Friday, November 27, 2015

Mujuru Closer to Launching Party in Zimbabwe
27 November 2015

ZIMBABWE – Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has reportedly approved a proposed People First (PF) project constitution, setting in motion plans to launch the party, which has been on the cards for several months now.

NewsDay is reliably informed Mujuru appended her signature as leader of the new opposition party last Tuesday, paving way for a massive recruitment exercise, whose epicentre, sources said, was the Zanu PF political hotbed of Mashonaland East province.

PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed that the document was with Mujuru, although he was unsure whether she had signed it.

“I am not sure about signing. As far as I know, it has not been signed, but we have generally agreed that it is a good document. We are still consulting with our sympathisers and supporters,” he said.

“We need them to give input before the final document, but so far we are happy with what we have.”

It is expected that the party’s constitution will be founded on Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build), a policy document Mujuru publicised about two months ago.

Mujuru has for several months kept people guessing on her next political move, making subtle hints she was on the verge of forming a party, although she has been publicly coy.

On Tuesday, she issued a statement berating President Robert Mugabe for continuously accusing her of plotting to kill him, yet he was yet to present evidence to back his claims.

In forming her party, Mujuru has the support of Gumbo, former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former ministers Dzikamai Mavhaire and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.

They are among a number of several Zanu PF members who were axed from the party on allegations of plotting to oust Mugabe and fanning factionalism. Sources claim PF has undertaken an intensive recruitment drive across the country’s provinces, targeting disgruntled Zanu PF and MDC-T activists in the process.

“They are on a massive recruitment drive and are attracting former MDC-T and Zanu PF activists, who have been dumped or are disillusioned. Zanu PF is aware of this and that is why you have (First Lady) Grace (Mugabe) panicking,” an insider said.

Last week, Grace called on Zanu PF youths to be vigilant and watch former Marondera Central MP Ray Kaukonde’s activities in Mashonaland East closely. She claimed the former Zanu PF provincial chairman and Gumbo were giving youths, some as young as 15 years old, cash to be part of their project ahead of the 2018 elections.

Gumbo said Grace’s accusations should be dismissed with the contempt they deserved.

“We are no longer members of Zanu PF, why should she be worried about how we conduct ourselves?” he asked.

“We are organising and getting ideas from people. We believe that any transformation will have to come from the people.We do not believe in the Zanu PF thinking of one centre of power. It is a feudalistic, primitive and monarchical understanding that does not have a place in modern societies.”

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Mugabe, Wife Lying: Mujuru

Nov 24, 2015

HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru last night angrily denied claims by President Robert Mugabe and the post-congress Zanu PF that she ever plotted to oust and assassinate him, warning the nonagenarian that her plans to form a political party under the People First banner were alive and well.

In a statement last night, Mujuru — who was fired from the ruling party late last year over untested allegations of plotting to oust and kill Mugabe — said she was getting increasingly irritated by the abuse she was getting from the 91-year-old and his wife, Grace.

She insisted, however, that the abuse would not deter her from pushing forward with the People First project as she was free “to do what I want in a free Zimbabwe”.

Mujuru also challenged Mugabe to “take her to court” over the various allegations that had been levelled against her by Zanu PF bigwigs, including those related to treason and corruption.

Ever since Mujuru was kicked out of the post-congress Zanu PF and subsequently linked to the People First movement, ruling party bigwigs led by Mugabe himself have taken turns to accuse the decorated war heroine of all kinds of evil deeds.

The abuse worsened when suggestions emerged that Mujuru and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai were contemplating reaching an electoral pact to challenge Mugabe in the eagerly anticipated 2018 national elections.

Speaking in Gweru at the weekend, Mugabe once again lashed Mujuru for having plotted against him. At the same time, the First Lady has also continued to savage Solomon Mujuru’s widow at her ongoing “Meet the People” rallies.

“Vamwe vakadzimara vabuda pachena vana Mai Mujuru kuti vakuda kuti vauraye vakuru vatore umambo nechisimba sezvakaitwa VaKabila (Laurent) (Some like Mujuru wanted to assassinate me Kabila style)” said Mugabe.

“I did not think that after fighting the colonialist and defeated them Mai Mujuru and Gumbo will betray us saying they want to dislodge me from power and now we say to them you are now traitors, pasi nemhandu (down with traitors), he added.

“In the past week, there has been an unusual amount of abuse leveled against me in public statements made by… Mugabe and the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe.

Unfortunately, the statements are not founded in truth,” Mujuru said.

“When I denied these allegations a year ago, I challenged the authorities to take action in a court of law against me. This is still to happen. I was accused of plotting to overthrow the president. I was accused of visiting witch doctors for assistance and that I betrayed the ethos and values of the liberation struggle. I did nothing wrong,” she said, adding that as a true Christian she “does not partake in such events”.

Further, she added: “Lately, I have been said to be a part of People First as if it is a crime. I am free to do whatever I choose to do with my life outside Zanu PF. It is part of the political freedom I fought for when we went to war. This is enshrined in our State Constitution. We should desist from thinking and believing that any other political party is illegal or unconstitutional for that matter.”

“Zimbabweans are free to choose whom they wish to lead them or what party they want to join or support. Let’s put our People First and avoid focusing an entire nation’s energy on denigrating a poor widow who is quietly, lawfully and constitutionally pursuing her own wishes outside Zanu PF,” Mujuru said.

“Let us BUILD Zimbabwe together by putting our People First,” she said in the short, but hard-hitting statement.

Daily News

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Mujuru not yet finished: Grace

November 22, 2015

First Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday claimed former Vice-President Joice Mujuru was busy mobilising people ahead of the 2018 elections, warning that Zanu PF can ignore her at its own peril.


Grace told thousands of Zanu PF supporters in Murewa that Ray Kaukonde, Mashonaland East’s former Zanu PF chairman, was leading Mujuru’s mobilisation strategy targeting mostly youths.

She said the Mujuru strategy was to go for youths, as young as 15 years as they would be eligible to vote come 2018.

“I hear the Mujuru demon is still in the province. We hear Kaukonde is busy giving people money. Please don’t receive dirty money,” she said.

“The enemy is still there; I hear children who are 15 years are being targeted because they don’t know the history of this country.

“Ask your children where they are getting cellphones. They are campaigning for 2018 because they know then they will be eligible to vote.”

Grace urged the youth league to monitor their peers and guard against Mujuru’s alleged maneouvres.

She threatened to deal with Kaukonde “until he gets tall”. She said the former MP should be dragged before the courts for allegedly extorting money from white farmers in the province.

Grace also claimed there were people within Zanu PF who were spying for Mujuru.

“Zanu PF is being used by people to make money. There are people who join Zanu PF to use the party to make money but they are People First. They are being paid to spy,” she said.

“I was talking to [national commissar Saviour] Kasukuwere and telling him there is a demon in Mashonaland East.

“I did not take demons to Mashonaland West but some brought demons here,” she said in apparent reference to Mujuru who hails from Mashonaland Central but was married to the late retied general Solomon Mujuru who hails from Mashonaland East.

Mujuru and her allies were expelled from Zanu PF before and after the 2014 congress for allegedly trying to topple Mugabe, allegations that were never pursued or proved. The former Zanu PF officials are now mobilising to challenge Mugabe under the People First banner.

People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo described Grace’s claims as tragic.

“She seems to know what we are doing but all I can say is we are cursed as Zimbabwe and people who you assisted to get freedom are fighting and attacking us every day,” she said.

“It’s a tragedy for Zimbabwe. It is not for us to judge but it’s for people to do so. It’s unfortunate this is the Zimbabwe we have and all I can say is good luck.”

Grace led the push against Mujuru and her allies last year accusing Mugabe’s former deputy of corruption and incompetence.

Mugabe Wants Mujuru Back

November 16, 2015
Rattled by the dramatic re-entry into formal politics by former Vice President Joice Mujuru two months ago, as well as the prospects of her working with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of the 2018 national elections, some members of a panicky Robert Mugabe controlled post-congress Zanu PF are apparently stepping up efforts to lure her back into the ruling party.

Well-placed sources in President Robert Mugabe’s warring party told the Daily News yesterday that while the overtures to Mujuru were “not universally supported”, there was widespread agreement that her brutal purge late last year had left the party more divided and seriously weakened.

“Yes, there are some overtures to her, but I don’t think that these have yet reached a formal stage, and they are certainly not universally supported.

Many hardliners are opposed to such a move as it would threaten their positions.

“One thing that is not in dispute any more is that Mai Mujuru’s ghost looms large in the party,” a senior Zanu PF official said when asked to comment on the overtures.

Since the popular widow of the late liberation struggle icon, Solomon Mujuru, was ruthlessly purged from the ranks of the former liberation movement on untested claims of working to dethrone and assassinate Mugabe, Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars have escalated.

The politburo member who spoke to the Daily News said some party bigwigs were “desperate to let by-gones be by-gones”, which would see Mujuru and her allies being brought back into the party fold, for the sake of the party and the country.

“There is no doubt that things are not going well in the party. Many senior members now say privately that if Mai Mujuru is brought back into the party, we will win the 2018 general elections without any problems.

“The other issue is that everyone in the party (Zanu PF) wants to avoid a coalition between Mai Mujuru and Tsvangirai, because if the two join hands, this could be the end of our party,” he said.

Tell-tale signs of the overtures to Mujuru and her supporters first emerged at First Lady Grace Mugabe’s recent Rushinga rally, where she extended an olive branch to party members who were either dismissed or suspended on allegations of being linked to Mujuru.

“I always say if you see that you have done something wrong, apologise to the party. Even God forgives and as Zanu PF we do the same,” she said.

And in another indication that the ruling party is trying to bring Mujuru and her allies back, the inappropriately named State media columnist, Bishop Lazarus, said recently that Mujuru would return to Zanu PF.

“Mujuru’s silence is being presented as a strategy to ambush Zanu PF towards 2018. That is not the case as she is insisting that she can’t imagine herself fighting against Zanu PF in general and President Mugabe in particular.

“Gumbo and Mutasa are said to be pinning Mai Mujuru down as they try to force her to come out in the open. The Americans and the British are coming from the back, leaving Mai Mujuru with no room to breathe. It’s that bad.

“Seeing that she is in a fix, Mai Mujuru is said to have decided that she won’t comment officially on the People First project, with reports that the Build document that was attributed to her was published against her wish.

“Bishop Lazarus knows where her heart lies, but then let me not rush things here. Gumbo, Mutasa, Americans and the British will one good day know that they are and can’t be cleverer than Zanu PF,” the columnist said.

In the meantime, Mujuru’s allies say the former VP has no intention of going back to Zanu PF or meeting Mugabe as is being suggested in some circles.

Dismissing the speculation, the spokesperson of the “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First, Rugare Gumbo, said there was a deliberate ploy by the country’s spies to sell the public a dummy and portray Mujuru as a sell-out who was longing to return to Zanu PF.

“We have been alerted that there are Zanu PF propagandists and security services personnel who have been assigned to fabricate and plant dubious stories in the media to the effect that (Dr) Joice Mujuru is still Zanu PF and that she intends on re-joining the faction-riddled and internally-decaying political outfit,” Gumbo said in a statement.

“We seek to set the record straight herein, that (Dr) Mujuru last met Mugabe on December 1, 2014, a day before Mugabe’s party held its congress and no other meeting between the two, or their representatives, has taken place subsequently.

“(Dr) Mujuru has no intentions to meet Mugabe or go back to Zanu PF as she is busy putting in place a strong political entity that will provide a platform for Zimbabweans, in our diversity and with the multiplicity of our skills, to turn around our economy, rehabilitate our service delivery system, restore hope to our long-suffering people and provide jobs and better livelihoods to the thousands of college and university graduates that the current government has condemned to perpetual poverty and destitution,” Gumbo said.

Mujuru recently launched her Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build) manifesto, which caught the post-congress Zanu PF flat-footed and left many in the party visibly rattled.

“We reiterate that (Dr) Mujuru and all progressive Zimbabweans working with her will not be distracted from charting a trajectory that will return our country to economic prosperity through a people-centred political formation whose primary goal is to restore dignity to our people through providing mechanisms for economic sustainability rooted in an inclusive socio-economic and political system.

“No amount of lies, or infertile imaginations, is going to stop the people’s movement,” Gumbo said.


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Mujuru scoffs at Zanu PF links

November 15, 2015

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has rubbished claims from some political quarters that she could be weighing her options with a view to jumping back to Zanu PF, saying that will never happen.


Speaking directly for the first time in response to the allegations, Mujuru told The Standard on Friday: “Do you see Teurai doing such a thing?” (Teurai-Ropa is Mujuru’s liberation war name).

The former VP usually speaks through former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and ex-administrator of the party Didymus Mutasa, who have aligned with her in her new political endeavours.

The Standard managed to secure a brief interview with her in which she insisted on accurate quotes, failure of which she said no interviews would be granted in the future.

“I have more important people’s things to do than to talk about non-existing issues. Uri kuona zvichiitwa naTeurai izvozvo? [Do you see Teurai doing such a thing as re-joining Zanu PF?] When I am ready, I will do what the real suffering people of Zimbabwe want me to do,” she said.

Her statement follows utterances by ex-Zanu PF provincial chairman for Mashonaland West Temba Mliswa, who claimed that Mujuru was working with a Zanu PF faction dubbed G40.

“Zimbabweans must learn to respect others and even respect themselves,” Mujuru said. “I am a person of my own ways… I don’t just do things. I have my own way of doing things.”

Gumbo, who now acts as the spokesperson of an outfit linked to the former VP, yesterday corroborated Mujuru’s statements, saying it was “wishful thinking” for Mliswa to suggest Mujuru wanted to return to Zanu PF.

“How can she go back to a party that ill-treated her like that? There is no way she is going back,” he said, adding that Mujuru had made it clear she would be contesting for the presidency in the 2018 elections.

“These allegations are mere dreams which should be forgotten. It is the work of the agents who are bent on distorting information,” Gumbo said.

He said Zanu PF was paying agents to do the “dirty work of misleading the masses”.

Political analyst Alois Masepe said one would have to be “insane” to want to go back to a party that was fraught with so many problems.

“It is a fact that she was ill-treated and to imagine her going back is too far-fetched. The ruling party is on fire, why would Mujuru want to go back?” he questioned.

Masepe said it would take a lot of persuasion and wooing to get the former VP to go back to a party that is “highly unstable”.

He, however, said politics was very unpredictable.

“Politics is the art of the possible, so one can never be certain of how things will eventually turn out,” Masepe said.

Mliswa, the former Hurungwe West MP who was kicked out of Zanu PF together with Mujuru and several other senior members, recently told our sister paper NewsDay that the ex-VP would only be powerful if she returned to Zanu PF.

Along with Mutasa, Gumbo and many others, Mujuru is part of a loose coalition of former Zanu PF liberation stalwarts, reportedly mulling the formation of a party currently going by the name People First.

Mliswa claimed Mujuru was now working with Young Turks within the ruling party opposed to the ascendancy of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the presidency.

The group (G40), according to reports, boasts among its ranks the likes of Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao.

Although they all deny belonging to a faction, this has not stopped internal party hawks from linking them to the ambitious group.

“The G40 has realised that it is losing grip. They are losing the internal war with Mnangagwa because the on-going restructuring exercise has put Mnangagwa firmly in charge. His [Mnangagwa’s] people are in charge of Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East,” claimed Mliswa.

Mujuru sacking haunts Mugabe

Nov 10, 2015
By Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe is now haunted by the “unjust and disastrous” purging of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her supporters from the post-congress Zanu PF and government, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa says.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Mutasa — for long one of the most trusted lieutenants of Mugabe — said it had become apparent “even kuna (to) VaMugabe” that Mujuru was not the source of Zanu PF’s problems, as the party’s factional and succession wars had worsened after her brutal purge late last year.

This was why he had “little doubt” that Mugabe and the post-congress Zanu PF were haunted by Mujuru’s expulsion from the ruling party “on false allegations” that she had been plotting to oust from power and assassinate the increasingly-frail nonagenarian.

Mutasa also said so fraught and ominous was the climate within the post-congress Zanu PF that Mugabe was now under growing pressure to prove that he is still in charge of the party and its sole centre of power.

“The most important person in this country is VaMugabe and you would expect him to say something when such things (worsening factional and succession wars) are happening in his party.

“Previously, he said it’s Mai Mujuru and (Vice President Emmerson) Mnangagwa. But now that she is gone, who does he blame.

“He is clearly seeing what is happening in the country — the economy is bleeding and people are suffering.

“The post-congress Zanu PF, as the ruling party, controls the economy and everything, including me.

“But people are getting poorer and hungrier. In Headlands, for example, many are facing starvation but the ruling party is focussed more on its useless succession wars,” Mutasa said.

Pressed to say if all this demonstrated that Mugabe had lost control of the levers of power in his party and the country, Mutasa laughed and then went on to pooh-pooh the post-congress Zanu PF’s “so-called one centre of power”, adding, “that construct is not attainable”.

“When Emmerson still has a faction, how can you say there is one centre of power in Zanu PF? If there is, then that centre can no longer hold.

“Also, why was such a centre ever created if it cannot function and is actually giving the president problems? This is not to say that they should expel Emmerson, but what is happening is affecting our country very badly,” Mutasa said.

The former senior Cabinet minister spoke as Mnangagwa — who was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Mujuru’s expulsion from the ruling party — is now walking a tightrope, with his Zanu PF rivals expediently, accusing him of prematurely planning for life after Mugabe while he is still at the helm.

In this ugly succession brawl, Mnangagwa is said to be locked in a bitter fight with ambitious party Young Turks, known as the Generation 40 (G40), who are opposed to him and are closely linked to Mugabe’s controversial, but increasingly-powerful wife Grace.

The first lady has made it clear in the past that nothing can stop her from aiming for the highest job in the land, effectively setting herself up on a collision course with Mnangagwa, whose loyalists refer to him as the “crown prince”.

Mutasa also said “no amount of spying and infiltration” by State security agents working on behalf of the post-congress Zanu PF would force the People First movement “to prematurely announce” its plans.

He was also adamant that the yet-to-be-formed party had already established provisional structures across the country and that it would be formally launched at “the appropriate time”.

“In as much as I am tempted to divulge when we are forming our party, I am not allowed by my fellow members to talk about that, until the time is opportune,” he said, pooh-poohing State media reports of leadership cracks emerging in the movement.

“I was talking to Mai Mujuru just yesterday, and on Saturday I spoke to Gumbo and he told me he had gone to the Midlands.

“We don’t boast, we are united and there is no way we can allow our leader to just talk.

“She will speak on crucial occasions and whenever it is really necessary. Talks of divisions exist only in the imaginations of drunkards,” Mutasa said.

He added the fact that the post-congress Zanu PF was bitterly divided could be blamed on both Mugabe’s failure to name a successor, as well as his “choice to listen to liars”.

“We are trying to build a new movement that does not go around beating their chest.

“You don’t see the queen (Mujuru) all over, you see her people. Mai Mujuru is definitely our queen.

“The ruling party’s unnecessary wars are a boon to the People First movement, as their disgruntled members are being chased away daily from the party.

“Those who are being affected by the so-called votes of no confidence are coming to People First,” Mutasa said.

“That is why I am saying there is no party stronger than People First in this country,” he added.

Daily News

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President Hails Sino-Zimbabwe Ties
November 27, 2015
Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe yesterday hailed the cordial relations between Zimbabwe and China, ahead of the historic visit by President Xi Jinping who is due in Harare early next week.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony of Joint Command and Staff Number 28 students who graduated with diplomas in Defence and Security Studies at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare, President Mugabe described China as an all-weather friend.

“Education, being a co-operative venture, requires a number of people having to combine their efforts, skills and expertise in instructing students,” he said.

“Let me single out a demonstration of such co-operation between Zimbabwe National Army and our all-weather friends from China, who provided invaluable technical assistance and the University of Zimbabwe, who provided able and professional lecturers.”

China has proved to be the country’s key political and economic ally by check mating the bullying of Zimbabwe by Western countries at international forums, including at the United Nations.

President Mugabe last year visited China where the two countries signed a number of mega agreements that will see the Asian giant providing financial and technical assistance in infrastructure development in the areas transport, agriculture, water, tourism and power generation.

Relations between the two countries date back to the time of the liberation struggle when China provided material and training for liberation war fighters.

The visit by president Xi on Tuesday next week is expected to take the relations a step further and help transform the political relations into tangible economic programmes of action.

During the visit, President Xi and President Mugabe will witness the signing of several mega deals that are expected to transform the outlook of the Zimbabwean economy.

At the graduation ceremony, President Mugabe hailed the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for continuing to foster and cement strong military co-operation which has seen the institution enrolling students from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.

“Such military training co-operation provides an opportunity for the cross-fertilisation of ideas and experiences, as well as development of mutual trust among the forces of Sadc countries,” he said.

“This, in turn, consolidates collective regional security integration. No doubt, graduands who have been good ambassadors for their countries as they trained here, will continue to be good ambassadors of Zimbabwe when they return to their respective countries.”

President Mugabe bemoaned plagiarism at all educational levels, saying if it was left unchecked and undetected in could corrode the quality of the country’s education, especially in tertiary institutions.

The training intake of Staff Course 28, made up of candidates from the Zimbabwe National Army, Airforce of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Central Intelligence Organisation and Sadc forces, started with 55 officers but four fell by the wayside when they produced plagiarised work.

“Since in all academic circles plagiarism is, or should be regarded as an academic crime, it is viewed seriously, and is never condoned,” said President Mugabe. “Where detected, punishment is swiftly executed.”

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and service chiefs attended the ceremony.
Zimbabwe Government Slashes Mining Fees
November 27, 2015
Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

ZIMBABWE plans to further cut mining fees and charges next year to enhance viability and attract more foreign investment in the sector, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

Government has over the past few years been reducing overall mining fees and charges, some have remained relatively high compared to those obtaining in the region, hence increasing costs, an impediment to new investments, Minister Chinamasa said during his presentation of the 2016 National Budget in Parliament yesterday.

The new fees and charges take effect from January 1 next year. Mining remains one of the key sectors sustaining the country’s economic growth, contributing an average of 16 percent to national output and 52 percent to export earnings.

“To encourage investment in prospecting and exploration activities and also enhance the viability of mining, a further review of selected mining fees and charges will be undertaken in consultation with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development,” said the minister.

“Mining houses also face additional fees and charges to other Government agencies that include the Environmental Management Agency, the Radiation Protection Authority, as well as rural district councils.

“All such fees and charges will be rationalised in the context of the proposed new mining fiscal regime.” Minister Chinamasa said miners had approached Government seeking a cushion especially in this period of low international commodity prices, through a review of royalties and fees.

He said the Government was looking at the proposals to balance the interests of mining investors and those of the fiscus in the context of the proposed new mining fiscal regime. A legal framework that balances the various taxes and fees vis-a-vis their operational viability is being finalised and will go through Government approval processes pending enactment of a Bill by June next year.

Minister Chinamasa said with gold output expected to reach 18,7 tonnes this year and 20 tonnes next year, there was need to put in place incentives to encourage production. As such, the minister reduced royalty fees for primary gold producers from five percent, on an incremental output basis, to three percent with effect from January 1 next year.

The mining sector is expected to grow 2,4 percent next year on the back of planned investments and strong performance of gold, chrome, coal, nickel, platinum and diamonds. In June, the Government lifted a ban on chrome ore exports. Production of the mineral is expected to double next year while diamond output is also projected to rise.

Mineral exports are projected to earn $1,89 billion this year and close to $2 billion next year.
Biafra: IPOB Disowns Southeast Governors Ohanaeze Over Meeting With Federal Government
November 27, 2015
Bianca Ojukwu,  Fasheun, Major Al-Mustapha, others storm Owerri for 3rd anniversary of Ojukwu’s demise

By Chidi Nkwopara & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Nigerian Vanguard

The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, yesterday, warned the South East governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to stop any meeting they were planning to hold with Federal Government in the name of representing and speaking for them as they did not represent IPOB.

This came as the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike,  appealed to the Federal Government to unconditionally release the detained Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.

Unconditional release

One of IPOB’s spokesmen, Emma Powerful said “if the South East governors and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo are serious, they should be talking about getting unconditional release of the Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who is still  incacerated for the past one month, that should be the starting point.

South East governors, whom we elected but stabbed us at the back, calling us all sorts of unprintable names with the enemies of Biafra and South East in general, and the people who call themselves Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a group that is in shambles, that has not taken Ndigbo forward after the leadership of Eze Ozobu and Nwabueze, be talking for us?

“The governors and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo that is in disarray and some disgruntled traditional rulers, whom we know for working for any government in power, and soliciting for and receiving contracts from governments, joined the enemies of Ndigbo,who betrayed us during the Nigerian Biafran Civil War, to call us name.

“And now they claim they want to go and negotiate for us, to collect money and contracts as usual, to sell us out like they have always done, when they have not even called us to a meeting to find out our grievances.

“We are rejecting the South East governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo and whatever proposals they are making with Nigerian Federal Government. They are not representing us, but themselves.

We, the IPOB members warn them to stop discussing IPOB because they are not representing us, they have roundly and consistently disappointed us, Ndigbo and Biafrans as a whole.

“We can only listen and support them if they are talking about unconditional release for Mr. Kanu and not to stop worldwide Biafra actualization agitation and peaceful protests, we will not stop until our leader is released unconditionally.”


Meanwhile, leader of  MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has appealed to the Federal Government to unconditionally release the detained Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.

Uwazuruike made the appeal, yesterday, while addressing loyalists and friends of MASSOB, who stormed Owerri for the third anniversary of the exit of Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu.

Some dignitaries that honoured the event included, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, Dr. Fredrick Fasheun, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, who was the Special Guest of Honour. He was also accompanied to the event by more than 70 persons.

Others included Alhaji Yerima Shetima, President, Arewa Youths Consultative Forum; Prof. Alu Danladi, Ambassador John Fashanu, Alhaji Abdullahi Zaria, Alhaji Sale Hassan, Alhaji Abubakar Shehu, Alhaji Zallari Bello and Alhaji Aminu Gwaru.

Continuing, the MASSOB leader said: “We are not operating from any foreign country.  The so called Radio Biafra, London, was opened by MASSOB in London and Nnamdi Kanu appointed as the Director, after MASSOB had operated Voice of Biafra International in Washington DC for three years. The purpose of Radio Biafra London was to showcase the marginalization of Ndigbo,” Uwazuruike said.

He said his group knew the desires of Ndigbo, and how to achieve them, noting that those who were threatening fire and brimstone today, were once members of MASSOB before they were expelled due to violent related behaviours.


He was not particularly happy at the way Ndigbo “castigate, vilify and blackmail their leaders to impress other tribes,” pointing out that “Ndigbo takes delight in killing their leaders to emerge as the new champions.

“Ndigbo are now second class citizens in Nigeria. They will soon be relegated to the third class. Ndigbo blames the Hausa and the Yoruba for their misadventure. Unfortunately, Ndigbo do not see any reason to blame themselves.

“Today, Ndigbo in their usual character, want to decimate MASSOB. They believe that since MASSOB has not achieved Biafra through non-violence for 16 years that they would achieve it through violence.”

Fire and brimstone

Uwazuruike said that the those claiming to be champions in their little knowledge, forget that “Igboland is landlocked and that the five states of the South East contribute less than eight per cent of the economy of Nigeria.

“In their little knowledge, they do not know that Ndigbo need deep sea ports to bring in their arms and ammunition to be used to fight an established government of Nigeria.

There is no Sambisa forest connecting Igboland to other neighbouring countries, through which small arms could be smuggled in.”

Ondo council of Obas condemns Eze Ndigbo title in S-West

November 27, 2015
By Dayo Johnson

Akure—THE Council of Obas in Ondo State has said that the title of Eze Ndigbo in the South-West is a calculated attempt to embarrass the Yoruba traditional rulers and desecrate their traditional institution.

A communiqué issued by the council in Akure after its monthly meeting described the trend as “an affront on the state traditional rulers.”

They, therefore, stated that the title should be prohibited in the state and that there should not be any Ndigbo chieftaincy title for leaders of Igbo or other ethic group in the state.

It said that the use of titles such as Eze, Igwe, Obi or any other synonym is not acceptable in the state and that the only chieftaincy title that would be recognized is the one bestowed by the traditional ruler in the state on Igbo indigenes such as chairman or president or leader of Igbo indigenes.

The Communiqué noted that efforts had been made in the past by several Igbo leaders residing in the state to assume the Eze Ndigbo title but such moves have always been resisted.

The Obas declared: “The continued use of Eze Ndigbo chieftaincy title and flaunting of paraphernalia of Ndigbo traditional institution in Ondo State is a calculated attempt to embarrass the Yoruba traditional rulers.

“It is also meant to desecrate the Yoruba traditional institution. It is also an affront on Ondo State traditional rulers.”

The Obas said that the issue of Eze Ndigbo chieftaincy title in Ondo State, which is the title of traditional rulers in Igbo communities, is alien to Yoruba and tradition.

“It is a way of arrogating to the Igbo leaders the traditional power and equating themselves to Yoruba Obas.

They said that it is forbidden under the extant Chiefs Law for any person who is not a recognized Oba in Ondo State to wear a crown, costume or any other paraphernalia of an Oba.

“It is an infraction of the penal law and indeed the Chiefs Law in Ondo State for any person to parade himself as either a minor chief or recognized chief without the requisite approval of the prescribed authority or the State Executive Council as the case may be,’’ they said.

The Council therefore warned that; “Whoever wants to be a traditional ruler among the Igbos or any other ethnic groups should go to his domain for such dispensation.

BIAFRA: Kanu’s release’ll give room for dialogue — Nnabuike, Ohanaeze Youth Leader

November 27, 2015

OKWU Nnabuike, Secretary General of Ohaneze Youth Wing in this interview, wants the Federal Government to consider the release of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a matter of urgency. He believes that doing so would give room for dialogue, even as he wants the country restructured in accordance with the recommendations of the Confab.

By Charles Kumolu

As a youth leader of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, what is your impression about the ongoing protests by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB?

Looking at the protests in the context of the position of Ndi Igbo in the polity, you will know that we are marginalised. And it is difficult to beat someone and ask the person not to cry. Anyone, who does not feel comfortable about his plight, is naturally entitled to speak out.

The protests were triggered by Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest. Agitations by ethnic associations are not peculiar to IPOB alone. There are various forms of agitations in Nigeria. We the Ohaneze Youth Wing, wants the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu to pave way for dialogue.

Doing so will give us the opportunity of talking to the leadership of the IPOB. If he is released, there will be room for interface with the group.

The Federal government should listen to pleas by Nigerians to release Kanu. The Inspector General of Police recently pleaded that Ohaneze should plead with the youths to stop the protests.   We are also appealing to the Federal Government to address the salient issues regarding the marginalisation of the South East. The restructuring of the country in line with the report of the Confab, would go a long way in assuaging the people.

There is an impression out there that the various leaders of Ndi Igbo, are finding it difficult to speak with one voice on the matter.   What is your reaction to that?

That is not true. The Ohaneze Youth Wing is studying the situation. And Ndi Igbo are one of the most united tribes in this country. We are our brother’s keepers and thus take everything affecting the Igbo nation very serious.

Those ascribing such to Ndi Igbo are not being fair, even if there are areas of disagreements, would such be said to be peculiar to Ndi Igbo alone? Does the Yoruba, Hausa’s and other tribes speak with one voice on every issue? During the last general election, some Hausa and Yoruba people endorsed Goodluck Jonathan. Ndi Igbo also did same too, while others did not endorse him.   The cry over Igbo marginalisation is real.

The detained leader of the IPOB is being accused for broadcasting hate messages against the state, but some also feel all he did was to bring to the fore, the alleged marginalisation of the South –East geopolitical zone. What is your take on that?

There is freedom of speech in this country and manners of doing so differ. His criticisms were not restricted to the Federal Government. He criticised Ohaneze, the British government and those he chose to lampoon. I have listened to Radio Biafra and heard his criticisms based on his beliefs.   I am not a part of IPOB, but I want the federal government to handle the matter in a manner that it would not lead to damaging consequences.
Buhari’s Neglect of Confab Report Fueling Biafran Protests – Okurounmu
Senator Femi Okurounmu

Eniola Akinkuotu
Nigerian Punch

The Chairman of the defunct Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference, Senator Femi Okurounmu, says the pro-Biafran agitations probably started due to the failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to implement the resolutions of the National Conference.

He told our correspondent during an interview on Wednesday that the conference endorsed fiscal autonomy and the devolution of powers from the centre to the federating states.

