Rwanda bans BBC Kinyarwanda broadcasts over film that questions the genocide

It might have been more honest of the BBC to say in this news story that the film has proved controversial among specialists on Rwanda and resulted in a formal written complaint to the BBC by a number of academics, journalists and people like Senator (for General) Romeo Dallaire.  It is not just the Kagame government that has doubts about the accuracy and balance of the film, I signed the letter of complaint as the film contains serious inaccuracies, very questionable interpretations and is highly selective in its use of  interviews and available evidence – anything that conflicts with its “untold story” is ignored or skated over. Poor journalism.  The BBC was also very short-sighted, as I put in a submission to the parliamentary foreign affairs committee some years ago, when it cut short-wave transmission to Rwanda and relied on local rebroadcasts. The Kagame government has no great adherence to freedom of the press and was bound to stop the BBC broadcasts whenever they were not in the interests of the government KS


Rwanda suspends BBC broadcasts over genocide film

Photographs of victims in the Kigali genocide memorialThere are numerous memorials around Rwanda to those killed in the genocide

Rwanda has suspended BBC broadcasts in the Kinyarwanda language with immediate effect because of a film questioning official accounts of the 1994 genocide.

The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (Rura) said it had received complaints from the public of incitement, hatred, revisionism and genocide denial.

At least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the genocide.

The BBC has denied that any part of the programme constitutes a “denial of the genocide against the Tutsi”.

On Wednesday, Rwandan MPs approved a resolution calling on the government to ban the BBC and to charge the documentary-makers with genocide denial, which is a crime in the country.

Those killed in the genocide are generally believed to be mostly members of the minority ethnic Tutsi group, and Hutus opposed to the mass slaughter.


Rwandan genocide:

skulls on display in the Nyamata church
  • 6 April 1994: President Juvenal Habyarimana is killed when his plane was shot down on returning from peace talks with Tutsi RPF rebels
  • 7 April: It is not clear who is behind the shooting but it sparks the systematic mass killing of mainly Tutsis by extremist Hutu militia and military elements
  • April-July: An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus are slaughtered
  • RPF denies accusations they killed thousands of Hutus as they marched through the country
  • July: RPF captures the capital, Kigali
  • July: Two million Hutus flee to Zaire, now DR Congo

The BBC programme Rwanda, The Untold Story, includes interviews with US-based researchers who say most of those killed may have been Hutus, killed by members of the then-rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which has been in power since 1994.

The programme also included interviews with former aides of RPF leader President Paul Kagame, accusing him of plotting to shoot down the presidential plane – the act seen as triggering the slaughter.

BBC news reports recall how the genocide unfolded

He has consistently denied previous such accusations.

Rura said it had established a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations it had received about the programme, after which further action may be taken.

The cabinet is meeting next week to discuss parliament’s recommendations.

The BBC broadcasts affected by the suspension are produced by the BBC Great Lakes service, which was initially set up in the aftermath of the genocide as a lifeline service.

Its first broadcast – BBC Gahuzamiryango, meaning “the unifier of families” – was a 15-minute transmission aimed at bringing together families who had been separated.  BBC

To: “Mr. Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC”

Posted by David Peterson on October 14, 2014, 2:58 am, in reply to “Telesur: Justin Podur on the Rwandan Genocide – very informative

Friends: In this copy of a formal letter of complaint to the BBC Two over their production and broadcasting of the October 1 documentary, “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” notice whom the signatories-doctrinal enforcers include: Linda Melvern, Romeo Dallaire, Gregory Stanton, Gerald Caplan, George Monbiot, Andrew Wallis.)

(For a copy of the documentary, see Jane Corbin and John Conroy, “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” BBC Two, October 1, 2014, as now posted to the Vimeo website. < >)

Mr. Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, Broadcasting House, Portland Place,
London. W1A 1AA

October 12, 2014.

Dear Sir,

We the undersigned, scholars, scientists, researchers, journalists and historians are writing to you today to express our grave concern at the content of the documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story (This World, BBC 2 Wednesday October 1), specifically its coverage of the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi.

We accept and support that it is legitimate to investigate, with due diligence and respect for factual evidence, any crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and to reflect on the contemporary political situation in Rwanda. However, attempts to examine these issues should not distort the reality of the 1994 genocide. It is not legitimate to use current events to either negate or to diminish the genocide. Nor is it legitimate to promote genocide denial.

The parts of the film which concern the 1994 genocide, far from providing viewers with an ‘Untold Story’ as the title promises, are old claims. For years similar material using similar language has been distributed far and wide as part of an on-going ‘Hutu Power’ campaign of genocide denial. At the heart of this campaign are convicted génocidaires, some of their defence lawyers from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and their supporters and collaborators. These deniers continually question the status of the genocide and try to prove – like the programme – that what it calls the ‘official narrative’ of the 1994 genocide is wrong. The BBC programme Rwanda’s Untold Story recycles their arguments and provides them with another platform to create doubt and confusion about what really happened.

Three of the untenable claims made in the programme are of the utmost concern: the first is a lie about the true nature of the Hutu Power militia. The second is an attempt to minimize the number of Tutsi murdered in the genocide, and the third is an effort to place the blame for shooting down President Habyarimana’s plane on April 6, 1994 on the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

First, the programme allows a witness to claim that ‘only ten percent of the Interahamwe (militia) were killers’. In fact, the majority of Hutu Power militia forces – estimated to have been 30,000 strong – were trained specifically to

kill Tutsi at speed, and indoctrinated in a racist ideology, part of genocide planning. There is eyewitness testimony by several militia leaders who cooperated with the ICTR.

Second, the programme attempts to minimise the number of Tutsi murdered, a typical tactic of genocide deniers. The false figures cited are provided by two US academics who worked for a team of lawyers defending the génocidaires at the ICTR. They even claim that in 1994 more Hutu than Tutsi were murdered – an absurd suggestion and contrary to all the widely available research reported by Amnesty International, UNICEF, the UN Human Rights Commission, Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Africa Rights, a UN Security Council mandated Commission of Experts and evidence submitted to the ICTR and other European courts who have successfully put on trial several perpetrators.

Third, the film argues that the shooting down of the plane on April 6, 1994 was perpetrated by the RPF. This same story was promoted by Hutu Power extremists within a few hours of the president’s assassination and promoted ever since by génocidaires and a few ICTR defence lawyers.

The film pays no heed to a detailed expert report published in January 2012 by a French magistrate Judge Marc Trévidic. This contains evidence from French experts, including crash investigators, who proved scientifically that the missiles that shot down the plane came from the confines of the government-run barracks in Kanombe on the airport’s perimeter – one of the most fortified places in the country, and where it would have been impossible for the RPF, armed with a missile, to penetrate.

Within hours of the president’s assassination, in this carefully planned genocide, roadblocks went up all over Kigali and the Presidential Guard started to target every member of Rwanda’s political opposition. These momentous events are barely mentioned. The members of the Hutu and Tutsi pro-democracy movements were hunted down and killed, including Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, and ten UN peacekeepers from Belgium who were protecting her. These opposition politicians separately threatened the Habyarimana regime for advocating power-sharing and paid for their courage with their lives. Ignored in this film are the Hutu Power attempts to divide the internal political opposition along ethnic lines. Political violence in the film is seen only in the context of a ‘civil war’ between the RPF and the Habyarimana government, a smoke screen, used then and now, to hide the systematic killing of Tutsi carried out by the Hutu Power Interim Government and its militia.

The film-maker, Jane Corbin, who presented the programme, even tries to raise doubts about whether or not the RPF stopped the genocide. The authority on this subject is Lt.-General Roméo Dallaire, the Force commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), and present in Rwanda throughout the genocide. Dallaire is categorical. ‘The genocide was stopped because the RPF won and stopped it’, he says. Corbin

ignores the testimonies of direct witnesses to what happened in 1994: Dallaire and his volunteer UN peacekeepers, Philippe Gaillard and the medics at the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Dr. James Orbinski of Médecins Sans Frontières. Years of research and writing by academics and other experts along with hours of films by journalists who work for the BBC – all of this eyewitness testimony is dismissed as if fraudulent.

In broadcasting this documentary the BBC has been recklessly irresponsible. The programme has fuelled genocide denial. It has further emboldened the génocidaires, all their supporters and those who collaborate with them. It has provided them the legitimacy of the BBC. Denial of genocide causes the gravest offence to survivors. For them, the genocide is not a distant event from 20 years ago but a reality with which they live every day.

The denial of genocide is now widely recognised as the final stage of the crime. One of the world’s preeminent genocide scholars, the US Professor Greg H. Stanton, describes ten stages in genocide: classification of the population; symbolization of those classifications; discrimination against a targeted group; dehumanisation of the pariah group; organisation of the killers; polarisation of the population; preparation by the killers; persecution of the victims; extermination of the victims; and denial that the killing was genocide.

Denial, the final stage, ensures the crime continues. It incites new killing. It denies the dignity of the deceased and mocks those who survived. Denial of genocide is taken so seriously that in some European countries it is criminalized. In 2008 the Council of the European Union called upon states to criminalize genocide denial.

The 1994 genocide of the Tutsi should be treated by all concerned with the utmost intellectual honesty and rigour. We would be willing – indeed see it as our duty – to meet with journalists and to debate in a follow up programme the serious inaccuracies in Rwanda’s Untold Story.

We hope that the BBC management will quickly realise the gravity of the genocide denial in Rwanda’s Untold Story. We call upon the BBC to explain how the programme came to be made and the editorial decision-making which allowed it to be broadcast. In the course of any internal BBC enquiry we hope all relevant documents from the This World archive and from senior editors involved in approving the programme will be released for study.

Rwanda’s Untold Story tarnishes the BBC’s well-deserved reputation for objective and balanced journalism. We urge the BBC to apologise for the offence this programme has caused for all victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.


Professor Linda Melvern
Author, A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide; Conspiracy to Murder

Senator Roméo Dallaire Force Commander, UNAMIR

Professor Gregory H. Stanton President, Genocide Watch

Mehdi Ba
Journalist and Author

Bishop Ken Barham

Dr. Margaret Brearley Independent Scholar

Dr. Gerald Caplan
Author, The Preventable Genocide

Professor Frank Chalk
Professor of History/Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Concordia University, Co-author, ‘Mobilizing the Will to Intervene: Leadership to Prevent Mass Atrocities’ (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010)

Dr.Phil Clark
Reader in Comparative and International Politics, SOAS, University of London

Boubacar Boris Diop, Sénégal. Author, Murambi, the book of bones

Jean-Francois Dupaquier Author and Expert

Hélène Dumas,
Diplômée de l’IEP d’Aix-en-Provence (2003), Docteur en histoire de l’EHESS (2013)

Professor Margee Ensign
President, American University of Nigeria

Tim Gallimore
Independent genocide researcher

Peter Greaves
Former UNICEF staff member

Fred Grünfeld.
Emeritus professor in International Relations, Human Rights and the Causes of Gross Human Rights Violations, Universities of Maastricht and Utrecht, Netherlands. Author, The Failure to Prevent Genocide in Rwanda: The Role of Bystanders, 2007

Dr. Helen Hintjens
Assistant Professor in Development and Social Justice, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) The Hague

Dr. Georgina Holmes
Lecturer International Relations,
University of Portsmouth/Royal Holloway, University of London

Richard Johnson
Author, The Travesty of Human Rights Watch on Rwanda

Eric Joyce MP

Ambassador Karel Kovanda (ret).
Czech Representative on the UN Security Council, 1994-95

Françoise Lemagnen
Chief Executive, Survivors Fund (SURF)

Ambassador Stephen Lewis.
Former Canadian Ambassador to the UN.

