In the wake of the latest mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in which 22 and 10 people respectively, were killed, the question arises whether gun control laws in the US are adequate to prevent persons who are unfit to possess firearms from being in possession of such arms. Statistics have shown that 8 in every 10 Americans are in lawful possession of a firearm. This is a very high number when you compare it to what the position is in other countries. This high number of firearms in the hands of citizens would not be an issue if there were no incidents such as the ones in El Paso and Dayton. If citizens were handling their firearms in a responsible manner, then no problem. However, that is not the case in the US today. The frequency of mass shootings has gone out of proportion. The people rely on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and was ratified by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. This provision in the Bill of Rights was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The amendment was ratified by the States and authenticated by the Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, and reads as follows:
” A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The English settlers at the time viewed the right to bear arms or raise militias as important for one or mire of the following reasons, namely:
Today, the United States, with almost 330 000 000 million people, and one of the best trained and equipped army and police force in the world, those concerns raised by the founding fathers appear to have lost their validity and yet the country has held onto the provisions to its own peril. In Dist of Columbia v Heller (2008), the Supreme Court affirmed that the the right belongs to the individual, exclusively for self defense in the home and that the right is not unlimited and does not preclude the the existence of certain prohibitions such as those forbidding the possession of firearms by felons and mentally ill persons. Although there is a certain measure of screening and checks and balances when people apply for permission to purchase a firearm through a licensed weapons’ dealer there are loopholes in the system to such an extent that 1 in 5 firearms transactions are finalized without necessarily going through the screening process.
According to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), anyone can sell a gun without an FFL (Federal Firearms License) from their home, online, at a flea market or at a gun show as long as he or she is not conducting the sale as part of regular business activity. One example would be someone who sells a firearm from his or her personal collection. Others who are exempt include those giving guns as gifts. Only individuals whose “principal motive” is to make a profit via sale must obtain an FFL.
Commonly referred to as the “gunshow loophole,” this ambiguity also explains how a purchase can occur without a background check — and without breaking the law. A 2017 survey by Harvard and Northeastern universities estimates that roughly one in five transactions occur without a background check.
Perhaps the United States can learn something from those countries with very strict gun control legislation. In South Africa, for example, licenses to possess a firearm are controlled by a single central registrar within the police department and only one licence to possess a firearm for self defense purposes can be issued . No licence for an automatic or semi-automatic weapon can be issued for self defense purposes. As a result there are very few legal firearms in private hands. Penalties for illegal possession of a firearm are very stiff . Although criminals do acquire illegal firearms and use them in the commission of crimes, they know that if they are caught, they will have to answer for both the crime committed and the possession of the illegal firearm and ammunition. This serves as a deterrent as people know that the punishment for the unlawful possession of a firearm is harsh. On the other hand, in the United States, there has been several mass shootings in several states where a number of people lost their lives or were injured leaving them with both physical and emotional scars. The reasons appear to be disillusioned youth, mental illness, workplace conflicts, as well as family disputes. President Trump has vowed to bring an end to the scourge of violence in the USA. We hope that this happens sooner before another mass shooting happens.
For months now, former President, Jacob Zuma, has been defying both the State Capture Commission and the Constitutional Court by refusing to appear before the Commission and to give evidence. He first brought an application to the Commission that the chairperson of the Commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo should recuse himself as Zuma is of the view that the Deputy Chief Justice is biased against him. When that application failed, Zuma and his legal representative walked out of the commission and he vowed never to return.
In January 2021, the commission referred the matter to the Constitutional Court for the Court to compel Zuma to attend the proceedings. Zuma did not oppose the application and the Court ordered him to appear at the Commission and to give evidence. The Commission scheduled Zuma’s appearance for 15 to 19 February 2021.
Several political figures, including EFF leader, Julius Malema, visited Zuma at Nkandla, ostensibly to persuade him to obey the order of the Constitutional Court. The NEC of the ANC was unable to reach a consensus on the issue and in the end decided not to interfere and to leave Zuma to exercise his choice.
True to his words, Zuma did not attend the Commission. The Secretary of the Commission then brought an application to the Constitutional Court to declare Zuma to be in contempt of court for defying the Constitutional Court order for him to appear at the Commission. The Secretary further requested the Court to impose a term of two years imprisonment on the former State President, should he be found to be in contempt of the court order. The Minister of Police and the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service were cited as second and third respondents.
