Former Donald Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Pleads Guilty In Robert Mueller Probe

Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States (Reuters)


U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will plead guilty to two criminal counts as part of a deal with prosecutors on Friday, court documents showed in what could be a blow to Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-running probe of Russian election meddling.

As part of the deal, Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller’s probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Details of the deal were likely to emerge in a plea agreement hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) in federal court. Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller’s investigation, which has cast a shadow over Trump’s presidency.

It remains unclear if the deal will include Manafort’s cooperation with Mueller’s probe, dealing a blow to Trump ahead of congressional elections on Nov. 6.

Another approach would be for Manafort to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Five other charges were dropped in the new court filing.

A Virginia jury convicted Manafort last month on bank and tax fraud charges.

Jury selection was due to begin on Monday in a second trial on charges including conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent and witness tampering.

Manafort’s decision could be a blow to Trump, who last month praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.

On Twitter on Aug. 22, Trump wrote: “Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal. Such respect for a brave man!”

According to the court filing, the charge of conspiracy against the United States includes money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, and acting as an unregistered lobbyist for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort’s foreign lobbying.

Manafort’s conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller’s investigation. Trump has denied colluding with the Russians and the Russians have denied interfering.

Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner and the campaign’s deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia. Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russia probe, told Reuters on Friday that a guilty plea to avoid a second trial would not crush Manafort’s chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

“It’s not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty. Usually it helps you get a pardon down the road. It shows you’ve admitted your guilt,” he said on Friday before a deal was announced. He declined further comment until after the hearing.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Robert Vadra, Ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda Booked in 2008 Land Fraud Case

नई दिल्‍ली: हरियाणा के पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री भूपेंद्र सिंह हुड्डा और सोनिया गांधी के दामाद रॉबर्ट वाड्रा की मुश्किलें बढ़ती ही जा रही हैं. अब गुरुग्राम के खैड़की दौला जमीन मामले में हुड्डा और वाड्रा के खिलाफ नामजद मामला दर्ज किया गया है. यहां पर भूपेंद्र सिंह हुड्डा, रॉबर्ट वाड्रा के अलावा डीएलएफ और ओमकारेश्वर प्रॉपर्टीज के खिलाफ भी मामला दर्ज किया गया है. इन सभी पर धारा 420, 120 बी, 467, 468, 471 के तहत केस दर्ज किया गया है.

इनके अलावा Prevention of corruption act 1988 की धारा 13 के तहत भी मामला दर्ज किया गया है. वाड्रा की स्काई लाइट हॉस्पिटैलिटी ने गुड़गांव के सेक्टर 83, शिकोहपुर, सिकंदरपुर, खेड़की दौला और सिही में 7.5 करोड़ रुपये में जमीन खरीदी, लेकिन लैंड यूज बदलने के बाद 55 करोड़ रुपये में जमीन बेच दी.

रॉबर्ट वाड्रा पर बीजेपी का वार, टैक्स चोरी करने का आरोप

आरोप है कि साल 2007 में स्काई लाइट हॉस्पिटैलिटी नाम से कंपनी पंजीकृत की गई थी और साल 2008 में इस कंपनी ने ओमकारेश्वर प्रॉपर्टीज से साढ़े तीन एकड़ जमीन खरीदी जिसकी कीमत साढ़े सात करोड़ दिखाई गई.

उधर इस पूरे प्रकरण पर रॉबर्ट वाड्रा ने कहा है कि ‘चुनावी मौसम में बढ़ती हुई तेल कीमतों से लोगों का ध्‍यान हटाने के लिए करीब एक दशक पुराने मुद्दे को उछाला जा रहा है. इसमें नया क्‍या है.’


मानेसर के पुलिस उपायुक्त राजेश कुमार ने बताया कि हूड्डा, वाड्रा और स्काईलाइट हॉस्पिटैलिटी प्राईवेट लिमिटेड और डीएलएफ और अन्य के खिलाफ गुड़गांव के खेडकी दौला पुलिस थाने में मामला दर्ज किया गया है. कुमार ने बताया, ‘‘नूंह निवासी सुरिंदर शर्मा की ओर से हमें शिकायत मिली, जिसमें उन्होंने जमीन सौदे में अनियमितताओं का आरोप लगाया था. भाजपा ने रॉबर्ट वाड्रा को निशाना बनाते हुए 2014 के चुनाव में इस जमीन सौदे को एक बड़ा मुद्दा बनाया था.


