Ugandan Members of Parliament have been advised to be at their best behaviour during the forthcoming Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) later this month.
According to a local media, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga urged the Ugandan legislators to observe etiquette, respect the official dress code while warning them against indulging with other delegates sexually.
“You know when the Tanzanians came to this country [to fight Idi Amin], there was excitement and a number of children were born in this country by the Tanzanians. We know their mothers, but we don’t know their fathers…Don’t take risks. A man from Jamaica, when will you see him again? And for the men, a woman from the Pacific, Naulu when will you ever reach there. So you must really be very careful with what you do,” she said.
Zimbabwe ex-president Robert Mugabe’s family and the government squabbled over his burial on Thursday, with the place – and even its date – still unclear after relatives snubbed a plan for him to be entombed at a national monument.
Mugabe died in Singapore last week aged 95, leaving Zimbabweans torn over the legacy of a leader once lauded as a colonial-era liberation hero, but whose autocratic 37-year rule ended in a coup in 2017.
MUGABE’S FINAL WISHES
Tensions erupted after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government proposed a burial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, while the family said he would be buried at a private ceremony, possibly in his homestead of Kutama, northwest of the capital.
“His body will lie in state at Kutama on Sunday night… followed by a private burial – either Monday or Tuesday – no National Heroes Acre. That’s the decision of the whole family,” his nephew Leo Mugabe said.
In a statement, the family accused Mnangagwa’s government of trying to strong-arm them against Mugabe’s final wishes.
Some relatives are still bitter over Mugabe’s ouster and the role played by Mnangagwa, a long-time ally who turned against him.
Mugabe fired Mnangagwa as first vice president in 2017 – a move many perceived as an attempt to position his wife Grace to succeed him after nearly four decades of iron-fisted rule.
Grace Mugabe sits at funeral wake of her husband the late former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on September 12, 2019, at the Blue Roof mansion in Harare. PHOTO | ZINYANGE AUNTONY | AFP
Soon after, Mugabe was toppled by protesters and the army in what was seen as part of a power struggle within the ruling Zanu-PF party between pro-Mnangagwa factions and Mugabe loyalists siding with Grace.
Mnangagwa, who praised Mugabe as a national hero after his death, sought to downplay tensions on Thursday, saying he was still in talks with Grace.
Women dressed in colours of the ruling Zanu-PF party, dance on September 12, 2019 at the Rufaro stadium in Harare where the body of Zimbabwe’s late President Robert Mugabe is expected to lie in state later in the day. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP
“We said we will bury him on Sunday, but how, it will be decided,” Mnangagwa said, addressing mourners at Mugabe’s Blue Roof residence.
“The family will have the final say.”
Leo Mugabe said later there was no feud, claiming the burial would be private. But he said there was no plan for the ceremony on Sunday and the date was still not set.
“The obvious situation we are having here is there’s only one Robert Mugabe,” he told reporters.
“They (family) don’t want you to know where he is going to be buried.”
An attendee at the memorial service held by South African political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in honour of the late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe takes pictures with a wax model of the former president in Soweto, Johannesburg on September 12, 2019. PHOTO | GULSHAN KHAN | AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Cuban former leader Raul Castro and a dozen African presidents, including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, are among those expected to attend Mugabe’s state funeral on Saturday in Harare.
The former leader had been travelling to Singapore regularly for medical treatment, but allies say his health deteriorated rapidly after his ouster.
Mugabe’s body arrived from Singapore on Wednesday at Harare airport.
Several thousand people gathered in the 35,000-seat Rufaro stadium in Harare on Thursday to file past Mugabe’s open coffin under a white tent in the centre of the sports field.
A brief stampede broke out and several people were slightly injured as supporters rushed to see the coffin where the former leader’s body lay in a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie, an AFP correspondent said.
“Mugabe is the only president I had known all my life until 2017 so I had to pay my last respects,” said Viola Musviba, 44, a hairdresser, wearing a faded yellow Mugabe T-shirt.
Jonas Nekati, a truck driver, paid to get to the stadium.
“I have no money, but it was worth it because the man was a good man. Of course he made mistakes on the way but we are all human,” he said.
Mugabe took his oath of office in the same stadium when colonial Rhodesia handed over the reins of the country. He hoisted the new Zimbabwe flag and lit the independence flame on April 18, 1980 – bringing hope for a new era.