The respondents were given until 08 March 2021 to oppose the application. They failed to file any opposing papers to the application at the end of the day on 08 March 2021. The legal representative for the Secretary of the Commission, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, filed written arguments to the Constitutional Court in which he argued that former President Zuma should be found guilty of contempt of court and be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of two years because if the Court cannot exert the authority of the courts then the country runs a risk of descending into lawlessness and chaos where people can choose whether to obey court orders or not. There was no counter-argument submitted on behalf of Zuma or any of the other two respondents.
The matter is scheduled for a virtual hearing on Thursday, 25 March 2021. The much anticipated date has finally arrived and the country is holding its breath. The MKMVA has previously promised to defend Zuma should the second and third respondents attempt to execute any warrant of arrest against Zuma. They even went to an extent of camping outside the Zuma residence at Nkandla to prove their point. The country is sharply divided with many saying that Zuma is not above the law and he should not be allowed to be above the law, while his supporters are saying that Zuma should be left alone. The Commission is saying that it will not have a complete picture of the State Capture project if Zuma does not testify. What the Constitutional Court’s decision will be remains a moot point. If the Constitutional Court agrees with the Secretary of the Commission, convict Zuma of contempt and authorises a warrant for his arrest, the second and third respondents are obliged to carry out the court order and effect an arrest on Zuma. That is thevreason why the second and third respondents have been cited in the case. The difficulty with Zuma’s case is that it involves both the law and politics and Zuma has been pushing for a full politicization of the case.
Zuma has got many supporters, not least of which is the Secretary General of the ANC, Ace Magashule. In a case where he was summoned to appear in the Bloemfontein magistrates’ court himself, Magashule has not defied the court and has been in attendance twice already. Precisely what the EFF leader and Zuma discussed during their meeting remains to be seen when the Constitutional Court decides.
South Africans were recently shocked to the bone by a video of a male inmate and a female prison warder in their uniforms, having sex in the corridors of the prison facility. The incident happened at Ncome Correctional Center in Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. It is not clear how the incident happened and why a video of the incident was taken, but the Department of Correctional Services said that they were investigating the incident.
The video went viral and has caused quite a stir on social media . The incident has exposed the laxity within the Department’s prisons. Many have even questioned the level of security at these facilities indicating that if a prisoner can have the luxury of engaging in sexual activities with his jailers, then the intimates may as well have access to the keys to the prison. This is traumatising especially for the victims of crime and for the police officers and prosecutors who worked hard to ensure that criminals are locked away and prevented from causing any further harm to society to see that their pain and efforts are being ridiculed by prison authorities. Some of these prisoners are the most dangerous on the planet.
The conduct of the prison warder is even more shocking when you consider that the prisoner was apparently convicted and sentenced for rape, robbery, housebreaking and attempted murder where he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008. How the two lovebirds managed to secure an appointment within the prison facilty is still the subject of an inquiry by the Department of Correctional Services. The question that many are asking is whether this is an isolated incident or whether this is a regular occurrence at prison facilities in South Africa. Prisoners’ organisations say that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many have questioned why the department uses female warders to guard male prisoners.
The Department of Correctional Services has vowed to take drastic measures against both the warder and the prisoner. They have already placed the prison warder on suspension pending a full disciplinary hearing. The department called the incident a serious embarrassment and vowed to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the incident.
It has emerged that the prison warder is a married woman with three minor children. The video is so graphic that it cannot be included here.
And here are some quotes from rape victims, victims of the brutality meted out by people like the one the prisoner warder decided to engage in a love relationship with.
“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”
― Laurie Halse Anderson,
The residents of the northern parts of the mining and tourist town of Phalaborwa have once again been plunged into darkness. It seems that their problems are far from being resolved. On 25 December 2020, it was reported that the residents were forced to spend Christmas without electricity. At that time they spent more than five days without any electricity in simmering heat. The problem has resurfaced again and the residents have taken to social media to vent their frustrations. The electricity went off just after 5pm when darkness was approaching.
It appears that the municipality has been notified and standby teams have located the problem. The teams are working on resolving the problem. There is no estimated time for the return of power. The residents now dread a repeat of what they experienced during Christmas of 2020 when they also had to go without electricity and water. Jaco Gericke, a community leader, kept the residents updated with developments from the repair teams and the last information he provided was that the repair teams would require a TLB as the damaged cable was burried underground and they could only proceed the next day.