VIDEO: वाड्रा को इनकम टैक्स नोटिस पर जवाब दें राहुल गांधी : BJP

(इनपुट भाषा से…)

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Robert Vadra, Bhupinder Singh Hooda Named In FIR Over In Gurgaon Land Deals

Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, has been named in an FIR.

New Delhi: 

A First Information Report or FIR has been filed against businessman Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda over alleged irregularities in a string of land deals in Gurgaon.

“We received a complaint today from one Surinder Sharma, resident of Nuh, in which he alleged irregularities in the land deals,” Manesar Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajesh Kumar told news agency PTI. Real estate developer DLF and Omkareshwar Properties have also been named in the FIR.

The FIR says that Mr Vadra’s company Sky Light Hospitality purchased land in Gurgaon’s Sector 83, Shikohpur, Sikandarpur, Khedki Daula and Sihi for Rs 7.5 crore and sold it back for Rs 55 crore after a change in its classification.

Mr Vadra, however, denied the charges, saying it was attempt to distract people from “real issues”. “It’s election season… there is an increase in oil prices… so let’s divert the real issues of people… what’s new?” he said.

Mr Vadra has been investigated for allegedly getting sweetheart land deals in Haryana when the Congress governed the state. A report by a judge has been shared with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who took charge of the Haryana after the BJP displaced the Congress in 2014. The report has not yet been made public. The BJP says it’s being studied by the Supreme Court but leaks have suggested that Mr Vadra has been indicted along with Mr Hooda.

The BJP has long said that Mr Vadra’s real estate transactions should be investigated to determine if he was allowed unfair deals while the Congress was governing the state. The deals were held up by the BJP during poll campaigns for years as proof of massive corruption on Congress watch.

Mr Vadra has consistently rejected the allegations and called it political vendetta of the BJP target the Congress.

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Donald Trump Calls Robert Mueller’s Investigation On Russia Collusion In US Election Illegal

Trump said Mueller’s investigation into his election campaign for collusion with Russia was wrong (File)


President Donald Trump on Thursday said the Russia collusion investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is “illegal” as the probe continues to hone in on his inner circle.

Trump told Bloomberg News in an interview that Mueller’s appointment last year to investigate his 2016 election campaign for possible collusion with Russia was wrong.

“I view it differently. I view it as an illegal investigation,” he told Bloomberg.

He cited unnamed “great scholars” who say that “there never should have been a special counsel,” according to the news agency.

Some legal experts have questioned the Justice Department’s naming of Mueller, a former FBI director, to handle the probe in the absence of a specific law governing special prosecutors.

But Trump’s own Justice Department says it is legal.

Earlier this month Andrew Miller, a one-time aide to former Trump political consultant Roger Stone, challenged the legality of Mueller’s appointment in appeals court.

Miller is battling a subpoena to testify on Stone in front of a Mueller-commissioned grand jury.

Miller’s case, supported by the conservative legal group the National Legal and Policy Center, argues that Mueller’s appointment on May 17, 2017 violated the constitution because it was done by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and not by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In fact, Sessions, who served on Trump’s election campaign, had already recused himself from the Russia investigation, leaving Rosenstein empowered to act as the attorney general in the case.

Meanwhile a legal challenge to Mueller’s broad mandate to chase down any lead, even if only obliquely related to Russia collusion, has also been rejected in court.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Need a change in country for which Rahul is working hard: Robert Vadra

खास बातें

  1. देश को बदलाव की जरूरत है
  2. उनका परिवार और राहुल गांधी इसके लिए कड़ी मेहनत कर रहे हैं
  3. भारतवासियों ने बहुत कुछ झेला है