But Zimbabweans have been split over the death of a man once hailed for ending white-minority rule and bringing more access to health and education to the poor black majority.
Many Zimbabweans remember his tyrannical leadership and economic mismanagement that forced millions to escape a country crippled by hyper-inflation and shortages of food, drugs and fuel.
Mugabe’s legacy is also marked by a crackdown known as Gukurahundi, which took the lives of an estimated 20,000 alleged “dissidents”.
Later his seizure of white-owned farms helped ravage the economy, sent foreign investors fleeing and turned Mugabe into an international pariah – even if his liberation hero status still resonates in Africa.
Zimbabweans still struggle to survive with the economy mired in crisis.
Mnangagwa himself is under pressure after promising more investment and jobs in a post-Mugabe era, with little success.
A fuel price hike this year sparked nationwide protests which led to a crackdown on opposition and clashes in which at least 17 people were killed after soldiers opened fire.
Robert Mugabe’s nephew has said the former Zimbabwean leader died a “very bitter” man.
Mr Mugabe, who died aged 95 last week, led Zimbabwe for nearly four decades until he was ousted by a coup in 2017.
“Imagine people you trusted – people that were guarding you, looking after you – [turning] against you,” Leo Mugabe said.
“He was very bitter and it dented his legacy,” he told the BBC from his uncle’s rural home.
“It was not an easy thing for him to take,” he added.
Initially praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority, Mr Mugabe later used violence against his political opponents and presided over Zimbabwe’s economic ruin.
He was removed from office after he fired his deputy, with many fearing he was preparing for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him.
His former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, then became president after the army intervened and forced Mr Mugabe to step down.
The long-serving president’s legacy has been the subject of fierce debate since he died.
When will the funeral take place?
Mr Mugabe’s death at a hospital in Singapore on Friday followed a long illness. He had been receiving medical care in the city since April.
Close relatives and government officials have travelled to the city and his remains are due to be returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
His body is expected to be taken to his home village, which is about 80km (50 miles) west of the capital Harare, for an overnight wake.
His official funeral will take place on Saturday at the 60,000 capacity National Sports Stadium in Harare, according to government officials.
But there has reportedly been disagreement over where Mr Mugabe will be buried.
Some of his relatives want him to be buried at his rural homestead in the village of Kutama in Mashonaland West province. But government officials have pushed for a burial at a shrine near Harare.
Most of Zimbabwe’s national heroes – those who fought against white-minority rule – are buried at the Heroes’ Acre shrine just outside of the city.
“The [traditional] chiefs will bury him on Sunday, where I don’t know,” Leo Mugabe told AFP news agency on Monday.
If Mr Mugabe is buried at his rural home, it would represent a final snub to the comrades he believed betrayed him, the BBC’s Shingai Nyoka in Harare says.
Who was Robert Mugabe?
He was born on 21 February 1924 in what was then Southern Rhodesia – a British colony, run by its white minority.
After criticising the government of Rhodesia in 1964 he was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial.
Once released, he headed to Mozambique, from where he directed guerrilla raids into Rhodesia but he was also seen as a skilled negotiator.
Political agreements to end the crisis resulted in the new independent Republic of Zimbabwe.
With his high profile in the independence movement, Mr Mugabe secured an overwhelming victory in the republic’s first election in 1980.
But over his decades in power, international perceptions soured. Mr Mugabe assumed the reputation of a “strongman” leader – all-powerful, ruling by threats and violence but with a strong base of support. An increasing number of critics labelled him a dictator.
He famously declared that only God could remove him from office.
He was forced into sharing power in 2009 amid economic collapse, installing rival Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister.
But in 2017, amid concerns that he was grooming his wife Grace as his successor, the army – his long-time ally – turned against the president and forced him to step down.
Kenyans are among victims of arson, looting and physical attacks in the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Kenyan High Commissioner to South Africa Jean Kamau on Wednesday confirmed that several Kenyans had been attacked in Gauteng Province.
South African police have arrested 189 people following several days of fresh xenophobic violence in Pretoria and Johannesburg in Gauteng as well as in other cities.
At least five people have been killed during the sporadic violence against foreign-owned businesses.
Ms Kamau has asked Kenyans living and running enterprises in the troubled regions to cooperate with the police and report all incidences.
