Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Doreen Lawrence set to join House of Lords as Labour peer

Doreen LawrenceDoreen Lawrence recently called for a public inquiry into claims the police smeared her family

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The mother of the murdered London teenager Stephen Lawrence is to be made a Labour peer.
Doreen Lawrence has led a long campaign to find out what happened to her son, who was killed in a racially aggravated attack in 1993.
Two men were eventually convicted of his murder in 2011.
A Labour source said leader Ed Miliband felt Mrs Lawrence was a "hero of modern Britain" and "voices like hers" should be heard in Parliament.
Eighteen-year-old Stephen Lawrence was stabbed by a gang of white youths as he waited for a bus in south London.
An inquiry following the murder led the Metropolitan Police to be accused of institutional racism and found failings in how the force had investigated the crime.
Speaking earlier this month, in the wake of fresh allegations that officers had carried out a smear campaign against her family during the investigation, Mrs Lawrence said there were "still elements of racism within the police".
'Strength and courage'
Leading public figures, including Mr Miliband, Prime Minister David Cameron and Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe attended a memorial service earlier this year to honour the black teenager.
Mrs Lawrence, a special needs teacher, founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to promote a positive community legacy in her son's name.
Her name will be included in a list of new peerages expected to be announced on Thursday, entitling her to sit in the House of Lords.
The BBC's Danny Shaw said he understood the nomination had been agreed by the Labour leader and put forward to No 10 in a list of recommendations.
A Labour source said: "The strength and courage she has shown in her fight for justice for her son Stephen has had a profound impact on attitudes to racism and policing.
"Her campaigning has changed, and will continue to change, our country for the better.

Sudan signs CAADP Compact
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Khartoum-Sudan, July 31, 2013–The Republic of Sudan yesterday become the 32nd African Country  to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Compact.
The signing ceremony was officiated by Sudanese Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Hon. Abdelhaleem Ismail Al-Mutaafi, AUC Commissioner for the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E Tumusiime Rhoda Peace and COMESA Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya.
A CAADP Compact spells out a County’s priority areas for investment in the agriculture sector agreed upon by stakeholders to address national priorities. It is also meant to define actions, commitments, partnerships and alliances to guide country policy and investment responses.
Dr. Al-Mutaafi, reaffirmed Sudan’s commitment towards CAADP implementation and pledged to mobilize more stakeholders to support the process.
The Sudan CAADP Compact takes into account the country’s Agriculture Revival Propramme (ARP) and the Economic Recovery Programme 2012-2014.
Commissioner Tumusiime, congratulated Sudan for signing the Compact, assuring Sudan that, “This significant step promises sustained economic growth, food and nutrition security in The Sudan,” as CAADP was not only a reaffirmation of commitment by AU Heads of State and Government to the development of Africa, led by sustained investment in agriculture, food and nutrition security, but also envisioned as a fundamental engine of economic growth based on catalysing comprehensive and broad-based public and private sector investment in the entire agricultural value chain.
She further stated that the AUC was cognizant of the high potential of The Sudan to become one of the leading pillars for realizing ‘the African Dream’, taking CAADP to another level and meeting the vision of Africa becoming food-sufficient and a net exporter of agricultural and agro-processed commodities to the rest of the world.
The Sudanese CAADP Compact was signed by Sudanese Ministers of Agriculture and Irrigation, and Finance and National Economy respectively, the AUC, NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency, COMESA, representatives from the Sudanese Farmer’s Union, private sector, civil society and development partners.


Description: Description: C:\Users\user\Pictures\20130731_082422b.jpgHarare, Zimbabwe 31 July 2013- The harmonized elections, (i.e. presidential, parliamentary and local government) in Zimbabwe have begun, with the African Union Election Observer team, led by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo visiting polling stations in Harare and the surrounding areas, to observe the conduct of the elections.

Chief Obasanjo and his team started their tour at the Town House polling station in Harare before 07:00, in time to observe the start of the voting process. At the other stations they visited, the team spoke to voters in the queues, polling officers and party agents. Some voters indicated that they had been there since 4 am.