W. Alan McClue
Visiting Fellow, Bournemouth University/Cranfield University

Roland Moerland
Ph.D. Researcher and Lecturer in Supranational and Organizational Criminology, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology Maastricht University, The Netherlands

George Monbiot Author and Journalist

Jacques Morel
Author, La France au coeur du génocide des Tutsi (2010)

Barbara Mulvaney
International Law Consultant; Former Senior Trial Attorney – Bagosora et al., United Nations International Tribunal for Rwanda

Dr. Jude Murison
School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Peter Raymont
President, White Pine Pictures, Toronto, Canada

Professor Josias Semujanga
Professeur titulaire, Département des littératures de langue française, Université de Montréal, Quebec

Jonathan Salt
Managing Director of Ojemba Education

Keith Somerville
Senior Research fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London; Lecturer in Communications and Humanitarianism, Centre for Journalism, University of Kent

Patrick de Saint-Exupéry Author and journalist

Dr James M. Smith CBE CEO, Aegis Trust

Rafiki Ubaldo Journalist

Andrew Wallis
Author, Silent Accomplice: The untold Story of the Role of France in the Rwandan Genocide, I.B.Tauris, 2014

Lillian Wong, O.B.E.
British Chargé d’Affairs in Rwanda 1994-1995


Botswana votes in closest election since independence


Botswana votes in closest poll in 48 years

Residents queue to cast their ballots at a polling station in Serewe on 24 October 2014 for Botswana's general electionsVoting has been going smoothly with polls opening at 06:30 local time (04:30 GMT)

Voters are going to the polls in Botswana in what is expected to be the closest general elections in the world’s largest diamond producer.

President Ian Khama’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has governed since independence in 1966, is expected to win a reduced majority.

But it has been battling to gain support in urban areas where opposition parties have made recent inroads.

Botswana is seen as one of Africa’s most stable and democratic countries.

The sparsely populated country also protects some of Africa’s largest areas of wilderness.

There are three parties competing to win over the 824,000 registered voters who will elect 57 members of parliament.

The MPs then choose the leader, with President Khama, the son of the country’s first president, likely to get a second term in office.

President Khama at a polling station - 24 October 2014President Khama voted at a polling station in his home town of Serowe north of the capital, Gaborone
Botswana Congress Party poster in Gaborone - 21 OctoberHe faces competition from the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP)
Supporters of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) - 23 October 2014The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition includes a breakaway party from the ruling BDP

A year ago, the global mining giant De Beers relocated its auction rooms to Botswana, meaning rough diamonds are now cut, polished and sold in the country – not just mined.

But according to the African Development Bank, despite Botswana being a middle-income country, it continues to grapple with unequal distribution of wealth, high levels of poverty, unemployment and HIV.

The unemployment rate stands at 17.8% and it has an HIV/Aids prevalence of 23.4%, the bank said.

A survey this month by the research group Afrobarometer reported that 58% of people in Botswana considered unemployment the most important problem facing the country.  BBC

South Africa – ANC denies Zuma-Mantashe rigft and say reports are malicious

Mail and Guardian

The ANC said in a statement that the Mail & Guardian’s allegations are an attempt to sow division and mistrust within the ANC and its leadership.

The ANC said in a statement that allegations of a rift between ANC general secretary and President Jacob Zuma are malicious. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The ANC has dismissed “with the contempt they deserve” reports published in today’s Mail & Guardian, claiming a “rift” between ANC President Jacob Zuma, and its general secretary, Gwede Mantashe.

A statement was released in response to the M&G article in which several sources painted a picture of the ANC president openly at odds with his general secretary.

The statement said: “If one were to analyse South Africa through the fanciful headlines of the Mail & Guardian they would be forgiven for believing the ANC, and indeed South Africa, was a faction ridden amorphous mess in a state of perpetual crisis unable to take any decisions or provide any leadership to this country.”

“This view is devoid of any truth and a continuation of an age old attempt to sow division and distrust within the ANC and its leadership.”

It said that the article was the result of “calculated acts at the whim of an opportunistic and malicious media, ignoring to tell to our people genuine stories of development and progress, instead choosing made up versions and fishing expeditions from faceless and nameless sources”.

The statement called the article “gutter journalism at its best dependent entirely on the unbridled imagination of anonymous bogeymen and overzealous journalists”.

Mantashe told the M&G this week that there appears to be a campaign to drive a wedge between him and the president. “That is what they are praying for,” he said.

M&G a ‘propaganda pamphlet’
The ANC questioned the integrity of the article, stating that the agenda seemed to be “sinister”.

“It only leads one to wonder who these stories are intended to benefit and indeed if the agenda is not the more sinister one of entrenching the racist narrative of a failing state led by incapable, incompetent and self-serving Africans.”

