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Old Threats to New Leaders in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe

MIN READJun 29, 2018 | 07:59 GMT

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses a rally behind protective glass in Addis Ababa on June 23.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses a rally behind protective glass in Addis Ababa on June 23. He later survived an attempted assassination unharmed.

(YONAS TADESSE/AFP/Getty Images)

Hand grenades were thrown during the final moments of two rallies in Africa on June 23: at a huge gathering for Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, and at an election rally for Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. On the surface, there are clear parallels between the two attacks: Two new and ambitious African leaders and their supporters were targeted by reactionary forces. However, the attacks, their likely perpetrators and the motivations behind them fit into more specific contexts. And perhaps most crucially is the outcome: The failed assassination attempts will not slow the men they were intended to kill. According to both governments, Abiy will press forward with Ethiopia's economic and political openings as will Mnangagwa with Zimbabwe's July 30 elections....

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