Okurounmu, however, noted that Buhari’s body language, including his penchant for making too many northern appointments, had made some other parts of the country, especially the South-East, feel unwanted.

He, therefore, urged the President to have a rethink on the issue.

He said, “The National Conference had foreseen this agitation and that was why we agreed that there would be certain autonomy of the federating units.

“The problems of Nigeria lie on the issues of devolution of power and that of resource allocation. These were the problems that we set out to address but President Buhari threw away these resolutions.

“He is giving most of the appointments to the North; the same people who fought against resource control. Eighty per cent of his appointees – who are not ministers – are from the North. Why wouldn’t other parts of the country feel left out?”

When asked to comment on Buhari’s ministerial appointments which favoured the South-West, Okurounmu said the appointments could be a trap.

He said Buhari had not achieved anything remarkable in his six months in office.

Okurounmu, who represented Ogun-Central senatorial district between 1999 and 2003, said the President had failed to impress Nigerians.

He noted that Buhari, who received widespread support on his promise to fight corruption, had failed to effectively tackle the menace.

The ex-lawmaker said even ardent supporters of the All Progressives Congress were beginning to regret campaigning for Buhari as the problems of fuel scarcity, power failure and insecurity have worsened.

He said, “As you would have observed, there is fuel scarcity and electricity supply is poor. I did not support Buhari so I am not disappointed in him. Even some of his biggest supporters are disappointed but shame will not allow them to admit it. Nigerians are disillusioned with this administration that has achieved nothing in six months.

“He promised to fight corruption but we have not seen anything in the last six months. During his visit to Iran, he said some of those that looted the treasury are already returning the stolen money. Is that how to fight corruption? Is there no punishment for corruption anymore? How does one determine how much was stolen without a proper investigation and judicial processes?

“He has surrounded himself with people like Rotimi Amaechi who have been accused of corruption.”

The former lawmaker said in six months, the Chibok girls had not been found but Nigerians seemed to have forgotten about them.

Okurounmu explained that at the tail end of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Nigeria was winning the war against terrorism. He, however, lamented that Buhari’s administration had seen an increase in the activities of terrorists.

‘Ojukwu’s Spirit Guiding Biafran Protests’

Gibson Achonu, Owerri
Nigerian Punch

A chieftain of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, Chief Chris Uche, says the spirit of the late Leader of the defunct Republic of Biafra, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, is behind the recent pro-Biafran agitation.

He said this in Owerri on Thursday at the third memorial anniversary of Ojukwu.

Uche added that Biafra would be declared a sovereign state without the shedding of blood.

He also noted that those who died for the Biafran cause would never be forgotten.

Uche, who is also a former Commissioner for Housing in Imo State, said that the time for the realisation of Biafra was drawing near.

He said, “Ojukwu gave us a template. He is still alive in our minds. Chief Uwazuruike’s yearly remembrance ceremony in his honour is bringing the time closer for the realisation of Biafra. We shall keep the flag flying and we shall achieve it without shooting of gun.”

Also speaking, the founder of the Oodua People’s Congress, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, said there was nothing wrong with the recent protests for the creation of a Biafran state.

The 80-year-old politician thanked Biafran agitators for going about their protests peacefully and urged the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra to continue to protest peacefully.

Also speaking, the leader of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, said that the essence of the anniversary of Ojukwu was to rekindle the consciousness of Biafra among the people.

He said that MASSOB was a non-violent group but regretted that the Indigenous People of Biafra, which recently emerged, was using threats of violence to achieve its aim.

He called for the unconditional release of Radio Biafra Director, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.

Uwazuruike said, “They (IPOB) believe that since MASSOB has not achieved Biafra through non-violent methods for 16 years, they will achieve it through violence. They threatened fire and castigated some Igbo leaders.”
Coping With Looming Post-oil Age 
By Mohammed Qaddam Sidq Isa
Nigeria Daily Trust
Nov 26 2015 9:44PM

The recurrent deterioration of the financial crisis that repeatedly hits the already economically struggling state governments in Nigeria, and which further exhausts their rapidly depleting finances hence affects their ability to meet their most basic financial obligations i.e. workers’ monthly salaries, represents the predictable and indeed inevitable consequence of their overreliance on the federal government, and also their failure to build sustainable economies that will sustain their respective states with or without the monthly statutory revenue allocations they receive from the federal government.

It also further highlights some of the serious economic implications of the successive federal governments’ failure to diversify the economy and liberate it from the mercy of crude oil price fluctuations in international markets. Besides, as the prices continue to show no sign of significant improvement anytime soon, Nigeria’s revenue from crude oil sales would continue to decline leaving the country with little or no control over the situation.

Though all crude oil exporting countries suffer from the economic impacts of sharp revenue decline, Nigeria is particularly affected and is indeed vulnerable to further economic difficulties as long as the oil price crisis persists under these circumstances.  

This is partly due to its failure to prudently invest the oil sales proceeds it has generated over the decades in the provision of adequate and sustainable economic infrastructure and other capital projects that stimulate macro and micro economic development in the country, and partly due its failure to diversify the economy and reduce its reliance of the oil sales proceeds.

Unlike Nigeria, many oil-rich countries have been able to take advantage of the massive revenues they have generated over the decades from their oil resources to invest hugely in the provision of strategic and modern economic infrastructure for industrial utilization and which also has the potentials to accommodate further industrial growth for many decades to come.

This has enabled their leaders to dramatically improve the living standards of their respective citizens and transform them from poverty-stricken and camel-riding nomads wandering in the desert into immensely rich, sophisticated and indeed pampered citizens of modern countries with modern infrastructure and social amenities. The dramatic transformation of this part of the world i.e. Arabian Gulf, in this regard is particularly remarkable.
They are therefore able to absorb the economic impacts of the declining crude oil prices in international markets even in the aftermath of their adoption of some necessary economic measures e.g. removal of fuel subsidy, which recently came into effect here in the United Arab Emirates, for instance.

They have also adopted cost cutting measures to reduce unnecessary costs, as they have, for the time being, resorted to their accumulated foreign reserves that had piled up over the years when crude oil prices were high, to augment their finances and fund their rare budget deficits, which they have been recording over the past few years since the beginning of the oil price crisis.

Meanwhile, having already made appreciable progress towards diversifying their sources of revenue away from oil, they continue to steadily but consistently adopt alternative economic strategies to cope with the medium-and long-term economic consequences of the dwindling oil prices. In this regard, they pursue, adopt and implement economic policies and strategies with a view to gradually switching to more sustainable economies to cope with the economic challenges of the looming post-oil age.

Now, considering how crude oil increasingly loses its economic value as a substantive source of revenue to sustain a country due to oversupply as a result of the growing number of countries that explore, exploit and export it, scientific innovations and discovery of alternative, more sustainable, cheaper, safer and healthier energy sources and, of course, market manipulation by the powerful vested interests in international markets who benefit from its price collapse, one wonders how Nigeria could survive the devastating economic impacts in the long run.

Because obviously unlike many of its counterparts among the oil exporting countries, Nigeria’s already substandard and dilapidated economic infrastructure is simply too insufficient and too inefficient to provide the necessary basis to instantly embark on an effective economic diversification process. Besides, in addition to the persistent and extremely huge budget deficits the country has continuously been recording over the years, its relatively ridiculous foreign reserve is equally too meagre to provide a sustainable lifeline to its battered economy.

Moreover, the amount of funds expected to be saved from the desperate cost cutting measures being taken by the federal government e.g. cutting the salaries and other costs of maintaining top political office holders and the other austerity measures simply can’t make any considerable deference in the country’s constantly shrinking finances. In fact, even the ongoing process of revenue leakages blocking, which, though if conducted thoroughly and sustained, will certainly prove to be the most effective funds saving measure, can’t provide enough funds for the federal government to cope with the severe economic consequences of the dwindling oil revenues in the long run, anyway.

Incidentally, as the federal government itself, and on which the state governments rely for sustenance, wallows in this tricky dilemma, the situation at the state level is obviously worse making it worst at the local government level, as a matter of course.

Anyway, in a nutshell, while many oil exporting countries, which, having immensely benefitted from their respective oil resources as countries, are busy bracing for the apparently unavoidable post-oil age, Nigeria, which has over decades squandered its revenues from its vast oil resources, appears to be stuck in a terrain rendered muddy ironically by its own oil.

