuja on Friday.
 
The bodies were recovered during the ongoing evacuation of debris from the site on Monday.
 
The Federal Capital Territory Administration and the National Emergency Management Agency had on Saturday ended the rescue operation at the site after six persons and one dead body were evacuated from the building on Friday.

But relatives of the victims had protested the decision of the government, insisting that about 18 workers were still trapped under the rubble.

They were dispersed by policemen who fired tear gas and shots into the air.

The rescue team consisting of officials of FCT Emergency Management Agency, National Emergency Management Agency, firefighters and Julius Berger Plc ended the rescue operations around 8am after they failed to find victims.

But the youths who were annoyed by the removal of the payloaders and other equipment attempted to take over the site, insisting that many victims were still trapped under the debris and should be rescued.

The Coordinator, Abuja Municipal Metropolitan Council, Umar Shuaibu, had explained that the rescue workers could not find any signs of life or body, adding that they deployed the necessary equipment for the job.

He disclosed that only one died out of the seven victims that were rescued, insisting that no other casualty was discovered during the overnight rescue operation.

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