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Lovemore Dube, [email protected]

RAHMAN Gumbo’s teammates at Bulawayo Wanderers/Eagles the team Highlanders FC poached him from in 1987 have paid tribute to a great player and personality.

Gumbo died at a hospital in Francistown Botswana on Friday night at the age of 59 and is expected to be buried in Bulawayo on Saturday.

Gumbo began his career at the family-owned Njube United which was the brainchild of his father Peter “Sister” Gumbo and the team played in the Bulawayo lower division leagues in the 1970s up to the 1990s.

He then moved to Zimbabwe Saints but found himself at Cosmos in Barham Green in 1981 where he stayed until about 1982 when he was poached by Bulawayo Wanderers losing finalists in the Castle FA Cup of that year.

Gumbo started off the bench in the 2-1 loss to Caps United but in retrospect former club coach Trevor Carelse-Juul thinks had he played the legend, the result could have been otherwise as the former utility player was a great talent.

Below are their testimonies on Gumbo:

Joseph Ndlovu — ex-Bulawayo Wanderers/Eagles Centreback

“To me, he was like umnawami (my young brother) I grew up knowing the whole family from father and mother, bonke nje as a teammate from Cosmos eyama Coloured from BG with Pernell and Tryone Mckop. He was a utility player, you could field him in any position except in goal. He started as a left-back defender, midfielder with the late Noel Nyoni, Joseph Ndlovu in central defence.

The late Arthur Makombe was at right-back, there was the late Charles Wadawu and our goalminder Johannes Tshuma, we had a solid defence. Then he moved to play Number 10 being a link/cum striker with Stanford Ntini, Elvis Chiweshe, the late Eddy Zimunya, Boy Ndlovu and Clive Moyo, what a gentleman he was on and off the pitch. May his soul rest in peace. Rahman Gumbo we will miss you with your jokes kuMazhiya/Eagles Group.

Elvis Chiweshe — Eagles utility player, former Dynamos player and coach

As u know iBoyz ezinengi ngahlangana lazo kuEagles ngisuka kuZOC (As you know I met many guys at Eagles when I was from ZOC) we used to play against each other. It was easy for me to adjust to the team and also the type of football Eagles played was suitable for any gifted player and we behaved as a family if I start talking about Eagles, I can spend the whole day.

The day Chuchu and Rush got into trouble.

Besides the day you are talking about, we shot another movie, we were supposed to go to camp one weekend and we decided to pass through Woza (Now Rainbow Alabama Bar), satshaya saze salibala, sifika etraining already the session was on and Majuta Mpofu was on us. So Rush decided not to be aggressive. It was me vs Majuta, Rush warned me before we met Majuta ukuthi asithule utshomi uzasinanka, mina inkani bhe, but believe me Rahman was just a jovial person.

We used to change positions on the field of play, because he could play as a left-back. I remember in 1984 when we played Dynamos at Rufaro, I was playing left back and we were 0-2 down. So we adjusted, he was playing linkman cum/striker and I was on the left back position, I pulled one back from a free kick some 45m drive, unfortunately, it was denied.

We went to attack and pull one scored by Rush and it ended 2-2 after I scored the equaliser. Like I said, if I start talking about Rush people will laugh their lungs out.

Collet Dube, Former club junior who broke into the first team when Gumbo wanted out and former member of the 1989/90 under-20 team.

Mr Goals as a player, he was such an incredible source of inspiration and influence to us young, up-and-coming youngsters, no wonder he was an automatic coach when he retired and he did with flying colours, he went on to coach the national team, we will always cherish his Stardom.

Former defender and Eagles teammate ZRP Assistant Commissioner — Kenneth Thebe

Rahman must go well May His Eternal Soul Rest in Peace.

Pernel Mckop — Eagles and Highlanders FC teammate.

There are so many stories about Rahman that I could tell but I will talk about the time we first met and played together at Cosmos in Barham Green. We were in the First Division looking for promotion to the Super League and we were building a team that was really challenging for promotion. Rahman was brought in by my goalkeepers coach and the head coach of the teams the late Dave Locke, through the assistant coach the late Dennis Musarurwa who discovered Rush playing football in Njube.

Those days in the early 1980s the Njube boys were known for their love for nightlife and partying, so Rahman used to go into camp at BG Tavern alongside a player that we had living at the Tavern, Mayor Eric.

That was the beginning of a lifelong friendship with Rahman.

Trevor Carelse-Juul — former Bulawayo Wanderers player and Eagles coach Rahman was a very talented player with speed faster than most defenders, but what he had was an awareness to find the space and anticipate the next ball. I could tell that Rahman would go far in football, because of his understanding and love of the game, I believed that he would most likely be a coach.

Yes, he became a very successful coach and well done to him. He deserved all the success he had.

I know he played abroad in Cyprus if I’m not mistaken, in one or two other countries (Denmark), where he did well and I think Rahman could have been good enough to have played in what is today the English Premier League.

We can be very proud of how a young Eagles player moved on with great success at Highlanders to play for the national team and become a very important member of our famous Dream Team, which took place while I was chairman of Zifa.

I remember telling people at the time that this was the team I had dreamt about taking us to the World Cup hence, the team became known as the Dream Team, it was just unfortunate that it could not be achieved with another great player of the time, Moses Chunga.

There was a lot of politics involved in football at the time that I believe prevented us from going all the way. I met up with Rahman many years later, when people had persuaded me to stand for Zifa presidency, which I reluctantly did.