What compounds the difficulty for the residents is that they live very close to the Kruger National Park, which is an international wildlife sanctuary, and when night sets in hippos and other wildlife share the streets with the residents. Those who have to walk or even drive at night often find themselves face to face with some of these wildlife. Residents are well-advised to remain indoors to avoid such encounters.
Residents have blamed the aging infrastructure and cable thefts as the source of their problems and have blamed the municipality for not doing enough to resolve the problem which causes them heavy losses every time it occurs.
It happens to the best of us. Communication is such a fickle thing, and the lines of communication can become blurred every so often, especially when love and feelings are involved. Even those who think that they are immune to the confusion of conflict can find themselves drawn into a communication breakdown when they least expect it, and chaos ensue.
Even those of us who are better equipped than many others are not immune. This happened to Sally on the weekend, and to be quite honest, it took her by surprise. Her husband told her something that really hurt her feelings, and she automatically lashed back in defense.
It was a silly argument, over something as simple as a misplaced bottle of perfume. But to her, it represented something much deeper that had been simmering away for a couple of weeks. She gets frustrated at having to search for something when it is not where she expects it to be, worse still when her partner has shifted it and she has no clue where to begin searching.
Perfume, needles and thread, car keys, a Tupperware container to store her baking soda in, covers for outdoor chairs, all were examples of instances where she had to turn the house upside-down. A simple answer from her husband when these things were shifted would have saved her a lot of time and frustration. And the answer she got? “You need to open your eyes and organize yourself better”
She was gutted. When she comes home from work she exercises the dog and cook dinner so that it is on the table by the time her partner gets home. The house is always spotless and warm, as she is very conscious of coming home to a tidy environment.
She sees this as a fundamental part of her role in coming home first, and it takes a lot of her time. To imply that she has the time to “organize yourself better” really hurt.
She doesn’t expect praise, but she hoped that her efforts were recognized. She got told that “I don’t expect you to cook my dinner every night.” That was interpreted by her as ingratitude, and hurt her even more.
So where to from here? Sally’s husband felt guilty at coming home every night to the perfect household, where she felt guilty if it wasn’t perfect. It was never about her trying to make her spouse feel guilty, but it seems it did. And this is where the communication fell down. He misinterpreted her efforts, and she misinterpreted his response.
Communication, communication, communication. Sally needed her partner to keep her informed of where things move to. She needs to be informed. She needs to voice her frustration before it gets to a boiling point. They both need to talk about their feelings more, and how each of their contributions to their home and their relationship make them feel, and how they interpret each other’s contributions.
Just because something isn’t spoken about, doesn’t mean it’s not important. A relationship or marriage is not a competition, but for many couples it feels like it is.
When people feel guilt or stress, it leads them to act in funny ways. Often stress and guilt are barriers to communication. The key to overcoming them is to recognize what it is, and have the courage to talk about it. You might be able to do it as a couple, or you might want the help of a friend who can listen to the way you are communicating with each other and offer insights and advice.
They got it sorted out, and kissed and hugged. It wouldn’t hurt so much if she didn’t feel such love at the same time. But it served as a good reminder to her. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in your own emotions that you forget to think of the other person. You also need to entertain the possibility that you are misinterpreting each other. Talking about it is the way to expose the miscommunication and let the healing begin.
A good lesson to learn, even for the experts.
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Veteran journalist, Karima Brown, died on the morning of 04 March 2021 at the age of 54 from covid related complications. At the time of her death, Karima was a journalist at eNCA presenting The Fix. Karima was in hospital for some weeks before her death.
Speaking on behalf of eNCA, editor, John Bailey, said that Karima was a fearless and brave journalist who fought hard against injustice and she would never back down. She possessed vast knowledge of current affairs and was always close to the ground on South African issues. Karima was also a presenter on Talk Radio 702 presenting the Karima Brown Show. Speaking on behalf of 702 Clive Moagi said that Karima was a dedicated presenter and she always arrived long before the start of her show to prepare for the show.
Former Minister of Intelligence and ANC veteran, Ronnie Kasrils, as well as Karima’s former colleagues, paid tribute to Karima at her funeral on 04 March 2021 and they labelled her as a journalist who dedicated her life to ensuring justice for all.
A former colleague, Eusebius McKaiser, remembered Karima as a journalist who was committed to accountability and believed that journalism should bring about change in society, while Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille remembered Karima as a journalist who always reminded public representatives of their role in terms of the constitution of South Africa. The South African government also passed their condolences to the family and said that Karima’s death was a loss to the entire nation.
