Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela Saturday morning underwent endoscopic surgery to have gall stones removed, President Jacob Zuma’s office has said in a statement. The procedure was successful and Mandela, who has been hospitalized since last weekend due to a recurring lung infection, is recovering, the statement said.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday in Abeokuta said he had no problem with President Goodluck Jonathan as being speculated in some quarters.
Obasanjo however said he would not allow himself to be prevented by anyone from discussing pressing national issues and party affairs.
The former president said this when the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, paid him a visit at his Hilltop Country Home in Abeokuta.
Obasanjo told Tukur that his passion, patriotism and love for the country would not allow him to remain silent on burning national issues.
He said “If there is anything that requires my comment, position or views, I will say it. It is only if you kill me. It is my passion, patriotism and love that will continue to make me state my views. If I see something inimical to the party’s growth, I will talk.
“And also to disabuse the minds of rumour mongers, the President is my President. Without Nigeria, there will be no party. Even when I was in prison, I was not quiet. Those who want me and the chairman to quarrel; this visit will keep them quiet. But my mouth will not be quiet.”
Obasanjo also dispelled recent rumours about his death.
“I am still alive anyway,” he said.
Earlier, the PDP national chairman said he was in Abeokuta to see Obasanjo for his consistent role in the party, country and the international community.
On the perennial crisis rocking the Ogun State chapter of the PDP, Tukur declared, “Whoever that the people have elected as far as I’m concerned, is the chairman of our party in Ogun.”
“Let me assert that there is no crisis here in Ogun PDP at all. I have come here because of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the leader of our party and I’m now the chairman.
“Our principle today is rebuilding our party based on equity and justice. Because it is only when you give people the leadership they did not merit that you have a crisis.”
PMNEWS President John Dramani Mahama has been declared the winner of last weekend’s election in Ghana, scoring 50.7 per cent and thus avoiding the need for a run up.
His hottest rival, Nana Akufo-Addo scored 47.7 per cent, the electoral commission said, amidst the allegation by Akufo-Addo’s party and supporters that the election was rigged for the incumbent.
The electoral commission announced the result after a day of twists and turns linked to the vote on Friday and Saturday, with the stakes especially high in a country with a booming economy fuelled partly by newly discovered oil.
Results compiled by local media had early Sunday pointed to a Mahama win, leading the opposition to strongly reject them, alleging fraud and claiming it had evidence that its candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, was the real winner.
According to the electoral commission, Mahama won with 50.70 percent of the votes cast, compared to Akufo-Addo’s 47.74 percent. With eight candidates in the race, more than 50 percent was needed to avoid a second-round runoff.
“I call on all leaders of all political parties to respect the voice of the people,” Mahama said in a victory speech in which he also urged restraint in celebrations and said he was overwhelmed.
“The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party said in a statement that the results announced “by the evidence do not reflect the mandate of the required majority of the Ghanaian electorate.”
Party officials would meet Tuesday to decide the way forward, it said in a statement.
Turnout was put at more than 79 percent. Observers from the Commonwealth, West African bloc ECOWAS and local group CODEO all said the vote appeared peaceful and transparent.
The opposition however issued a scathing statement even before the official results were announced.
“Indeed, we have enough concrete evidence to show that the 2012 presidential election was won by our candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo,” it said.
“We have noticed a pattern of fraud, where substantial numbers of votes are either added to the NDC (National Democratic Congress) candidate or subtracted from the NPP presidential candidate.”
It demanded an audit of collated vote figures as well as of data from the biometric verification machines used in the election.
In the wake of the opposition claims and before the results announcement, a crowd of about 300 NPP supporters had gathered near the electoral commission. Security forces fired tear gas at one point in an apparent bid to move them back.
Tanks and anti-riot police guarded the outside of the commission building for the announcement of the results. Armed police were in the room for the announcement and escorted the electoral chief out afterward.
Asked earlier about the NPP allegations, electoral commission spokesman Christian Owusu-Parry told AFP “what I know is that they are claiming there are disparities in some results and the commission has asked them to bring evidence.”
As for whether any evidence had been supplied, he said, “no, not yet”.
The 54-year-old Mahama, previously vice president, has only been head of state since July following the death of his predecessor John Atta Mills.
He is also a writer and devotee of Afrobeat music who recently published a memoir, “My First Coup d’Etat — And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa.”
In the book, he says he was forever changed by his boyhood experiences during a 1966 military coup.
Akufo-Addo, 68, is a Britain-trained human rights lawyer and son of a former president. He lost the 2008 polls by less than one percentage point.
Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary polls were held on Friday, but polling stations in some areas re-opened on Saturday after problems with a new biometric system and late delivery of materials led to delays.
Elections since the return to civilian rule in 1992 have seen both parties voted out of office, establishing Ghana’s democratic credentials in a region that has had its share of rigged polls and coups.
Ghana is also a top exporter of cocoa and gold, with economic growth of 14 percent in 2011. Eight percent growth is expected this year and next.
How to spend Ghana’s newfound oil money has been a key issue, with crude production having begun in late 2010.
Mahama has advocated a large investment in infrastructure, while Akufo-Addo promoted his signature policy of free secondary education in the country of 24 million people.
Washington State made history on Thursday as the first in the nation to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, an occasion celebrated by dozens of users near Seattle's famed Space Needle amid blaring reggae music and a haze of pot smoke.
Chinese astronauts are preparing to grow fresh vegetables on Mars and the moon after researchers successfully completed a preliminary test in Beijing, state media reported.
Four kinds of vegetables were grown in an “ecological life support system”, a 300 cubic metre cabin which will allow astronauts to develop their own stocks of air, water and food while on space missions, Xinhua news agency said Monday.
The system, which relies on plants and algae, is “expected to be used in extra-terrestrial bases on the moon or Mars”, the report said.
Participants in the experiment could “harvest fresh vegetables for meals”, Xinhua quoted Deng Yibing, a researcher at Beijing’s Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Centre, as saying.
“Chinese astronauts may get fresh vegetables and oxygen supplies by gardening in extra-terrestrial bases in the future,” the report said, adding that the experiment was the first of its kind in China.
China has said it will land an exploratory craft on the moon for the first time next year, as part of an ambitious space programme that includes a long-term plan for a manned moon landing.
The Asian superpower has been ramping up its manned space activities as the United States, long the leader in the field, has scaled back some of its programmes, such as retiring its iconic space shuttle fleet.
In its last white paper on space, China said it was working towards landing a man on the moon — a feat so far only achieved by the United States, most recently in 1972 — although it did not give a time frame.
China’s first astronaut Yang Liwei said last month that Chinese astronauts may start a branch of China’s ruling Communist Party in space, state media reported.
“If we establish a party branch in space, it would also be the ‘highest’ of its kind in the world,” Xinhua quoted Yang as saying.
The astronaut was launched into space and orbited the earth aboard the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft in 2003.