I met him in Bulawayo while we were doing a campaign, and he committed to giving us support which he did.

It was good to talk about old times, we talked about our famous Zifa cup final, which unfortunately on that day we were unsuccessful.

I had Rahman on the bench in that game, and often think of how different the outcome might have been. In fact, if I were to play that game again, I believe I would have started him rather than on the bench and played more of an attacking line-up.

When we brought him in, he made a huge difference to the team and we played better football, we could so easily have won that game. In fact, I still believe we should have had a referee’s decision not go against us.

My condolences to his family, May the Lord give them strength at this difficult time, but remember that his spirit has returned to the Lord.

We can all be grateful for his contribution to Zimbabwe football, and in fact to a number of countries where he either played or coached.

Rahman will be sadly missed that I am sure he has been taken away still young enough to give a lot more to African football.

Rest in peace old friend, God bless

Itai Masawi — former Eagles and Highlanders FC skillful rightback

It has to be mentioned that Highlanders was so scared of Eagles that there was a time that Bosso wanted to poach every Eagles player. No wonder why there is a whole list of Mazhiya players who also donned the black and white colours; the likes of goalkeepers Pernel Mckop, Johannes Tshuma and Smart Moyo and Ernest Ncube, defenders, Stoneshed Moyo, Simon Ncube, Cleopas Dlodlo as well as Boy Ndlovu, Rahman Gumbo, Lazarus Mwambopo, Tanny Banda, Nkululeko Dlodlo, Abraham Mbambo, Nkosana Sibanda, Thulani Gumede as well as Sikhumbuzo Ndebele. Others were loaned out to Eagles by Highlanders.

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Expanding this Florida airstrip development is plane crazy – Florida Phoenix

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a bunch of planes! And a helicopter too! And the noise is making all the horses go bonkers!

This is what life is like for the people who own farms around the Marion County community of Jumbolair Aviation and Equestrian Estates.

John Travolta’s home in Jumbolair, via Florida State Archives

Jumbolair, near Ocala, is a gated enclave for the wealthy owners of private planes. It boasts of having “the largest licensed, private runway in North America.” Its most famous resident is onetime Sweathog and cross-dressing musical star John Travolta, who parks his Boeing 707 right in his own driveway.

Now Jumbolair’s owners want to expand it. They want to build 241 houses and 205 townhomes on about 380 acres. They want to add commercial businesses. They may even open the runway to non-residents.

“There is a desire to build hangars on common areas of the property and commercial areas of the property and rent those hangars out to residents and possibly people who do not live in the subdivision,” one Marion County official wrote in a memo about the proposal.

To nearby residents, that means even more planes and helicopters thundering over the surrounding pastures, scaring the livestock, polluting the air, and occasionally dumping the fuel into their “springs protection area,” tainting the aquifer and waterways.

You can see why local ranchers don’t think this is so super, man. You could even call them “neigh sayers.”

“There are people out here who have lived on their property for generations,” said one neighbor, Jonathan Rivera-Rose Schenck, who’s a comparative newcomer. Expanding Jumbolair so dramatically “doesn’t really fit in the community at all.”

Amy Agricola via Facebook

“There are so many safety concerns, it isn’t even funny,” another of the neighbors, Amy Agricola, told me this week. What’s worse, she said, “they tried to push it through under the radar and get it approved.”

It’s another twist in the history of a parcel of land that already has a pretty wild backstory — one that involves everything from elephants to exercise machines to buried bags of cash.

A lair for Jumbo

Jumbolair’s list of past occupants tells you a lot about how bizarre life can be in Florida.

Early on, the place was a horse farm owned by socialite Muriel Vanderbilt of the fabulously wealthy Vanderbilt family. She used the property to train her thoroughbred racehorses. Desert Vixen, born on the ranch, later was inducted into the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame.

Another owner, briefly, was Jose Antonio Fernandez of Miami, whose drug-smuggling operation was so large he had to buy his own bank to hide his profits. He pleaded guilty in 1985 to racketeering, conspiracy, drug trafficking, and fraud. Workers later discovered bundles of crumbling $100 bills buried on the property and (allegedly) turned them all over to the FBI.

Next up was Arthur Jones, who made his fortune creating and selling the Nautilus exercise machine. An avid aviation fan, he built the 7,550-foot runway for his fleet of planes.

In 1984, Jones used one of those planes to rescue 63 baby elephants from a scheduled cull of the herd in Zimbabwe. As a result, he turned the property into an elephant sanctuary. There were also rhinos, a silverback gorilla named Mickey and, after while, quite a few crocodiles.

The elephants were the source of the name. since the land was now a lair for Jumbo.

Arthur and Terri Jones with an elephant, via YouTube

Jones, in his 50s, had married a Revlon “Charlie Girl” model named Terri, then 18, who grew up in Seffner. She was his fifth wife (out of six, if you’re keeping up with the Joneses) and regularly flew to Tampa to get her hair done.

The couple even appeared on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” where, by one account, the cantankerous Jones pulled a gun on host Robin Leach.

In 1989, the couple divorced. Jones’ ex-wife retained custody of Jumbolair and remarried, this time to a jewelry store owner. Terri Jones Thayer, as she was now known, then created Jumbolair Aviation Estates: 38 residential lots with deeds that provide access to her ex-husband’s runway and taxiways to every back door.

