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INTERNATIONAL

Snakes force Liberian President George Weah out of office

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George Weah

Snakes have been found in Liberian President George Weah’s office, forcing him to work from his private residence, the BBC has learnt.

Press secretary Smith Toby told the BBC that on Wednesday two black snakes were found in the foreign affairs ministry building, his official place of work.

All staff have been told to stay away until 22 April.

“It’s just to make sure that crawling and creeping things get fumigated from the building,” Mr Toby said.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosts the office of the president, so it did an internal memo asking the staff to stay home while they do the fumigation,” he said.

The office of the president has been based in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since a fire in 2006 gutted the nearby presidential mansion.

A FrontPage Africa news website video shows workers trying to attack the snakes when they appeared near the building’s reception.

“The snakes were never killed,” Mr Toby said. “There was a little hole somewhere [through which] they made their way back.”
Police and presidential security were seen guarding Mr Weah’s residence in the capital Monrovia. A fleet of vehicles including escorts jeeps were parked outside.

Mr Toby said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started to fumigate on Friday.

“That building’s been there for years now, and [because of] the drainage system, the possibility of having things like snakes crawling in that building was high,” he said.

The president is definitely returning to his office on Monday after the fumigation whether or not the snakes are found and killed, Mr Toby said.BBC

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INTERNATIONAL

US issues travel warning for Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe Shut down

The United States has issued a warning to its citizens in Zimbabwe over possible civil unrest in the southern African country.

The US issued the travel advisory on Tuesday warning that “violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common”.

It urged those deciding to travel to Zimbabwe to stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash, stay away from political rallies, demonstrations and crowds, as well as monitor local media for breaking events and to be prepared to adjust plans”.

Americans were also urged to carry a copy of their passport and visa, while ensuring the originals are kept safe at their accommodation facilities, and also to keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.

The warning comes as tensions mount in the face of unending fuel shortages, crippling power cuts, the rising cost of living, runaway inflation and continued price hikes of basic commodities and increasing transport costs.

Zimbabwe experienced a wave of violent protests in mid-January after the government increased the prices of petrol and diesel, from $1.33 to $3.34 in local currency for petrol and $1.20 to $3.20 for diesel. African News Agency

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INTERNATIONAL

South Africa election: ANC wins with a reduced majority

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Ramaphosa

South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) has been returned to office after winning the parliamentary election, but with a reduced majority.

The ANC secured 58% of the vote, ahead of the Democratic Alliance (DA) on 21%. The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), came third with 11%.

A struggling economy and corruption have eroded the ANC’s popularity.

ANC leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa, called on the people to build a united South Africa.

In his victory speech, he said the result showed that South Africans still had faith in the ANC – in power since 1994 – to deliver.

“Let us now work together, black and white, men and women, young and old, to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it as proclaimed by our forebears,” Mr Ramaphosa told supporters in Pretoria.

He called for a South Africa “which is united, which is non-racial, which is non-sexist, democratic and prosperous”.

The BBC’s Will Ross says the ANC may not be too disheartened by the reduced majority.

He says that although its support has dropped, this was not a disastrous performance and some might even be tempted to call it a fairly successful exercise in damage limitation considering the ANC’s corruption scandals and the slow progress in tackling poverty.

Turnout was about 65% in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections – a drop compared to the 73% registered five years ago.

It was the first time the ANC’s share of the vote has fallen below the 60% mark and it will now have 19 fewer seats in the 400-member parliament.
This has been a critical election for the man promising to defeat corruption and boost a stagnant economy.

Cyril Ramaphosa will now argue that he has the mandate to create a cabinet capable of reducing unemployment that runs at 27% – more than half of it among the young. That means sidelining allies of his scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma.

They will, however, remain entrenched in the structures of the ANC unless prosecutions or the reports of public inquiries into corruption force them to quit.

Perceptions of honest government are critical if Mr Ramaphosa is to attract the investment South Africa needs.

This is Africa’s largest economy and tackling its inability to provide jobs for the young is the great challenge ahead.

In a country where the youth have traditionally led rebellions – in 1976 and again in the mid-1980s against apartheid – the most striking statistic in this election is the fall-off in voting by young people.

More than six million did not register to take part – roughly half of those in the 18-30 age bracket who were entitled to vote.

Disenchantment over corruption and the failure to provide jobs is deep.

It is a trend of alienation that Mr Ramaphosa will need to stem if the long-term health of democracy here is to be guaranteed.BBC

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ENTERTAINMENT

Zodwa Wabantu proposes to Ntobeko Linda

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Zodwa Wabantu Ntobeko Linda

Zodwa Wabantu has over the years proven that she is a nonconformist of note, and on Sunday Mzansi’s fave went “down on bended knees” to propose to her 24-year old lover, Ntobeko Linda. And he said “yes”.

Taking to her official Instagram account the local dancer and socialite shared the special moment with a powerful caption that highlights the plight that most successful women face when their partners aren’t doing well financially.

“We as Women we give our Men Money to Marry us. Hard working Women hide that they Marry themselves by giving their Boyfriends money to go to their families to pay Lobola. Some Women get Desperate to have that Ring on their Fingers.

She continued: But I don’t mind showing reality cause everything that has to do with Zodwa Wabantu is real. Mine is Real, I will Marry him”.

If you think that was dramatic enough then clearly you don’t know Zodwa because the dancer also revealed the prices of the rings.

She pulled receipts, showcasing that the “custom made princess style 9ct rose gold morganite and diamond” ring cost R47,826,09, while the one she bought for her bae only costs R5,217,39.

Zodwa has previously confirmed that she’s been dating Ntobeko for four years and now it seems the couple is ready to take their relationship to the next level.IOL

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