“The Kenya High Commission has since reached out to the affected individuals and encouraged them to respond to the instructions and calls by the South African police to report and open files regarding all incidences,” a statement from the ambassador based in Pretoria reads.
“Kenyan community members in South Africa are asked to ensure that they work with their local diaspora leaders to monitor the situation and take measures to safeguard their security. All must remain vigilant and aware of their environment,” Ms Kamau added.
Sporadic violence against foreign-owned stores and enterprises has a long history in South Africa, where many locals blame immigrants for high unemployment.
The authorities have been struggling to contain a nationwide surge of anti-foreigner sentiment that flared up in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Mobs descended on business hubs and townships in various parts of the country, looting dozens of shops and torching trucks driven by foreigners.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a video address broadcast on Twitter, said the attacks are “something totally unacceptable, something that we cannot allow to happen in South Africa.”
“I want it to stop immediately,” he said, adding that the violence had “no justification.”
Nigeria has summoned its South African ambassador to express “displeasure over the treatment of her citizens” and said it would dispatch a special envoy.
Zambia has cancelled an international friendly football match which was slated for Lusaka next weekend against South Africa.
African Union chairperson Moussa Faki condemned the violence “in the strongest terms” but said he was encouraged “by arrests already made by the South African authorities”.
Cancer has become the leading cause of death in rich nations, overtaking heart disease, according to the results of two landmark, decade-long global surveys of health trends released Tuesday.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of mortality among middle-aged adults globally, accounting for more than 40 per cent of deaths, the data showed.
It was thought to have been responsible for around 17.7 million deaths in 2017.But in richer countries, cancer now kills more people than heart disease, according to the twin studies published in The Lancet medical journal.
“The world is witnessing a new epidemiologic transition among the different categories of non-communicable diseases, with cardiovascular disease no longer the leading cause of death in high-income countries,” said Gilles Deganais, emeritus professor at Laval University, in Quebec.
He said his team’s study showed that cancer was the second most common cause of death globally in 2017, accounting for just over a quarter (26 per cent) of all deaths.
Deganais said that as heart disease rates fell globally, cancer could become the leading cause of death worldwide “within just a few decades”.The study followed more than 160,000 adults, in high-, middle-, and low-income countries over the course of decade. It determined that people in poorer nations were on average 2.5 times more likely to die from heart disease than those in richer ones.
It conversely found that non-infectious diseases such as cancer and pneumonia were less common in low-income states than in richer ones.
A second study, also by researchers in Canada, and looking at data from patients in the same 21 countries, found that so-called “modifiable risk factors” accounted for 70 per cent of heart disease cases globally.These included diet, behavioural and socioeconomic factors, they said.Metabolic risk factors — high cholesterol, obesity or diabetes — caused more than 40 per cent of all heart disease, and were by far the biggest determinant of disease in richer nations.
But there was also a strong link between heart disease in developing countries and household air pollution, poor diet and low education levels.”A change in tack is required to alleviate the disproportionately high impact of cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income countries,” said Salim Yusuf, professor of medicine at McMaster University.
“Governments in these countries need to start investing a greater portion of their gross domestic product in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular disease, rather than focusing largely on infectious diseases.”
Monster storm Dorian hovered over the Bahamas Monday as surging seawaters and ferocious winds sowed chaos in low-lying island communities, killing at least five people and spurring mass evacuations on the US east coast.
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis termed the hurricane a “historic tragedy” for the archipelago.
“Thus far, the Royal Bahamas Police Force has confirmed that there are five deaths in Abaco,” Minnis told a news conference, referring to the islands where Dorian made landfall as a Category 5 storm on Sunday, packing blistering winds of 185 miles per hour (290 kilometers per hour).
“Teams will go to Abaco as soon as possible for a full and proper assessment and identification,” he said.
As Dorian ground to a standstill, pounding Grand Bahama further to the west of the island chain, the Bahamas tourism and aviation ministry announced the start of rescue operations “in parts where it is safe.”
US forecasters said the storm would keep hammering the Bahamas overnight into Tuesday.
CRY FOR HELP
For many, the wait for help to arrive has been terrifying.
A text message seen by AFP from a woman named Kendra Williams, who lives on Grand Bahama said: “We are under water; we are up in the ceiling. Can someone please assist us or send some help. Please. Me and my six grandchildren and my son, we are in the ceiling.”