“It’s like a cross between ‘Dynasty,’ James Bond, and the Crocodile Hunter,” she told a then-St. Petersburg Times reporter.

In 2013, a new owner took over: Frank Merschman, founder of Big Top Manufacturing, an airplane hangar and fabric structure maker in Perry and a resident of Jumbolair since 2007.

A year later, Merschman bought another parcel of Jumbolair from a holding company owned by a member of the Qatar royal family. The broker: Donald Trump’s longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, who received a $100,000 brokerage fee. He failed to pay taxes on it, which was one of the reasons Cohen wound up behind bars.

By 2019, Merschman was ready to be rid of Jumbolair. He asked for $10.5 million and, two years later, agreed to sell for $1 million less.

The new owners: Robert and Debra Bull of Melbourne. Bull is founder of CMS Mechanical, a national commercial heating and air conditioning company. He’s also an avid boat-racer.

None of the neighbors knew what a drastic change the Bulls had in mind for Jumbolair until the signs went up.

Reversal of fortune

Alyson Scotti was driving by Jumbolair one day near the end of last month when she noticed a row of yellow signs along the property boundary. But the lettering on the signs was too small to read from the road.

“I pulled over and went to read them,” she told me. When she saw they were about a proposed rezoning, she looked up on the county’s website what the Bulls wanted to do. Her reaction to what she read: “Holy cow, they’re building a city!”

Alyson Scotti via X

This was on a Friday afternoon, Oct. 27. The signs said the rezoning was scheduled to be voted on at the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Monday, Oct. 30.

In other words, only a weekend stood between the Bulls and what seemed like a definite slam dunk.

Upset at what she saw as an attempt to slip something past Jumbolair’s neighbors, Scotti started using her phone and computer to alert everyone about what was going on. She managed to round up quite a few people, many of whom emailed county officials about their objections and signed a petition against Bull’s plans.

At that point, the county staff was recommending a yes vote on both the rezoning and change in land use.

“Mr. Bull and his wife wish to integrate the upscale aviation neighborhood with our beautiful equestrian community to create a premier aviation equestrian oasis, supported with some limited commercial uses,” the county staff’s report said, making it sound like the Bulls would create a haven for flying horses like Icarus.

But by the time the meeting opened on Monday, the staff had changed its tune. They told commissioners they recommended denial. One major concern: increased traffic on the narrow local roads.

Rob Batsel, Jumbolair attorney, via Marion County video

Bull’s Ocala attorney, Rob Batsel, started off his presentation by thanking the county staff for a comprehensive report but then added, “I preferred the staff report that came out on Friday and recommended approval.”

Batsel played down the changes the Bulls had proposed, telling the commissioners, “We’re not asking for too much. We think the property owner is entitled to the highest and best use of the property.”

Meanwhile, the opponents had packed the meeting room. When it was their turn to speak, they did not hold back. They, too, worried about the roads. But many more mentioned their concern about the increased aerial traffic thundering overhead and the environmental consequences.

One of them, James Nelson, called Bob Bull “a noise bully” who frequently flies his copter over his neighbors’ property just above treetop level. He accused the Bulls of planning to ruin a quiet area “just so a millionaire can make more money.”

The helicopter that repeatedly buzzes opponents of the Jumbolair rezoning, via Jonathan Rivera-Rose Schenck

In the end, the planning commissioners voted 3-1 to recommend the county commissioners deny the Bulls’ proposal. Seeing the reversal of the Bulls’ fortunes happen so quickly, Schenck told me, he almost felt sorry for Bob Bull — until later that evening.

“He flew his helicopter over my house for 20 minutes starting at 10 p.m.” he said. “My wife told me, “I feel like I’m in ‘M*A*S*H.’”

He said Bull has repeated the noisy visit every day since then.

“It drives the horses nuts,” he said.

The elephant in the room

The Marion County Commission is scheduled to discuss the Jumbolair rezoning and land use change next week, on Dec. 5. The commissioners are not bound by what their Planning and Zoning Commission recommended. They could hand the Bulls everything they want on a silver platter.

But the Bulls are apparently nervous about what’s going to happen. I say this because they had their attorney invite all the opponents to a convivial little get-together in one of Jumbolair’s hangars on Tuesday night.

“We understand it can be unsettling to receive a letter about development ‘in your backyard,’ but assure you that our goal is to create a wonderful addition to the neighborhood,” Batsel wrote in his invitation.

Jonathan Rivera-Rose Schenck via subject

Schenck said he saw about 75 people in the hangar. Bob Bull was there too, he said, but never spoke, not even when Schenck tried to ask him questions. Instead, Bull’s attorney and engineer ran the show.

Schenck said the main message the pair delivered was: This massively disruptive development, much like the Marvel movie villain Thanos, is inevitable. Therefore, you should stop fighting it. (If you watch Marvel movies, you know this approach did not work out well for Thanos.)

Batsel also insisted that Bull isn’t pushing this project for the money. According to Schenck, that bizarre assertion prompted a lot of people to ask, “If he’s not in it for the money and the neighborhood doesn’t want him to do it, then why exactly is he doing it?”

They got no answer. I suppose you could say Batsel and Bull didn’t want to address the elephant in the room.

Robert Bull via Team CMS Racing

Finally, Schenck said, he and a friend had enough of that Bull — um, I mean hearing about what Bull wanted. They left about 20 minutes before the scheduled end.