Na’eem Jeenah, director of the Afro-Middle East Centre said that Karima was committed to a unified and just South Africa where there would be no theft and corruption.
Karima was born in Cape Town in 1967. Her father, Achmat Semaar was a community activist in Mitchell’s Plain on the Cape Flats and Karima followed in his footsteps at a very early age when she became a member of the Cape Youth Congress (CAYCO). She subsequently joined the United Democratic Front while studying at the University of the Western Cape. In later years Karima was a member of the African National Congress (the ANC), which is the ruling party in South Africa. She is survived by her son Mikhail Brown and brother Zain.
Karima would best be remembered for taking the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to task for publicly attacking her and hurling threats and insults at her on social media in 2019 as a result of an article she published, including threats by supporters that they would rape her. EFF leader, Julius Malema, denounced the people who made these threats as criminals and called on law enforcement agencies to track them down and bring them to book. Karima subsequently won a court case against the party and labelled the judgment as a victory for women and for freedom of the media.
Former SA President, Jacob Zuma, was scheduled to attend the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Monday 15 February 2021. He failed to do so and instead, sent a letter to the Commission via his lawyers. In the letter Zuma says that he cannot attend the hearing because he is awaiting a decision of the Pretoria High Court in his application to review the decision of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo refusing his earlier application for the judge to recuse himself.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo found Zuma’s reasons for his failure to appear to be invalid and he accordingly dismissed them. The judge was now faced with a dilemma as to what to do with the defiant Zuma. The judge found either that he had no powers to authorise a warrant of arrest or that Zuma had violated an order of the Constitutional Court directing him to attend the hearing, and that it was that court which had appropriate powers to decide on the way forward. The judge directed the secretary of the commission to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court once again and as a matter of urgency, and specifically to request the authorisation of a warrant of arrest. He indicated that Zuma had the right to oppose that application when it is eventually brought in the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile at Nkandla, Zuma’s residence, Zuma was even more defiant. Prior to the 15th of February 2021, Zuma received a visit from EFF leader, Julius Malema, ostensibly to drink tea. The purpose of the visit has not yet been disclosed, but it took place a few days before the State of the Nation address, where Malema subsequently went on the attack against President Cyril Ramaphosa accusing him of being incompetent, incapacitated and the most unreliable human being on the planet and having failed to achieve anything for South Africa and that he has declared himself as an enemy of the people. He said that corruption was on the rise under Ramaphosa sponsored and monitored by the cabinet. He accused the judiciary of conspiring with politicians to deal with the opponents of the current regime.
The MK military veterans arrived at Nkandla a day prior to the scheduled appearance and have remained there vowing to protect Zuma in the event of an attempt to arrest Zuma in connection with his failure to appear at the Commission.
The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, also visited Zuma at his Nkandla home. He says that they discussed issues in general. He reported to the President and the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC. He undertook the visit in order to try a prevent a disaster before it happens. The police may be required to execute the warrant of arrest against former President Zuma if it is issued.
Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, was summoned to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on 15 February 2021, and to give evidence. This follows after he was implicated in wrong doing by several witnesses who testified before the Commission. He indicated that he is not prepared to appear before the Commission and to give evidence. Zuma previously walked out of the Commission while he was giving evidence and never returned. When asked to appear again, he refused. The Secretary of the Commission approached the Constitutional Court for an order compelling the former president to appear before the Commission. Mr Zuma did not oppose the application in the Constitutional Court. The Court ruled that Mr Zuma was not entitled to refuse to attend the proceedings and that he was further not entitled to remain silent when he attends the proceedings although he was entitled to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.
Upon hearing of this ruling, Mr Zuma once again repeated his position that he was not prepared to appear before the Commission. Subsequent to that, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, visited former president Zuma at his Nkandla homestead and held some discussions with him. Speculation was that Mr Malema wanted to persuade Mr Zuma to cooperate with the Commission. After that meeting, Mr Zuma did not change his position. With the date for appearance before the Commission looming, the ANC military veterans, MKMVA, also paid a visit to the former President at his Nkandla home. This time, the aim was to show support to the former President in his stance not to appear before the Commission.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC held a virtual meeting over the weekend to discuss various issues affecting the party and the country. The ANC, the African National Congress, is the ruling party in South Africa. A statement issued by the ANC at the end of the NEC meeting was that the ANC re-iterates its commitment to cooperate with the State Capture Commission and call on all its members to support the work of the Commission. The ANC itself has been summoned to appear before the Commission and President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the ANC delegation that will give evidence before the commission. This was clearly in reference to former president Zuma who was also present at the virtual meeting, together with former President Thabo Mbeki.
