Pragmatic, wealthy and ambitious Cyril Ramaphosa was re-elected leader of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), on Monday, despite being badly damaged by a cash-heist scandal that had dogged him for months.
Ascendancy to the helm of the ANC in power for almost three decades is a stepping stone to a second term as head of state.
But the 70-year-old is on much shakier ground than when he was first elected party leader in 2017, amid deep divisions within the ANC — the party shaped by Nelson Mandela to spearhead the struggle to end apartheid.
Ramaphosa promised a “new dawn” for South Africa when he became president in 2018, but his image has been dented by scandal and a lacklustre economy.
Earlier this month, he survived an opposition-led attempt to open impeachment proceedings against him over accusations he attempted to conceal a burglary at his farmhouse.
Details about the huge cash haul, stolen from under sofa cushions, have dealt a massive reputational blow to the man who took the reins of Africa’s most industrialised economy on a pledge to root out graft.
“Previously, he was this icon of the clean-up struggle, (a) paragon of virtue… with this (scandal) came so much doubt on his credentials and a reminder that this is not a superhuman (man),” said political analyst and author Susan Booysen.
Born on November 17, 1952 in Johannesburg’s Soweto township — the cradle of the anti-apartheid struggle — to a policeman and a stay-at-home mother, Ramaphosa had long eyed South Africa’s top job, but only came to it after a long detour.
He took up activism while studying law in the 1970s and spent 11 months in solitary confinement in 1974.
Ramaphosa turned to trade unionism, one of the few legal ways of protesting the white-minority regime.
A protege of Mandela, who once described him as one of the most gifted leaders of the “new generation,” Ramaphosa stood alongside the anti-apartheid icon when he walked out of jail in 1990.
He was a key member of the task force that steered the transition to democracy.
But after missing out on becoming Mandela’s successor, Ramaphosa swapped politics for a foray into business that made him one of the wealthiest people in Africa.
He held stakes in McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, making millions in deals that required investors to partner with non-white shareholders.
Ramaphosa developed a passion for breeding rare buffalos and cattle, a business that would come back to haunt him.
The opposition once nicknamed him “The Buffalo” after his bid for an 18-million-rand ($104,000) beast in 2012.
He later apologised for making the glitzy bid “in a sea of poverty.”
In 2012, his image was badly tarnished when police killed 34 striking workers at a platinum mine, where he was then a non-executive director and had called for a crackdown on the miners.
He became Zuma’s vice president in 2014, often drawing criticism for failing to speak out against government corruption.
Renowned for his patience and strategic thinking, Ramaphosa narrowly defeated pro-Zuma rivals to take over leadership of the ANC party in 2017 and then the presidency when Zuma was forced out two months later.
Relaxed at public appearances, he attracts a support base that crosses South Africa’s racial and class divides, but still faces strong opposition from inside the ANC.
His anti-corruption drive has yielded some results, with charges being brought against some high-profile figures.
His handling of the Covid health crisis also won praise internationally. But the pandemic dealt a heavy blow to plans to revive South Africa’s sagging economy.
Unemployment remains stratospherically high and prolonged power cuts are a deep source of anger.
Ramaphosa’s native tongue is Venda, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages — most of which he is now said to speak fluently.
Married three times, Ramaphosa has four children. His current wife Tshepo Motsepe, a doctor, is the sister of African football chief Patrice Motsepe.
Council Boss Vows To Deliver Fubara, Other PDP Candidates In Rivers
The Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area in Rivers State, Hon. Akara Okechukwu, has expressed confidence that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win the forthcoming Governorship election in the area, not leaving out other positions down to the last councillor.
He stated that the foundation of victory has been laid by the Governor of the State, Chief Nyesom Wike, following his infrastructural development in the State.
Hon. Okechukwu said this while reacting after the State PDP campaign team visited his area on Saturday, saying that the people of Oyigbo were ready to reciprocate what the present administration had done for the LGA in every aspect.
“ I have no fear and I am convinced that the Governorship candidate of PDP Siminialayi Fubara, and other State candidates of the PDP, will win.
“The people of Oyigbo have vowed to vote massively for PDP because that is the only way to pay back Governor Wike for his good works, mostly in Oyigbo.
“As I speak, 95 percent of people living in the area have their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and this indicates sure victory for our great party. I thank the people for coming out en masse for the campaign. I am really happy,” Hon. Okechukwu said.
Also speaking, Chairman Revenue Committee of the LGA, Senibo Daniel Chijindu, described the massive turn out as historic, saying that it was an indication of total victory.
“ I will say that the massive turn out of people is historic because this is the first time people came out en masse for campaign. Honestly, this is an indication that Oyigbo is Simplified and totally PDP.