But then they stuck around outside the hangar door. They did that so they could buttonhole everyone else as they left, asking them to sign the petition to be submitted to the Marion County commissioners next week. They all did, he said, and now the number of signatures has hit 500.

That suggests that the hangar hangout was much less effective than the Bulls expected.

I’ve tried repeatedly this week to pry a comment out of Batsel or the Bulls, without any success. I kept thinking, “Surely they’ll want to respond to the angry neighbors.” But no, they didn’t even tell me to not call them Shirley.

I wouldn’t count Bull out at this point. He seems determined to win permission from Marion County to expand Jumbolair, no matter what. But as he tries to bring this unwieldy craft in for a landing, he better expect a LOT of turbulence. And he should probably end his helicopter harassment. Otherwise, thanks to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, he might face some serious anti-aircraft fire.

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Will DRC Opposition Unite Against Tshisekedi in Congo Election? – Foreign Policy


Africa Brief

From Algeria to Zimbabwe and countries in between, a weekly roundup of essential news and analysis from Africa. Delivered Wednesday.

Will the Congolese Opposition Unite?

Many observers believe the only way to defeat President Felix Tshisekedi is to back a single challenger.


Gbadamosi-Nosmot-foreign-policy-columnist10

Gbadamosi-Nosmot-foreign-policy-columnist10

Gbadamosi-Nosmot-foreign-policy-columnist10
Nosmot Gbadamosi

By , a multimedia journalist and the writer of Foreign Policy’s weekly Africa Brief.


Incumbent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo  Felix Tshisekedi (C) addresses his supporters at the Stade des Martyrs during his first campaign rally as the electoral campaign officially kicks off in Kinshasa on Nov. 19.

Incumbent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo  Felix Tshisekedi (C) addresses his supporters at the Stade des Martyrs during his first campaign rally as the electoral campaign officially kicks off in Kinshasa on Nov. 19.

Incumbent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi (C) addresses his supporters at the Stade des Martyrs during his first campaign rally as the electoral campaign officially kicks off in Kinshasa on Nov. 19.
Incumbent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi (C) addresses his supporters at the Stade des Martyrs during his first campaign rally as the electoral campaign officially kicks off in Kinshasa on Nov. 19. Arsene Mpiana/AFP via Getty Images



Welcome to Foreign Policy’s Africa Brief.

Welcome to Foreign Policy’s Africa Brief.

The highlights this week: A coup attempt in Sierra Leone, severe floods hit Ethiopia and Somalia, and Germany makes a gas deal with Nigeria.


Congo’s Looming Democratic Test

In July, amid a tense political climate, the body of an opposition legislator was found in his car with gunshot wounds on a main highway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital, Kinshasa. Cherubin Okende was a former transport minister-turned-spokesman for leading opposition party Ensemble pour la République (Together for the Republic), whose leader Moise Katumbi is set to compete in Congo’s presidential election in less than a month, on Dec. 20.

Katumbi, a former governor of the mineral-rich province of Katanga and owner of Congolese football club TP Mazembe, claimed at the time that the killing was “a political assassination” and an attempt to silence the opposition. Okende resigned from the government last year when Katumbi left the ruling coalition led by President Felix Tshisekedi.

The murder is part of a series of troubling events leading up to the election, including several arrests of opposition figures that have left critics questioning whether Congo can deliver credible elections at a time when Africans are weary of sham ballots, and when coups in West and Central Africa are on the rise. The last election in 2018, which brought Tshisekedi to power, was heavily disputed.

In total, 23 candidates are in the running against Tshisekedi, including 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, a renowned gynecologist known for helping victims of sexual violence, and former oil executive Martin Fayulu of the Commitment to Citizenship and Development party, whom many local and international observers consider the true winner of the last election.

The Catholic Church—seen as one of Congo’s most trusted civil society organizations—deployed around 40,000 observers to polling stations during the 2018 election and said that votes counted showed that Fayulu had won. A Financial Times data analysis also alleged that electoral fraud had occurred and that then-President Joseph Kabila may have sought to cling to power through a deal with Tshisekedi, whom the analysis showed should have been the runner-up.

In September, Jean-Marc Kabund, the former head of Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress party, was sentenced to seven years in prison for “insulting the head of state.” Kabund was arrested last year about a month after creating his own party, called the Alliance for Change. He had denounced Tshisekedi’s government for “mismanagement characterized by carelessness, irresponsibility, enjoyment, and predation at the top of the State.”

As Stephen R. Weissman and Anthony Gambino wrote in Foreign Policy in September, “there is every reason to believe that the grand corruption that marked the earlier Joseph Kabila regime has continued.”

Congo’s electoral commission, known under the French acronym CENI, faces the daunting task of organizing ballots across a vast country with limited infrastructure and widespread violence in the eastern region, where more than 100 armed groups are vying for power.

CENI has always been viewed with a degree of cynicism regarding its independence. In October, CENI President Denis Kadima met with U.S. officials in Washington as part of a “rebranding” campaign to dispel what he referred to as “a very bad reputation.” But criticism persists: Opposition candidates have complained of flaws in the voter registration process during this election cycle.

Although Kadima is an election expert with decades of experience, he is viewed as being handpicked by Tshisekedi’s government to lead CENI (the head of which is meant to be chosen by consensus). The opposition and the Catholic Church did not approve of him, which led to protests in late 2021. Critics accused Kadima of being too close to the president.

