By Panashe Chigumadzi (@panashechig)
The weekly round-up of the news and newsmakers in South Africa and the world.
1. Hopes raised as Nigerian officials say they have located the missing girls
On Monday Nigeria’s highest ranking military officer revealed that the country’s intelligence had located the over 200 girls who had been abducted more than a month ago.
“The good news for the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you,” Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh told reporters in the capital Abuja as the hostage crisis entered its seventh week. Badeh was speaking after addressing demonstrators who had marched on defence headquarters in Abuja.
Badeh said the military was faced with a dilemma of whether to send in ground troops, given fears of deaths and casualties among the 223 girls still being held.
“Nobody should come and say the Nigerian military does not know what it’s doing. We know what we are doing. We can’t go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back,” he told the crowd.
Boko Haram abducted an estimated 276 girls on the 14 April from a boarding school in Chibok. In days after reports of the abduction, the Nigerian military were embarassed after they retracted a report that nearly all the kidnapped girls were released. While some have escaped, more than 200 are still missing.
After bowing to mounting international pressure, Western powers and Nigerian authorities began to co-operate in the rescue mission. Unmanned US drones and surveillance aircraft have been searching northeast Nigeria and neighbouring country Chad, while British, French and Israeli teams have been on the ground providing specialist assistance.
2. The Presidential inauguration
On Saturday, Members of Parliamenet and dignitaries from various African states gathered as President Zuma was sworn in for a second term by Chief Justice Moegeng Moegeng.
Not to be missed, praise singer Zolani Mkiva spoke again of the “possibilities of flexibilities”.
During his speech Zuma notably indicated that “Economic transformation will take centre stage during this new term of government” and that ” Land restitution and redistribution and other forms of empowerment will be better executed during this term”.
3. Our ‘first black’ Minister of Finance and 34 other ministers appointed
On Sunday, at Tshedimosetso House in PretoriaPresident Jacob Zuma announced a significantly changed cabinet to the public.
Having served as the Deputy to two Finance Ministers, Nhlanhla Nene was promoted to Minister of Finance. (While twitter welcomed pronouncements from an account that he had seemingly created, the National Treasury warned against it as a parody account.) Another positive ‘first’ was the appointment of Africa’s first openly gay minister, Lynne Brown, who now heads up Public Enterprises.
Those snubbed included S’bu Ndebele, Pieter Mulder, Marthinus van Schalkwyk and Paul Mashatile.
Surprises included the appointment of former Limpopo Premier Ngoako Ramahlodi to Mineral Resources and former Police Commissioner to Deputy Minister of Forests and Fisheries.
An interesting shuffle was Nathi Mthethwa from Police to Arts and Culture. Meanwhile, Malusi Gigaba, seems to have his path to the presidency clearly paved as he garnered the post of Minister of Home Affairs. Prior to his post as Public Enterprises Minister, he was the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.
4. Kimye get hitched in two-day wedding celebration
Kanye finally married his ten year crush. On Friday, the #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple kicked off the wedding celebrations with a pre-wedding brunch hosted by designer Valentino at his Paris home. That Friday night, the couple hosted a glamorous party at the Palace Of Versailles’ iconic Hall of Mirrors where Lana Del Rey performed three songs and the evening ended with a spectacular firework display.
On Saturday, the wedding party shuttled down to Florence by private jet. Mrs Kardashian West was walked down the aisle by her stepfather Bruce around 7pm as Andrea Botticelli sang, while wearing, (surprise, surprise) Givenchy.
5. Malawi election drama
On Saturday, President Joyce Banda sought to annul the elections held on the 20th May, but was blocked by the Malawian high court. Banda triggered protests earlier after she ordered the cancellation of the elections, citing fraud and “rampant irregularities”.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) suspended the country’s election announcement and ordered a re-count of votes. However, the High Court demanded the announcement of results before a recount.
Banda, who had been standing for re-election, ordered a new vote within 90 days but said she would no longer be a candidate. Shortly before Banda’s announcement, the MEC released preliminary results showing opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Peter Mutharika leading with 42% of the vote, followed by Banda with 23%. This was based on 30% of the total votes counted.
Tuesday’s poll had been plagued by problems from the outset. This while the Southern African Development Community (SADC) election observer mission has declared the May 20 poll as generally “free, peaceful and credible”.
Banda became Southern Africa’s first female head of state in 2012 after the sudden death of President Bingu Wa Mutharika. She enjoyed huge goodwill from the international community and local donor organisations when she came to power two years ago. However, her popularity waned after she was forced to impose austerity measures, including a devaluation, to stabilise the economy. She was dealt further blows when “Cashgate”, a $15-million corruption scandal, came to surface after large amounts of cash were discovered in the car of a senior government official.