The statement says that the national officials of the ANC function as “a cohesive and principled collective” in the execution of their duties, and the organisation praised them for “remaining united”.

“Desperate attempts by anyone, whether within the structures or not, to divide them are not new. These determined efforts to pit comrade against comrade have dismally failed before and will no doubt fail once again.”

The ANC accused the M&G of abandoning “all principles of [the] South African Press Code and the very ethics of objective journalism to become a propaganda pamphlet masquerading as a newspaper”. – Sapa  M&G

Sudan-South Sudan – Bashir fails to attend IGAD meeting

Sudan Tribune

October 23, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese authorities said on Thursday that a leadership meeting of Sudan’s ruling party (NCP) rendered president Omer Hassan al-Bashir incapable of attending Wednesday’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) meeting in Juba.

JPEG - 31.6 kb
Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L), Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn (C) and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (R) at the third Tanana Forum on Security in Africa held in Ethiopia’s Bahr Dar town on 27 April 2014 (SUNA)

“President Bashir was briefed by the chief mediator about the summit. He did not come because he had other commitments,” Ateny Wek Ateny, the presidency spokesperson said.

He however said the Sudanese leader had assured the mediators of his presence at the next summit on a date yet to be agreed upon.

“He [Bashir] told them [mediation team] to pick the date and let him know. He told them that he would in the next summit,” said Ateny.

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and his Ugandan counterpart, Ruhankana Rugunda attended the one-day IGAD consultative summit held in Juba.

During the meeting, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, said he would remove obstacles blocking progress in peace talks with the country’s rebel faction under the leadership of former vice-president Riek Machar.

“I said it in Arusha, Tanzania, that if the other people were committed and demonstrated [a] willingness to resolve this crisis, like we have done as the government, the people who are now in the [internally] displaced camps, would have returned to their homes and they would not have missed planting season. They would have cultivated,” Kiir told regional leaders at the meeting.

He said the government delegation had full powers to negotiate and resolve the current crisis.

South Sudan has been mired in conflict since mid-December last year after a political dispute in the ruling SPLM turned violent. The IGAD-led peace talks have so far failed to halt the violence amid repeated delays and disagreements over key issues.


Zimbabwe – Grace Mugabe’s rise to power and pole position in succession race

Daily Vox/allAfrica


Bulawayo — Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe makes her grand entrance into politics following her recent nomination as national secretary of the ruling party’s Women’s League through a sensational two week-long crusade around the country, whipping supporters into a frenzy and ruffling the feathers of Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Tapping into party grievances and adopting the Zanu-PF Youth League’s anti-factionalist slogans to rally support for her husband, Mrs Mugabe’s movement up the Zanu-PF ladder adds a new twist to the battle for the president’s succession.

As Africa’s oldest leader, Mugabe has been in power since his country’s independence in 1980 and turns 91 in four months, while his 49-year-old wife launches her political career through a whirlwind of rallies.

As sole nominee for party leader, Mr Mugabe is up for re-election at the Zanu-PF congress in December and is expected to steer the nationalist front to elections in 2018 when he will be 94, while Mrs Mugabe, a controversial PhD holder, takes up the reins of the Women’s League later this month.

The First Lady’s relationship with the veteran president began as an extra-marital affair during his marriage to his first wife Sally (nee Hayfron) Mugabe, a Ghanaian who died of a kidney ailment in 1992. The two had a secret wedding in 1996. With no named political heir, no living siblings and three children with Mr Mugabe, Mrs Mugabe’s political rise could be seen as an attempt to establish a family dynasty and to rout out the sitting president’s enemies within the party.

Styled in the manner of Mugabe’s “Meet the People Tour”, which is traditionally held in month preceding an election year, Mrs Mugabe and her entourage went from province to province meeting supporters, dishing out hampers of food and farm implements, and promising to deliver at least 50 tonnes of seed in two provinces.

The Grace Mugabe rallies have infused a new energy and feeling of excitement into the party. She holds some appeal with the public, despite public criticism over her extravagance, which has earned her the nicknames The First Shopper or Dis-Grace.

