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Mugabe’s rambling 20-minute speech in full

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had been expected to resign in speech He addressed the nation – a..

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  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had been expected to resign in speech
  • He addressed the nation – and the world – for 20 minutes but clung to power
  • He accepted changes must be made but said he was the man to make them
  • The generals sat stony-faced only to later claim he had gone 'off script'

By MailOnline Reporter

Published: 22:15 EST, 19 November 2017 | Updated: 22:32 EST, 19 November 2017

Surrounded by the army generals who had been expected to oust him from power, Robert Mugabe sat behind a table draped with a table cloth and with a simple box of tissues placed on one side.

Would Mugabe weep as he brought the curtain down on 37 years of rule? As he addressed the nation it soon became clear that not only would there be no tears, there would also be no resignation. Here is that controversial speech in full.

Mugabe addressed the world from behind a desk with a box of tissues placed on it

Mugabe addressed the world from behind a desk with a box of tissues placed on it

Fellow Zimbabweans, I address you tonight on the back of a meeting I held today with the nation’s security forces command element.

This meeting which was facilitated by a mediating team… followed an operation mounted by the Zimbabwean Defence Forces in the week that has gone by, and which was triggered by concerns from their reading of the state of affairs in our country and in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Whatever the pros and cons of the way they went about registering those concerns, I as the President of Zimbabwe and as their Commander in Chief do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and do believe these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people.

As I address you I am also aware of a whole range of concerns which have come from you all as citizens of our great country and which deserve our untrammelled attention.

Today’s meeting with the command element has underscored the need for us to collectively start processes that return our nation to normalcy so that all our people can go about their business unhindered in an environment of perfect peace and security assured that the law and order prevail as before and endure well into the future.

If there is any one observation we have made and drawn from events of the last week it is the unshakable pedestal upon which rests our state of peace and law and order, amply indicating that as Zimbabweans we are generally a peaceably disposed people and with a given-ness to express our grievances and to resolve our differences ourselves and with a level of dignity and restraint so rare to many other nations. This is to be admired. Indeed such traits must form the path of our national character and personality. Yes, a veritable resource we summon and draw upon in times of vicissitudes.

The operation I have alluded to did not amount to a threat to our well-cherished constitutional order, nor was it a challenge to my authority as head of state and government, not even as commander in chief of the Zimbabwean Defence Forces. To the man, the commend element remained respectful and comported themselves with diktats and mores of constitutionalism. True, a few incidents may have occurred here and there but they are being corrected. I am happy that throughout the short period the pillars of state remained functional. Even happier for me and arising from today’s meeting is a strong sense of collegiality and comradeship now binding the various arms of our security establishment. This should redound to greater peace and offer an abiding sense of security in communities and in our entire nation.

Among the issues discussed is that relating to our economy, which as we all know is going through a difficult patch. Of greater concern to our commanders are the well-founded fears that the lack of unity and commonness of purpose in both party and government was translating into perceptions of inattentiveness to the economy. Open public spats between officials in the party and government exacerbated by multiple conflicting messages from both the party and government made the criticisms levelled at us inescapable.

Amidst all this, flagship projects already adopted by government stood stalled or mired in needless controversies. All this needs to stop as we inaugurate a new work culture and pace which will show a strong sense of purpose and commitment to turning around our economy in terms of our policies. The government remains committed to improving the social and material conditions of the people. Government will soon unveil an entrepreneurial skills and business development program which will empower and unleash gainful projects at our growth points and in rural areas.

Fellow Zimbabweans we are a nation born out of a protracted struggle for national independence. Our roots lie in that epochal struggle whose goals and ideals must guide our present and structure our future.

The tradition of resistance is our collective legacy, whose core tenets must [be] subscribed [to] by all across generations and across times. Indeed these too were a concern of our commanders who themselves were makers of that revolution and often at very tender ages and at great personal peril. We still have in our various communities veterans of that founding struggle who might have found the prevailing management of national and party issues quite alienating. This must be corrected without delay, include ensuring that these veterans continue to play central roles in the lives of our nation. We must all recognise that their participation in the war of liberation exacted lifelong costs that, while hardly repayable, may still be assuaged and ameliorated.

Generals sat stony-faced as Mugabe spoke. Later, sources said he had gone off script.Generals sat stony-faced as Mugabe spoke. Later, sources said he had gone off script.

Generals sat stony-faced as Mugabe spoke. Later, sources said he had gone off script.

In respect of the party and the party issued raised both by the commanders and by the general membership of Zanu-PF, these too stand acknowledged. They have to be attended to with a great sense of urgency, however I am aware that as a party of liberation, Zanu-PF has over the years written elaborate rules and procedures that guide the operations of all its organs and personnel. Indeed the current criticisms raised against it by the command element and some of its members have arisen from a well-founded perception that the party was stretching or even failing in its own rules and procedures. The way forward thus cannot be based on swapping vying cliques that ride roughshod over party rules and procedures. There has to be a net return to the guiding principles of our party as enshrined in its constitution, which must apply fairly and equitably in all situations and before all members. The era of victimisation and arbitrary decisions must be put behind [us], so as we all embrace a new ethos predicated on the supreme law of our party and nourished by an abiding sense of camaraderie.

To all, there must be a general recognition that Zanu-PF is a party of traditions and has been served by successive generations who are bound together by shared ideals and values, which must continue to reign supreme in our nation.

Hints of inter-generational conflict must be resolved through harmonised melding of old established players as they embrace and welcome new rules through a well-defined sense of hierarchy and succession.

Indeed all these matters will be discussed and settled at the forthcoming Congress within the framework of a clear roadmap that seeks to resolve once and for all any omissions or contradictions that have affected our party negatively. The Congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, that must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public.

As I conclude this address I am aware that many developments have occurred in the party or have been championed and done by individuals in the name of the party. Given the failings of the past and the anger these might have triggered in some quarters, such developments are quite understandable, however we cannot be guided by bitterness or vengefulness, both of which would not make us any better party members or any better Zimbabweans. Our hallowed policy of reconciliation which we pronounced in 1980 and through which we reached out to those which occupied and oppressed us for nearly a century and those we had traded fire with in a bitter war surely cannot be unavailable to our own, both in the party and in our nation.

We must learn to forgive and to resolve contradictions, real or perceived, in a comradely Zimbabwean spirit. I am confident that from tonight our whole nation at all levels gets refocused as we put our shoulder to the wheel amidst the promising agricultural season already upon us.

Let us all move forward reminding ourselves of our wartime mantra: [You and I have work to do].

I thank you and goodnight.

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Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative

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In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.

The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.

But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.

So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?

‘Just paperwork’

Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.

Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.

The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.

Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.

Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.

Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.

Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.

It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.

“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”

But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.

Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.

But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.

It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.

Critics push for investigation

Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.

But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.

And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.

Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.

Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.

“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.

“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”

The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.

And she says the same transparency is needed here.

The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them

The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.

“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.

“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”

PM defends governor-general

Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.

“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”

Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.

“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.

“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”

A role fit for purpose?

Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.

She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.

“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”

Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.

“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.

“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”

But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210

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Australia

Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania

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A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.

Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.

The other driver involved was not hurt.

Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.

The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.

“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.

“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”

Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.

Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.

Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.

Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.

Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987

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Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos

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Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.

Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.

While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.

“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.

A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.

Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.

“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.

He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.

“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”

The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.

“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.

Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.

On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.

Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.

But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.

Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.

“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”

The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.

The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.

“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.

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