The AU has a total of 26 observer teams comprising 69 people, observing elections throughout the country. Other observer team in Zimbabwe include the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which has 562 observers, COMESA which has 24 observers, Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) which has a delegation of 8, SADC Parliamentary Forum with 60 observers, SADC Electoral Support Network with 31 observers, SADC Council of NGOs with 150 observers and the SADC Electors Commission which has 25 observers.

As at the time of filing this report, (11:00) the processes at most of the polling stations observed by the AU observer teams were proceeding in an orderly and peaceful manner, said AU Commissioner for Political Affairs and Deputy Head of Mission Dr Aisha Abdullahi.

COMESA Observes Zimbabwe’s July 31 harmonized elections

The COMESA Election Observer Mission to the July 31 harmonized elections in Zimbabwe was officially launched last Friday 26 July 2013 in the capital Harare. The short term observer team has been assessing the situation on the ground as the country, with a population of at least 13 million heads to the polls. Secretary-General Sindiso Ngwenya and Mission Leader Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat flagged off the observers who will observe the crucial elections in all the ten provinces of Zimbabwe.
During the launch, Mr. Ngwenya stated that as regional integration deepens in the bloc, democracy and good governance are a necessary and important factor for successful social and economic integration. “Equally important, the democratization process can only obtain and be sustained in an environment that is peaceful,” he said.
He pointed out that one of COMESA’s six core objectives is cooperation in the promotion of peace, security and stability to enhance economic development. This empowers the organization to observe elections in its member states and so far, COMESA has observed a total of 15 elections and referenda in the region.
“In response to an invitation from the Government of Zimbabwe, COMESA Secretariat has put together a team of twenty four observers drawn from Member States, civil society and sister regional economic organizations namely, East African Community (EAC), Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), all of whom have signed a code of conduct and are ready to be deployed,’’ Mr. Ngwenya added.
Ambassador Kiplagat informed the gathering who included diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe and international observers that the COMESA observers had undergone a very comprehensive training session and they had been exposed to the political environment of the country and the various aspects of election observation. They observers also had an opportunity to interact with important stakeholders including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the security wing, civil society organizations, the media and representatives of political parties.
Ambassador Kiplagat is a member of the COMESA Committee of Elders and he has served as COMESA’s election observer mission leader to the Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mali First Round Presidential Elections

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Washington, DC
July 29, 2013

The United States congratulates the people of Mali for their enthusiastic participation in the first round of Presidential elections on July 28. We commend the interim government for holding transparent, inclusive elections. Though domestic and international observers witnessed minor technical difficulties, voting took place peacefully throughout Mali with high voter turnout.
We encourage transparency and patience as votes are tallied and results announced and urge candidates to resolve any disputes through the appropriate legal mechanisms. This election represents an important step in Mali’s return to constitutional order and allows for progress toward national reconciliation. The United States will remain a committed partner as Mali takes further steps toward long-term peace, security, and development.


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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Known Fact: Many women are embracing Islam.
Unknown FactMany of these women are neglected, feel isolated, soon become depressed and contemplate leaving Islam.
Take just 4 minutes to watch Sister Louise’s heartbreaking true story.
Please share/forward it NOW!

