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Scandal threatens to unseat Africa’s only female head of state

By Mel Fryberg | African News Agency |

The Mauritian parliament will on Friday discuss the future of President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Africa’s only female head of state, who faces being unseated in the wake of a financial scandal.

The Mauritian parliament will discuss the future of President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim who faces being unseated over of a financial scandal. Picture: Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP, File

Gurib-Fakim, a former chemistry professor and science faculty dean at the University of Mauritius, faces allegations of purchasing clothing and jewellery with a credit card provided by non-governmental group Planet Earth whose Angolan founder has sought to do business in Mauritius and is under investigation for alleged corruption in Portugal.

But the defiant president, whose role is mostly ceremonial and was appointed in 2015, said she refused to resign and that the purchases, amounting to approximately $27 000, were done “inadvertently” and she had subsequently repaid the money.

Furthermore, she stated the efforts to remove her were part of a smear campaign and contradicted a comment last week by Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth that she would resign after Mauritius celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain last Monday.

According to Mauritius’ constitution a president can be removed through parliamentary votes against him or her and an investigation by a tribunal that allows the president to offer a defence.