“Governor Wike has given Rivers State a facelift in all ramifications. That is why Oyigbo people said they are for PDP in totality,” he said.
The revenue boss advised those who registered for PVCs to go and collect their cards because that is only way to sustain the good governance of PDP.
In his own remarks, former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in the state and a stakeholder of PDP in Oyigbo, Hon. Nancy Nwankwo, said adequate sensitisation had been done.
According to her , women in Oyigbo were already prepared to celebrate the victory of Siminialayi Fubara come May this year, saying they will come in their numbers to vote for PDP.
“ I am convinced that Sim Fubara will do better hence he was a civil servant. He has proven his intellectual capacity faithful and truthful to replace Governor Wike,” she said.
By: Tonye Orabere
Ebonyi APC Chair, Reps Candidate, Others Arrested Over Alleged Killings
No fewer than 26 suspects have been arrested over the recent killings and arsons that took place in Ekoli Edda Community, in the Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Among those arrested were the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Stanley Okoro-Emegha, and a former chairman of the Afikpo South LGA and Federal House of Representatives candidate for Afikpo North/South Constituency in the 2023 general election, Eni Chima.
The police claimed they (the suspects) were responsible for the killings and arson that pervaded the area on December 26, 2022. In the incident, two persons including a Police Inspector, were killed, while two houses were torched.
The Ebonyi State Police Command, during a press conference, stated this in Abakaliki on Monday.
The command, which spoke through its spokesperson, SP Chris Anyanwu, accused the suspects of being behind the dastardly acts, vowing to arraign them in court soonest.
Aside from murder, the command also accused the suspects of arson, conspiracy, armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms.
According to the police, the suspects must face the wrath of the law, in spite of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor David Umahi.
SP Anyanwu said, “The key actors among the suspects arrested, volunteered useful ‘confessional statements’ that exposed the aggregate of overwhelming findings hereunder outlined:
“The fracas that engulfed Ekoli-Edda on 26/12/2022 ignited at about 1600 hours during a face-off between the security aides of Hon Stanley Okoro Emegha versus a faction of Ekoli-Edda youth believed to be loyalists of Hon Eni Uduma Chima.
“The protracted political rivalry/supremacy struggle between the duo, is the cause of the showdown that took place. Interestingly, the two political stalwarts hail from same community, belong to same political party and even live in close proximity.
“The visit of the APC chairman to his village on the fateful day, with his aides, infuriated the fragment of the youths in the area who are purportedly adherents of Eni Uduma Chima, hence the showdown that ensued.
“The war songs chanted by Egwu Famous Chinedu, the town crier, amidst hitting/blowing of his gong/trumpet, respectively, galvanised the youth into further action, hence, the rampage and escalation of the brouhaha.”
He added, “The investigation further revealed that an attempt to arrest one Aruah said to be the leader of the Ekoli-Edda youth warriors, brought in the warriors who were reserved for the purpose of fighting in the boundary dispute between them and a neighbouring community in Cross River State. The said warriors wielded sophisticated prohibited firearms and their actions further degenerated the situation.”
Release PVCs In Opposition Strongholds, ADC Urges INEC
The African Democratic Congress, ADC, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of hoarding permanent voter’s cards, PVCs, with the intent to favour a particular political party at the polls.
ADC alleged that the only explanation for the inability of some persons to get their PVCs despite the Commission’s promises and show of force was its deliberate strategy to disenfranchise some voters.
The party made its position on the PVC collection known in a statement by Mabel Oboh, the National Diversity and Inclusion Director, and the National Representative of the party in Lagos Campaign Council.
According to the party, “in Lagos for instance, non-indigenes are greatly affected by this deliberate act of disenfranchisement, based on feedback from our supporters.”
ADC noted that, “It is becoming more evident that INEC is not prepared to conduct a free and fair election come February, as a good number of registered voters have not been able to collect their PVCs.
“This is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise willing, but already fed up Nigerians from voting across the country.
“INEC had enough time to prepare for elections but it has shown itself to be partisan by denying people in the stronghold of the opposition their PVCs.
“We consider this action as rigging before elections. This perpetual act should not be condoned by Nigerians
“ADC also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure all eligible voters collect their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs.
“Our democratic systems and processes must be respected for the betterment of all, especially now that the country needs good leadership.
“As a third-force political party, ADC has worked very hard to ensure that we win a lot of seats and we are not going to fold our arms and watch our hard work go up in flames.
“We are also advising all those that have not got their voter’s card to continue to raise alarm.
“This time around, the people should not allow their mandate to be stolen from them.”
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