“The CENI knows the challenge it faces, and that its credibility is at stake,” political analyst Jean-Luc Kong told France 24 earlier this month. “But what really scares people is the crisis in the east.”

Almost 7 million people have fled their homes in North Kivu province due to a resurgence of fighting between Congo’s army and an armed group called the March 23 Movement (M23). More than one million citizens have been left without voter cards, and some eastern towns will be excluded altogether from voting due to the security concerns.

Some opponents believe that the only realistic chance of beating Tshisekedi, whom analysts predict will secure a narrow reelection since there is only one round of voting, is to form a coalition under a single candidate. Five leading opposition groups met last week in South Africa and chose to throw their support behind Katumbi.

Those supporters include Congo’s former Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon; Seth Kikuni, who was the youngest candidate in the 2018 election; and Franck Diongo, who was imprisoned under Kabila and freed by Tshisekedi’s government only to be jailed again in June for more than a month. All have withdrawn their own presidential bids. (Mukwege, however, has not yet responded to calls for a united opposition.)

“Urgency dictates a single opposition candidate,” Matata said in Pretoria, South Africa, accusing the government of preparing “massive electoral fraud.”

As part of his campaign manifesto, Katumbi has pledged to “consolidate peace, democracy, and fight corruption.” In a statement, he said that “the current cohort of corrupt leaders cannot be trusted to change their ways.” Mukwege launched his campaign from his hometown in the eastern city of Bukavu, promising to end the country’s reliance on aid and foreign troops. (U.N. peacekeepers are resented by Congolese for failing to stop armed violence). “Internationally, we are going to do everything we can to ensure that foreign armies leave Congolese soil, and that the Congolese people learn to take responsibility for their own security,” Mukwege said.

There are some Congolese voters who question whether an election would bring about any change and are intending to stay home. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has said that it is on watch for any signs of fraud and urged Congolese citizens to vote.

Worryingly, experts suggest that given the potential for a volatile election outcome in Congo, neighboring countries within the Congo Basin could possibly be next in line for a coup.


The Week Ahead

Wednesday, Nov. 29, to Saturday, Dec. 2: The Marrakech International Film Festival, which began on Friday, continues in Morocco. It is being attended by actors Jessica Chastain and Willem Dafoe following the country’s earthquake in September. Other festivals in Egypt and Tunisia have been canceled due to the Israel-Hamas war.

Thursday, Nov. 30: A postponed OPEC+ meeting is scheduled to take place.

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube presents the 2024 national budget amid concerns over the impact of weak global economic growth.

Thursday, Nov. 30, to Tuesday, Dec. 12: The U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mohamed Nasr, Egypt’s lead climate negotiator, and the U.K.’s King Charles III are expected to attend.


What We’re Watching

Sierra Leone coup attempt. Sierra Leone on Monday lifted a nationwide curfew imposed after what the government said was an attack by “renegade soldiers” who attempted to break into a military armory in the capital city of Freetown on Sunday, leading to gunfire and explosions across several neighborhoods home to military outposts and killing at least 20 people, including 13 soldiers. Information Minister Chernoh Bah said on Tuesday that “the incident was a failed attempted coup.”

The assailants also attacked a police station and released 2,000 inmates from the central prison. The political situation in Sierra Leone has been tense since President Julius Maada Bio was reelected in June with just over 56 percent of the vote, narrowly avoiding a runoff. The election result was rejected by the main opposition, the All People’s Congress party.

Global tax vote. African nations secured a historic win on international tax negotiations after developing economies overwhelmingly voted to give the United Nations more say on global tax rules and move the discussion out of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a body largely formed by richer nations. A proposal presented by the group of 54 African countries for a U.N. framework on global tax cooperation was backed by 125 countries on Nov. 22 and opposed by 48 mostly high-income countries, including the United States and EU member nations. Kenyan U.N. Ambassador Martin Kimani called the outcome the “clearest Global North vs Global South vote I have seen in recent times.”

Horn of Africa floods. Flooding across the Horn of Africa, which has killed at least 100 people and forced 700,000 from their homes, is expected to last into December. Up to 1.2 million people in Somalia have already been affected. According to the U.N., 4.3 million people—a quarter of Somalia’s population—will face “crisis-level hunger” by the end of the year. In Kenya, at least 70 people have been killed and more than 150,000 displaced from their homes. Meanwhile in northern Ethiopia, 50 people and 4,000 cattle have died in the Tigray and Amhara regions because of severe drought. In the country’s south, 370,000 people have left their homes due to flash floods.

Nigeria’s election challenges. Despite the main petitions against President Bola Tinubu’s election win being dismissed, Nigerian courts are overwhelmed by more than 1,000 cases related to this year’s presidential and regional elections, reports the Nigerian Guardian. Nigeria’s chief justice, Olukayode Ariwoola, said judges would not be intimidated by the “loud voices of the mob” over accusations that judgements have so far favored the governing All Progressives Congress party.


