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ANC Re-Elects Ramaphosa In South Africa

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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.

 

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Rivers Crisis: PDP Chairman Hails Jonathan’s Call For Truce

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The Lagos State chapter Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Philip Aivoji, has described former President Goodluck Jonathan’s call to end the political crisis in Rivers as commendable.
Mr Aivoji commended Jonathan  in an interview with The Tide‘s source on Monday in Lagos.
Recall that Jonathan had on Monday implored Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers  and his predecessor, (the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT) Chief Nyesom Wike, to sheathe their swords in order to douse the political temperature in the state.
The former president, who spoke at the inauguration of the N222.1 billion Trans-Kalabari Road construction, emphasised the necessity for Fubara and Wike to collaborate to promote the  progress and prosperity of Rivers State.
He noted that the political tension in the state was excessive and worrisome, and would not contribute to  development.
Jonathan said that destabilising Rivers State would adversely impact the Niger Delta region and could also trigger crises across the country.
Reacting to Jonathan’s admonition, Mr Aivoji described the former President as a man full of experience in mediation and conflict resolution, even at the international level.
“Jonathan is a leader in the party and a leader from South South; there is nothing wrong stepping in to broker peace. It is a good one,” the PDP boss said.
He, however, said that the former President should go further to speak the truth to the warring parties and point out  to each of them where they had erred.
“This is the way to settle issues. If we want to resolve it, we must tell the truth to them.
“The ex-President is an elder, he is an experienced person, who has been meditating in international affairs. Let us see how it goes,” he added.
According to him, the former President, being experienced mediator, must dig deep and probe the cause of the crisis.
“He (Jonathan) has seen it all. Peace of graveyard will not help the matter, they should resolve issues.
“We hope that the nitty-gritty will be looked into and the constitution of the party will be followed if they are true members of the party,” Aivoji said.

 

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Group Carpets Amaewhule Over Political Crisis In Rivers 

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A group, Coalition of Rivers State Leaders of Thought (CORSLOT) has blamed the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Martins Amaewhule, for the escalation of the political crisis in the State.
The coalition, which stated this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, said Rivers State would not have been in its current political situation had Rt Hon Amaewhule played the sacred role providence bestowed on him.
The text for the briefing which was read by the Convener, High Chief Sunnie Chukumele, and co-signed by Prof (Mrs) Reginah Azunwena, Odinaka Osundu, George Ijoma and Elder Anuage Menegbo, also commended Governor Siminalayi Fubara for his peaceful disposition despite the crisis, adding that this disposition has marked the governor as a man of peace.
“Pitiably under him, the world saw a legislative arm of government that was vehemently out to frustrate the executive arm with all sorts of negative actions against the governor and the government of Rivers State.
“Had Martins Amaewhule seen the state as sacred, he would have mediated in whatever were the issues between our former governor, His Excellency, Chief (Barrister) Nyesom Wike. Amaewhule failed woefully to play a stabilizing role which his exalted office gave him ample role to play”, they said.
The Coalition also called on former Governor Nyesom Wike to have a rethink on the political crisis in the state as he has a cardinal role to play in the resolution of the impasse.
“CORSLOT wishes to advise trouble entrepreneurs and eye service politicians of Rivers State origin to take note that power belongs to God Almighty and the people.
“Rivers people are taking note of these political actors.
“Rivers State is owned by Rivers people and not  self seeking politicians”, they said.
“We begin by appreciating the governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalaye Fubara, for working assiduously for peace by embracing and working with the Presidential Peace Accord of 2023 and to state that it is in recognition of this that the governor has won awards and honours within the state and Nigeria”
The Coalition also thanked the Governor for attending to the needs and welfare of citizens of the state, particularly the welfare of civil servants and the planned employment into the Civil Service.
“CORSLOT further recognizes the governor’s attention on infrastructural development in the state with his continuation of projects he inherited from previous administrations and indeed his bold initiatives of new ones.
These come with spiraling advantages”, they added.
They also urged the governor to take immediate steps to fill his cabinet with men and women who have the capacity to add value to the State.

By: John Bibor

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Council Boss Hails Fubara Over Successful Project Commissioning

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Following the successful commissioning of the  Andoni Section of the Ogoni-Andoni- Opobo Unity Road by Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, the Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, Hon. Enyiada Cookey-Gam has commended the number one citizen of the state for his multiple  infrastructural development projects that have direct bearings on the lives and well -being of Rivers people, especially in NgoTown, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area and its adjoining environs.
The Chairman maintained that the road, as commissioned, will provide connectivity between coastal communities, cities, and hinterlands, facilitating the movement of people, goods and services, which enhances trade, commerce and tourism, and also contributes to local economic development and the local government area’s internally generated revenue (IGR).
On the event, Hon. CookeyGam lauded the efforts of the initiator of the project, 24 years ago, Dr.Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers State, for his determination and love for the people that found expression in the initiation of the Unity Road project which has been able to connect the catchment local government areas of Khana, Andoni and Opobo/ Nkoro, including the neighbouring states.
He described both Dr. Odili and Governor Fubara as beacons of infrastructural development.
The Chairman of Council also urged Andoni people to guard against vandalization and theft of the facilities that have been put in place for their betterment.
He further admonished the people of Andoni in particular, and Rivers people in general, to support the good work the Governor has come to do despite distraction from some politicians in the state who do not mean well for the people.

By: Bethel Toby

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