Backed by Zanu-PF’s Youth League, the Women’s League and a group of wealthy, young ministers, Grace Mugbe’s rallies were aimed at reuniting and re-energising the divided party and putting an end to factional battles.

But the gatherings have thrown her into the centre of a spectacle, taking Zanu-PF’s catfights and gang battles to a new level. Mrs Mugabe has indirectly called for the removal of the vice president, accusing her of corruption and factionalism. The First Lady has also whipped up support from the youth for party heavyweights while calling for Mujuru’s removal.

The vice president also became a PhD holder controversially.

Mujuru was ushered into power by her late ex-husband, the influential army general Solomon Mujuru. She leads one of two main factions competing to succeed Mugabe in the event of his death or retirement from power.

Until a few weeks ago, this faction was considered the stronger contender, but the launch of the First Lady’s political career and influence within the youth league has challenged the Mujuru bloc and revived the waning minority group led by Minister of Justice Emmerson Mnangagwa, 68.

Tipped to be Mugabe’s successor, Mnangagwa, a trained lawyer and former head of the secret service, is backed by Zimbabwe’s security chiefs. His ties to the country’s feared military and Central Intelligence Organisation, which have both been accused of mass human rights abuses, make Mnangagwa appear a more brutal choice for succession to Mrs Mugabe.

Neither Mujuru or Mnangagwa have openly declared their desire to take the reins of power, but the rise of the president’s wife has injected a new life and energy into the faction led by Mnangagwa, while indirectly demanding an apology or the ousting of Mujuru who is accused of fanning factionalism and engaging in corruption.

Once the youngest minister in Mugabe’s first cabinet in 1980, Mujuru, a former liberation fighter, now appears to be a scapegoat for the deeply divided party’s problems.

Poking fun at Mujuru, the state press have run headlines such as “On your bike ma’am” and “Mujuru to learn of her fate” suggesting her time in power is up. The corruption and factionalism allegations against the vice president are reportedly on the agenda of this week’s party politburo meeting, scheduled for Thursday, the main purpose of which is to discuss Zanu-PF’s election guidelines for the party’s upcoming Congress.

Among the issues under review are the eligibility requirements for senior party posts. These are expected to create some advantages for the Mnangagwa-led camp. It’s unclear what could unfold in this week’s meeting, which was deferred to Friday, but Mujuru will not be ousted overnight, despite the wishes of her accusers. She still has support within the party and holds the deputy leader post until year-end when the position goes up for re-election.

Mrs Mugabe, on the other hand, has a long way to go within the party ranks, but she has made no secret of her political ambitions. Basking in the national spotlight, she has used her rallies to gush over her achievements and reveal her divine presidential aspirations.

“When I was approached to come into politics and lead the women, one day I saw a vision of me ruling the heavenly kingdom. I’m here today witnessing it and I have decided to take up the challenge,” she told a rally of thousands in the south-western city of Masvingo last week.

Mrs Mugabe’s musings may be little more than self-indulgence, but her political aspirations are now known. It’s unclear at this stage whether she will be able to bend the country’s eligibility rules and throw her hat in the ring in December. Current guidelines require candidates for senior posts to have served 15 consecutive years, however these rules are currently under review by the politburo.

However the thought of Grace as president inspires little confidence among some Zimbabweans, who see her as too meddlesome and too extravagant.

Jane Nleya, 43, an accountant from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, said: “We are in trouble, we won’t survive with this woman in charge, it’s better if Mugabe just stays in power”.

Yet Zanu-PF member Liberty Mpofu, 27, from the small town of Kwekwe, told the Daily Vox: “Grace is our beautiful Mother of the Nation, she has done a lot for the disabled and the children. She doesn’t have the skills to lead this country but she is bringing the people back to Mugabe.”

Behind closed doors, Zanu-PF loyalists are rallying around the veteran leader, but it seems like the knives are out for Mujuru. Some analysts see Grace’s tension with Mujuru as a proxy for bigger forces who want the vice president out.

Junior politickers who have made no secret of their allegiance to the Mugabes, were part of Grace’s large entourage. The outgoing head of the Women’s League, Oppah Muchinguri, a close friend and ally of the First Lady, is rumoured to have her sights set on becoming party vice president or secretary for administration, posing a direct challenge to Mujuru.

