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Mnangagwa sworn in as Zimbabwe president

Gorkha Post

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HARARE — Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as president of Zimbabwe on Friday enading final chapter of a political drama that toppled his predecessor Robert Mugabe after a military takeover

Mnangagwa, until recently one of Mugabe’s closest allies, took the oath of office at the national sports stadium on the outskirts of Harare before thousands of supporters, dignitaries and foreign diplomats becoming the country’s second leader since independence from white minority rule in 1980.

Snipers took up positions around the stadium amid tight security as jubilant Mnangagwa supporters streamed in, many dancing as music played.

The man known as “The Crocodile” wore a dark suit, red tie and matching handkerchief, and a row of medals on his chest for the ceremony.

“We are excited and expecting a lot from Mnangagwa. We have been under a dictatorship for a very long time,” 23-year-old Sharon Mauyakufa said, referring to Mugabe.

“Mugabe is very old, we do not expect that he will be punished for his crimes. How do you punish a 93-year-old? But his wife and others must be charged if they committed crimes, he said.”

The former president, who ruled the southern African country for 37 autocratic years, was ousted from office when the military intervened after he had sacked Mnangagwa as vice president.

Mugabe is in increasingly frail health and had been positioning his wife Grace as his successor, but the army chiefs acted to halt the plan and usher in Mnangagwa.

State-run media had earlier claimed that Mugabe may even attend his successor’s swearing-in — but later suggested that after he and Mnangagwa talked about the inauguration, he agreed he “needed time to rest.”

Mnangagwa also “assured him and his family maximum security and welfare” for their future as private citizens, the state-run Herald news site also reported.

With Agency Inputs

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Economy

Govt decides to award Budhi Gandaki Hydel project to Chinese firm again

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The government has decided to award contract for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project, to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) once again.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday has decided to award the contract for the project to CGGCL reverting the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba government’s decision to develop the 1200MW project with internal resources.

The Cabinet meeting has directed the Energy Ministry to initiate the process to award the project to the Chinese company.

Following the government decision, the Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it, according to multiple sources at the ministry.

As per the Cabinet decision, the ministry has been asked to hold talks with the Gezhouba, prepare a proposal, and strike a deal to execute the $2.5 billion reservoir project.

Earlier on May 15, 2017, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to construct the Budhigandaki project to CGGCL, juat nine days before he was to resign from the PM’s post.

The Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to CGGCL at a cost of Rs 260 billion as per a study carried out by a French company, Tractebel Engineering.

The agreement, however, invited controversy as the project was handed to the Chinese company without initiating a competitive bidding process.

The Budhi Gandaki hydel project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated Rs18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year.

The Gorkha and Dhading district administration offices are currently distributing compensation to owners of the land taken over by the project.

More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report.

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