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Zimbabwe: “Power is not sexually transmitted”

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 21:08 Written by

Africa, Zimbabwe

This quote – by a leader of the war veterans – sums up their disquiet with Grace Mugabe.

Below is my take on the ‘coup’. But first an image constructed from social media, indicating how the situation developed on Tuesday 14 November.

At the end I have added the statement from ZANU-PF that triggered these events.


Zimbabwe social media

Source: New Statesman

Zimbabwe’s coup pits Grace Mugabe against the old guard

After complaints of a “bedroom coup”, the army launched one of its own.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s army went on the air to announce that they had taken control. This had become increasingly clear, as armoured personnel carriers and troops had been seen around Harare on Tuesday and the state broadcaster – ZBC – had been surrounded.

The statement read out by Major General S.B. Moyo couched their actions as an attempt to uphold the existing order.

“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice. As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

But no-one was under any illusion about what was taking place: this was a coup by another name. Nothing like it had been seen in Zimbabwe since Mugabe took power in 1980.

 The key warning had come three years earlier, when the veterans of the war against white rule that put Mugabe in place told the 93-year-old president that they would not accept his second wife as the leader of the country. “Power is not sexually transmitted,” said Jabulani Sibanda, who complained that the ruling party was “plotting a bedroom coup”.

The war veterans, who had stood by President Mugabe during all the crises and challenges he had faced, were not prepared to see Grace and her acolytes to take control.

Since her marriage to the president in 1996, the First Lady of Zimbabwe has become legendary for her ostentatious living. While her countrymen and women live on the breadline, “Gucci Grace”, or “the first shopper” as she is known, indulged her lavish lifestyle. The Mugabe family accumulated a substantial property portfolio both inside Zimbabwe and abroad.

Notorious for her vicious temper, Grace was only recently smuggled out of South Africa after escaping an assault charge for hitting a model.

Zimbabweans complained, but it was when Grace began to seek political office that she crossed a line. She began to be hailed as party rallies as the “Mother of the Nation”. Grace surrounded herself with her acolytes: Generation 40, or G40, faction which included the ZANU PF youth wing. She began pushing her husband to nominate her his successor.

This brought her up against the old guard, who coalesced around the vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Last week Mnangagwa was sacked and he fled to South Africa via Mozambique. It was this that triggered the current events.

By dismissing Mnangagwa, Mugabe had broken with someone who had stood by him since the earliest days of the war against Ian Smith and white rule. Mnangagwa had led the first group of guerrillas to China for military training. After finishing his training, Mnangagwa returned to Tanzania in May 1964, where he and other returning ZANU guerrillas formed the “Crocodile Gang”.

Mnangagwa was captured after blowing up a railway train in Rhodesia, and only narrowly escaped the death sentence. He spent 10 years in jail and was released in 1974 as part of the “unity talks” amnesty. In Mozambique, he was elected special assistant to the president at the 1977 Chimoio congress – which meant he was the military and civilian representative of the party. He also accompanied Mugabe to the Lancaster House negotiations, which paved the way for official recognition of the state of Zimbabwe.

After independence Mnangagwa stood by Mugabe, and was responsible for the suppression of the Ndebele, as well as involved in the rigging of elections. He held a string of ministries, including – importantly – Defence from 2009 to 2013.

It was precisely because he represented such a threat to Grace’s succession that Mugabe removed Mnangagwa from the vice presidency. He was accused of displaying “traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability”.

The scene was set for the current showdown. On Monday the army chief of staff, General Constantino Chiwenga, warned the president to “stop” purges by the ruling ZANU-PF party. “We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in,” he said at a press conference.

ZANU PF responded on Tuesday by issuing a statement accusing General Chiwenga of treason. The party said the general’s comments were “calculated to disturb national peace… [and] incite insurrection”. Since treason is a capital offence in Zimbabwe, the general was left with few options: fight or flee the country. He – and most of the military – chose the former.

What lies ahead? It is possible that Mugabe will be allowed to retire and live with some dignity. There are suggestions he might be allowed to leave the country for Singapore or Malaysia, to enjoy the wealth he has salted away overseas for many years. But Mugabe in exile might be unpalatable to the military, since he could act as a magnate for dissidents.

There are reports that Mnangagwa has returned to Zimbabwe and – together with General Chiwenga – will act to shore up his position, while proclaiming that they are acting to “protect the revolution”.