It remains to be seen whether former president Zuma will attend the Commission on Monday 15 February 2021. Commission Chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has refused to be drawn into any debate as to what will happen if the former President does not attend the hearing on 15 February 2021 preferring instead to listen to the matter when it is brought before him. The Commission has previously said that it is not a court of law and therefor does not have powers to convict any witnesses appearing before it and to impose any penalties on the basis of evidence led before it by such witnesses. The Commission’s role is to collect evidence relating to state capture and make its own findings based on that evidence. The findings may eventually be used by law enforcement agencies such as the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority-the NPA- which have powers to institute prosecutions. Other than to say that the Commission is biased against him, the former President has never explicitly given any reasons as to why he does not want to appear before the Commission. Many have argued that his refusal to cooperate with the Commission and the Courts may create a Constitutional crises given his position as former president.
From the very beginning, it was obvious that the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump had no chance of success and yet the Democrats pushed on with it. First, once Donald Trump had stepped down as President of the United States, the need to remove him fell away. The Democrats argued that it was necessary to impeach him even if he is no longer president. The reason being that he should be prevented from running for public office in the future. The second reason is that Donald Trump is no longer a young man and he has got several of his own businesses. If he were to run for any public office, it will only be for the Presidency as it is not conceivable that he would want to run for any other public office than the Presidency. In any event, why would the Democrats so badly want to prevent him from running for public office in the future? The answer can be that they fear the kind of competition that Donald Trump gave them in the November 2020 elections having collected 74 000 000 of the 156 000 000 Americans who voted against 81 000 000 who voted for Joe Biden.
On Saturday, 13 February 2021, the Senate found Donald Trump not guilty on charges of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on 06 January 2021. All Democratic Senators voted in favor of the impeachment supported by 7 Republicans, who broke rank with their party. The Democrats needed 17 Republicans to support them for the motion to succeed. Donald Trump has been barred from using Twitter, his preferred medium of communication, so it is unclear what his future plans are. He, however, denounced the proceedings as ‘yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.’ Saying further that,”our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”
This is a second attempt by the Democrats to impeach Donald Trump and has left them embarrassed as they were convinced that this time around, the motion would succeed and that they would be able to get 17 Republicans to support them. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, accused the Republican senators of cowardice for having failed to vote in favor of impeachment and said that it will go down in history as one of the darkest and most dishonorable acts. In his reaction, President Biden said that this incident reminded Americans that Democracy was fragile. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell said that he voted for Trump because he believed that the Senate had no jurisdiction over the former President and not that Mr Trump was not responsible for inciting the insurrection.
After all is said and done, Trump was acquitted by the Senate, paving the way for him to re-enter the political arena. There is a possibility that he might be censured by Congress. Nancy Pelosi referred to it as ‘a little slap in the wrist and that people are censured for using stationery for the wrong purpose and not for inciting insurrection.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had its fair share of scandals. The Gauteng Department of Education, not wanting to be left behind, splashed a whopping R431 000 000.00 in just 90 days from June to August 2020. The money was spent on decontamination, disinfection and sanitising of classrooms and administration buildings in the Province to combat the spread of covid-19. The MEC for Education in Gauteng, Mr Panyaza Lesufi, said that he was dismayed to hear about this extravaganza happening in his backyard and has called for a probe into how the money was spent. He said that he was engaging with the Auditor-General to see if there was any value received for the amount spent.
Teacher unions are also up in arms about this shocking expenditure and have demanded accountability for those responsible. They estimate that with Gauteng having about 2800 schools, it means that just over R153 000.00 was allocated to each school. But News24 reported that a total of 2 207 schools and 38 administration buildings were disinfected. The average amount spent per school was the sum of R250 000.00.
The DA has called on Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, to initiate the investigation and to ascertain how many schools were sanitised as Bidvest had also been involved in sanitising some Gauteng schools for free. This donation by Bidvest to provide sanitisers to about 577 schools was criticised by small businesses at the time as they said that it undermined their efforts to empower small and medium enterprises. The party has said that Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, should be held accountable for this expenditure.