Boko Haram: December Deadline Not Feasible – CCC
By Ronald Mutum
Nigeria Daily Trust
Nov 27 2015 3:38AM

The Executive Secretary, Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC), retired Air Commodore Yusuf Anas has said the December deadline given to the military by President Buhari to end terrorism is not sacrosanct.

Anas made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja yesterday, noting that even as the military continue to degrade the ability of terrorists to capture and hold territories, the current December deadline to end terrorism should be reviewed.

Anas pointed out that while it might not be wrong to set targets for military operations, the target date might be unrealistic, saying the position of the Centre was based on the fact that asymmetrical warfare being waged against Nigeria by Boko Haram is not easily stamped out.

He also described as unfortunate secessionist agitations coming on the heels of the widely acclaimed free and fair elections that brought about a new government in Nigeria.

Anas pointed out that unguarded statements and violent demonstrations are unhelpful and capable of escalating unnecessary crisis.

He urged the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and IPOB to seek legitimate ways of channeling their grievances or any perceived socio-economic and political issues in their region within the current democratic space.

Anas also suggested the establishment of a lead government agency that will develop a Marshall Plan for the rehabilitation of all the displaced people in the North East.

Senate Gives Buhari Two Weeks Ultimatum to End Fuel Scarcity
By Ismail Mudashir
Nigeria Daily Trust
Nov 27 2015 3:40AM

From left: President Muhammadu Buhari, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and
Senate President Bukola Saraki, at a dinner organised by the president for senators at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday.

The Senate yesterday gave President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ultimatum to end the fuel scarcity across the country.

The ultimatum was given when stakeholders in the sector led by the ministry of petroleum, Permanent Secretary, Jamila Shu’ara appeared before the Senate committee on downstream petroleum.

The position of the Senate was made known by Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central) after the Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Esther Nnamdi Ogbua, the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), Ahmed Faruk and other stakeholders briefed the lawmakers.

Ekwunife who chairs the Senate committee on downstream petroleum said in addition to the availability of fuel, the price of the commodity must be same across the country.

“The scarcity of petrol must be stopped and the discrepancies in the price of the commodity must also be addressed. We will give you target,” she said.

The lawmakers also gave the PPPRA 24 hours to submit the breakdown of the N413bn subsidy payment. The 24 hours ultimatum elapses today.

Also addressing the stakeholders, the vice chairman of Senate committee on downstream petroleum Jibrin I. Barau (APC, Kano North) said the Senate would deal with anybody who wants to stop their quest to address the challenges bedevilling the petroleum sector.

Fielding answer to questions from the Senators, the PPPRA boss, Ahmed Faruk said N120 billion out of the N413billion outstanding subsidy money was from 2014.

He said presently the price of petroleum at the open market was N100 and that the Federal government is paying a subsidy of N13 on each litre of the product.

The Group Executive Director (Commercial and Investment) of the NNPC, Babatunde Adeniran said the subsidy has to be paid as at when due to address the scarcity of the petroleum and that, the pipelines must be made to function well.

On her part, the PPMC boss, Esther Nnamdi Ogbua said the marketers are sabotaging the move to make fuel available in the country.

Black Lives Matter Protesters In Chicago Plan To Boycott Black Friday
One activist called on people to "rise up" and shut down the Magnificent Mile shopping area on Friday.

By Don Babwin and Sophia Tareen
Posted: 11/26/2015 11:24 AM EST

CHICAGO (AP) -- Small groups of demonstrators gathered throughout the day Wednesday to protest the death of a black teen shot 16 times by a white police officer, and they urged supporters to join them in trying to shut down Chicago's famous Michigan Avenue shopping district during the Black Friday shopping bonanza.

About two dozen protesters gathered outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office a day after authorities released the graphic video, footage that President Barack Obama said "deeply disturbed" him.

The video shows officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, firing an entire magazine into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The protesters held banners showing photos of other black people fatally shot by police in Chicago and elsewhere. Several said they were parents of black men killed by Chicago officers.

"You cannot kill our children and expect us to be quiet any longer," protester Quovadis Green said. "It is unacceptable."

Activist Mark Carter called on people to "rise up" and shut down the Magnificent Mile shopping area on Friday. Protesters also planned to target the Board of Trade and other landmarks in the coming days, he said.

Carter and others want the Department of Justice to investigate the Chicago Police Department and its history of covering up bad behavior.

The Urban League of Chicago joined in the call for a federal investigation, alleging a pattern of "discriminatory harassment" against black people.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said other officers involved in McDonald's death should be fired or at least suspended. He also wants a special prosecutor appointed to the case, complaining that Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez took too long to bring a murder charge in the shooting, which happened more than a year ago.

Obama said in a statement Wednesday night he was "deeply disturbed" by the video footage.

In a Facebook post, the president said he is asking Americans to "keep those who've suffered tragic loss in our thoughts and prayers" this Thanksgiving "and to be thankful for the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who protect our communities with honor."

Obama said he is personally grateful to the people of his hometown - Chicago - for keeping protests peaceful.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton also weighed in, saying McDonald's family and Chicago residents "deserve justice and accountability."

Clinton, who made the comments Wednesday in an emailed statement, added that police officers across the country are doing their duty honorably "without resorting to unnecessary force."

One of Clinton's rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders, said in his own statement that all Americans "should be sickened" by the video.

For months, Chicago leaders had feared that the release of the video could provoke the kind of turmoil that rocked cities such as Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, after young black men were slain by police or died in police custody.

Van Dyke was the subject of 18 civilian complaints over 14 years, including allegations that he used racial epithets and excessive force, police and court records show.

Complaints against police are not uncommon. But the number filed against Van Dyke was high compared with other officers. At least one person he arrested was later awarded $350,000 in damages in a lawsuit.

Van Dyke's lawyer, Daniel Herbert, did not return a message left Wednesday by The Associated Press.

Also Wednesday, a Cook County judge dismissed a charge against a protester accused of hitting a police officer in the hours after the video was made public.

Judge Peggy Chiampas said the state's attorney's office recommended dropping the charge against 22-year-old Malcolm London and told London he was free to go.

London, who was wearing a T-shirt with the phrase "Unapologetically black" on it, walked outside the courthouse to loud cheers.

Prosecutors did not explain why they sought to dismiss the charge. London was among five people arrested on charges that included weapons possession and resisting arrest.

At least two people were detained amid protests late Wednesday when demonstrators disrupted traffic in the city's financial district. On the South Side, about 100 people marched about a half mile to Chicago police headquarters after a community meeting. Crowds remained on Michigan Avenue late into the night, marching and chanting.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of people filled a church to pay their respects to a man whose death in an unrelated confrontation with police sparked more than a week of ongoing protests. A picture of a smiling Jamar Clark adorned the program for his funeral.

The relevant portion of the Chicago video runs for less than 40 seconds and has no sound.

McDonald swings into view on a four-lane street where police vehicles are stopped in the middle of the roadway. As he jogs down an empty lane, he appears to pull up his pants and then slows to a brisk walk, veering away from two officers who are emerging from a vehicle and drawing their guns.

Almost immediately, one of the officers appears to fire from close range. McDonald spins around and collapses on the pavement.

The car with the camera continues to roll forward until the officers are out of the frame. Then McDonald can be seen lying on the ground, moving occasionally. At least two small puffs of smoke are seen coming off his body as the officer continues firing.

In the final moments, an officer kicks something out of McDonald's hands.

Police have said the teen had a knife. Alvarez said Tuesday that a 3-inch knife with its blade folded into the handle was recovered from the scene.

Associated Press writers Sara Burnett, Jason Keyser and Michael Tarm contributed to this report.
How Cable News Covered White Supremacists Allegedly Shooting Black Lives Matter Protesters In Minneapolis
CNN And MSNBC Give Extensive Coverage To Shooting, Fox News Barely Covers After Previously Calling Black Lives Matter A "Hate Group"

November 25, 2015 12:54 PM EST

After months of vilifying Black Lives Matter and labeling the movement a "hate group," Fox News devoted scant coverage to a November 23 mass shooting that injured five protesters at a Black Lives Matter vigil in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and similarly downplayed the subsequent arrests of three white suspects.