नई दिल्ली: कांग्रेस की वरिष्ठ नेता सोनिया गांधी के दामाद रॉबर्ट वाड्रा ने कहा कि देश को बदलाव की जरूरत है और यह परिवर्तन आएगा क्योंकि उनका परिवार और राहुल गांधी इसके लिए कड़ी मेहनत कर रहे हैं. वाड्रा ने कहा कि भारतवासियों ने बहुत कुछ झेला है लेकिन उन्होंने यह नहीं बताया कि इससे उनका इशारा किस तरफ है. वाड्रा देशभर में आध्यात्मिक यात्रा पर निकले हुए हैं. उन्होंने रविवार को आंध्र प्रदेश में स्थित तिरुपति मंदिर में दर्शन किए. उन्होंने एक फोटो के साथ फेसबुक पर एक संदेश पोस्ट किया है.    मंदिर में दर्शन के बाद प्रियंका गांधी के पति वड्रा ने कहा, ‘एक बदलाव की जरूरत है और मुझे लगता है कि यह बदलाव आएगा. मेरे ख्याल से मेरा परिवार बहुत कड़ी मेहनत कर रहा है, राहुल कड़ी मेहनत कर रहे हैं. हम हमेशा उनकी सहायता के लिए हैं. प्रियंका और मैं हमेशा राहुल की सहायता के लिए हैं.’

क्या 2019 में कांग्रेस ले सकती है चौंकाने वाला फैसला, सोनिया गांधी का रायबरेली सीट से लड़ना अभी तक तय नहीं

वाड्रा ने कहा, ‘मेरा मानना है कि लोग बदलाव चाहते हैं. मैं देख सकता हूं कि लोगों ने बहुत सहन किया है. हम सबको धर्मनिरपेक्ष होने की जरूरत है जो हमारे देश के लिए बहुत अहम है. हम यहां भारत के लोगों के साथ हैं और हम उनके लिए तमाम संघर्ष करेंगे और अपना सर्वश्रेष्ठ करेंगे.’ उन्होंने कहा, ‘मैंने बहुत अच्छे से दर्शन किए. मुझे ताकत मिलती महसूस हुई और मैं अपने परिवार, अपने बच्चों और मेरी सास, उनके अच्छे स्वास्थ्य, खुशहाली तथा हमारे देश के सभी लोगो की खुशहाली, शांति और भाईचारे के लिए यह ऊर्जा लेकर जा रहा हूं.’ 

रॉबर्ट वाड्रा पर बीजेपी का वार, टैक्स चोरी करने का आरोप

वाड्रा ने कहा, ‘हम सब बहुत बदलाव से गुजर रहे हैं, लेकिन हमें प्यार और स्नेह महसूस करना चाहिए और मुझे लगता है कि मुझपर कृपा है. मैं इस ऊर्जा को ले जाकर इसको फैलाना चाहता हूं.’ फेसबुक पोस्ट पर उन्होंने कहा,‘ अपनी आध्यात्मिक यात्रा पर तिरुपति और तिरूमाला वेंकेटेश्वर मंदिर में दर्शन करके धन्य महसूस कर रहा हूं.’ उन्‍होंने कहा कि कोई केवल तभी तिरुपति जाने वालों की भक्ति को समझ सकता है, जब वह कई ऐतिहासिक मंदिरों की यात्रा करने का प्रयास करता है और अपने अनुष्ठानों का पालन करता है. उन्होंने शुरू में श्री पद्मावती अम्मावरू मंदिर (लक्ष्मीजी) में प्रार्थना की और फिर तिरूमाला गए लेकिन उन्हें ‘सुप्राभटम’ दर्शन के लिए देर रात दो बजे तक इंतजार करना पड़ा.


कांग्रेस ने खत्म किया मणिशंकर अय्यर का ‘वनवास’, BJP ने पूछा – क्या पार्टी उनके बिना अधूरी थी

वाड्रा पर पलटवार करते हुए भाजपा ने कहा कि उनकी टिप्पणी बताती है कि गांधी परिवार में सत्ता पर दावेदारी को लेकर ‘बैचेनी’ है. भाजपा प्रवक्ता संबित पात्रा ने कहा, ‘तो अब देश को शासन के बारे में रॉबर्ट वाड्रा से उपदेश लेना होगा.’ उन्होंने कहा कि गांधी परिवार में बैचेनी का आलम है क्योंकि गांधी परिवार सत्ता में रहने का आदि है. इस बैचेनी के आलम की वजह से जब वे सत्ता से बाहर होते हैं तब हम देखते हैं कि गांधी परिवार का हर सदस्य ‘सिंहासन पर दावा ’ करता है.    पत्रा ने कहा कि यह देश एक वंश, एक परिवार का नहीं है. 


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India Needs Change, Rahul Gandhi Working Very Hard, Says Robert Vadra

New Delhi: 

The country needs a change and that change will come, as my family and Rahul Gandhi are working very hard for it, Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra said today.

He said the people of India have suffered a lot, but did not elaborate what he meant by that.

Mr Vadra, who is on a spiritual quest across the country, visited the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh this morning and posted a message along with his photographs on Facebook.

“A change is required and I feel the change will come. I think my family is working very hard, Rahul is working very hard and we are always there to support. Priyanka and myself are always there to support Rahul.

“I think the people want the change and I can see that they have suffered a lot and we all need to be secular, most important for our country. We are here with the people of India and we will all struggle for them and do our best,” he told reporters after “darshan” at Tirupati temple.

“I had a very good darshan. I felt the energy and take it back for my family, my children and, for my mother-in-law, for their good health, happiness and for all the people in our country to have happiness, peace and harmony,” he said.

Mr Vadra said “we are all going through a lot of change, but all we should feel is love and affection and I feel that I am blessed. I want to take this energy and spread it around”.

“Blessed to visit Tirupati and Tirumala Venketaswara Temple on my spiritual Journey,” he said in the Facebook post.

He said one can only understand the devotion of people visiting Tirupati, when that person makes the effort to visit as many historical temples and follows their rituals.

He initially prayed at Shri Padmavati Ammavaru Temple (Lakshmi ji) and then ascended to Tirumala, but waited till 2 am for the darshan called “Suprabhatam”.

The BJP hit back at Mr Vadra, saying his comments showed the restlessness in the Gandhi family to claim power.

When asked about the comments, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “So finally, it is from Mr Robert Vadra that the country is to get sermons on governance”.

“There is a sense of restlessness within the Gandhi family, because the Gandhi family is used to the seat of power and, it is because of this sense of restlessness, when they are out of power, that we see every member of the Gandhi family coming out and claiming their ‘claim to throne’,” he said.

Mr Patra said Mr Vadra may get his seat of power, but the country is asking the question to the Gandhi family that this country does not belong to a dynasty, this country does not belong to a family.

“This country belongs to the people of India and this is the reason as to why through democratic means, and not through dynastic means, that the governance agenda would be furthered,” he said. 

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US Judge Allows Robert Mueller’s Case Against Russian Company To Proceed

Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing members of the US Senate. (Reuters)


A U.S. judge on Monday backed Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the federal Russia investigation, allowing a case to proceed against a Russian company accused of helping fund a propaganda operation to sway the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor.

Judge Dabney Friedrich, in an opinion filed in the U.S. District court for the District of Columbia, rejected an argument by the company, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, that Mueller was unlawfully appointed and lacked prosecutorial authority.

“By investigating and prosecuting Concord, the Special Counsel did not exceed his authority,” Friedrich wrote in her opinion.

She also rejected the company’s argument that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, acting on behalf of Attorney General Jeff Sessions after his recusal, was out of bounds in bringing in Mueller to investigate the alleged Russian meddling.

Concord’s lawyers, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday, had argued that Rosenstein violated the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution in hiring Mueller in May 2017. Friedrich ruled that U.S. Supreme Court and circuit court rulings made clear Rosenstein did have statutory authority to bring in Mueller.

Prosecutors contend Concord is controlled by Evgeny Prigozhin, a businessman identified by Russian media as being close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and who U.S. officials have said has extensive ties to Russia’s military and political establishment.

The company is one of three entities, along with 13 Russian individuals, indicted by the special counsel’s office in an alleged criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper with the 2016 U.S. election, boost Trump and disparage his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Russia has denied any involvement. Trump has said there was no collusion and blasted the investigation by Mueller, a fellow Republican, as a “witch hunt.”

© Thomson Reuters 2018

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Chelsea Target Robert Lewandowski Going Nowhere, Insists Bayern Munich Boss

In the past, Lewandowski has frequently been linked to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

However, Rummenigge says Lewandowski, the Bundesliga’s top-scorer last season with 29 goals and who has a market value of around 85 million euros ($99 million), is going nowhere — whatever the amount offered.

“With Robert, we clearly want to send a signal to people within and outside the club: Bayern Munich are completely different to other clubs who get weak when certain sums are mentioned,” added Rummenigge.

“We are completely satisfied with him, and in his position, there are only a few players who are comparable.

“So it’s not in our interest to hand him over – no matter if someone puts 100 or 150 million (euros) on the table.”

Bayern have just returned from a two-match tour of the USA, losing 2-0 to Juventus and 3-2 to Manchester City without Lewandowski and their international stars, who were rested after the World Cup.

Several of their top players, however, are the subject of rumoured high-profile transfers.

Jerome Boateng is reportedly on the verge of joining Paris Saint-Germain, while Arturo Vidal has been linked to Inter Milan, Thiago Alcantara could return to Barcelona and defender Juan Bernat is up for sale.

At the other end of the financial scale, Bayern have signed Robert Kovac as assistant coach for a nominal fee of just one euro.

Robert, 44, the younger brother of Bayern’s new head coach Niko, 46, has joined his sibling in Munich.

The brothers worked together at Eintracht Frankfurt last season and Bayern paid a token gesture to buy Robert out of his Frankfurt contract.

“Yes, it’s true,” Eintracht’s director of sport Fredi Bobic confirmed in German daily Bild.

“It could have also been zero, so we agreed on a symbolic gesture of a euro, also for legal reasons.

“It’s normal practice, even if it sounds funny.”

Bayern start their week-long pre-season training camp in the idyllic Bavarian resort of Tegernsee on Thursday.

They will attempt to win a seventh straight German league title with the new season to kick off on August 24 when they host Hoffenheim. Bayern face Manchester United in their final pre-season friendly on Sunday.

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Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe Hopes His Former Party Lose Election

Elections during Mugabe’s authoritarian rule were often marred by fraud and violence

Harare, Zimbabwe: 

Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, who was ousted by the military in November, made a surprise intervention Sunday on the eve of key elections, calling for voters to throw his former party out of office.

In his first live appearance since being forced to resign by his generals, Mugabe, 94, spoke slowly but appeared in good health sitting in a pagoda in the grounds of “Blue Roof”, his sprawling mansion in Harare.

“I hope the choice or the voting which will be done tomorrow… will thrust away the military form of government and bring us back to constitutionality,” he said.

In the country’s first election since Mugabe was ousted after 37 years in power, Zimbabwe goes to the polls Monday amid mounting allegations of voter fraud and predictions of a disputed result.

President Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former ally in the ruling ZANU-PF party, faces opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the landmark vote for the southern African nation.

Zimbabwe’s generals shocked the world last year when they seized control and ushered Mnangagwa to power after Mugabe allegedly tried to position his wife Grace, 53, to be his successor.

“I cannot vote for those who tormented me,” Mugabe said, hinting he could vote for MDC. “I can’t vote for ZANU-PF… what is left? I think it is just Chamisa.”

“It was a thorough coup d’etat,” Mugabe said, adding it was “utter nonsense” that he wanted Grace as his successor.

Grace posed for photographs beside her husband after his two-hour press conference.

Close race?

Mnangagwa, 75, who promises a fresh start for the country despite being from the ZANU-PF elite, is the front-runner with the advantage of covert military support, a loyal state media and a ruling party that controls government resources.

But Chamisa, 40, who has performed strongly on the campaign trail, hopes to tap into a young population that could vote for change.

ZANU-PF, which was previously fiercely loyal to Mugabe, has ruled since the country’s independence from British colonial rule in 1980.

“If Mugabe is able to go to my inauguration that is good news,” Chamisa said in response to Mugabe’s remarks.

“I have nothing to do with what president Mugabe would want to say as a voter.”

Elections during Mugabe’s authoritarian rule were often marred by fraud and violence, and this year’s campaign has been dominated by accusations that the vote would also be rigged.

The MDC has repeatedly raised allegations of a flawed electoral roll, ballot paper malpractice, voter intimidation and bias in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

International observers

Campaigning has been relatively unrestricted and peaceful compared with previous elections, and some analysts point to pressure for the vote to be judged credible to draw a line under the international isolation of the Mugabe era.

Polling in Zimbabwe is uncertain, but a recent Afrobarometer survey of 2,400 people put Mnangagwa on 40 percent and Chamisa on 37 percent, with 20 percent undecided.

Mnangagwa, who is accused of involvement in election violence and fraud under Mugabe, has vowed to hold a fair vote and invited in international observers — including the previously-banned European Union team.

“What is left now is only one push on Monday to vote — to vote for ZANU-PF so we have a thunderous victory,” Mnangagwa told his supporters who filled about half of the 60,000-capacity national stadium at his final rally on Saturday.

“Today we unlock the potential of our beloved homeland to build a new Zimbabwe for all,” he said, repeating his promise of economic revival.

Despite accusing Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of trying to fix the result, Chamisa has vowed not to boycott the vote, saying his party would still win.

With 5.6 million registered voters, the results of the presidential, parliamentary and local elections are due by August 4.

A presidential run-off vote is scheduled for September 8 if no candidate wins at least 50 percent in the first round.

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As Zimbabwe Votes, What Happened To Robert Mugabe?

Robert Mugabe has spoken out only once since his humiliating fall. (File)

Harare, Zimbabwe: 

Robert Mugabe has not appeared in public since his once-impregnable regime came crashing down last November as Zimbabweans watched in amazement, and often delight, at the fall of the only leader the country had ever known.

So what has happened to the frail 94-year-old who dominated the country’s daily life for nearly four decades?

Last Live TV Appearance

After the army briefly took power, Mugabe’s exit became inevitable, but the veteran autocrat dug his heels in with one last, defiant performance.

He appeared on live television on the evening of Sunday November 19, with the world tuning in, expecting his resignation.

Mugabe instead appeared unfazed, slowly reading his speech as he pledged to stay in office, while the uniformed military generals who had taken power sat fidgeting by his side.

He acknowledged the army’s “concerns” but claimed the military intervention did not challenge his authority.

He resigned two days later, by letter.

Snapped In Singapore

On December 15, Mugabe was spotted for the first time since his fall when AFP photographed him at a hospital in Singapore on one of his regular medical visits.

Walking unaided despite his advanced age, Mugabe exited a lift at the Gleneagles Hospital surrounded by an entourage and stepped into a car.

A government spokesman said the trip was part of the retirement package covering overseas travel for former presidents.

Mugabe also returned to Singapore in June for further medical attention, according to Zimbabwe media, with prostate cancer, high blood pressure and eye cataract among his reported health problems.

‘Blue Roof’ Birthday

Mugabe and his wife Grace are thought to spend their days in seclusion at “Blue Roof”, the sprawling luxury private residence he built in Harare’s upmarket suburb of Borrowdale.

He celebrated his 94th birthday on February 21, a date that was marked when he was in power with grand ceremonies for thousands of guests and outpourings of praise from fawning loyalists.

This year, it was a private black-tie affair for close family only.

Photographs emerged afterwards of Mugabe wearing a bow tie and Grace in a red dress.

Military and police vehicles are occasionally seen on guard outside the gates of the “Blue Roof”.

Speaking Out

Mugabe has spoken out only once since his humiliating fall.

He described his ousting as a “coup d’etat” and dismissed the generals’ claim that they intervened only to target enemies around him.

“We must undo this disgrace which we have imposed on ourselves… Zimbabwe doesn’t deserve it,” he said in press interviews on March 15, adding he did not want to return to power.

Wearing a light blue suit and appearing mentally sharp but forlorn, he expressed shock that his long-time ally Emmerson Mnangagwa had succeeded him.

“I never thought… he would be the man who turned against me,” he said, adding he thought Zimbabwe was now “topsy-turvy”.

Grace was on hand to host journalists at “Blue Roof”, handing out homemade pizza to guests.

Her own presidential ambitions were widely seen as provoking the military to intervene and install Mnangagwa.

“All that is rubbish,” Mugabe said, insisting it was never his plan for her to succeed.

Election Games?

Mugabe appeared in a carefully-staged photograph in March standing next to Ambrose Mutinhiri, a close ally who walked out of the ZANU-PF ruling party.

Mutinhiri, who opposed Mugabe’s removal, set up the splinter National Patriotic Front (NPF) party to stand in the election.

The photograph set off speculation that the party could be a plan for Mugabe to retain influence.

But it has made little impact during the campaign and Mugabe is now far removed from politics.

A member of his office declined to comment to AFP whether he would vote on Monday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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