At present South Africa – a critical player during the Rhodesia crisis, and still the major power in the region – is attempting to keep its distance. Speaking on Tuesday ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe made it clear that the ANC doesn’t want to get involved in the rift. “ZANU-PF must deal with that issue because Zimbabwe is not our colony… it’s not our province, it’s our neighbour. If things go wrong there, of course, we’ll be concerned because it’ll impact on us, but we have no authority over them, that’s the point we’re making.”

How long Pretoria can keep a cool detachment will depend on whether the factions within Zimbabwe can find an orderly way of resolving the current crisis.



Zimbabwe's President Mugabe 'confined to his house'

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 13:09 Written by

South African leader says he spoke to Zimbabwean counterpart, who 'indicated' he was fine but not allowed to leave home. 

Zuma said Mugabe indicated that he was confined to his home [Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]
Zuma said Mugabe indicated that he was confined to his home [Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]


U.N. Security Council renews arms sanctions on Eritrea and Somalia


The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday voted to extend an arms embargo imposed on Eritrea and Somalia.

The fifteen-member UNSC in a majority vote of 11 as against four abstentions adopted resolution 2385 to renew sanctions regime against the two Horn of Africa nations.

According to Sebastiano Cardi, the Italian ambassador to the U.N., the current extension spells out of further reviewing both regimes in the coming months.

The decision of the council comes barely a week after a panel of experts called for the lifting of sanctions particularly on Eritrea. The panel in a report said there was no conclusive evidence that Eritrea was supporting al-Qaeda linked insurgents Al-Shabaab group based in Somalia.

A United States – backed resolution led to the imposition of arms sanctions on Eritrea in 2009, with the main reason being their alleged support for Al-Shabaab. Eritrea has described the sanctions as ‘useless and unjustified.’

Somalia on the other hand are also under a sanction regime despite being the biggest sufferer of attacks by al-Shabaab. Security watchers say the arms embargo is partly to blame for the inability to effectively match rampaging insurgents.

The Horn of Africa region is generally one that has complex security issues. Ethiopia has internal crisis to deal with aside its border tensions with Eritrea. It is also actively engaged in the fight against Al-Shabaab inside Somalia. It is, however, at peace with Sudan and Djibouti.


Eritrea: Call from underground for an international inquiry

The underground resistance movement in Eritrea has spoken by telephone to Dutch journalist Wim Brummelman about the protests at the Akria school in Asmara.

Speaking by phone from Asmara, members of the Freedom Friday (Arbi Harnet) movement called for an international inquiry into the events that took place a week ago.

The protests that were sparked by the arrest of a 92 year old community elder who was chair of an Asmara School that the government was attempting to bring under its control. This resulted in a volley of shots and was followed by a widespread roundup, including the arrest of underage children and women.

The spokesperson for Arbi Harnet in Asmara confirmed that, despite reports to the contrary, so far they haven’t come across any fatalities. He contended that this was because the soldiers sent to put down the protests refused to shoot directly at the protesters: “They did not shoot the people. That, they refused,” said the Abri Harnet spokesperson.

In addition the member of the underground, a Christian himself, explained that despite the fact that the protests started at an Islamic school the march was soon joined by Christians. “Muslims and Christians are united,” he said. “They want the government to stop interfering with their education. That’s why the people took to the streets”.

And he added that the matter is not just a question of religious freedom: it is about all aspects of human rights in Eritrea. “This regime puts [restrictions] in place, on all possible freedoms of its citizens. That’s why so many people flee Eritrea. That has to stop. Therefore, we pray that this government disappears. ”

Finally the spokesperson for the Asmara underground said that although calm appears to have returned to the city, resistance will continue.   “Of course I’m afraid. So many people are afraid. We run great risks. But there will be new protests. Perhaps at a small scale in the beginning, in different places. And maybe that sounds like something big. That’s why it’s so important that the world knows what’s going on here.


Note: Arbi Harnet was established on 11/11/11, as a diaspora based movement with the aim of linking the diaspora struggle for justice in Eritrea to the movement inside the country.


EPDP Liberty Magazine Issue #47

Thursday, 09 November 2017 18:36 Written by

Press Release

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 11:10 Written by

Press release 2 1Forum for National Dialogue (FND)

Press Release (November 6, 2017)

Almost four years ago, on Sunday, February the 2nd 2014, The Forum for National Dialogue (FND) announced its formation to the public. The event raised hope and expectations as well as questions. While the FND acknowledges some worthy achievements, it has not effectively capitalized on the public’s generous and unearned good will. It failed to transform itself into a vibrant and vigorous organization with clearly defined structures and procedures that allows members/associates to fully take ownership of the cause.


After many consultations and deliberations, the FND came to the conclusion that the status quo is untenable and a major overhaul of the organization is essential and timely. Towards this goal, it convened a meeting on Friday, October 20, 2017, in Frankfurt, Germany, and restructured itself, expanded the size of its board of directors and put in place mechanisms which would allow her to operate in a more transparent and accountable way. The new restructuring, and, in accordance with the new bylaw adopted on Friday, October 20, 2017, would give the FND the institutional support and impetus it needs towards realizing the objectives to which it was founded.


The new board of directors is made of 25 members reflecting all political persuasions. In its first act of business, the new board of directors has elected its president and a seven-member executive committee. The President of the board of directors is Dr. Assefaw Tekeste.


The Executive Committee is made of the following officers:

1.      Semere T. Habtemariam, Chief Executive.

2.      Suleiman Adem Hussien, Vice Chief Executive.

3.      Moheidin Abubaker Shengeb, Treasurer.

4.      Gilleway Saeed, Secretary.

5.      Amb. Andebrhan Welde Giorgis, Chairman of the Committee for Dialogue, Diplomacy and Advocacy.

6.      Yonas Hagos, Chairman of the Committee for Media and Public Relations.

7.      Dr. Adane Ghebremeskel Tekie, Chairman of the Committee for Research and Strategic Studies.


The members of the new board of directors are, in alphabetical order:

1.       Ahmed Kaisi                                                        14. Mesfin Hagos

2.       Amb. Adhanom Ghbremariam                                15. Mohiadin Abubaker

3.       Amb. Andebrhan Welde Giorgis                              16. Saba Fessehaye

4.       Benyam Debesai                                                   17. Salwa Nour

5.       Mohamed Berhan Blata                                          18. Semere T. Habtemariam

6.       Beyan Negash                                                       19. Semere Kesete

7.       Dr. Adane Ghebremeskel Tekie                               20. Semhar G/Silassie

8.       Dr. Anghesom Atsbaha                                           21. Suleiman Hussien

9.       Dr. Assefaw Tekeste                                               22. Tesfamichael Yohannes

10.   Herui Tedla Bairu                                                     23. Veronica Almedom

11.   Hummad Mohammed Kullu                                       24. Jacob Abraham

12.   Idris Humed Ibrahim                                                25. Yonas Hagos

13.   Jallaway (Gillawey) Saeed       

November 4, 2017

RIYADH (Reuters) – The Saudi government on Saturday announced the arrest of at least 10 members of the ruling royal family, four current ministers and tens of former ministers in what it called an effort to reign in corruption, and a cabinet reshuffle that removed the strongest potential rival to likely future king Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Among the detained princes was Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men and a top investor in media giant NewsCorp, Twitter and other major companies, according to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

The arrests were carried out by a new anti-corruption committee chaired by Prince Muhammad, according to state-owned Al Alarabiya TV.

The cabinet reshuffle saw Prince Miteb bin Abdullah replaced as minister of the National Guard by Khaled bin Ayyaf, while Economy Minister Adel Fakieh was removed in favor of his deputy Mohammed al-Tuwaijri, according to a royal decree carried by state-run media.

Prince Miteb, the preferred son of the late King Abdullah, was once thought to be a leading contender for the throne before the unexpected rise of Prince Mohammed two years ago.

He had inherited control of the National Guard, an elite internal security force built out of traditional tribal units, from his father, who ran it for five decades.

Prince Miteb was the last remaining member of Abdullah’s branch of the family to hold a position in the upper echelons of the Saudi power structure.

The move consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed’s control of the kingdom’s security institutions, which had long been headed by separate powerful branches of the ruling family.

The alleged targeting of Prince Alwaleed is especially striking because he is one of the most visible Saudi power players not directly under Prince Mohammed’s control. He has gained further attention in recent years because of his criticism of President Donald Trump, who’s built close ties with Prince Muhammad and hours before the announcements of the arrests unexpectedly tweeted about Saudi Arabia’s plan to publicly float part of its state-owned oil company for the first time.

Prince Mohammed, the king’s 32-year-old son, already serves as defense minister and was named heir to the throne in a June reshuffle that sidelined his older cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who had also served as interior minister.

He has been responsible at the same time for running Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, dictating an energy policy with global implications and behind the plans for the kingdom to build a future after oil.

Prince Mohammed, who has pledged to go after graft at the highest levels, will now also head up the new anti-corruption body, which was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and freeze assets.

