Movement for Democratic Change leaderMargan Tsvangirai at the signing of theMemorandum of Understanding in Harareyesterday.(Image: Irin News)Tamara O’ReillyThe signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between embattled Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has opened the door to talks about the formation of a power-sharing government to resolve the country’s political and economic woes.Zimbabwe’s two political protagonists signed the MoU at a ceremony in the capital Harare on 21 July, committing themselves to dialogue with each other with a view to creating a sustainable solution to the Zimbabwean situation. Although the talks are a small step in the direction of restoring Zimbabwe, they are significant as the two leaders have been at loggerheads since the since the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) 10 years ago, led by Tsvangirai, provided the first real opposition to Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF).After 28 years of rule, Mugabe’s loss to the MDC in the March 2008 election was the first indication that his grip on power was loosening. Despite having lost the presidential election, Mugabe insisted on a run-off election in June 2008. Campaigning was marred by a wave of violence and intimidation targeted at MDC supporters, causing Tsvangirai to withdraw from the election to save lives. The resultant one-horse race was inevitably won by Mugabe, giving him a further five-year term as president.On the agendaAs outlined in the MoU, talks between the parties will take place during the next two weeks around issues of economics, politics, communication and security.Ways in which to restore economic stability and growth are high up on the agenda as Zimbabwe has the most battered economy in the world, with inflation at a whopping 2.2-million percent and unemployment at 80%.Politically, the prospect of a new constitution will also be explored as well as the functions of state organs and institutions. A government of national unity is widely seen as the solution to the crisis by the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and new elections could possibly be discussed. The talks will also focus on promoting equality and restoring unity and encouraging national healing.Violence has been a distinctive mark of Mugabe’s rule and the way forward in preventing bloodshed and protecting the security of citizens is also on the cards.South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been receiving criticism for his quiet stance on the neighbouring country’s politics, facilitated talks between the two parties. SADC appointed him mediator in 2007, and he has long maintained that talks between the two were paramount in resolving Zimbabwe’s problems.Talks applaudedSouth Africa’s Department of Foreign Affairs said the signing of the MoU “heralds the dawn of a new beginning in the quest for a lasting solution to the country’s political and economic challenges”.“We are convinced that the Memorandum of Understanding has laid a firm foundation for the Zimbabwean people to start on a new road towards political stability and economic recovery,” said Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa. “We reiterate our view that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is a significant and major step forward in the process of dialogue among the Zimbabwean political parties as facilitated by President Thabo Mbeki in his capacity as SADC Facilitator.”The South African media have hailed the talks with the front-page headline of The Star newspaper calling it “Hope in a handshake”, the Times’s banner headline simply declaring “HOPE”, and Business Day calling it a “New Dawn in Zimbabwe as Mugabe accepts deal”.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Related articlesLeaders condemn Zim violenceUseful linksZimbabwe Memorandum of UnderstandingSouthern African Development CommunityAfrican UnionDepartment of Foreign Affairs
The board of South African power utility has resolved to commission an independent enquiry, conducted by external parties, to examine the current status of the business and the challenges it faces. Four senior executives will be asked to step down for the duration of the probe.Eskom chairman Zola TsotsiThe board of South African power utility has resolved to commission an independent enquiry, conducted by external parties, to examine the current status of the business and the challenges it faces. Four senior executives will be asked to step down for the duration of the probe.The Eskom board has today resolved to commission an independent enquiry on the current status of the business and its challenges.• Download media statementThe board, in its quest to address the current challenges faced by Eskom, has deemed it prudent to seek an independent view on the status of a number of issues. These include:• The poor performance of generation plant• Delays in bringing the new generation plant on-stream• High costs of primary energy• Cash-flow challenges“To ensure that this process is as transparent and uninhibited as possible,” said Eskom chairman Zola Tsotsi, “the board has also resolved that four of its senior executives, including the chief executive, should step down for the duration of this enquiry.”The executives who have been asked to step down while the enquiry is underway are Tsholofelo Molefe (Finance Director), Dan Marokane (Group Capital) and Matshela Koko (Commercial and Technology). One of the current non-executive board members, Zethembe Khoza, has been asked to assume the position of interim chief executive. Khoza will be supported by Nonkululeko Veleti (Finance), Abram Masango (Group Capital) and Edwin Mabelane (Commercial and Technology).“All these senior executives have been with the organisation a long time and we are confident that they will maintain business continuity during this period,” said Tsotsi.The board also resolved that the independent enquiry be conducted by external parties, who will be selected within the next week. They will be given unfettered rights of access to all information deemed necessary for this probe to be successful.The board has emphasized that this process is a critical step towards ensuring that the situation facing Eskom improves as expeditiously as possible.“To that end, we would like to assure our customers and employees that this was done in the best interest of all our stakeholders, and we hope to come out of this with a better grasp of all the challenges facing the business, and most importantly, with solutions,” said Tsotsi.The interim appointeesMs Nonkululeko Veleti is a registered chartered accountant and has been with the organisation for almost 14 years working in the finance department.Abram Masango, a qualified engineer, has been with Eskom for over 18 years and is currently project director at Kusile. He brings to the role many years of valuable experience, having occupied various senior positions within the organisation.Edwin Mabelane has been with the organisation for 21 years. He is a qualified engineer has been a very senior executive before this appointment. He brings into the role many years of valuable experience.Issued by Eskom Media DeskTel: +27 11 800 3304/3343/3378Cell: +27 82 805 7278Fax: 086 664 7699Email: email@example.com
There was tension in Budhansi village near Aligarh on Friday after half-a-dozen people were injured in a Dalit-Thakur clash.The violence started as a petty fight over open defecation. The condition of one of the injured is said to be serious. The police have registered two FIRs against 36 people. Dr. Vinod Singh, in-charge of Harduaganj police station, said both the parties had registered an FIR against each other.According to the complaint filed by Satyapal Singh, a resident of Deen Dayalpur, Dalits openly defecated in his farms despite being told not to. On Friday, when he saw some people relieving themselves in his farm, he protested and asked them to move away. This triggered a confrontation between the two groups and they hurled stones and bricks at each other. Senior Superintendent of Police (Aligarh) Rajesh Kumar Pandey said, “We have registered two FIRs against 36 people. Both the sides have made allegations and we are investigating.”