Media ejected from Uhuru, mobile operators’ case

The media was asked to leave the courtroom following filing of the request by Kay, to ensure that the proceedings were kept secret/FILE
The media was asked to leave the courtroom following filing of the request by Kay, to ensure that the proceedings were kept secret/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – The Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court on Tuesday kicked out journalists from two cases filed by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyer Stephen Kay against mobile phoneoperators Safaricom and Airtel.
The media was asked to leave the courtroom following filing of the request by Kay, to ensure that the proceedings were kept secret.
Kay, who is represented by Ogetto, Otachi and Company Advocates, wants access to certain information from the two mobile providers but it is still unclear what he is after.
Reports in sections of the press on Tuesday suggested that Kay wants the two mobile operators held to account for allegedly sharing private mobile data with the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, to assist her in the case she has against three Kenyans including the Head of State, his Deputy William Ruto and former radio personality Joshua arap Sang.
Kay, who is appearing for the President in his ICC trial, filed the cases on different days before Justices Isaac Lenaola and David Majanja at the Milimani Law Courts.
Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei later sent a statement to newsrooms saying that the High Court would make its decision public once the case was concluded and only if it does not undermine the integrity of the ongoing trials at The Hague.
“The Judiciary would like to inform members of the public that information of the case in question before the Constitutional Division and Human Rights Division will be released after conclusion of the case and only if it does not affect the integrity of the ongoing trials at The Hague,” she stated.
She added that the High Court had a right to conduct some sessions in camera, depending on the nature and sensitivity of the proceedings.
Shollei particularly cited the publicity that would follow the high level case arguing that it could put the interests of justice at risk.
“In such matters, decisions, rulings and judgment may be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the proceedings to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances,” she said.
She maintained that the court was tasked with protecting the well being of individuals, families, communities as well as the nation and would in no way abdicate that responsibility.
“Therefore the Constitutional and Human Rights Division like any other court has at times heard matters not in open court but in-camera as dictated by the interests of justice as determined by the nature of the proceedings,” read a statement signed by Shollei.
“Interests of justice require the courts to consider particularly the security of the witness(s), and the integrity of related proceedings.”

Fugees Director Aswad Ayinde Given 90 Years for Fathering 6 Children with Own Daughters


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Prosecutors said Ayinde kept the kids from revealing the rape by beating them and isolating them from other children.
Prosecutors said Ayinde kept the kids from revealing the rape by beating them and isolating them from other children.
Award-winning music video producer Aswad Ayinde has been sentenced to 90 years in prison after a New Jersey court found him guilty of raping and impregnating his daughters.
The shamed star, who won an MTV award for directing The Fugees' Killing Me Softly in 1996, admitted repeatedly raping five of his seven girls to create a 'pure' bloodline that would survive Doomsday.
Many of the assaults are said to have taken place from the mid-1980s to 2002 in an abandoned funeral home, before he and his wife separated.
Ayinde, 55, was able to conceal his plot by delivering the babies himself and beating and isolating his daughters by home schooling them, the court heard during his trial.
Ayinde buried at least two babies who died in the home, without notifying authorities or obtaining birth certificates, NBC New York reported.
According to court documents, the former music producer and self-proclaimed prophet fathered six children with his daughters over the years. He also had nine children with his former wife, Beverly, and another three with two other women.
"He said the world was going to end, and it was just going to be him and his offspring and that he was chosen," Beverly Ayinde said at a pre-trial hearing.
"I was afraid to ever accuse him of being demented or being a paedophile. I knew the word, but I wouldn't dare use it because it would result in a beating."
In 2006, the molested sisters decided to go to the authorities after learning that Ayinde had fathered more children with other women.
Prosecutors revealed that Ayinde began having sex with his second daughter from the time she eight years old, and fathered her four children.
When the now-35-year-old woman stood up to testify, Superior Court Judge Raymond Reddin ordered Ayinde to put down the court papers he was hunched over and face her, news website reports.
"I can't describe how much you hurt me and my sisters," she said. "You should've told the truth instead of lying.
"But obviously, with your head down like that, you do not understand." 
Reddin added 50 years to the 40-year prison sentence Ayinde, 54, received in 2010 after being  convicted of raping another of his daughters, who bore a fifth child.
Ayinde faces three more trials because he requested separate hearings.
Department of State Seal

The following live feed will be available at the DOS AVOC switch today, Tuesday, July 30, 2013


11:00 A.M. - Live Feed

Secretary Kerry will deliver remarks on the Middle East Peace Process Talks, at the Department of State. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat will also be in attendance.
          - Live web stream available at
          - Broadcast quality content available via State On DemandDVIDS, and the
            State Department Satellite Feed.
          - Web quality content available via and YouTube.