By contrast, CNN provided updates throughout the day following the shooting, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow offered in-depth coverage of the escalating threats of violence leading up to the attack:

Minneapolis Shooting Coverage

Five protesters suffered injuries when at least one person opened fire on a Black Lives Matter gathering outside the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct building on the evening of November 23. The Washington Post reported protesters had been "camping in front of the 4th Precinct since Nov. 15, when two Minneapolis police officers were involved in the contentious killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark." As of November 24, "[t]he police said that they had arrested a 23-year-old white man, and that two other white men, ages 21 and 26, turned themselves in on Tuesday afternoon," according to The New York Times, which added, "[t]he police also said they were aware of a video in which masked men are seen driving to the protest site and brandishing a pistol, while making racist comments and justifying the killing of Jamar Clark." Social media posts of the three suspects "reveal a fascination with guns, video games, the Confederacy and right-wing militia groups," RawStory reported.

As the news of the shooting made national headlines and developments poured in on November 24, Fox News devoted the least amount of coverage to the incident among cable networks.

According to a Media Matters review, Fox only mentioned the Minneapolis shooting 3 times, with coverage totalling only 1 minute and 16 seconds. CNN covered the story for 10 minutes and 37 seconds throughout the day, while MSNBC covered the story for just over 12 minutes

The November 24 broadcast of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show devoted a full segment to the incident, placing the shooting in the recent context of masked "anti-protesters or counter-protesters, or maybe you'd call them provocateurs" turning up at local Black Lives Matter protests to videotape the gatherings. As host Rachel Maddow explained, demonstrators at the 4th Precinct faced racist intimidation and escalating threats of violence leading up to Monday's shooting.

The shooting  follows months of Fox News attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement, including Fox hosts likening the movement to "the Nazi Party," and the "Klu Klux Klan," and a "hate group."

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly continued his attacks on Black Lives Matter during a panel on his show the day following the shooting. During the November 24 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said of the movement, "if black lives matter, how come this group isn't on the south side of Chicago when every weekend you've got a couple of dozen black lives lost," while a panelist claimed Black Lives Matter is "inciting violence to the point of hate crime."

During that segment, O'Reilly even alluded to the police shooting of Jamar Clark, but failed to acknowledge that five people protesting Clark's death had been shot the night before or that three suspects had been arrested.

Media Matters used Nexis and internal video archives to analyze news coverage of the shooting on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, using the search term "Minneapolis" from 6 a.m. EST through 12:00 a.m. EST on November 24. Media Matters did not include reruns in the time count of coverage.

Lis Power and Brendan Karet contributed research to this report. 
Minnesota NAACP Leader Shocks CNN: Police Are ‘Behind’ the Black Lives Matter Shooting
24 NOV 2015 AT 15:52 ET    

Watch this video of the interview with Raeisha Williams charging the police with being behind the shooting of five demonstrators:          

Raeisha Williams, communications chair of the Minneapolis NAACP, told CNN that members of law enforcement were “behind” the Monday night shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters.

During an interview on Tuesday, CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Williams to react to breaking news that two men had been arrested in connection to shootings that injured at least five people who were protesting the killing of Jamar Clark.

“We’re hearing two [arrests] at this time,” Williams explained. “But we don’t necessarily trust that. We know that the police department is behind this, this is our personal belief after receiving witness accounts.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Baldwin interrupted. “You said you believe the police department is behind what?”

“We believe the police department is facilitating the injustice, bullying the protesters,” Williams replied. “And we also believe that they’re involved in this shooting. We know from blackboards and chat rooms and also videos that we have posted on our website that police that are from different counties, police from different districts have come down to entice the protesters, have come down to bully the protesters.”

Baldwin, who was broadcasting from Paris, noted that Williams had made “serious allegations” on national television.

“And we are standing behind it, we do not back down from these allegations,” Williams insisted.

“Where is your evidence that they were involved in the shooting?” Baldwin pressed.

According to Williams, police were “lurking” near the shooting and then refused to provide help to the injured protesters.

“This is what you’ve been wanting,” she recalled one of the officers saying.

“It took 15 minutes for the police to even arrive and shortly after that, they began to Mace the crowd,” Williams said. “So if you’re not part of the problem, if this is not something you’re trying to cover up, why would you not attend to victims who paid for your salaries?”

Williams said that her group had “video evidence of an undercover cop getting into an unmarked car.”

“We believe — and we stand behind our belief — that the Minneapolis Police Department is not protecting us and therefore they stand with racist white supremacists who want to destroy a peaceful movement,” she concluded.
Black Lives Matter Protesters Gather for Thanksgiving Feast
Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in Minneapolis

About 100 people gathered outside the Fourth Precinct police station in north Minneapolis on Thursday to celebrate ­Thanksgiving with friends and family brought together in a time of turmoil.

They huddled around fires, prayed and gave thanks while sharing overflowing plates of donated food beneath the falling snow. It marked the 12th day of protests outside the precinct headquarters since Jamar Clark died after being shot by police Nov. 15.

The gathering, which protesters called “BlacksGiving,” came a day after Clark’s ­family laid him to rest. At the Wednesday funeral, more than 300 people paid their respects and said goodbye to the man whose death has drawn attention from around the nation.

Clark was removed from life support Nov. 16, less than 24 hours after he was shot in a struggle with officers. Witnesses have said Clark, who was unarmed, was handcuffed when he was shot. Police deny that claim, saying Clark was interfering with paramedics tending to his girlfriend, the victim of an assault. A police union leader has said Clark was reaching for an officer’s gun.

On Thursday, protesters bowed their heads and prayed for Clark and his family.

“It’s really powerful to see community solidarity on Thanksgiving,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis NAACP president. “We are going to persevere until we see change.”

 Ray Lockman ate her Thanksgiving dinner by the fire during BlackGiving event in front of the Minneapolis Fourth Precinct station.

Police watched from behind barricades as protesters dug into their mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey and pumpkin pie.

Zion Baptist Church Pastor Brian C. Herron led the protesters in a prayer. Herron said the church must be present when the community is trying to heal after a tragedy.

“The church cannot be silent on the issue of justice,” he said.

Volunteers erected an insulated food tent outside the Fourth Precinct, and the NAACP and Zion Baptist Church donated meals for the gathering.

Rochelle Garcia, 39, came to the precinct with a group from Zion Baptist Church. She said she hopes to bring her children along with her next time.

“You have to do something about it even if it’s to come and pray,” she said.

Community donations

Dozens of North Side residents donated heaters, tents and traditional Thanksgiving fare for the event. A steady stream of homemade pies were delivered to the food tent in the hours before the dinner.

Ten restaurant-style heat lamps lined the block in front of the precinct station on Plymouth Avenue N., and demonstrators also gathered around campfires that have been glowing all week. Tarps, collecting snow, were covering large stockpiles of firewood on either end of the street.

Kristine Hamer, 27, kept warm by the fire with her 7-year-old daughter, Alejandra. Hamer has spent eight days at the protests with her daughter. Each day after school, she said, they head over to the precinct.

Hamer said her daughter understands the situation.

“I don’t want someone hunting her down,” she said. “I want change for everyone.”

The Tatanka Truck — a food truck — parked outside the encampment offering smoked turkey, hominy soup and hot cedar-maple tea to protesters.

A couple of protesters began to boo when two police officers stepped outside to walk around the encampment, but they were quickly quieted by fellow demonstrators.

Wesley Martin and Clark’s cousin, Cameron, limped around the encampment on crutches. Both Martin and Cameron Clark were shot Monday in an apparently racially motivated attack near the precinct. Four men are in jail in connection with the attack.

Members of the community came up to Martin and ­Cameron Clark to thank them for their courage.

 Pies and other food donated by the community were at the encampment outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct station.

“It’s tough in the morning but then I get up and get walking, and it’s all good,” Martin said.

Several men have stepped in since Monday to provide security to protesters at the precinct, Levy-Pounds said.

At the Thanksgiving feast, Levy-Pounds said a prayer for the five protesters shot Monday. She encouraged protesters to thank Martin and Cameron Clark, as well as offer support to the mother of a man who is still in the hospital after he was shot in the stomach.

She reminded the crowd that Jamar Clark’s family could not celebrate the holiday with him.

“We care about Jamar and what happened to him,” she said. “We are going to continue standing strong and ­persevering.”