These revelations come at a time when the country is involved in a difficult struggle to acquire covid-19 vaccines and needs every little cent to acquire these life saving medications. The cost for each of the two doses is estimated at between $3 and $37 with Moderna being the highest and AstraZeneca being the cheapest and Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik and Novavax in between. China has said that it will offer its vaccine to the World at a fair and reasonable price.
Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, has already sworn to fight corruption in the province and it remains to be seen whether he will put action to his words in this instance.
Having confirmed their victory over the Republicans in the 2020 Presidential Elections, Democrats are now trying to revenge against Trump for the difficult political work that he created for them during and after the elections. With less than 10 days to go before Trump officially hands over the presidency to his rival. Joseph Biden, it makes no sense that the Democrats would attempt to embark on a lengthy process of impeachment and to expect the Republicans to support them. A previous attempt to impeach Trump by the Democrats was a colossal failure and yet they deem it prudent to make a final attempt 10 days before Mr Trump steps down as president of the United States of America. Trump has already committed himself to a smooth hand over of power to Mr Biden in contrast to his earlier challenge to the election results.
He followed legal channels to challenge the results and brought no less than 50 court cases to try and overturn the results but eventually conceded defeated when Electoral College confirmed Biden’s victory by 306 against 232 for Mr Trump.
Of the 156 000 000 Americans who voted almost 45% of them voted for Mr Trump. It is understandable that Mr Trump felt that he should have won the elections 74 000 000 Americans voted for him against 81 000 000 for Mr Biden. Given a margin of 7 000 000 votes, it is possible that somewhere somehow some votes that were not properly counted could close the margin. Trump was fully within his rights, on behalf of the more than 74 000 000 Americans,to insist that the election process be scrutinized to ensure that the elections were free and fair and that they were free from any irregularities. Once it became clear that the Electoral College has voted in favor of Biden, Trump conceded:
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again,” Trump said.
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The Democrats will not accept any smooth hand over. They first tried to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution and tried to pursuade Vice President Mike Pence to seize power from President Trump on the grounds that President Trump is unable to act as President of the United States. Section 4 reads as follows:
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
This strategy appear to have faltered right from the start as Vice President Mike Pence does not appear to be convinced that President Trump is unable to act as President and Mike Pence is in any event, not interested in being President for just a few days. Vice Prsident Mike Pence and President Donald Trump met on 12 January 2021 and resolved the issue.
This did not impress the anti-Trump camp. They are now attempting a long shot, being that they want to impeach President Trump just a few days before his term comes to an end on 20 January 2021 on the grounds that he instigated his supporters to storm the Capitol when he addressed them on 06 January 2021 shortly before the Electoral College voted for the next US President. Trump’s exact words were: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”,
After the address, Trump’s supporters marched over to the Capitol and clashed with security as they tried to force their way into the Capitol building. Trump himself did not march to the Capitol together with his supporters.At least 5 people died during the subsequent chaos. Several people were later arrested and charged in connection with the riots.
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For the articles of impeachment to succeed in the House of Representatives, at least 17 Republicans would have to support the motion. It appears that some Republicans may support the motion but it does not appear as if the number will reach 17. Article II Section 4 provides for circumstances under which an impeachment shall take place. It states as follows: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. High crimes and misdemeanors”, in the legal and common parlance of England in the 17th and 18th centuries, is corrupt activity by those who have special duties that are not shared with common persons. Towards the end of the 1700s, “High crimes and misdemeanors” acquired a more technical meaning. As Blackstone says in his Commentaries The first and principal high misdemeanor…was mal-administration of such high offices as are in public trust and employment.
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It does not appear as if the articles of Impeachment by the Democrats has any chance of success. On the contrary, their conduct may well amount to an abuse of their majority. Impeachment proceedings against a President should not be easily invoked. Just in case he may be accused of inability to act, President Trump has signed emergency measures in Washington DC to ensure safety and security during the Presidential Inauguration.
Six Republicans have indicated their intention to vote in favor of the motion. We have seen that the Democrats will need at least 17 Republicans to vote with them for the motion to succeed. Even if it succeeded, the Senate still needs to conduct a trial. Many Republicans are asking in what manner did Trump incite the mob to attack the Capitol. Can the crowd’s actions be attributed to any of Trump’s words? Exactly what did he say to give the crowd an indication that they should attack the Capitol? The Democrats are conveniently avoiding to answer these questions.
Trump has said that he will come back in four years to contest the presidential elections. By impeaching him, the Democrats want to make sure that he does not come back as they fear the overwhelming support that he commands among Americans.