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Old Foes To Take A Beating

On October 15, Mozambique will go to the polls for the fourth time in 20 years of democracy as the country forges ahead with its free market reforms. There is likely to be a shake up in the balance of power.

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The ruling Frelimo party, which has run Mozambique since 1975, is likely to struggle to hang on to its overwhelming majority, according to sources in Maputo, against opposition parties Renamo and Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). There is also a strong chance that Renamo, the former rebel forces long in Frelimo’s shadow, will drop to third place in the voting.

“I think this election could be tight and Frelimo is unlikely to win a two thirds majority,” says a senior advisor to the government, who wished to remain anonymous.

“Unless there is a miracle, I think Renamo will drop to third place behind MDM. People in this country do not want war and they were not happy with the semi-civil war that Renamo tried to start last year.”

The man who will take the reins of Mozambique is Filipe Nyussi, the anointed successor of President Armando Guebuza, who was nominated by the ruling part in March. He is the son of former guerrilla fighters and is also expected to carry on the free market of the Guebuza years. Nyussi has little experience in business, but is known for his efficiency in running CFM, the state-owned railways and ports.

Political analysts in South Africa agree the elections will run smoothly and victory is certain for the ruling party.

“Mozambicans are willing to participate in the democratic elections, there’s no place for the rebels. When Nyussi gave a public lecture at UNISA (in Pretoria) he came across as somebody who could take the growing country’s economy to another level. He definitely stands head and shoulders above the rest,” says Shadrack Gutto, UNISA professor and political analyst.

In the first week of September, Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, returned to Maputo for talks with president Guebuza. This was their first meeting after Dhlakama went into hiding at the end of 2013 after a political dispute.

“I am afraid that if Renamo doesn’t change leadership they will definitely fail in these elections. I think it is frustrations, I have seen the party doing desperate things such as going back to the bush. But they have recently committed to put the arms down and go to the polls. On the other hand, Frelimo has been holding regular elections. No doubt, Nyussi is the party choice and there’s confidence that he will grow the economy,” says Tawana Kupe, a professor at Wits University in Johannesburg.

Dhlakama, who has run in every presidential race since 1994, saw his support wane to 16% in 2009 polls.

The World Bank forecasts the Mozambican economy will grow by 8.1% this year and up to 8.6% in 2015.

In August, president Guebuza launched the 175MW gas plant at Ressano Garcia. It was a joint venture between Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM) and Sasol, a South African energy company with a 49% stake.

“Mozambique is set to become a global top ten gas player in the near future, if all the exploration and proven reserve results are taken into account… From an investment perspective, there have already been interests both from countries in the East as well as South Africa as off takers to products,” says Johan Muller, an energy analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

A peaceful election could help usher in a new era of prosperity in what was once one of the poorest countries in the world.

Billionaires

Elon Musk, Kim Kardashian Endorse Kanye West Running For President

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After years of hints, Kanye West formally announced he is running for president this year in a challenge to Trump, who he once supported, and Democratic rival Joe Biden, winning support from his friend and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

KEY FACTS

  • Rounding off his Fourth of July, West tweeted on Saturday night: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION.”
  • Musk tweeted in response: “You have my full support!”
  • Wife Kim Kardashian also publicly pledged her support, retweeting West’s statement and adding a U.S. flag emoji.
  • West’s announcement follows years of hints that he would run for office this year which he later postponed to 2024, after publicly declaring at a Fast Company event in 2019: “When I run for president in 2024…We would create so many jobs! I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk.”
  • But the rapper, who recently inked a 10-year deal with Gap through his Yeezy brand, is reportedly yet to file any paperwork to get on state election ballots, while he has missed the deadline for states including Texas, New York, and Indiana.
  • It is not known how serious West’s intentions are this time around, however, he still has time to file as an independent candidate across most states, according to Ballotpedia.
  • West’s declaration was met with skepticism on social media, while some commentators pointed out that it could work out in Trump’s favour.

KEY BACKGROUND

West’s declaration suggests the rapper is looking to cement political ambitions he has expressed throughout Trump’s presidency. West previously forged alliances with Trump, and was pictured in the Oval Office in 2018 wearing a signature Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. He once called the president his “brother” and previously hit back at criticism towards his support for Trump, likening the backlash to racial discrimination. Although he says he didn’t vote in 2016, West later said he “would have voted for Trump”, and earlier this year doubled down, suggesting he would vote for him in November. But that could very well change given Saturday’s announcement.

American rapper and producer Kanye West embraces real estate developer and US President Donald Trump in the White House’s Oval Office, Washington DC, October 11, 2018. West wears a red baseball cap that reads ‘Make America Great Again,’ Trump’s campaign slogan. (Photo by Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)

TANGENT

West and Musk were pictured together on July 1st, with West tweeting: “When you go to your boys [sic] house and you’re both wearing orange.”

Isabel Togoh, Forbes Staff, Business

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Current Affairs

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza Has Died

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This is a developing story.

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has died, the government of the Republic of Burundi announced in a statement that was posted on their twitter account.

“The Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, at the Karusi Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital following a cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020,”

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Current Affairs

Ethiopia’s First Female President On Plans To Combat Covid-19 And Resuscitate The Economy

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Ethiopia’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, spoke to FORBES AFRICA’s Managing Editor, Renuka Methil, on the country’s plans to combat Covid-19 and resuscitate one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

Zewde, listed as one of Africa’s ‘50 Most Powerful Women’ in the March issue of FORBES AFRICA, says while the virus didn’t warrant the nation going into complete lockdown, it has hit some sectors of the East African country’s economy, affecting its GDP growth.

In early May, the government announced a package to bolster healthcare spending, food distribution, rebuild SMMEs, etc to support the country’s most vulnerable. Zewde also shares her views on women in the front lines, as well as reimagining education.

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