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Weak Parliaments, Corruption and Primitive Banking Systems in Sub Saharan Africa Are a Good Haven for Terrorism

zwnews24 Editor

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Ansar al Sunna is the name of the Islamist group which is wreaking havoc in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique where the government have been using COIN (counter insurgency) and law enforcement tactics to deal with the group since the eruption of violence in 2017. 

Violence in Mozambique has intensified with the increased presence of foreign nations, observably following the discovery of gas reserves whose exploration rights where given to Exxon Mobil, the American oil behemoth.

The modus operandi of this Islamist group has a similar theme as witnessed in North Africa primarily Niger Delta where an increase in western troops primarily from France has seen a spike in violence and increased sophistication of MO, objectives and escalation of demands whilst sources of recruitment seems to be unending and attacks getting daring by the day.


The Mozambican government is tackling the insurgency with the help of the Russians using sophisticated equipment but with less intelligence about the terrain they are operating in and thus the extremists have been able to disarm the poorly trained and coordinated Mozambican army, seizing most military hardware in the process.

Disturbingly, especially for the SADC region, Ansar al Sunna, while intensifying their attacks and proliferating violence, has begun to move inland towards mainland Mozambique (as if in the direction of neighbouring Zimbabwe).

Their agenda seems to be a bit religious even though their presence in resource rich areas raises a worrying pattern following the defeat of IS in Raqqa and Mosul where they had access to oil revenue. 

These extremists are using MACHETES to behead civilians, coupled with firearms which they are utilising to achieve a sinister objective. 

It must be noted that amongst a repertoire of tactics, kidnappings form a critical component of revenue generations of these extremist entities and as such, the US has been warning its citizens to be on the alert within this region.

Mozambique is proving to be inefficient and incompetent at tackling the growing terrorist insurgency since its reaction to this disturbing development has been slow, mechanical and pathetic, not forgetting a media ban on what is happening. 

The mentioned terrorist group is able to recruit from former Mozambican army soldiers and former police members, a pattern which is omnipresent within southern Africa, where, due to economic hardships, soldiers are flocking to greener pastures in search of economic posterity. 

Over and above that, corruption is acting as a risk intensifier and this has raised fears of an all regional escalation, with general evidence to prove that ex Zimbabwean soldiers are behind a slew of armed robberies that occur in South Africa.


The response to this chaos has been reactive and shows a region unprepared with handling this asymmetric threat. Like I warned repeatedly about the MaShurugwi madness, the evolution of violence is systematic, gradual and well-coordinated. 

A review of ‘expert analysis’ by elements from ‘renowned entities ‘ within the region shows lack of appreciation and total divorce to global terrorism trends, architecture and how the threat is manifesting in Sub Saharan Africa and now southern Africa. 

These ‘career analysts’ are responsible for misinforming regional governments, no wonder the pathetic response by SADC and lack of information as to the danger being posed by this extremist violence.

Money laundering forms a critical component of survival of these terror entities but we are thus not as effective as we are supposed to be to deter and mute money laundering because most of our banking protocols within the SADC region excluding South Africa are still using Basel I accords. 

This is why I felt that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is now a threat to regional and national security due to its lack of effectiveness, reactive policies and naivety which only helps promote money laundering.

For example, our stock markets are being used as safe havens for speculation by these terror sleeper cells whilst bitcoin, whose rewards I believe are high in Zimbabwe, gives another avenue for lucrative profits. 

A thriving black-market is just what is conducive to these criminals for them to make and generate revenue without being detected even though expertise and security sense points out to the existence of well-coordinated terror cells not only from the proxy, Ansar Al Sunna but also IS within the region. 

Weak legislation and monitoring have meant that Sub Saharan Africa becomes a haven for their operations as they can be able to generate revenue much easily as opposed to oil rich countries where interests are high and systems are developed and integrated.

No wonder I warned about the need to take me seriously when I was talking about the MaShurugwi issue. Some excitable and less informed characters would think I am a Chipopi defending Zanu PF but I was consistent and unyielding as I sought to enlighten that what we are witnessing is not only politically driven violence but also the evolution of a terror phenomenon which our systems can’t comprehend at this juncture. 

I remember being brutal in my revulsion for our useless Zimbabwean parliament citing that we elect people to sing yet we are faced with a dangerous situation demanding immediate attention. 

I was clear and straightforward that we need new institutions with the wherewithal to face these asymmetric threats whilst at the same time we must not rely on the law enforcement approach being used at this juncture to control anarchy within the mineral sector.

It’s no coincidence that attacks occurred within that sector and just like in Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger Delta etc., and the trend within Sub Saharan Africa is clear.

It’s now high time we have a national coordinated response to this scourge before we are caught napping because at the moment, our military in its current state won’t survive ambush attacks or even full-scale operations aimed at looting weapons from our armoury especially in isolated military outposts.

We need to strengthen our institutions. I have been saying this. Ignore political reforms mantra. What I am talking of is the real business. 