Abaco resident Ramond A. King captured scenes of devastation in footage provided to AFP, showing flooded streets strewn with trees and downed power lines and at least one home washed clearly away.
“Look at this,” he can be heard saying. “We need help, everything down. Everything down. Look at my roof off, my house. I still got life. Thank God for life. I can rebuild.”
“The tornado came from around this side… My neighbour used to live there. His house ain’t even there.”
Dorian weakened slightly Monday to a still-devastating Category 4 storm, punishing Grand Bahama with “life-threatening storm surge and catastrophic winds,” the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest bulletin.
At 0100 GMT Tuesday, the hurricane was stationary, the NHC said, whipping the Caribbean island with torrential rains and winds of 140 miles per hour, with gusts up to 165.
It is forecast to resume moving westward overnight. “Although gradual weakening is forecast, Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days,” the NHC said.
Fear gripped residents of Freeport, as winds tore off shutters and water began coming into homes, said Yasmin Rigby, reached by text in the Grand Bahama island’s main city.
“People who thought they were safe are now calling for help,” Rigby said. “My best friend’s husband is stuck in the roof of their house with seven feet (2 meters) water below.”
Initial Red Cross estimates were that 13,000 buildings may have been damaged or destroyed by Dorian, officials in Geneva said.
Video posted on the website of the Bahamian newspaper Tribune 242 showed water up to the roofs of wooden houses in what appeared to be a coastal town. Capsized boats floated in muddy brown water dotted with wooden boards, tree branches and other debris.
The NHC warned of a 12 to 18 foot storm surge above tide levels in parts of Grand Bahama, accompanied by large and destructive waves, saying that people on the island should “remain in shelter.”
Water levels in the Abacos, swamped by a similar surge Sunday, were expected to slowly subside.
“On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island into Tuesday morning,” the NHC said.
“The hurricane will then move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late Tuesday through Wednesday evening, and then move dangerously close to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday.”
All three eastern US states have ordered coastal residents to evacuate, affecting close to a million people. Neighbouring North Carolina has also declared a state of emergency, as has Virginia farther north.
The Florida senator and former governor Rick Scott wrote on Twitter that “a slight wobble West” would bring the storm “on shore with devastating consequences.”
“If you’re in an evacuation zone, get out NOW. We can rebuild your home. We can’t rebuild your life.”
In southern Florida’s Port Saint Lucie — a low-income area where mobile home parks stood all-but emptied of their residents — Dan Peatle, 78, fled his retirement community to take shelter in a hotel.
“It makes me sick. I don’t like it,” he told AFP as he stepped outside for air before the storm closes in.
“I’ve been through seven or eight of them since I’ve been in Florida, since ’73. And, they’re all the same, you know. Tear everything up, put it back together.
“But, I chose to live here so I might as well live with it, you know.”
A gunman who went on the rampage with an AR-type rifle in West Texas killed seven people and wounded 22 others, including a toddler who was shot in the face, before he was killed by police, authorities said on Sunday.
Police said the second mass shooting in Texas in four weeks began on Saturday afternoon with a routine traffic stop and ended when the suspect, a white male in his 30s, was cornered by officers in the parking lot of a cinema complex.
Police, motorists and shoppers were all caught up in the chaos that unfolded between the cities of Odessa and Midland during a busy Labor Day holiday weekend.
Authorities have said the shooter was known to police and lived locally. Authorities said the investigation continues, but there was no apparent link to domestic or international terrorism.
“There are no definitive answers as to motive or reasons at this point, but we are fairly certain that the subject did act alone,” Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said at a news conference.
Gerke said seven victims were killed and 22 wounded, and he offered his condolences to their families.“My heart aches for them all,” he said.Among the wounded was a 17-month-old girl, Anderson Davis, who was shot in the face, according to officials and an online fundraising campaign started by her family.
Three police officers were shot and wounded – one from Midland, one from Odessa and a Department of Public Safety state trooper – and were in stable condition.In a statement on Facebook, Odessa police named the gunman as Seth Aaron Ator, 36, of Odessa.
Online court records showed Ator had convictions in 2002 for criminal trespass and evading arrest. The Midland Reporter-Telegram newspaper quoted a state lawmaker, Rep. Tom Craddick, as saying he had previously failed a background check.
On Aug. 3, a gunman from the Dallas area killed 22 people in another Saturday shooting at a Walmart store about 255 miles (410 km) west of Midland in the city of El Paso, Texas.