Editor's Note: On the eve of the election tomorrow we are very pleased to publish two up-to- the-minute points of view from within Zimbabwe. The first , which is by the Human Rights NGO Forum, sets two criteria for what would be an acceptable election. The second is by the distinguished South African finance journalist Gerry Hirshon. Hirshon, who sent us this report from Zimbabwe where he has personally been observing developments, says his "gut feel is that there is a huge groundswell of support for the Opposition ". Both very interesting and uniquely relevant.
Denis Worrall

30 July 2013
Dear Insight Reader
The outcome of the forthcoming election heavily depends on the integrity of the voters’ roll and the credibility of the regional observer mission. Even though a host of other factors such as lack of media and security sector reform had a cumulative effect, the above 2 factors are the game changers.  Without a credible, transparent and accessible voters’ roll that is open to challenge, the whole election exercise amounts to ‘much ado about nothing’ and a cosmetic exercise in futility. In light of the above, it is therefore shocking that some political analysts are making this issue very light and accusing the MDC of being cry babies because of their complaints regarding the voters’ roll.

The issue of the voters’ roll has even become an imperative now in light of questions arising concerning the impartiality and integrity of the observer mission. It is inconceivable to see how the observers will rise above the official statements and views of the institutions that sent them. In our previous opinion, we concluded that statements from both SADC and the AU almost amount to a public certification that conditions in Zimbabwe are conducive for a credible election. They seem to be paying a lip service the voters’ roll issue or ignoring it altogether. The integrity of an observer mission to a large extent depends on the liberty of the observers to critic, question, and if need be, arrive at different conclusions from others in their interpretation of the obtaining facts prior, during and soon after the elections. It would appear, and in our opinion, that,  by neutralizing Obasanjo, David Nyekorach-Matsanga has vicariously issued a statement for the region that dissenting views will not be welcome and that observers must speak with a united official voice.

In regard to the issue of the voters’ roll Senator David Coltart’s views exhaustively address the areas of concern.His statement dated 25 July reads, “Section 21(4) of the Electoral Act states "within a reasonable period of time after the calling of an election, the Commission shall provide, on payment of the prescribed fee, to every political party that intends to contest the election, and to any observer who requests it, one copy of every voters roll to be used in the election, either in printed or in electronic form as the party or observer may request."

The MDC has repeatedly asked the ZEC to provide us with a voters roll. Last Friday we wrote to the ZEC asking for a copy of the roll. Today we were advised that we may get a copy of the roll tomorrow but we are concerned that this will not happen.

A "reasonable period of time after the calling of an election" means just that. The election was called on the 13th June and 6 weeks have since elapsed - and yet we still do not have a copy of the voters roll. 6 weeks to supply a voters roll is not a reasonable period of time. Worse than that is the 5 days left before the election is conducted - that is a grossly unreasonable period of time left to study and use the voters roll.

Voters rolls are meant to be used by political parties the world over to analyse who is in particular constituencies so that they can be spoken to and encouraged to vote. That opportunity is now denied us. Furthermore in the Zimbabwean context where rigging has abounded in the past it is critically important that parties be given sufficient time to analyse and audit the voters roll. That right has now been denied us.

No satisfactory explanation has been given by the ZEC for their failure to comply with the law and to that extent its credibility as an organisation has been severely tarnished by this very serious breach of the law.

