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South Africa’s Mandela returns home after long hospital stay

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Anti-apartheid leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela returned to his home on Sunday where he will continue to receive intensive care after three months in hospital with a lung ailment.

Mandela, 95, had spent 87 days in a Pretoria hospital after he was rushed there in early June suffering from a recurring infection of the lungs, a legacy of the nearly three decades he spent in jail under apartheid.

“Madiba’s condition remains critical and is at times unstable. Nevertheless, his team of doctors are convinced that he will receive the same level of intensive care at his Houghton home that he received in Pretoria,” South Africa’s presidency said in a statement. It referred to Mandela by the traditional clan name by which he is affectionately known.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s latest hospitalization in June had attracted a wave of attention and sympathy at home and across the world.

His home in Johannesburg’s Houghton suburb had been “reconfigured” to allow him to receive special care there, the presidency added. Police blocked off a section of the street in the upscale neighborhood, where a crowd of reporters and camera crews had gathered.

“The health care personnel providing care at his home are the very same who provided care to him in hospital. If there are health conditions that warrant another admission to hospital in future, this will be done,” the presidency added.

“It is a day of celebration for us, that he is finally back home with us,” Mandela’s grandson and heir Mandla said in a statement, acknowledging that he was “not a young man anymore”.

Mandla said his grandfather’s discharge from hospital disproved claims that Mandela was in a “vegetative” state “waiting for his (life) support machines to be switched off, in effect declaring him dead”.

Thousands of well-wishers had visited the Pretoria medical facility during his stay there to leave flowers, cards and gifts.

Mandela made his last public appearance waving to fans from the back of a golf cart before the Soccer World Cup final in Johannesburg in 2010. In April state broadcaster aired a clip of the thin and frail statesman being visited by President Jacob Zuma and top officials from the African National Congress.

The ruling party said he was “in good shape” but the footage showed a weak old man sitting expressionless in an armchair.

“He is out of hospital, that alone is good news for us. We don’t want to be thinking negative. We just want to remain optimistic. He is alive and kicking and a part of us, that’s good enough,” Motemi Tinashe said outside the Mandela Family House Museum in Soweto, south of Johannesburg, where he lived before his imprisonment.

For more than a decade Mandela has been out of politics, dividing his time in retirement between his home in Houghton and Qunu, the village in the impoverished Eastern Cape province where he was born.

His admission to hospital four times in six months has reminded the nation of the mortality of the father of the post-apartheid “Rainbow Nation” and the morals he stood for.

“I often wonder how much Mr Mandela knows about what is going on in South Africa and the state of politics. The ANC is a disappointment and I pray he doesn’t know that,” said Thomas Mkhize, a Johannesburg taxi driver.

“The current leaders care more about themselves and their pockets than the people,” he said. Many analysts and critics accuse the century-old ANC of having lost its moral compass.

The anti-apartheid leader was elected South Africa’s first black president in multi-racial elections in 1994 that ended white minority rule.

Mandela’s imprisonment included 18 years on the notorious Robben Island penal colony, when he and other prisoners were forced to work in a limestone quarry and he first suffered the lung infections that were to dog him for years.

The presidency requested that Mandela and his family be given “the necessary private space so that his continuing care can proceed with dignity and without unnecessary intrusion.”

FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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