This Week in Natural Resources

Mali and Russia go for gold. Mali’s military government signed a four-year deal with Russia to build a gold refinery in the capital Bamako. The refinery is expected to process 200 metric tons of gold annually. The project will allow Mali to control all gold production in the country and “correctly apply all taxes and duties,” Finance Minister Alousseni Sanou said last Tuesday on state TV. The Russian private military contractor Wagner Group has been accused of gold smuggling and human rights abuses during Mali’s fight against armed groups allied with al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

More German gas deals. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Germany has been on a spree to secure gas and oil contracts with several African nations. Nigeria will supply natural gas to Germany at 850,000 metric tons per year in 2026, expanding afterward to 1.2 million metric tons per year. The German firm DWS Group will invest $500 million in renewable energy projects in Nigeria. Germany has faced criticism for investing in environmentally harmful African gas supplies for export to Europe while maintaining African nations’ focus on renewables for their domestic needs.


FP’s Most Read This Week

What Was Hamas Thinking? by Tareq Baconi

America Is a Heartbeat Away From a War It Could Lose by A. Wess Mitchell

Panama’s Mining Future Is at a Tipping Point by Cristina Guevara


What We’re Reading

Rustin’s Zimbabwe. In Africa Is a Country, Brooks Marmon explores the legacy of the American civil rights icon Bayard Rustin and his involvement in African independence movements during the late 1970s following the release of Netflix movie Rustin by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground. Marmon argues that Rustin’s “controversial relationship with the final stages of Zimbabwe’s independence struggle” is largely overlooked in U.S. discourse, particularly his strong opposition toward Zimbabwe’s main independence movements in favor of groups “willing to collaborate with Rhodesia’s white settlers.”

Napoleon’s pillaged Egypt. Ridley Scott’s new movie Napoleon depicts troops led by Joaquin Phoenix as the French emperor firing cannons at the pyramids of Giza, but Napoleon never actually took “pot shots” at Egyptian pyramids, Becky Ferreira reports in the New York Times. However, France’s invasion of Egypt did lead to many of the country’s greatest treasures ending up in overseas museums and private collections. Napoleon’s troops were the original looters of the Rosetta stone (now in the British Museum after British forces defeated the French in Egypt) and unleashed an insatiable Egyptomania in the West, which gave rise to “outright criminal channels” for the country’s antiquities, Ferreira writes.



Nosmot Gbadamosi is a multimedia journalist and the writer of Foreign Policy’s weekly Africa Brief. She has reported on human rights, the environment, and sustainable development from across the African continent. Twitter: @nosmotg

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Will DRC Opposition Unite Against Tshisekedi in Congo Election? – Foreign Policy


Africa Brief

From Algeria to Zimbabwe and countries in between, a weekly roundup of essential news and analysis from Africa. Delivered Wednesday.

Will the Congolese Opposition Unite?

Many observers believe the only way to defeat President Felix Tshisekedi is to back a single challenger.


Gbadamosi-Nosmot-foreign-policy-columnist10

Gbadamosi-Nosmot-foreign-policy-columnist10

Gbadamosi-Nosmot-foreign-policy-columnist10
Nosmot Gbadamosi

By , a multimedia journalist and the writer of Foreign Policy’s weekly Africa Brief.


Incumbent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo  Felix Tshisekedi (C) addresses his supporters at the Stade des Martyrs during his first campaign rally as the electoral campaign officially kicks off in Kinshasa on Nov. 19.

Incumbent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo  Felix Tshisekedi (C) addresses his supporters at the Stade des Martyrs during his first campaign rally as the electoral campaign officially kicks off in Kinshasa on Nov. 19.

Incumbent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi (C) addresses his supporters at the Stade des Martyrs during his first campaign rally as the electoral campaign officially kicks off in Kinshasa on Nov. 19.
Incumbent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi (C) addresses his supporters at the Stade des Martyrs during his first campaign rally as the electoral campaign officially kicks off in Kinshasa on Nov. 19. Arsene Mpiana/AFP via Getty Images



Welcome to Foreign Policy’s Africa Brief.

Welcome to Foreign Policy’s Africa Brief.

The highlights this week: A coup attempt in Sierra Leone, severe floods hit Ethiopia and Somalia, and Germany makes a gas deal with Nigeria.


Congo’s Looming Democratic Test

In July, amid a tense political climate, the body of an opposition legislator was found in his car with gunshot wounds on a main highway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital, Kinshasa. Cherubin Okende was a former transport minister-turned-spokesman for leading opposition party Ensemble pour la République (Together for the Republic), whose leader Moise Katumbi is set to compete in Congo’s presidential election in less than a month, on Dec. 20.

Katumbi, a former governor of the mineral-rich province of Katanga and owner of Congolese football club TP Mazembe, claimed at the time that the killing was “a political assassination” and an attempt to silence the opposition. Okende resigned from the government last year when Katumbi left the ruling coalition led by President Felix Tshisekedi.

The murder is part of a series of troubling events leading up to the election, including several arrests of opposition figures that have left critics questioning whether Congo can deliver credible elections at a time when Africans are weary of sham ballots, and when coups in West and Central Africa are on the rise. The last election in 2018, which brought Tshisekedi to power, was heavily disputed.

In total, 23 candidates are in the running against Tshisekedi, including 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, a renowned gynecologist known for helping victims of sexual violence, and former oil executive Martin Fayulu of the Commitment to Citizenship and Development party, whom many local and international observers consider the true winner of the last election.

The Catholic Church—seen as one of Congo’s most trusted civil society organizations—deployed around 40,000 observers to polling stations during the 2018 election and said that votes counted showed that Fayulu had won. A Financial Times data analysis also alleged that electoral fraud had occurred and that then-President Joseph Kabila may have sought to cling to power through a deal with Tshisekedi, whom the analysis showed should have been the runner-up.

