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Photo Courtesy DT


Jacob Zuma's case will be heard in open court, after Judge Piet Koen appears to have been persuaded by the former president's team. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

The former president will have his in-person hearing next week and get to see advocate Billy Downer face-to-face when his lawyers argue for the prosecutor’s removal from the case. 

On Wednesday morning the Pietermaritzburg High Court issued a directive that the hearing will be heard in open court – something Zuma’s legal team has spent the last month motivating for. 

In their latest submissions to the court, filed on Monday, Zuma’s lawyers said the court’s proposal to have the hearing of Zuma’s special plea application in his Arms Deal corruption trial heard virtually was a violation of the former president’s right to a fair trial.  

“To do so would be unconstitutional and illegal, irrespective of the situation in a particular case, a particular date or the particular circumstance which may or may not prevail on 9 August 2021,” his lawyer said in a short two-page submission to the court.

The National Prosecuting Authority was adamant that the hearing could go ahead virtually because no evidence was expected to be led.  

“A virtual hearing of oral argument of the special plea on 10 August is possible and will be satisfactory in every respect. The parties and their legal representatives and the public (through the broadcasting of the live feed) will be able to observe the proceedings,” the NPA argued.

However, Judge Piet Koen appears to have been persuaded by the Zuma team, revoking his earlier directive of 15 July that the case should be heard virtually. 

In a court order dated 4 August, Koen said the hearing will be conducted “in open court at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg”.

“The currently applicable Disaster Management (Covid) regulations, particularly those regarding the wearing of face masks, maintaining social distance and the restrictions on the numbers of attendees at indoor venues, must at all times be adhered to strictly,” he said.

Indications are that security services will be preparing for crowds to attend the Zuma hearing, as the NPA indicated in its court papers. 

“As to an in-person hearing, the security services have advised the NPA that if an in-person hearing were to take place on 10 August they will take all reasonable steps to ensure that it happens peacefully. They have not given any assurance they will succeed,” the NPA wrote.

“Supporters of the first accused are presently being mobilised on social media to gather in their numbers in Pietermaritzburg on 10 August.”

The NPA also raises concerns about rising Covid-19 numbers in KwaZulu-Natal: “There is no good reason not to opt for a virtual hearing of the oral arguments on 10 August and to assume the risks attendant on an in-person hearing.”

The court has set aside three days to hear Zuma’s special plea in which he wants Downer to be removed as prosecutor, alleging bias. 

Zuma’s team argues that the prosecutor should be removed from the case due to political influence in the prosecution dating back to the origins of the case more than a decade ago. DM

Dianne Hawker is a news editor at Newzroom Afrika and has been a legal journalist for more than 15 years. Source: Defend Truth

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  Image: FILE
In Summary

• The authors had handed it over at the end of May and gave the UK authorities 60 days to respond.

• There has not yet been a response and the UN investigators - known as special rapporteurs - said they were disappointed that there was no apology for what had happened and no move for compensation.


The UK government has reiterated its stance "against cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishment" in response to a report by UN investigators on the treatment of Kenyans by the British colonial authorities in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

The report, which was made public on Monday, highlighted the horrific abuses people in a part of western Kenya - now Kericho county - were subjected to. 

The authors had handed it over at the end of May and gave the UK authorities 60 days to respond.

There has not yet been a response and the UN investigators - known as special rapporteurs - said they were disappointed that there was no apology for what had happened and no move for compensation. 

In a response sent to the BBC, a government spokesperson said:

“A UK Government statement made in 2013, recognising the victims of torture and ill-treatment during the emergency period, was part of the settlement by the UK Government of claims made by Kenyan citizens. 

“We regret that these abuses took place and that they marred Kenya’s progress towards independence.”

However, the 2013 statement specifically referred to the British treatment of suspected Mau Mau members and others and not the broader context of what happened in the colonial era. BBC/Star

Photo Courtesy PD


A declaration by Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka that the vote-rich Mt Kenya region owes him a political debt has attracted mixed reactions.

Kalonzo, who spoke in Mombasa over the weekend, called on the Mt Kenya vote bloc to pay-back for his support of retired President Kibaki during his final term. 

Mt Kenya region has been of interest to presidential candidates hoping to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta once his term ends next year.

Speaking to People Daily, Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo said it would only be fair if Mt Kenya pays back for the good gesture Kalonzo extended to them in the past.

“We have helped Raila for 10 years, we helped Moi for 20 years and Kibaki 10 years. These are 40 years of sacrifice and now it’s their time to pay-back.”

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua who is campaigning for presidency on a development platform dismissed Kalonzo’s take saying that the region owes no one a political debt. 

Mutua, who served as a government spokesman in Kibaki administration, says he stands a better chance of winning the hearts of Mt Kenya region people than any other presidential candidate wishing to succeed Uhuru.

“Mt Kenya has no political debt. I am the only candidate apart from Ruto, who can garner support in Mt Kenya. The people of that region are wary of people who cannot be relied on,” said Mutua.

And for Maanzo, Kalonzo unlike his competitors who are pegging their campaign wishes to economy, he will be telling Kenyans to elect him for peace and unity of a Nation.  

Kalonzo hinted that he will seek  to undo deputy president  William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s influence when he tours the regions in the coming months maintaining he is the best bet for the 2022 presidency.

According to Chama Cha Uzalendo secretary general Phillippe Sadja, the issue of political debt is an unrealistic fallacy. “ The political debt narrative is an issue that I call “a bad strategy,” for any presidential candidate to use to convince voters,” said Sadja. By Mutuku Mwangangi, People Daily

Former Defence Minister Elias Kwandikwa working at his parliamentary office. Photo Muungwana Blog


Tanzania’s Defense and National Service Minister Elias Kwandikwa died on Monday night in Dar es Salaam, the office of the president said on Tuesday.

“We have lost an important person whose contribution in the public service will not be forgotten. He was a strong leader who was implementing his duties in accordance with the law and regulations,” the presidency said in a statement, with no mention of the cause of death.

Kwandikwa, 55, has become the first high-ranking official in Tanzania to die since President Samia Suluhu Hassan assumed power in March following the death of her predecessor John Magufuli.

The death of Kwandikwa is a setback to the government as the country is working to defend its territorial integrity since the outbreak of violent insurgency in Mozambique.

The president sent a message of condolences to Gen. Venance Mabeyo, chief of Tanzania’s Defense Forces, over the death of Kwandikwa.

Stargomena Tax, executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community, said the late minister will be remembered for his immense contribution in dealing with violent extremism in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.

“We have received with great sadness the news of his passing, may the almighty God rest his soul in eternal peace” she tweeted.

Kwandikwa, who was a member of parliament for the Ushetu constituency in the impoverished Shinyanga region, was born on July 1, 1966. He had also worked as deputy minister of works, transport and communications since October 2017. - Kizito Makoye, Anadolu Agency

Photo Courtesy Daily Nation

Eleven people including seven children died when a boat struck a rock and sank on Lake Tanganyika off the coast of DR Congo at the weekend, local authorities said Monday.  

Rescue workers found the bodies of four women, four girls and three boys, shore official Kashindi Bovari said.

Another 62 people survived the accident overnight Saturday, he said. The total number of people aboard the stricken vessel was unknown, but there were no reports of missing passengers.

The motorised canoe carrying passengers and goods had left Uvira at the lake's northernmost end en route to the village of  Karamba on the Ubwari peninsula, striking the rock near Mboko. 

Boat sinkings are frequent in the DR Congo, often with heavy loss of life. The vast country has few passable roads, and river and lake routes are common alternatives. Source: daily Nation

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