“The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable,” the royal decree said.


The country’s new economy minister, Tuwaijri, is a former Saudi air force pilot and former chief executive of HSBC’s Middle East operations who has led the economy ministry’s program to privatize some $200 billion of government assets.

He replaces Fakieh, who served as the point man for the kingdom’s wide-ranging economic reforms since his appointment as economy and planning minister in 2015.

A former food executive with a reputation for pushing through politically sensitive reforms, Fakieh had previously served as labor minister, health minister and mayor of Jeddah.

Fakieh faced down fierce opposition from the business community as labor minister when he established quotas for foreign workers to boost jobs for Saudis.

Under Prince Mohammed, Fakieh led the development of a national transformation plan and privatization drive launched last year to end the kingdom’s vulnerability to an unpredictable oil market. His replacement comes as the kingdom makes adjustments to that plan, a process dubbed NTP 2.0.

The royal decree did not say whether Fakieh would hold any other government position. Former ministers often serve in advisory roles after leaving their posts.

Eritrean Global Solidarity-EGS and Eritreans

for Facilitating National Dialogue- EFND


It is all about Freedom of Religion !!

The events unfolding in Asmara expose the unrestrained desire of the tyrannical regime to take over religious institutions and dismantle their leadership. The intensity of the interference has been accelerated in the last few months. 

The resistance against this evil agenda has been building and expanding. The open challenge exhibited by the Eritrean Moslem institution's leadership has galvanized all Eritreans to stand up and resist the unrestrained push by the regime. We stand with our hero and patriotic, Hajj Musa Mohammed Nur, and honor his selfless action in breaking the silence of our people. Because of his valor and resilience, the demonstration by the youth has elevated the struggle for Religious Freedom to a higher level. 

Everyone who deeply cares about religious freedom has to show unwavering solidarity with the heroes who took open stand and chose to march in open defiance of the regime's interference and oppression.

We resoundingly affirm our solidarity and pledge to expose the sinister plans of the Eritrean regime to the world to the best of our ability. We encourage all Eritreans, regardless of their organizational platforms, to unite and work to defeat the nefarious agenda of the regime to divide us on religious and ethnic line. 

It is time to put our minor differences aside and push to bring an end to this tyranny. This is our responsibly. We must own it and shoulder our responsibly. 


Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa

The document below – released by Sactism – is apparently from inside the Eritrean government’s security operation.


Members of 84th, 59th divisions and Support Forces and police were ordered to stop the demonstration on 31 October.

The National Security Agency has detained 17 members of the school committee and other Muslims; including hajji Mussa Mohamed Nur.

After the 31 October incident, a task force composed of General Filpos WeldeYohans, Brigadier General Sm’on WeldeDngl and Brigadier General Abrha Kassa was set up to prepare for any possibility of widespread unrest around the country.

The internal security department has also set up another task force composed of Colonel Yemane Afewerki, Colonel Yemane AndeMariam (Sokolov), Major TesfaLdet Zekarias.

Three clandestine teams have been set up to kidnap and jail any persons considered important in connection with the recent events. The teams are led by Bereket Guush, Yonas Zerai and ‘Wedi Keren’.

People jailed by the teams will be presented to Colonel Tesfaldet Zekarias, who will also be receiving all intelligence regarding the situation form the 10 sub-zones. The interrogators are: Major Kahsai Beyene, Major Fs’haZion, Tewelde (Rashaida), Tewelde Haile, Ftsum, Kflai and ‘Wedi Yosef’; all members of the National Security Agency.

Isaias has given the National Security Agency extreme powers to enable them to contain the present situation. Brigadier General Efrem Hadsh has been given the responsibility of ensuring security at Adi Halo (Isaias’ dam project and office) in addition to mosques and city entry checkpoints. Rapid Forces commander Brigadier General Ftsum GebreHiwet (Wedi Memhr) has been given orders to conduct intensive security measures around Adi Halo and Asmara entry points with the 22nd, 59th divisions and 525th commando division.

The National Security Agency’s 03 branch are sending out gossip saying that the uprising is an extremist fundamentalist movement funded by external forces to stage a coup d’état.

Orders have been given to ensure heavy security around secondary schools and colleges and on the students who had protested at Adi Halo and taken to the Naro plains (hot desert plains in north east Eritrea near the coast).

Orders have been given for the army not to give any clarifications about the incidents or hold meetings.

The President’s Office, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Defense offices at Beleza, Bet Gergsh, and Balineki, and the Tract B area are being heavily guarded by the army