Community leaders, including U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, have asked protesters to end their encampment. But demonstrator Jeremy Little said that within the unrest, the community found a place to heal in front of the police station.

“Right outside our oppressor, we found peace,” he said.

A church service will be held in front of the station on Sunday, Levy-Pounds said.
Minneapolis Black Lives Matter Protesters Hold Community Thanksgiving
By Kristoffer Tigue

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protesters paused on Thursday to share a community Thanksgiving Day meal on the spot outside a police station where they have been demonstrating for more than a week over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man.

Hundreds of supporters of the civil rights movement joined residents of north Minneapolis outside the city's fourth police precinct for a traditional holiday feast consisting of roast turkey, stuffing, pie and all the trimmings.

The meal was co-hosted by the Minneapolis chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The precinct grounds have been the center of protest rallies since Jamar Clark, 24, was shot in the head on Nov. 15 by Minneapolis police called by paramedics attending to his girlfriend outside of an Elk's Lodge. He died the next day.

Clark's death came amid a series of high-profile slayings of unarmed black men at the hands of predominantly white law enforcement agencies across the United States, sparking a renewed national debate over the use of lethal force by police against racial minorities.

Protesters in Minneapolis have demanded that the police officers involved in Clark's case, who are now on leave, be held accountable, and that authorities release video footage known to exist from the shooting.

Questions have been raised about whether Clark, who a police union representative said had grabbed for an officer's gun, was already handcuffed when he was shot. Police deny this.

Tensions rose further on Monday when five protesters were shot and wounded near the police station. Three white men later arrested were being held in Minneapolis, facing possible criminal charges in that shooting.

Protest organizers said the Thanksgiving meal, which they dubbed "Blacksgiving," was aimed at showing gratitude for support demonstrators have received from near and far.

"We wanted to continue the community space we've been building here and use a lot of the resources that we've been receiving to give back to the community," said Miski Noor of Black Lives Matter.

"I'm here to support my community who just wants some answers," said Ebony Harris, an off-and-on resident of north Minneapolis for three decades.

The event also afforded protesters a chance to relax after more than a week of tumult and camping out in cold weather.

The investigation of the Clark shooting has been turned over to state authorities. The U.S. Justice Department has also opened an inquiry.

(Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Eric Walsh)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Student and Community Struggles Escalate in Response to Racism and Its Legacies
From Princeton and Georgetown to Detroit African Americans take to the streets

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Over the last two weeks anti-racist demonstrations largely led by African American students have swept the country.

Beginning at the University of Missouri at Columbia, African American football players and their supporters went on strike demanding that the campus administrators seriously address the problems of institutional racism. President Tim Wolfe was forced to resign after he refused to take the demands as an immediate concern to be acted upon, therefore prompting the coach and other faculty members to threaten further actions.

The incident at U-M Columbia illustrated the real priorities of the higher educational system in the United States. Sports competition brings in tremendous revenues through government grant funding, advertising during media coverage of games as well as receipts collected from audiences.

A shutdown of a football program during the season would also trigger fines from the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). African Americans through their skills are a main source of interests in several major college sports competitions.

Later at Georgetown and Princeton, African Americans and other anti-racist forces demanded the changing of names of building dedicated in honor of slave owners and ideological racists. Woodrow Wilson, a former president of the U.S. during World War I, has left a legacy of open advocacy falsely claiming the inherent inferiority of African people.

At Georgetown the school of public policy is named after Wilson who reinstituted segregation in Washington, D.C. Others suggest that his philosophy on race relations was in line with the Ku Klux Klan of the times. He was reported to have hosted a screening of the notorious racist 1915 film by D.W. Griffith, “The Birth of a Nation” based on a novel by Thomas Dixon, Jr. entitled “The Clansman.”

Other actions across the country include protests at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where a leading newspaper reported that “On Thursday afternoon (November 19), hundreds of students, faculty and community members gathered outside the school’s student union for a Black Lives Matter Rally to protest police brutality, racial injustice, and to raise awareness of white privilege, according to the event’s Facebook page. Holding signs that read, ‘Stop telling people of color their experience is an illusion,’ ‘When we say #BlackLivesMatter, we aren’t asking you,’ ‘White Silence is Violence’ and more, people spoke about their experiences with racism, from being stopped by police officers without probable cause to hearing fellow students shout the n-word as they walked by on campus.” (USA Today, November 20)

This same article also reports “students at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., marched to the Oregon State Capitol on Thursday, demanding the removal of Mississippi’s Confederate flag displayed in an adjacent park, and government accountability for eradicating ‘state-sanctioned racism.’” In addition, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts was the scene of a demonstration at noon on November 18 when hundreds of students disrupted classes and other normal campus activity to make an announcement saying “I am leaving to participate in a national walkout in solidarity with students at Mizzou who have been facing racism on their campus. Please join me.”

These anti-racist demonstrations have led to a backlash among the racists. Threats were made online targeting students in Missouri who initiated the wave of protests.

At the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana approximately 300 people gathered for a rally on November 18 sponsored by the Black Students for Revolution. The rally featured speakers, poets and hip-hop artists who expressed their solidarity with University of Missouri students in the struggle against racism within the higher education system.

A social media page was created after the rally calling itself the Illinois White Student Union characterizing the Black Lives Matter movement as an act of “terrorism”. Some have anticipated that these reactionary white responses could lead to some racist violence in retaliation against the organizing efforts of the African American students.

Connecting the Campuses to the Communities

These actions have enhanced the protests and rebellions against police violence in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit, Lansing, etc. The efforts are not only attacking continued racist behaviors but their historical and ideological underpinnings.

At Michigan State University in East Lansing, students blocked the entrance to a speech being delivered by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. With the campaign of Hillary Clinton aimed at capturing the Democratic Party nomination for president, it is important to remind the country of the legacy of the former administration in regard to mass incarceration, globalization, imperialist military interventions, and police brutality.

People in Minneapolis took to the streets for days after the police shot to death Jamar Clark while he was down on the ground and handcuffed, according to one key witness. African American youth and their allies blocked streets, held demonstrations outside the police station and fought law-enforcement officers who sought to remove them from the areas they were occupying.  

In Detroit a serial abusive white cop was convicted in the brutal beating of UAW worker Floyd Dent after mass protests resulted in his firing earlier in the year. Hundreds of people had demonstrated at the police headquarters in Inkster, a majority African American suburb near Detroit.

The policeman who was fired earlier, and subsequently put on trial for abuse, has a long history of accusations of misconduct while he served as a cop in Detroit many years ago. This conviction of William Melendez is a rare occurrence in the U.S. where law-enforcement personnel routinely get away with abuse and murder of African Americans and Latinos.

On November 19, militant City of Detroit retirees blocked the entrance to a gala celebration honoring key players in the bankruptcy at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Detroit is the largest per capita African American populated major municipality in the U.S. and the imposed emergency management, bankruptcy--and later first white corporate-oriented mayor in forty years--is seen by many as a blatant denial of due process and the right to self-determination.

The organizers of the DIA demonstration have formed a new organization called the Detroit Active Retirees and Employees Association (DAREA). Bill Davis, the president of DAREA, said that the pension and healthcare benefits of the municipal retirees were stolen, leading to huge cuts in their monthly checks and the cancellation of their health insurance benefits.

Two of the federal judges who provided legal cover for the abandoning of at least $6.5 billion in pension and healthcare obligations, along with the transferal of billions of dollars more in public assets to private interests, Gerald Rosen and Steven Rhodes, were being toasted at an event held at the DIA. Gross misrepresentations of the actual impact of the changes in pension benefits, which were guaranteed by the Michigan state constitution and overturned with the stroke of a pen by Rhodes, is now even being reported on by the corporate media. (See Detroit Free Press, November 15)

These actions taking place around the U.S. illustrates a rising intolerance of racism and class oppression. Despite two terms in office served by President Barack Obama, the actual conditions of African Americans and other oppressed groups have worsened.

The Obama administration has maintained the position that it cannot directly intervene in these struggles. Several Department of Justice investigations have been launched to determine if federal laws have been violated in a rash of police killings of African Americans such as in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York City, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, etc.

Yet in the aftermath of these investigations, many of which have been called for by community organizations, no indictments have been handed down against the police or other local and state governmental agencies which continue to violate the fundamental civil and human rights of tens of millions of people.