"It Is Not My Time" Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa Says After Failed Assassination Bid; In Ethiopia, PM Was Also Near a Blast

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Still captured from video posted on Zimbabwe Herald's website
 
In a peculiar concidence Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has survived what the authorities say was an assassination attempt after a bomb went off near his exit path after he had addressed an election rally; and, separately on the same day a grenade was tossed at a rally addressed by Ethiopia's popular young prime minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed.
 
Both incidents happened Saturday in the two countries, Zimbabwe, in Southern Africa and Ethiopia, in East Africa, separated by thousands of miles. 
 
In Zimbabwe video of the incident taken at the scene shows Mnangagwa waving to supporters as he walked off a podium, followed by other officials of his ruling ZANU-PF party and soldiers who are guarding him. As soon as he's off the stage, there is an explosion and a cloud of dust envelopes him and others. People are shown running in different directions. President Mnangagwa is not visible. 
 
Later, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Mnangagwa was evacuated safely from the area and that an investigation has already been launched into what authorities say was an assassination attempt. Some party officials were reported to have sustained injuries from the blast. Mnangagwa himself said he was very close to the point of the explosion but that it "is not my time." He also said: "I am used to these attempts."
 
Mnangagwa, who is 75, later tweeted: "While we await further information, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence. The campaign has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections."
 
Fifteen people were injured from the explosion which was in an opposition stronghold city, Bulawayo, some seriously, according to the country's minister of health. 
 
Mnangagwa became president after the armed forces eased out long-serving president Robert Mugabe from power last November. Mnangawa is seeking his own mandate and is the ZANU-PF candidate in next month's elections. Morgan Tsvangirai, the long-time leader of the main opposition party, MDC, died earlier this year of cancer. 
 
Nelson Chamisa, the opposition presidential candidate, condemned the attack. 
 
Separately, on the same day, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the authorities report that Prime Minister Abiy, who is 42, had finished speaking and was departing the stage at a rally attended by thousands of supporters when a man who wanted to toss a grenade at him was held back by ordinary people in the crowd, leading to the blast. The country's minister of information later reported one death and 155 injuries --nine critically-- from the blast. 
 
Abiy Ahmed later said: "Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat. To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded."
 
Nine police officials have been arrested, according to the authorities.  
 
Abiy Ahmed's reforms are very popular in the country. Political analysts say there are some in the governing coalition who have been unnerved by the swift pace of liberalization and democratization in Ethiopia.
 
In both Zimbabwe and Ethiopia the U.S. embassies issued statements through Twitter condemning the attacks. 
 
 
 
 

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