- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2007

SOUTH AFRICA

Zuma likely ANC chief pick

JOHANNESBURG — The head of South Africa’s powerful trade union federation indicated yesterday that it was likely to name controversial politician Jacob Zuma as its candidate to head the ruling African National Congress.

“I must say that he has become a very important symbol among workers, and I will not be surprised if this conference endorses him as candidate for the ANC presidency,” Congress of South African Trade Unions General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told Reuters.

Such a decision, to be made during a Cosatu conference this week, would be a major blow to President Thabo Mbeki, who says he will stand for a third term as ANC leader if asked.

BRITAIN

Brown to skip summit if Mugabe attends

LONDON — British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has threatened to boycott a summit of African and European leaders in Lisbon later this year if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attended.

Writing in an early edition of the Independent newspaper, Mr. Brown also called for a United Nations humanitarian mission to the southern African country and a European Union envoy to “support the transition to democracy.”

Noting that the Zimbabwean leader is under a European Union travel ban, Mr. Brown said, “President Mugabe’s attendance would mean lifting the EU visa ban that we have collectively imposed. I believe that President Mugabe’s presence would undermine the summit, diverting attention from the important issues that need to be resolved.

“In those circumstances, my attendance would not be appropriate.”

MALI

Tuareg rebels maintain cease-fire

DAKAR — A cease-fire was holding yesterday in Mali as Tuareg rebels prepared to release dozens of hostages taken during fighting with government troops late last month, army and mediating sources said.

Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, a renegade Tuareg rebel leader whose men have repeatedly attacked the Malian army since Aug. 26, on Tuesday night announced a cease-fire.

Dozens of civilians and soldiers have been captured by rebels in the skirmishes. About 20 of 50 hostages have been released.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

President rejects rights findings

BANGUI — President Francois Bozize of the Central African Republic dubbed as “grotesque” yesterday charges from Human Rights Watch that his army was guilty of various abuses against civilians in the country.

“The president of the republic protests with every drop of his energy against these grotesque allegations and exaggerations, which constitute a series of untruths designed to undermine the actions taken by the president,” government spokesman Aurelien-Simplice Zingas told national radio.

In its report, Human Rights Watch accused the Central African army, which is fighting rebels in the north of the country, of having killed hundreds of civilians over the past four years, burning more than 10,000 homes and causing the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people.

ZIMBABWE

Many go to work despite strike

HARARE — Zimbabweans facing economic hardships and a crackdown on dissent turned up for work yesterday despite calls by unions for nationwide strikes to protest a government wage freeze.

Reuters correspondents saw factories, shops and businesses open in Harare yesterday, and there was no sign of riot police in industrial districts or normally restive townships.

Witnesses said the strike had also failed to take off in other major centers across the country.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide