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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  August 5, 2018 2:30am-3:01am BST

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the venezuelan govenment says explosive drones were flown towards a military event attended by president maduro. shortly afterwards, the president broadcast to the nation that he was well, and that neighbouring colombia's president was behind the attack. there has been no reponse so far from bogota. the former brazilian president, luiz lula da silva, has been nominated by his party to run in october's presidential elections, despite serving a jail sentence for corruption. he's currently leading most opinion polls in brazil, but it's uncertain whether the electoral court will allow him to stand. and the us first lady, melania trump, has come out in support of basketball star lebronjames — a day after the president questioned the nba player's intelligence on twitter. james had criticised mr trump, calling him "divisive". melania trump issued a statement saying he is doing good things for our next generation. those are the latest headlines.
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now on bbc news, dateline london. hello and welcome to dateline london, the programme in which some of the uk's leading columnists debate with foreign correspondents, who file their stories under the dateline — "london". this week, zimbabwe holds its first post—mugabe election, but does the smile of the crocodile suggest itjust can't shake off the legacy of "uncle bob"? donald trump demands the special investigation into claims of russian meddling should stop. is he rattled orjust reckless? and theresa may is wined and dined by president macron, butjust who is seducing who? with me, vincent magombe, of africa inform international, a global network of the continent's journalists, john fisher burns, formerly chief foreign correspondent for the new york times, agnes poirier of the french magazine marianne, and from here in the uk, the conservative political
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commentator, alex deane. a warm welcome to all of you. thanks very much for being with us. robert mugabe may have lost power last november, after 37 years in charge of zimbabwe, but he hasn't lost his political timing. on sunday, after the candidates had ended their campaigns and hours before the polls opened, he called a news conference, denounced zanu—pf, his party, and suggested he might vote for nelson chamisa, leader of the opposition mdc, instead. embarrassing for emmerson mnangagwa, seeking a mandate of his own after deposing mr mugabe. known as the crocodile for his patience and cunning, mr mnangagwa has been posing as agent of change, even though he was robert mugabe's close ally for about 50 years. despite mr mugabe's 11th hour denunciation, emmerson emerged victorious, and bloodshed returned to the streets of harare. vincent, does this result suggest that despite all those years working for robert mugabe, being at the heart of the regime,
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former security minister, that he's convinced enough zimbabweans that he can be the agent of change? well, i don't think that — if zanu—pf was to win it would not be because of mnangagwa, it would be because of the political dynamics in zimbabwe, where you find that zanu—pf is still the historical type of party, cares about the land issues and so on, whereas mdc is seen as sort of liberal, town people, white farmers and so on. if zanu—pf was to win, it would be more because of those reasons than anything else. but i don't think we can really know who has won. my problem is that mdc, i think, committed a very graphic mistake. they shouldn't have gone into these elections, just because mugabe has gone, the mere fact of taking away mugabe's face did not take away issues to do with the independent electoral commission.
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and then we saw what the police did, and the army shooting people and so on. so, they should have insisted that "if we are to take part in these elections, these are the issues that must be determined, if not, we are not going to". so they should set some conditions in advance rather than complaining about results after? in uganda, we have a similar situation where there is a very big democracy problem. the man has been there for 35 years, he's going. one of the bottom line things that we are saying, we campaigners for democracy, is that once museveni goes, there must be a negotiation between the different parties, including the ruling party, the nrm, to make sure we agree a pathway forward, perhaps in a transition period. so they should have discussed with mnangagwa that issue. didn't the mdc try boycotting before? and zanu—pf just says, "0k, we've won!"
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i think the times are different. i think mnangagwa is very, very desperately wanting international aid. he needs to be seen to be credible. if that had happened, there is no way he would have gone forward like mugabe. mugabe didn't care about anything, but mnangagwa wants... that's why he is playing all of these things, you know, putting on the smile of a democrat. he's the continuity mugabe, isn't he? he is. ijust feel that right now, going forward, what may be needed is for them to sit down and talk, and i don't think the courts will resolve anything, because they will rule in favour of zanu—pf. the court system has not changed, it is not very independent, just like the electoral commission. going to the courts may just be a waste of time. i think they need to sit down. mnangagwa has signalled that he is willing to talk. because if he doesn't, there will be total chaos, bloodshed. so it isn't enough to say
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there has "only" been, heavily underlined, six deaths. it's possible to talk. there are still six deaths but it could have been worse, a lot of people are saying. what about the outside pressure? it is difficult, presumably, if the result is accepted, it's quite hard for the international community, if there is such a thing these days, to apply anything significant. that's the thing. everyone seems to be quite unsettled. so this is the first elections to be taking place after mugabe, and it all started quite peacefully, on sunday, when i heard that the turnout was huge, 80%. encouraging signs. a good thing, then suddenly we have the troops firing live ammunition on protesters, and of course the scale of six killed is terrible, but we used to have in the hundreds before. but then mdc and chamisa claimed victory so fast and the electoral commission was so slow in giving the results, and you have international observers saying, "we think something slightly
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dodgy happened, but perhaps not so much." and can ijust add that we also had parliamentary elections... at the same time. and the opposition are not disputing the results, and it's two thirds for zanu—pf, so something is happening in a good fashion, and there are still some dodgy things happening. but this remains a regime with a military who still appear to call the shots. i have very personal reasons for thinking this is tragic. i met my now late wife there a0 plus years ago. the country has such potential, human and economic, it's one of the most beautiful places i have ever been to. once again, all that potential appears to be being frustrated and denied, but i take heart from the fact we have seen this sort of process elsewhere in west africa, and time is running out for mnangagwa, i am sorry if i don't
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pronounce it correctly, and i think that one way or another, there will be change, and probably something that will speed that change is the new governance of south africa, where cyril ramaphosa is going to be a lot less patient. than maybe jacob zuma was with robert mugabe. yes. what about the new president—elect, who was already the president effectively as a result of the coup last november, which they all said was not a coup, but everyone else did. clearly, robert mugabe now says it was a coup. they have applied for membership of the commonwealth, to return to the commonwealth. is that some potential leverage that could be used? i think that sort of soft power thing can always be used as leverage, but i really question whether we should enter into such discussions with someone who was not just a parliamentary colleague or cabinet colleague of robert mugabe, he was his right—hand man.
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he was mugabe's hard man for a good chunk of time in the office, especially against minorities in zimbabwe. so i really question that. i also think the mdc has asked genuine objective questions that even if they get ruled against in court, should still be heard. people on the electoral roll aged more than 140, i know in a country where mugabe can try and become president again in his 90s, maybe longevity is good but it still seems unlikely. over 100 people at a single residential address. there are certain things that have been raised. the fact that the electoral commission said that mnangagwa got 50.8%, the figure itself is very suspicious, to avoid a run—off. i looked at the figures. was it something like 36,464 votes out of 48 million cast? yeah. that was the margin thatjust got him to avoid the run—off. it does look a bit suspicious. i think we need to understand that there is a very big problem
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that remains unresolved. and that problem, i'm sorry to say, when you say "commonwealth" and all these things, it's not going to be resolved because of the outside things. outside pressure is important. even south african pressure? but as someone who takes part in pro—democracy activism on the continent, in uganda for example, it's going to be the people's pressure. that's why it is tragic that mnangagwa is not stopping the army and police. if he is really saying that he's a changed man, then let him give orders to the army and the police to make sure they don't shoot people, because unless that pressure from within continues mounting in terms of people demonstrating and doing whatever. .. he won't, because he needs it. exactly. he thrives on it. what the country needs most is racial reconciliation, where people, regardless of colour, can earn money and grow ci’ops. zanu—pf's base is based on racism.
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what we shouldn't forget is mnangagwa is nothing without the army. those are the guys. his vice—president is a general, of course. and by the way, we know that if mnangagwa goes off at the next election, we will see that general putting himself forward. so it's not going to be easy. i've said negotiations, but also a lot of pressure in terms of mass popular protests. we've not seen the end of it yet. thank you all very much. now, you can set your watch by donald trump's tweets. some journalists charged with reporting the us president do just that. wednesday morning, right on schedule, mr trump let rip against robert mueller, the special prosecutor charged with investigating claims that the russians tried to influence the election which elevated mr trump to the white house. with the trial of his former campaign manager under way, and charges laid against a dozen russians, donald trump used his twitter account to tell his attorney generaljeff sessions that the inquiry "should stop". john, given that robert mueller is already looking at whether president trump amounts to obstruction ofjustice, it was a bit of a risk, wasn't it?
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i think we can see how this is going to progress. avoiding impeachment seems to me less and less likely, if indeed the indictment of a sitting president proves to be ruled unconstitutional. and i think it may not be too soon to look beyond president trump. america has these deep, deep social divisions, social, racial and otherwise, and i don't think the end of trump, which to me is foreseeable, is going to, by itself, do very much to alleviate those. they will still be major problems to address and we don't yet see, at least i don't see, anyone on the political horizon who looks like a candidate to do that. in a sense, we're valmost getting to the debate now where part of the population of america will disregard a lot of these stories because, as the president describes them, they will see them as "fake news", and telling
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the difference between truth and opinion gets harder and harder, particularly in the run—up to the mid—term elections. that's the thing. before we look at beyond trump, like john says will happen, i'm very interested at the moment in the 2018 mid—term elections. only a couple of days ago at the white house, you have got briefings about what russia's putin is doing. and hacking political organisations, hacking elected officials, and this massive misinformation campaign on social media and also to escalate sort of divisive issues, and triggering social unrest, and that's deeply worrying. and i took a flicker of hope when i heard that at the congress, there's this bipartisan initiative,
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and their aim is to wrestle back some authority over who decides on foreign policy, but also, i'm not sure it's the solution, but more crushing sanctions on russia. because in the end, it really takes the leadership of the american president to face russia and say, "we're not going to tolerate meddling into our elections". but are we going to get this from trump? that is another question. do you think we are at some point? i think the president will probably weather the storm, but history shows us that leaning on law officers when you are being investigated yourself is a bad idea. i tell you one thing, he does not have a huge profile in this country, but jeff sessions is a smart and capable person who is well able to stand up for himself. he can express his own views. and he's survived, which a lot of the people who donald trump has become dissatisfied with when he has
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appointed them have not. he's one of the darlings of the us right. he is one of the few, i think... trump has done a lot to transform the political landscape in the us, but sessions' charm on the right endures, not least because he understands his brief. he's that rare thing, a lawyer doing legal things in a legal environment, and doing rather well. take all of that, i think trump is very ill—advised to push him into doing anything, because in the end he can overcome the politics of it. that are not enough americans who care whether there was interference, but they will care if it seems his role to uphold the constitution and the law of the united states is distorted to his own benefit. i think, as an african looking into america and all of that, i am completely amazed that this trump man who has done so much damage and also who has made so many enemies, notjust against his own people, bannon and everyone who stood for him and brought him there, but up till now, the american systems in place, whether it isjudiciary, the political establishment and so on, have failed to dislodge this character. i dare to suggest that the people on this panel are not the target audience of donald trump! his base is holding up. he is still as popular with them as he was when he was elected. i think the constitutional processes
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are in train and will prevail, and those who doubt it should cast their minds back if they are old enough, and i think you have to be 60 or older to remember the saturday night massacre, when richard nixon attempted to save his presidency by dismissals. i think eventually he will be dealt with. trump seems to be using that playbook. it took a long time with nixon, and in the end he wasn't impeached. how long was it? if i recall rightly, richard nixon resigned in august 197a. yes.
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1974, was that even a year past his second election? but he got in for a second term. but i think the processes are inexorable. it might well be that they could not muster a majority or a two—thirds majority in the senate, but i wouldn't be surprised if trump goes before that. but the question you have to ask if that is the scenario you are aiming for, and you're of the broad left, do we actually prefer president pence? do we prefer an ideologue who knows how to get things done? that is the real question! someone who does not just tweet things but who gets into congress and grinds out a result? i'm not sure you do. i'm with you, alex! the bottom line is, i think american society has a problem. and this problem, i think, would be articulated so much by, say, black people in america, the racist divide and all those types of things. i'm not saying that all those people who voted trump are racists, but it's this whole thing of america, notjust america, but in europe, things
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swinging to the right now. i think it's a big problem. my mind goes back to a conversation i had with a prominent wall street broker at the height of the crisis of nixon, before his resignation. i've always remembered this, as someone who has been a huge beneficiary, as i believe we all are, of american goodwill and power throughout my lifetime. he said, "america is a great enough country to be able to survive a period of bad government". laughter. now, in the 1960s, after president de gaulle of france blocked britain's attempt to join europe's political institutions, one cabinet minister so disdained the continent that whenever he travelled to paris, he took his own sandwiches. this week, there's been a british cabinet minister in france practically every day — the foreign secretary, the business secretary and the brexit secretary. i'd lay a pound to a euro that they've gone out of their way to praise the cuisine. theresa may, the prime minister, topped them all by securing an invitation for dinner with president emmanuel macron at his summer retreat on a small
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island on the cote d'azur. the present president is a lot warmer than general de gaulle, but is he as likely to say "non"? alex, in some ways people find it surprising, all this charm offensive for the french, because in some ways, president macron is regarded as, if i can mix my languages, an uber—enthusiast for all things eu, and not the most pliable of leaders. in most negotiations, there will always be a school of thought that says, "press all the buttons and see what lights up". if you are not getting anywhere with route a, the negotiations at the table, try to speak to the political masters in the different states. that is what is being sought here. i think it is good that these leaders get some personal time together and seek to get on the same page. nobody around this table is of this school, but i can't really stand the "and what did you have for breakfast, mr president?" school of journalism. i'm not really interested in that but it is good they get personal time. in the end, given barnier‘s mandate comes from the member states, there is nothing wrong with heads of government meeting each other. it is peculiar that you might start
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with the most enthusiastic europhile of the lot, but if you are going to do it, isn't that the right place to start? alex mentioned breakfast and true to form, the elysee has told us exactly what they had for dinner. i won't bore you with the details of that although a colleague of mine has just given me the list. but they haven't told us anything about substance, neither downing street nor the elysee. did you read anything into that? they did, ever so slightly. we know how long it was, one hour 45 minutes. we know they each had three top diplomats on each side. there are even pictures of it. but what is very interesting is the semantics used. they didn't talk about the brexit negotiations. they did talk about the future relationship between paris and london and i'm sure there was a lot of talk about security. and financial services, possibly. probably. it is the first time a french president has received any world leaders in his holiday
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hideaway in the french riviera. but it is not the first time, remember the day before the meeting at chequers, theresa may met angela merkel. so she does what is expected of a serious leader, she meets her european counterparts. she knows also too well, despite the british media who think either macron or angela merkel will solve the problem, no, it is taking place in brussels, the eu are 27 states and will not bypass their colleagues. but it's always good to talk. they listen, though, don't you think? they listen, yes. our government took a more robust view on financial services, in my view, rightly. they said, "if you're going to exclude financial services from any agreement, we will exclude your access to trade done in london", and immediately michel barnier adopted a more emollient line. it suggests perhaps that we should
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have been more robust for some time. but that is driven by french interests, first and foremost, i think, rather than anyone else. and it didn't change the game, did it? we will still not get the reciprocity that we were looking for. even the reduced model the chancellor was pushing is gone. and 85% of our gdp is based on services. this is a real problem. i said we will see. he backed off, we're still in a negotiation. most of these deals, as we've said before, get done in the last minutes. let us take the long view. i think they will remind me of something that was said about south africa during the worst of the apartheid years when i was correspondent there. there will be a resolution of this, mandela walking out of prison, becuse there has to be. the alternative is unacceptable, and in this case the absence ofan agreement over brexit is unacceptable, not just to the united kingdom but to europe. that's the first point. we could have a no—deal brexit. it seems to me that this will be settled by the presidents of france and the chancellor of germany, and mrs may recognises that. we still are quite a long way from a crunch point and i think they will override the technocrats in brussels, the barniers and junckers, and there will be a last—minute settlement,
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and i think we will look back and say, "why did we go through all that palaver?" you are all speaking as if everything is normal, theresa may is doing a very wonderfuljob and she is talking to these people here. i see something different. i see total desperation, the complete desperation of someone who is so frightened of things that she is ready now to commit and play some suicidal games. she's good at playing political suicide games, remember she took the gamble with the elections and almost lost it. she's knows she's trying to break the rules. they have told her, barnier and others, to not go behind their backs to talk to these guys, and she knows.
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so it is notjust going to talk, have a talk about the future of this and this, she's trying to sabotage the process. no, she's not. as barnier said... for me it is political suicide that will end up in a catastrophic thing, that you think is right, the no—deal scenario, which i think the majority of british people do not like. of course, our prime minister has for some time, rightly in my view, said that no deal is better than a bad deal. no deal has to be notjust, to use another term from these negotiations, "a fallback option that you make real", it has to be part of the negotiations. the other side has to believe that you're willing to walk away. isn't there a danger, though, that if you're on the one hand saying you are prepared to walk away but on the other hand proposing a compromise that everybody is unhappy with and you will have to compromise further,
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that you will simply antagonise the public when you finally settle for a compromise they don't like, having said, "we were quite willing to walk away"? the time will come when people will be thankful theresa may was there to try to find, difficult as it is, a middle way through all of this. exactly. the question i would put to the doctrinaire brexiteers and remoaners is what realistically are her options in this case that would unite? it seems that what she's trying to do... have you thought about the fact she's trying to sell a product that is already rejected, stale. she's trying to sell, what is the place called — the chequers deal? it's already been rejected by her own ministers, people resigned and so on. people who say they are under obligation, it seems to me, to come up with a formula of their own that might pass through parliament and win the support at the british electorate.
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and if we can finish on a glimmer of hope... briefly. barnier, two days ago, said we agree on 80% of the withdrawal. voila! and even on the panel, we agree on 80%. that's it for dateline london for this week — we're back next week at the same time. dojoin us then. goodbye. hello. if you had the sunshine on saturday, there is more to come on sunday. like saturday though, there will be more cloud once again across northern ireland and scotland, and at times, that could bring some patchy rain, but for most, it is mainly dry and there will be a good deal of sunshine, as this area of high pressure continues to develop from the south—west. clear skies overnight for much of england and wales will give way to sunshine by day.
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always more cloud though for scotland and northern ireland, with this front to the north—west actually bringing some more rain later in the day — more on that in a moment. could just be some patchy rain for a time across the western side of scotland. the best of any break in the cloud the further east you are. some brighter sunny spells for northern ireland, even though there is a lot of cloud. but the lion's share of sunshine once again across england and wales. some fairweather cloud developing through the day. highs of 15 to 19 celsius for scotland. 21 for northern ireland. this is how we start the new working week. i pressure holding on across england and wales. maintaining the warmth but further north, the front making inroads. behind the front, fresher conditions will push ——
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which will be slowly thinking south and east through the week. it will ta ke and east through the week. it will take time to dislodge the heat that is across england and wales was up a real north— south contrast. hanging on the sunshine and the heat and warmth across much of england and wales with outbreaks of rain continuing to stop starting to quit northern ireland and possibly into scotland. the sunshine continuing further south where temperatures could well exceed 30 celsius once againa could well exceed 30 celsius once again a cross east anglia and south—east england. the contrast something a bit cooler across parts of northern england, into scotland and northern ireland. gotland, northern ireland and the far north of england always sees more clout through tuesday and wednesday and maybe a few showers. temperatures coming down through northern england compared to where they have been in recent days. further south, we keep the heat for a time that even eventually through south—east england, the temperatures start to fall through the middle part of the week. that is all from me. hello and welcome to bbc news.
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i'm nkem ifejika. the to the course to the bureau believes that an attempt has been made life. —— we start with the breaking news venezuela, president nicolas maduro believes that an attempt has been made on his life. it said drones loaded with explosives were flown towards a military parade he was attending. the president, who was in the middle of a speech at the event
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