In September, Jean-Marc Kabund, the former head of Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress party, was sentenced to seven years in prison for “insulting the head of state.” Kabund was arrested last year about a month after creating his own party, called the Alliance for Change. He had denounced Tshisekedi’s government for “mismanagement characterized by carelessness, irresponsibility, enjoyment, and predation at the top of the State.”

As Stephen R. Weissman and Anthony Gambino wrote in Foreign Policy in September, “there is every reason to believe that the grand corruption that marked the earlier Joseph Kabila regime has continued.”

Congo’s electoral commission, known under the French acronym CENI, faces the daunting task of organizing ballots across a vast country with limited infrastructure and widespread violence in the eastern region, where more than 100 armed groups are vying for power.

CENI has always been viewed with a degree of cynicism regarding its independence. In October, CENI President Denis Kadima met with U.S. officials in Washington as part of a “rebranding” campaign to dispel what he referred to as “a very bad reputation.” But criticism persists: Opposition candidates have complained of flaws in the voter registration process during this election cycle.

Although Kadima is an election expert with decades of experience, he is viewed as being handpicked by Tshisekedi’s government to lead CENI (the head of which is meant to be chosen by consensus). The opposition and the Catholic Church did not approve of him, which led to protests in late 2021. Critics accused Kadima of being too close to the president.

“The CENI knows the challenge it faces, and that its credibility is at stake,” political analyst Jean-Luc Kong told France 24 earlier this month. “But what really scares people is the crisis in the east.”

Almost 7 million people have fled their homes in North Kivu province due to a resurgence of fighting between Congo’s army and an armed group called the March 23 Movement (M23). More than one million citizens have been left without voter cards, and some eastern towns will be excluded altogether from voting due to the security concerns.

Some opponents believe that the only realistic chance of beating Tshisekedi, whom analysts predict will secure a narrow reelection since there is only one round of voting, is to form a coalition under a single candidate. Five leading opposition groups met last week in South Africa and chose to throw their support behind Katumbi.

Those supporters include Congo’s former Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon; Seth Kikuni, who was the youngest candidate in the 2018 election; and Franck Diongo, who was imprisoned under Kabila and freed by Tshisekedi’s government only to be jailed again in June for more than a month. All have withdrawn their own presidential bids. (Mukwege, however, has not yet responded to calls for a united opposition.)

“Urgency dictates a single opposition candidate,” Matata said in Pretoria, South Africa, accusing the government of preparing “massive electoral fraud.”

As part of his campaign manifesto, Katumbi has pledged to “consolidate peace, democracy, and fight corruption.” In a statement, he said that “the current cohort of corrupt leaders cannot be trusted to change their ways.” Mukwege launched his campaign from his hometown in the eastern city of Bukavu, promising to end the country’s reliance on aid and foreign troops. (U.N. peacekeepers are resented by Congolese for failing to stop armed violence). “Internationally, we are going to do everything we can to ensure that foreign armies leave Congolese soil, and that the Congolese people learn to take responsibility for their own security,” Mukwege said.

There are some Congolese voters who question whether an election would bring about any change and are intending to stay home. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has said that it is on watch for any signs of fraud and urged Congolese citizens to vote.

Worryingly, experts suggest that given the potential for a volatile election outcome in Congo, neighboring countries within the Congo Basin could possibly be next in line for a coup.


The Week Ahead

Wednesday, Nov. 29, to Saturday, Dec. 2: The Marrakech International Film Festival, which began on Friday, continues in Morocco. It is being attended by actors Jessica Chastain and Willem Dafoe following the country’s earthquake in September. Other festivals in Egypt and Tunisia have been canceled due to the Israel-Hamas war.

Thursday, Nov. 30: A postponed OPEC+ meeting is scheduled to take place.

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube presents the 2024 national budget amid concerns over the impact of weak global economic growth.

Thursday, Nov. 30, to Tuesday, Dec. 12: The U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mohamed Nasr, Egypt’s lead climate negotiator, and the U.K.’s King Charles III are expected to attend.


What We’re Watching

Sierra Leone coup attempt. Sierra Leone on Monday lifted a nationwide curfew imposed after what the government said was an attack by “renegade soldiers” who attempted to break into a military armory in the capital city of Freetown on Sunday, leading to gunfire and explosions across several neighborhoods home to military outposts and killing at least 20 people, including 13 soldiers. Information Minister Chernoh Bah said on Tuesday that “the incident was a failed attempted coup.”

The assailants also attacked a police station and released 2,000 inmates from the central prison. The political situation in Sierra Leone has been tense since President Julius Maada Bio was reelected in June with just over 56 percent of the vote, narrowly avoiding a runoff. The election result was rejected by the main opposition, the All People’s Congress party.

Global tax vote. African nations secured a historic win on international tax negotiations after developing economies overwhelmingly voted to give the United Nations more say on global tax rules and move the discussion out of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a body largely formed by richer nations. A proposal presented by the group of 54 African countries for a U.N. framework on global tax cooperation was backed by 125 countries on Nov. 22 and opposed by 48 mostly high-income countries, including the United States and EU member nations. Kenyan U.N. Ambassador Martin Kimani called the outcome the “clearest Global North vs Global South vote I have seen in recent times.”