On the Grace tours, she was accompanied by the Women’s League, as well as a group of five younger ministers and MPs such as Mugabe’s nephew and the wealthy ministers of transport, information and environmental affairs. All five once belonged to Generation 40, a group of forty-something leaders loyal to Mugabe.

An unpolished speaker who falters in her speech and struggles with Ndebele, the First Lady, who infamously assaulted a photographer at a high-end department store in Hong Kong, has found a way to reinvent herself.

Flanked by her bodyguards and a bevy of women in pro-Mugabe java print dresses and headwraps, Mrs Mugabe has taken advantage of Zanu-PF’s long-running factionalism and succession battles and presented herself as another option.

Keen to preserve the Mugabe legacy and known to use her First Lady status to play politics, Mrs Mugabe enters politics on a high note as Queen of the Party signaling there could be more drama ahead as Zanu-PF grapples with internal division and charting it’s future after Mugabe.

Tendai Marima is a freelance journalist and academic researcher. Follow her on Twitter.    allAfrica

South Africa – growing rift between Zuma and Mantashe in ANC

Mail and Guardian

The M&G spoke to several sources who all painted a picture of the ANC president openly at odds with his secretary general.

At loggerheads: Top level ANC sources say the tension between Gwede Mantashe and President Jacob Zuma is intensifying. (Oupa Nkosi)

President Jacob Zuma has sidelined ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, openly undermining him and directing Cabinet ministers to defy him.

The Mail & Guardian spoke to several ANC national executive committee (NEC) sources – independently of each other – who all painted a picture of Zuma openly at odds with Mantashe.

This is a stark departure from Zuma’s first term, before the ANC’s Mangaung conference in 2012, when Mantashe played the role of an unofficial “prime minister” and strongly backed Zuma.

Now Mantashe is seen as a threat to Zuma and his KwaZulu-Natal backers’ succession plans for when Zuma’s term ends in 2017. ANC members in Mantashe’s home province of the Eastern Cape have made clear their support for him to become ANC deputy president, a plan at odds with the Zuma faction’s ambitions.

But Mantashe says there appears to be a campaign to drive a wedge between him and the president. “That is what they are praying for,” he told the M&G this week.

Clearly aware of the claims of a growing rift, Mantashe said it was something some NEC members “wished for”. One of the contributing factors for the apparent rift is Mantashe’s propensity to speak his mind on ANC matters. The secretary general noted that, although he enjoyed freedom of speech, he was not petty. “I am organisational, I am not petty,” he said.

The tension between the two men seems to be intensifying, according to the NEC sources. Two members said Mantashe was increasingly marginalised by Zuma and his allies. And a former ANC top official said he believed the fight was getting worse.

One NEC member said Zuma appears to be on the warpath against Mantashe in an effort to “save his legacy” and “get more friends” – even if that means not toeing the party line as set out by Mantashe.

The sources detailed numerous incidents that demonstrate how Zuma advised his allies, including Cabinet ministers, to oppose Mantashe. “If the president says something and the secretary general says something else, we will listen to the president,” one source said.

Many of the allegations are based on anecdotal and behind-closed-doors interactions between the two men, but a number of incidents confirm the growing tension.

In June, Mantashe was vehemently opposed to a task team announced by then newly appointed Minister of Mineral Resources Nkgoako Ramatlhodi to mediate in the five-month-long platinum strike.

One source, significantly close to the matter, said Mantashe and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) – Mantashe was previously a general secretary of the union – were firm that government should not intervene in the strike.

They appeared to have argued that government’s intervention would legitimise what they called a “violent Amcu” [the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union]. Amcu, the NUM’s rival, led the violent strike that brought the platinum industry to a standstill.

Mantashe was not coy about this sentiment, repeatedly saying at the time that Amcu was supported by “foreign forces” and “outsiders”.

But despite Mantashe’s reservation, Ramatlhodi pushed ahead, and formed the technical task team – after being emboldened by a directive from Zuma. The source noted that Ramatlhodi went to Zuma’s office in Pretoria where he explained what he (Ramatlhodi) described as a “desperate situation” and was then given the nod by Zuma to intervene.