President Donald Trump called the Odessa-Midland shooter “a very sick person,” but said background checks on gun buyers would not have prevented recent U.S. gun violence.
In remarks to reporters on Sunday, Trump said he would be working with Democrats and Republicans on gun legislation when Congress returns this month. “I think you’re going to see some interesting things coming along,” he said.
The bloodshed between Midland and Odessa began when two state troopers pulled over a car on Interstate 20 for not using its turn signal and the lone occupant fired at their patrol vehicle with an “AR-type” rifle, or lightweight semi-automatic, wounding one of them.After fleeing, the suspect hijacked a postal van and opened fire on passersby before being shot dead outside the Cinergy cinema complex in Odessa, police said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot praised first responders and medical personnel, and told reporters that the hurt felt by the victims was “incalculable.”And he read a text message he received from the wounded toddler’s mother, thanking everyone for their prayers. “I have been to too many of these events,” Abbot said, reciting the shootings in Dallas, Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe High School and El Paso that have happened since he became governor in 2015.
“I’m heartbroken by the crying of the people of the state of Texas. I’m tired of the dying of the people of the state of Texas … the status quo in Texas is unacceptable, and action is needed,” Abbot said.
Jeffrey Epstein signed a will two days before killing himself in his New York jail cell, US media reports say.
Court papers filed last week in the US Virgin Islands valued Epstein’s estate at more than $577 million (Sh58 billion) but listed no details of beneficiaries, the Associated Press reported.
The will, details of which were first reported by the New York Post, directs Epstein’s assets to be put into trust.
Epstein died while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
The New York medical examiner found that the 66-year-old, whose body was discovered on August 10, died of “suicide by hanging”.
Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and was being held without bail. He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
The former financier put all of his holdings into a trust called The 1953 Trust, according to a copy of the will published by the New York Post. He signed the document on August 8.
No details of any beneficiaries are included in the document, which lists assets including more than $56 million (Sh5.6 billion) in cash, more than $14 million (Sh1.4 billion) in fixed income investments and more than $18 million (Sh1.8 billion) in “aviation assets, automobiles and boats”.
Epstein’s collection of fine arts, antiques and other valuables is yet to be appraised, the document says.
Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have said they will go after his assets for damages following his death.
Reports about Epstein’s will came as US Attorney General William Barr announced a major leadership shake-up at the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The acting chief, Hugh Hurwitz, was removed and former BOP director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer named as his replacement.
“Under Dr Hawk Sawyer’s previous tenure at the Bureau, she led the agency with excellence, innovation, and efficiency, receiving numerous awards for her outstanding leadership,” Mr Barr said in a statement.
He also named former agency official Thomas Kane as her deputy.
Who was Jeffrey Epstein?
New York-born Epstein worked as a teacher before moving into finance. Prior to the criminal cases against him, he was best known for his wealth and high-profile connections.
He was often seen socialising with the rich and powerful, including US President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and the UK’s Prince Andrew.
In a 2002 profile in New York Magazine, Mr Trump referred to Epstein as a “terrific guy”. But in comments this year, Mr Trump said that he was “not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein”.
What was Epstein charged with?
Epstein was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.
He was arrested on July 6 after landing in New Jersey on his private jet. He avoided similar charges in a controversial secret plea deal in 2008, and instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
That plea deal was closely scrutinised in recent weeks and, last month, US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned over his role in it.
Prosecutors also accused Epstein of paying large amounts of money to two potential witnesses ahead of his trial, which was scheduled to take place next year.
The body of Chris Atema Masaka, the first-born son of Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali, who drowned in the US 10 days ago, will be flown home on Wednesday.
According to Robert Ayitsi, the deceased’s brother, arrangement to have the brought body home have been concluded.
Masaka, who was serving in the US Marine, drowned in a swimming pool in Arizona State on July 26 while trying to rescue a young girl of Canadian descent.
Mr Ayitsi revealed that the father of two had travelled from Illinois to Arizona on holiday with his family when he met his death.
“He had been in Arizona for only one day, it is a sudden death, as a family we shall give a comprehensive statement on what exactly occurred once we have been briefed by the MP who has travelled to the USA,” Ayitsi told journalists.
Friends and relatives have been working on funeral arrangements in Nairobi and Ikolomani. Masaka is expected to be buried this coming weekend.