Horn of Africa floods. Flooding across the Horn of Africa, which has killed at least 100 people and forced 700,000 from their homes, is expected to last into December. Up to 1.2 million people in Somalia have already been affected. According to the U.N., 4.3 million people—a quarter of Somalia’s population—will face “crisis-level hunger” by the end of the year. In Kenya, at least 70 people have been killed and more than 150,000 displaced from their homes. Meanwhile in northern Ethiopia, 50 people and 4,000 cattle have died in the Tigray and Amhara regions because of severe drought. In the country’s south, 370,000 people have left their homes due to flash floods.

Nigeria’s election challenges. Despite the main petitions against President Bola Tinubu’s election win being dismissed, Nigerian courts are overwhelmed by more than 1,000 cases related to this year’s presidential and regional elections, reports the Nigerian Guardian. Nigeria’s chief justice, Olukayode Ariwoola, said judges would not be intimidated by the “loud voices of the mob” over accusations that judgements have so far favored the governing All Progressives Congress party.


This Week in Natural Resources

Mali and Russia go for gold. Mali’s military government signed a four-year deal with Russia to build a gold refinery in the capital Bamako. The refinery is expected to process 200 metric tons of gold annually. The project will allow Mali to control all gold production in the country and “correctly apply all taxes and duties,” Finance Minister Alousseni Sanou said last Tuesday on state TV. The Russian private military contractor Wagner Group has been accused of gold smuggling and human rights abuses during Mali’s fight against armed groups allied with al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

More German gas deals. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Germany has been on a spree to secure gas and oil contracts with several African nations. Nigeria will supply natural gas to Germany at 850,000 metric tons per year in 2026, expanding afterward to 1.2 million metric tons per year. The German firm DWS Group will invest $500 million in renewable energy projects in Nigeria. Germany has faced criticism for investing in environmentally harmful African gas supplies for export to Europe while maintaining African nations’ focus on renewables for their domestic needs.


FP’s Most Read This Week

What Was Hamas Thinking? by Tareq Baconi

America Is a Heartbeat Away From a War It Could Lose by A. Wess Mitchell

Panama’s Mining Future Is at a Tipping Point by Cristina Guevara


What We’re Reading

Rustin’s Zimbabwe. In Africa Is a Country, Brooks Marmon explores the legacy of the American civil rights icon Bayard Rustin and his involvement in African independence movements during the late 1970s following the release of Netflix movie Rustin by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground. Marmon argues that Rustin’s “controversial relationship with the final stages of Zimbabwe’s independence struggle” is largely overlooked in U.S. discourse, particularly his strong opposition toward Zimbabwe’s main independence movements in favor of groups “willing to collaborate with Rhodesia’s white settlers.”

Napoleon’s pillaged Egypt. Ridley Scott’s new movie Napoleon depicts troops led by Joaquin Phoenix as the French emperor firing cannons at the pyramids of Giza, but Napoleon never actually took “pot shots” at Egyptian pyramids, Becky Ferreira reports in the New York Times. However, France’s invasion of Egypt did lead to many of the country’s greatest treasures ending up in overseas museums and private collections. Napoleon’s troops were the original looters of the Rosetta stone (now in the British Museum after British forces defeated the French in Egypt) and unleashed an insatiable Egyptomania in the West, which gave rise to “outright criminal channels” for the country’s antiquities, Ferreira writes.



Nosmot Gbadamosi is a multimedia journalist and the writer of Foreign Policy’s weekly Africa Brief. She has reported on human rights, the environment, and sustainable development from across the African continent. Twitter: @nosmotg

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More from Foreign Policy


The USS Nimitz and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and South Korean Navy warships sail in formation during a joint naval exercise off the South Korean coast.

The USS Nimitz and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and South Korean Navy warships sail in formation during a joint naval exercise off the South Korean coast.

The USS Nimitz and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and South Korean Navy warships sail in formation during a joint naval exercise off the South Korean coast.

America Is a Heartbeat Away From a War It Could Lose

Global war is neither a theoretical contingency nor the fever dream of hawks and militarists.


A protester waves a Palestinian flag in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, during a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. People sit and walk on the grass lawn in front of the protester and barricades.

A protester waves a Palestinian flag in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, during a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. People sit and walk on the grass lawn in front of the protester and barricades.

A protester waves a Palestinian flag in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, during a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. People sit and walk on the grass lawn in front of the protester and barricades.

The West’s Incoherent Critique of Israel’s Gaza Strategy

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Biden dressed in a dark blue suit walks with his head down past a row of alternating U.S. and Israeli flags.

Biden dressed in a dark blue suit walks with his head down past a row of alternating U.S. and Israeli flags.

Biden dressed in a dark blue suit walks with his head down past a row of alternating U.S. and Israeli flags.

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U.S. President Joe Biden is seen in profile as he greets Chinese President Xi Jinping with a handshake. Xi, a 70-year-old man in a dark blue suit, smiles as he takes the hand of Biden, an 80-year-old man who also wears a dark blue suit.

U.S. President Joe Biden is seen in profile as he greets Chinese President Xi Jinping with a handshake. Xi, a 70-year-old man in a dark blue suit, smiles as he takes the hand of Biden, an 80-year-old man who also wears a dark blue suit.

U.S. President Joe Biden is seen in profile as he greets Chinese President Xi Jinping with a handshake. Xi, a 70-year-old man in a dark blue suit, smiles as he takes the hand of Biden, an 80-year-old man who also wears a dark blue suit.

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