Seeking large participation of people in the upcoming panchayat polls, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday said it would be followed by elections to the urban local bodies (ULB) to fully empower these basic democratic institutions.The State government has announced holding of the panchayat polls from mid-February. Panchayat elections were last held in the State in 2011, while polls to urban local bodies were held in 2005.“My government is committed to empowerment of grassroot level institutions and the proposed elections to the panchayats and ULBs is a major step in that direction,” Mufti said.Seeking large participation of people in the panchayat elections, she said it would be followed by elections to the urban local bodies.“Elections to panchayats and ULBs will empower these institutions to not only have the democratic powers but the financial resources as well to undertake developmental activities at the grass-root levels.‘Vital role’“These democratic institutions play a vital role in taking forward the all-round developmental agenda of the government for every section of the population,” the CM said, while addressing various delegations here.The Chief Minister said the State’s election authority would formally set the process for holding panchayat polls into motion after the Rural Development Department issues the requisite notification in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act.She said her government had made a commitment on the floor of the House in June 2016 that the elections to the rural and urban local bodies would be held at the earliest to ensure full empowerment of these institutions.New district chiefsAhead of the polls, Ms. Mufti nominated Shafeeq ur Rehman as district president for Reasi, Faqir Chand Baghat for Jammu Rural, Harmesh Salatia for Samba, Surinder Singh for Kathua and Irshad Kar for Baramulla.
Ten people, including eight young men returning home from an Army recruitment camp, were killed in Haryana’s Jind on Tuesday night when a speeding oil tanker collided with the autorickshaw they were travelling in near Ramrai village. One person was injured.The men, aged between 18 and 21, had gone to Hisar for medical examination as part of the recruitment drive. On their way back, they had boarded an autorickshaw. The oil tanker hit the vehicle on Hansi Road, around 8 km from Jind city, around 10 p.m., killing 10 people on the spot. The auto driver and a local passenger were among the dead.“While the oil tanker was overspeeding, the autorickshaw was overloaded. It seems the tanker driver hit the autorickshaw head-on in a bid to avoid the potholes on the road,” said Jind SP Ashwin. Tanker driver Bachu Khan, a resident of Barmer in Rajasthan, fled after the accident. He was arrested on Wednesday.The police team had a tough time pulling out the auto from under the tanker. The tanker was lifted with the help of two cranes. The victims included brothers, Sanjay and Parminder, from Badtana village. While Sanjay died, Parminder suffered grave injuries.
No, Priyanka Chopra is not talking about the box office competition, but about actually beating up someone physically! And the actress strongly feels that every woman should learn some form of self-defence.Priyanka may have now lost all the muscle she built up for her role as five-time boxing champion M.C. Mary Kom in her forthcoming film, but she says she’s now fitter and stronger to give a tough fight to anyone.”Today, I can beat anyone, it feels great,” Priyanka, one of Hindi film industry’s most indomitable actors, exclaimed during a tete-a-tete with IANS while she was on the move for her promotional commitments for “Mary Kom”.Building the muscles for the movie, which brings to screen the inspirational story of Manipur-based athlete Mary Kom, made Priyanka feel “very tired”.But it was worth it!Priyanka Chopra. Photo: Instagram”Building muscles can’t make you feel empowered, but stronger. I did! I have lost all my muscle now, but I still feel strong. I still believe I have those muscles,” she said, and broke in guffaws.On an introspective note, she said: “Muscles are a very superficial thing. What they did for me, honestly, was being able to learn a sport. I’ve never learnt a sport in my life. That too a contact sport. For me, it was a huge challenge to learn an entire sport.”Today, you can put me in a boxing ring. I may not be able to beat another boxer, but I’ll be able to give her a tough fight. I’ve learnt it that much.”advertisementIt also makes her believe that women must learn some form of self-defence.”I think girls should be able to do what they want, be free and not be worried about protecting themselves. But I think that in the world that we live in today, unless the laws that have been made to protect us have been implemented well enough, we should learn some form of self-defence just for confidence.”You may not be able to beat a guy who’s coming at you, but you’ll be able to put up a fight. And that can really scare some people off. So, with that, you will be able to put up a fight, and say, ‘You cannot take advantage of me’. For some, that power comes from the gym. But one has to find an individual source.”For me, it came from being agile, from learning this new sport.””Mary Kom”, directed by first-timer Omung Kumar, releases on Teacher’s Day Friday.