We can but hope that the voters roll in analyzable digital electronic format will be supplied as promised tomorrow”.
Human Rights NGO Forum
+ 263 (0) 4 – 250 511
In Business Day a few weeks ago, Tony Leon, the previous Leader of the Opposition in South Africa, quoted Thomas Friedman who observed: "If you ask a man how much is two plus two and he tells you five, that is a mistake. But if you ask a man how much is two plus two and he tells you 97, that is no longer a mistake. The man you are talking with is operating with a wholly different logic from your own."
                                                                                               Tony Leon Bus Day 22.07.2013
Judging by the record of the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) unfathomable reactions to the election they are supposed to be overseeing and/or monitoring in Zimbabwe, logic does not enter the vocabulary of these organizations.
SADC was a driving force behind the so-called Global Political Agreement  (GPA). Thabo Mbeki, SA’s erstwhile President brokered it with the political parties of Zimbabwe. That agreement cost millions of US$ and took years of negotiation and deliberation. It contained a number of conditions relating to future Zimbabwean elections.
Remarkably, SADC has turned its face away from them. And when the AU president Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma wacked SADEC ‘for interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs as detailed below, it eschewed the spirit of the conditions. Right now, one day before the election, those conditions are not even worth the paper they were written on and SADC in particular can shoulder the blame for that.
Without those conditions and oversight that they are being adhered to, the ‘Free and Fair’ election taking place in Zimbabwe is a farce.
For reasons that would take too long to explain here, these conditions were supposed to be made law by the GNU before it prorogued. Such is the tyrant’s reputation that when Mugabe announced the election date to be 31 July, the generally accepted explanation for selecting it was to avoid adherence to them.
Since then and to the present day – the last one before the election takes place - it is obvious to just about everybody in Zimbabwe that Mugabe & co have broken every rule in the book (of Agreements) governing this election with the specific intent to rig the result.
And if everyone doesn’t know this, Baba Jukwa, the mercurial, unidentified leprechaun who is reputed to be a Zapu PF insider, is telling the world on Facebook and Twitter precisely what Zapu PF is doing, how they are doing it and naming and shaming the individuals responsible for these malpractices. Mugabe is so upset by his inability to identify and catch him that he has placed a $300,000 bounty on his head.
The only two apparently blind and/or ignorant observers of these facts are the AU and SADC.
Speak to anyone inside or outside of Zimbabwe. They’ll tell you that Mugabe and his Zanu PF party will ‘win’ the election on July 31 but only by hook, rig and crook. Why? Because they know the aging brigand too well. They know he hasn’t changed one jot since 1976 when he quoted the following:
“Our votes must go together with our guns. After all, any vote we have, shall have been the product of the gun. The gun which produces the vote should remain its security officer – its guarantor. The peoples votes and the peoples guns are always inseparable twins.”
They know that Morgan Tsvangurai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party actually won the elections in 2000, 2002, 2005 and in 2008. They also know that the only people outside of Mugabe’s Zanu PF party who didn’t believe this was South African president at the time, Thabo Mbeki, his acolytes and some other African leaders.
To all who care to look, Mugabe has unstintingly eschewed democracy. By his actions he mocks the concept at every turn as he and his cohorts stole the country blind, filled their own coffers and maimed and murdered his opponents. And it’s continuing. Political foes just disappear and diamond revenue is pouring into Mugabe’s pockets. It’s from this source that he maintains patrimony payments to ‘his ‘Security’ Generals and Zanu PF ‘chefs’ at the expense of Zimbabwe’s people, its economy and it’s infrastructure.
Even when faced with piled high evidence of these unacceptable malpractices, many if not most African heads of state, the AU and SADC continue to genuflect to Mugabe.
So, of course, it’s common cause Mugabe and Zanu PF will win this election! But will he?
Dollarization under the aegis of Morgan Tsvangerai’s MDC (T) party has stabilized the economy. But the average Zimbabwean is economically worse off now than when Mugabe took power in 1980!
So, speak to the people of Zimbabwe and ask them who will win this July 31 election. In Bulawayo and Harare, almost to a man (if they’re not too scared to tell you what they really think) they’ll tell you they are sick of the old man’s promises, of his lies, of the intimidation by his security forces and of their dire poverty. They’ll tell you unequivocally “this time he must go.”
