News Brief
Photo by MIKE HUTCHINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

TOPSHOT - Former South African president Jacob Zuma arrives to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that is probing wide-ranging allegations of corruption in government and state-owned companies in Johannesburg, on July 19, 2019. - Zuma, who started testifying on July 15, has rebuffed all accusations of wrongdoing and said he and his family had received death threats after his first appearance.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma Sentenced to Prison

The Constitutional Court has sentenced Jacob Zuma to prison. However, some South Africans are wondering whether he'll actually see the inside of a prison cell.

South Africa's Constitutional Court has recently found former President Jacob Zuma in contempt of court and has subsequently sentenced him to 15 months in prison. The judgement, which is a total of 127 pages in length, was made after Zuma refused to appear before the Zondo Commission (a state-sponsored commission probing into allegations of corruption during his 9-year tenure) after the courts ordered him to do so.

While the judgement has been welcomed by various politicians, law experts and ordinary citizens, it has been touted as "political targeting" by fervent supporters of Zuma. Additionally, there is also some skepticism as to whether Zuma will actually see the inside of a prison cell. This is after all, South Africa and stranger things have happened.

READ: Pro-Democracy Protests Erupt in the Kingdom of Eswatini

Reading out the judgement, Justice Sisi Khampepe said the following: "The majority holds that a coercive order which uses the threat of imprisonment to ensure compliance will be both futile and inappropriate. The majority finds itself with no choice but to find that this kind of recalcitrance cannot be tolerated." Khampepe went on to add that, "In determining the length of sentence, the majority has considered the unique circumstances of this matter, the nature of the breach and the extent to which the breach is ongoing." The judge concluded by saying, "Not only [has] Mr Zuma failed to dispute the contempt of court, he has also failed to contest the degree of the contempt. Instead, he has aggravated it."

The judgement admittedly sets a precedent in the country that no individual, not even a former president, is above the law. Amid increasing revelations of corruption by the ANC-led government, this judgement serves to strengthen the public's trust in the judiciary and its legal processes.

In what can only be described as a drawn out game of legal cat and mouse, Zuma is still yet to face the music with regards to the several hundred allegations of corruption which have been laid against him. The Zondo Commission, which is chaired by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was established in 2018 and has seen damning testimonies and evidence about corruption within the government and its various enterprises.

Zuma has reportedly been given 5 days to hand himself over to the police in order for his sentencing to commence. South Africans are admittedly awaiting the former statesman's next moves in both anticipation and skepticism. With his prior flouting of legal procedures, some wonder if he'll manage to find yet another way out of this recent sentencing.

Read some of their reactions on social media below:

News Brief
Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images

Sudan Declares State of Emergency, As Military Dissolves Transitional Government

As the North African country edged closer to democracy, Sudan's military has seized power.

Sudan's military has seized power over the North African country, arresting multiple civilian leaders, including the current Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The power-sharing, unstable coalition, called the Sovereign Council, was created as a transitional government after the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019, in an attempt to move towards a democratic Sudan.

The Sudanese public has been split in recent weeks as groups protested for a military-run state, while others pushed for a civilian lead, democratic nation. Last week, the Prime Minister vocalized his plans towards a full transition to civilian rule, and his plans to have that body in place by November 17, echoing the voices of thousands of Sudanese demonstrators who showed up in hoards to demand that the promise of Sudan's pro-democracy movement be honored. But on Monday the PM and multiple government ministers and officials were placed under arrest, resulting in Sudan's top general's declaring State of Emergency.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in a televised statement, "To rectify the revolution's course, we have decided to declare a state of emergency nationwide… dissolve the transitional sovereign council, and dissolve the cabinet." His statement came as soldiers fired live rounds at anti-military protestors, outside of the army headquarters in the capital.

Internet services were cut across the country around dawn and the main roads and bridges into Khartoum shut, before soldiers stormed the headquarters of Sudan's state broadcaster in the capital's twin city of Omdurman, the ministry said. After months of rising tensions in the country, army and paramilitary troops have been deployed across the capital city, Khartoum, with the airports and internet access being shut down. As a result of the coup, hundreds of protestors have taken to the streets, demanding the return of a civilian ruled and the transitional government, the BBC reports.

Demonstrators have spread to a number of Sudanese cities including Atbara, Wad Madani, and Port Sudan, and more are expected to attend the call for action. "We will not leave the streets until the civilian government is back and the transition is back," protest attendee Sawsan Bashir told AFP. While demonstrator Haitham Mohamed says, "We are ready to give our lives for the democratic transition in Sudan."

get okayafrica in your inbox