Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika made a last-ditch bid to win re-election on Saturday as candidates for next week’s hotly contested election wrapped up their campaigns at rival rallies across the country. Former law professor Mutharika, 78, is trying to secure a second five-year term in Malawi, a southern African country heavily dependent on foreign aid which has experienced severe droughts in the past decade. Addressing thousands of supporters in his stronghold in Blantyre, the nation’s commercial capital, Mutharika highlighted the country’s relative economic stability during his government and said he wanted to win “without trickery and in peace”. “I found a broken economy. And I have fixed it,” he told the crowd, many of whom were dressed in traditional bright blue clothing emblazoned with the symbol of his Democratic Progressive Party. While there are no reliable opinion polls to forecast the outcome of Tuesday’s election, analysts expect a tight race between Mutharika and two leading opposition candidates — Deputy President Saulos Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera, who heads the second-largest party in parliament. “I’m confident we’re winning this on Tuesday,” said Doris Dika, a Mutharika supporter who sells clothes and shoes in Blantyre and attended Saturday’s rally. Voters will also elect a new parliament and local government councillors. CORRUPTION ACCUSATIONS On the outskirts of the city of Lilongwe, Mutharika’s former ally-turned-foe Chilima told supporters the president was corrupt and should not be allowed to stand, vowing to tackle graft and lower fertiliser prices if elected. Mutharika denies his government is corrupt
The Federal Government says it has ‘credible evidence” to back up its outcry that the opposition is planning to “sabotage President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration, generally overheat the polity and make the country ungovernable”. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said this on Saturday at the 2019 edition of his Annual Ramadan Lecture held at his home town Oro, Kwara. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 12th annual Ramadan lecture was attended by Gov. Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi, Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, political stalwarts, traditional rulers, clergy men, Muslim and Christian faithfuls. “As you are aware, a few days ago we raised the alarm that either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and it’s presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration. “Our interventions are based on credible evidence, and no government with the kind of evidence that we have, of plans to subvert the power of the state, attack the nation’s economic live wire and generally unleash mayhem on the polity, will keep quiet. “The security agencies are all alert to their responsibilities and will not sit by and allow anyone to reverse the gains of our democracy under any guise,” he said. The minister noted that similar alarms had been raised by the police, the military and the DSS. He said the government will neither be distracted nor dissuaded by pseudo and partisan analysts that had teamed up with the opposition to “either exhibit their ignorance or
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, on Saturday became the first Republican lawmaker to say the president has engaged in impeachable behavior. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election reveals that Trump “engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Justin Amash, who has signaled he would consider running as a libertarian against Trump in the 2020 election, wrote on Twitter. Mueller’s report “identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence,” Amash wrote. Trump has said Mueller’s report concluded there no obstruction of justice. Mueller’s report made no formal finding on that question, leaving the matter up to Congress. Amash also wrote that “it is clear” that Attorney General William Barr intended to mislead the public about Mueller’s report in his conclusions and congressional testimony about it. In his letter to Congress, Barr said he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein determined there was insufficient evidence to establish that the president committed criminal obstruction of justice, or acted unlawfully to impede the investigation. Amash’s comments echoed the conclusions of many Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said May 8 that Trump was moving closer to impeachment with his efforts to thwart congressional subpoenas and obstruct lawmakers’ efforts to oversee his administration. Still, Democrats are divided about impeachment
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday held a presidential-style rally intended to make his march towards becoming the Democrat to take on President Donald Trump seem inevitable, even as rivals search for ways to slow him down. Since entering the race last month, Biden, 76, has largely ignored the other 23 contenders in the Democratic field, instead training his fire on Republican Trump. Trump, in turn, has regularly knocked Biden, making the 2020 presidential contest sometimes feel like a general election more than a year before the vote takes place. Biden’s outdoor rally in Philadelphia, where he has established his campaign headquarters, illustrates the importance of Pennsylvania to Democratic hopes next year. Trump narrowly won the state over Hillary Clinton in 2016. After Biden leaves, Trump will hold an event of his own on Monday in the northeast part of the state. In his remarks, Biden will attempt to reach out to Republicans and independent voters as well as Democrats by striking a moderate tone. “Some say Democrats don’t want to hear about unity. That they are angry, and the angrier you are, the better,” Biden will say, according to excerpts of his address released in advance. “That’s what they are saying to have to do to win the Democratic nomination. Well, I don’t believe it.” And as he has done during his campaign, he will directly confront Trump. “If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Saturday he has asked his envoy to the United States to meet with Pentagon officials to “cooperate” on a solution to the South American country’s political crisis.
Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, added he had received word from China that the country would join a diplomatic effort between European and Latin American countries, known as the International Contact Group on Venezuela, to negotiate an end to the crisis.
In January, Guaido invoked the OPEC nation’s constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing President Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognized by most Western and Latin American countries, but Maduro has retained the support of allies China, Russia and Cuba.
Guaido’s effort to oust Maduro so he can take power and call new elections has stalled in recent weeks, after an attempted military uprising on April 30 was put down. Guaido told an Italian newspaper this week that he would “probably” accept a U.S. military intervention if the United States proposed it.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa led the African National Congress (ANC) to victory in Wednesday’s election, but a drop in its share of the vote underlines the challenge he faces restoring confidence in his party.
With opponents in the ANC and an emboldened far-left opposition party, the former union leader turned business tycoon may struggle to deliver on his promises to push through tough reforms.
Africa’s oldest liberation movement won 57.5% of the parliamentary vote. That was its worst parliamentary result since it swept to power at the end of white minority rule but an improvement on its showing in 2016 local elections.
Ramaphosa worked closely with South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela to end white minority rule in 1994. He replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma as head of state in February 2018 after winning a bitter contest to become ANC leader and convincing top party officials to instruct Zuma to resign.
Ramaphosa’s first full presidential term should start later this month, after nomination by his party’s parliamentary caucus and an inauguration ceremony.
“We’ve made mistakes, but we are sorry about those mistakes, and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us,” Ramaphosa said on Wednesday after casting his ballot in the Soweto township where he grew up.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will kick-start the economy and deal with corruption, it vowed on Sunday, three days before elections at which its overwhelming majority faces its sternest test since the party rose to power.
Less than 30 km (18.6 miles) away, the country’s second-biggest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), challenged the ANC’s governance record and promised a tougher stance on corruption and economic policies to target racial inequality.
Though the ANC has won each parliamentary election since the transition from apartheid in 1994, recent opinion polls predict that it will bleed support to opposition coalitions that have gained ground as the ANC has been dogged by political scandal and a flagging economy.
Australian political parties are using voter email addresses to find matching social media profiles then combining them with the country’s compulsory electoral roll data, illustrating how privacy scandals have done little to slow the march of data-driven campaigning.
While the use of data and public profiles from Facebook, Twitter and other social media for political campaigning has become widespread globally, Australia is one of the most open countries in the world to online information gathering by political operatives.
“Most Australians have little idea about how many data points organisations like political parties, let alone Facebook, have on each of them,” said Glenn Kefford, a political scientist at Macquarie University who has written extensively about data-driven campaigning.
“They would be shocked and probably disgusted.”
The Trump administration has revised training guidelines for asylum officers in ways that could make it harder for migrants seeking refuge in the United States to pass an initial screening. The revisions to a lesson plan used by hundreds of asylum officers suggest the Trump administration is finding new ways to narrow who can access asylum as bolder policy proposals with that same goal have been blocked by federals courts, said former government officials and immigration experts who reviewed the internal plan that was shared with Reuters. The changes could potentially lead to more denials and deportations before migrants’ full cases can be heard, they said.
Jessica Collins, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which oversees asylum applications, said the agency periodically updates its training documents and that it processes all claims on a case-by-case basis. The lesson plan has been revised in 2006, 2014 and February 2017. The new version, dated April 30, goes into effect this month, USCIS said.
Donald Trump said that Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t seeking to “get involved” in the crisis in Venezuela, despite assertions by the American president’s top national security advisers that the Kremlin is offering critical support to Nicolas Maduro’s regime.
“He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday, following a call with the Russian leader earlier in the day. “And I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid -- right now people are starving, they have no water, they have no food.”
The French Pacific islands of New Caledonia were voting Sunday on whether to become an independent nation, in a closely-watched test of support for France in one of its many territories scattered around the globe.Some 18,000 kilometres (11,000 miles) from the French mainland, New Caledonia is home to a quarter of the world's known supplies of nickel -- a vital electronics component -- and is a strategic foothold for France in the Pacific.
Voting in New Caledonia's 284 polling stations opened at 8:00 am Sunday (2100 GMT Saturday) and was to end at 6.00 pm, with results expected the same evening.The participation rate was 73.68 percent at 5:00 pm, much higher than at the same time during local elections in 2014.