Significantly, in 2008, the incidence and influence of cell phones was minuscule. Now it is estimated that 80%- 90% of adults carry them. Use of Facebook and Twitter is wide and increasing exponentially and there is a soft consciousness among the people of the Libyan ‘Arab Spring’ and the Egypt and Syrian popular uprisings.  Mugabe’s recent childlike invective against Lindewe Zulu is indicative both of the politics of panic and his helplessness in the face of this newfound opinion-leading device.
Baba Jukwa has recently blown Zanu PF’s cover of a fraudulently expanded and unrepresentative voter’s roll that remains unseen by anyone except the Register General – the self-same person who was responsible for the deeply floored voter’s roll in 2008.  Even today this roll is not available even to the parties fighting the election.
Zanu PF’s cheating and fraudulent influence on previous election results is now common knowledge in international diplomatic circles and, to their shame, to the disgusted populous of Zimbabwe. And obviously SADC and the AU are also acquainted with this information.
Leaving the AU aside for the moment, SADC’s qualifications for assessing whether or not the election was free and fair extremely worrying. For each time that Mugabe has confronted SADC and challenged it, SADC behaved like a scared and overwhelmed puppy and democracy and the law have been the losers.
Immediately after Mugabe announced 31 July as election day, Tsvangerai appealed to SADC that there was too little time for all eligible voters to register, that the all -important extra-constitutional conditions for a free and fair election agreed to by SADC itself and required by all the signatories to the GPA - were not in place that the electoral roll was neither complete nor transparent, that ZEC was no longer obliged to abide by conditions and therefore that the election could not, by the GPA’s and SADC’s own definitions, be free and fair.
SADC’s benignly inadequate response to Tsvangurai’s appeal was to send the Zimbabwe Justice Secretary, Patrick Chinamasa, back to Zimbabwe to ask the self-same Constitutional Court that had approved the date in terms of the old constitution, to extend it by a miserly two weeks. When the Constitutional Court refused to do so, SADC said nothing. In doing so it ignored its own requirement for the extra-constitutional conditions to be imposed. Worse still, SADC’s inaction gave Mugabe its tacit consent to proceed unhindered. Everyone knows what that means: rig, rig, rig - with SADC’s approval.
SADC whimpered again on Saturday 20 July when several of its presidents met in Mozambique with SA’s President Jacob Zuma who is SADC’s appointed facilitator with Zimbabwe. The purpose of this meeting was to consider the statement by SA’s presidential ambassador Lindiwe Zulu that conditions for a free and fair election were not in place.
It should have been swift and easy for SADC to arrive at a consensus. All the evidence pointed toward the veracity of her statement. Yet, instead of emphasizing this, and demanding a significantly later election, SADC’s response was a blindingly biased statement by Tanzania’s Kikwete. He had the temerity to exclaim he would stand behind Zimbabwe and ensure the vote was ‘credible enough’. And the very next day, President Zuma’s office rapped Ms Zulu over the knuckles for daring to make such a statement. 
One more example sample of SADC’s mind-boggling illogicality occurred when the 15-member body disqualified its own specially created tribunal. The tribunal sat to hear the pleadings of a number of Zimbabwean farmers who were suing the Zimbabwe government because named members the government had taken their farms from them with no compensation. The tribunal found in favour of the farmers. Mugabe objected to the judgment. So SADC disbanded the tribunal.
Even with all the above-listed negatives, intuition suggests that the huge ground swell in favour of Tsvangerai’s MDC party and will sweep Zanu PF away. Remember, Tsvangerai won the 2008 election. This time it’s likely that hundreds of thousands more will vote for MDC (T) than then.
Two possible adversaries stand in the MDC’s way. Zanu PF’s rigging machinery is in full swing. It knows that on a cleared battlefield it will go down. And they are doing everything to avoid this.
Secondly, if MDC wins, it may have to face another, perhaps insurmountable obstacle in the form of the Generals of the security forces.
Remember what Mugabe said: “The peoples votes and the peoples guns are always inseparable twins.” Believing this, there is a distinct possibility the security forces’ generals will try to take matters into their own hands. At this stage they are an unknown quantity. However, they have brazenly and repeatedly stated they will not accept the situation if Zanu PF loses and they will not serve Tsvangerai!
SADC’s past reactions and the biased, irreconcilable recent AU response to SADC’s ruling leads to the distressing conclusion that neither body will lift a finger should the Generals take over. If this happens, Zimbabwe’s only hope will lie with international intervention and South Africa’s in particular.
Only one thing is certain. Zimbabwe will never be the same again after July 31. The MDC may  win the battle. Democracy may lose the war.
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