It emerged that Zuma went as far as directing Ramatlhodi to ignore Mantashe’s objection and to form the task team. At a subsequent NEC subcommittee meeting on mineral resources, Ramatlhodi was reprimanded for not abiding by Mantashe’s instructions. This was done by an NEC member aligned to Mantashe.

Ramatlhodi apparently noted in that meeting that as a member of the executive he took his instructions from Zuma and not Mantashe. He added that he did what he thought was “best for the country”.

But this week Mantashe denied trying to dissuade Ramatlhodi from intervening in the deadlock in the platinum sector. “We met Ramatlhodi as officials in the middle of the intervention,” he said.

During national elections in May, the ANC in Gauteng got a hammering from voters, ostensibly over the introduction of e-tolls in the province. Newly elected premier David Makhura set up a panel to review the tolls, but Mantashe was vehemently opposed to it, saying the scheme had been initiated and implemented by the ANC government.

Makhura pushed ahead anyway, and it emerged that he went to Zuma, who gave him permission to review the controversial e-tolls. This visit to get Zuma’s approval was confirmed by ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile.

“People say the president is unhappy about it [e-tolls]. But he is the first person who was consulted and he gave the go-ahead,” Mashatile said after the ANC’s provincial conference earlier this month.

In an interview with City Press last week, Mantashe again reprimanded the Gauteng leadership for taking on the mother party. “If you have an issue, you don’t raise it publicly and threaten the ANC,” Mantashe was quoted as saying.

Two senior ANC sources said that in addition to the approval about the e-tolls by Zuma, it was then further discussed with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

But this week Mantashe denied being opposed to the e-toll review panel: “I did not meet the premier of Gauteng. He came to the office when I was not here. He met with the deputy secretary general [Jessie Duarte, a close Zuma ally], who gave him the go-ahead,” he said.

The ANC in Gauteng has now called for the scrapping of the controversial e-tolls and has sided with opposition parties to figure out how best to settle the infrastructure debt. The ANC almost lost Gauteng in the May general election, with opinion polls citing the e-tolls as an electoral turn off.

But the most damning bone of contention between Zuma and Mantashe has been the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the SABC’s chief operating officer.

The M&G reported in July this year that the communications minister, Faith Muthambi, got a directive from Zuma to ratify Motsoeneng’s appointment. Mantashe told the M&G then that the ANC was opposed to the appointment.

Two other sources in the top leadership of the ANC said the friction between Zuma and Mantashe over this matter has not died down.

“The SG [Mantashe] is still very open about it, that the president made the wrong instruction about appointing Hlaudi,” one source said.

The same source added that Mantashe argued that the directive to appoint Motsoeneng had affected the public’s confidence in the ruling party. M&G

Mali becomes sixth West African country to be hit by ebola


Mali becomes sixth West African nation hit by Ebola

BAMAKO Fri Oct 24, 2014

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola on Thursday, becoming the sixth West African country to be touched by the worst outbreak on record of the haemorrhagic fever, which has killed nearly 4,900 people.

Mali’s Health Minister Ousmane Kone told state television that the patient in the western town of Kayes was a two-year-old girl who had recently arrived from neighbouring Guinea, where the outbreak began.

“The condition of the girl, according to our services, is improving thanks to her rapid treatment,” the minister told state television.

A health ministry official, who asked not to be identified, said the girl’s mother died in Guinea a few weeks ago and the baby was brought by relatives to the Malian capital Bamako, where she stayed for 10 days in the Bagadadji neighbourhood before heading to Kayes.

A ministry statement said the girl, who came from the Guinean town of Kissidougou, was admitted at the Fousseyni Daou hospital in Kayes on Wednesday night, where she was promptly tested for Ebola.

People who came into contact with the patient in Kayes have been identified and placed under watch, the minister said, but he appealed to any person who believed they may have had contact with the girl to step forward.

The vast majority of the deaths and nearly 10,000 cases of the disease have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Small outbreaks also spread to Senegal and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, but they have since been declared Ebola-free by the WHO.

The official numbers are known to be under-reported and the true death toll may be three times as much, the WHO said this week.

A completely separate outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa also appears to have been contained. Reuters