We are in for it, if we don’t strengthen our institutions. Our civil servants are corrupt and you must stand guided that Al Shebaab has been able to infiltrate into Kenya and wage attacks on such institutions like Garisa University and Westgate Mall amongst others due to collusion and corruption. 

A look at the recently released TI Corruption Index paints a gloomy picture since most Sub Saharan African states has been listed among the most corrupt. 

With an average score of around 32/100, Africa ranks as the most corrupt region and Zimbabwe got a very concerning score of 24 while our Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is playing lip service to the threatening prevalence of corruption in our country.

The threat of terrorism is real, immediate and extremely dangerous and thus my advice is that we must be united and engage each other towards influencing policy makers to listen to our voices when it comes to critical issues that affect our society rather than being lured into the trap of Twitter trolls who are only able to divide us without offering solutions.

We must enhance cyber abilities lest we are going to be caught napping when dealing with such a serious issue which demands that we must think on our toes.

Now that the threat is closer to home and attention is being generated, I have been vindicated and so, now I am focusing solely on the evolution of terrorism in Southern Africa since people are beginning to notice the threat, whereas, before, to some, I was just sounding like a broken record. 

Forewarned is forearmed!

Tawanda David Gotami: MBA (UZ), Bsc Hons Intelligence and Security Studies (BUSE), Certificate in Counter Violent Extremism, Insurgency and Cyber Warfare (National Security College, Australia National University), now pursuing a Master of Defence in Asymmetric Warfare with a thrust on Terrorism, Insurgency and Cyber Warfare at Indonesia Defence University. Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation.

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Africa

Military Interventions Are Failing To Counter Extremist Insurgency

Sapien Sapien

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Military interventions have manifestly failed, time and time again, to be effective as regards counter insurgency. These interventions are adopted under the guise of some multilateral arrangements or with the disguised blessing or direct of the UNSC.

For context purposes, let’s start the discussion with the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia, held under the blessings of an entire UNSC resolutions, Res 2472 that authorized AU member states to use military force to intervene and counter the Al Shebaab insurgency in 2007.

This military centric approach was to last, ostensibly for six months but has been renewed time and time again whilst the level of violence in Somalia and troop contributing countries has only but increased.

The recent Global Terrorism Index (2020) shows that Somalia is beset by instances of terrorism whilst numerous forays by Al Shebaab into Kenya (Westgate Shopping Mall and Garisa University Asymmetric terror attacks) proves that retributive violent incursions into troop contributing countries is a menace that can be seen to be a direct by-product of military centric approaches to regional crisis.

The events in the Niger Delta where France, probably per the doctrine of R2P has been militarily entangled highlights that this one size fits all approach to COIN is not effective as it is parroted to be

The Comminique released by SADC in Botswana also sought to address issues of troop contribution to Mozambique.

Therein lies the challenge. The triumvirate trio of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola, under the auspices of regional integration and national sovereignty intervened, militarily, in the DRC (Operation Sovereign Legitimacy) in 1998.

The intervention was directly responsible for the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy (Black Friday Market Crash), descent into anarchy and chaos of the hybrid post-colonial state, escalation of violence in the Great Lakes region and a rise in fragile states within the greater equator zone.

The proliferated increase in arms of war resulted in the emergence of warlord (e.g. Bosco Ndagana, Wamba dia Wamba) and subsequent assassination of LD Kabila.

The SADC led intervention did not manage to bring peace and stability into the war ravaged country yet 18 years after Zimbabwe pulled out of the Congo at the behest of SADC, the country is part of an agenda and international conspiracy to intervene again. No lessons learnt.

Any involvement of foreign troops in a COIN initiative is guaranteed to be a cataclysmic failure. The rapture and related chaos to follow gives traction to this analogy.

Hyper nationalism is clear. People generally despise foreign military presence.

The Sunni Insurgency of 2003-2013 in Iraq gave us good lessons. Despite being told and made to believe that foreign troops under the guise of the Bush Doctrine are going to be seeking to restore democracy which was alleged to have been masterbated upon by Saddam Hussein, the people of Iraq said no to foreign occupation, rose up, took up arms and the resultant anarchy led to the emergency of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, founder of modern day IS.

The by-product of military intervention is clear:

  1. More gangs
  2. More anarchy
  3. Less stability
  4. More chaos
  5. More deaths
  6. Regional escalation

I will not even mention Libya and that NATO led intervention.

For context, the insurgency in Cabo Delgado is clearly LOCALIZED with the direct risk of escalating into a Boko Haram kind of scenario once foreign troops are involved.

Definitely Mozambique needs help but that help must be in the form of capacity building and enhancement programs aimed at ensuring that the country has got institutions and systems capable of muting in the bud the escalating violence.

There are many ways of engaging in COIN. Clearly, there is a need to mix COIN approaches by the Mozambicans themselves, the thrust being to put more emphasis on civilian centric approaches and gelling it with law enforcement thrust.

Cost of cooperation must be made high meaning that decapitation measures of attrition ought to be successfully implemented whilst respecting human rights. This has been done before.

We saw this in Sri Lanka. The 26 year old Tamil Insurgency wad muted by a home grown COIN thrust as directed by the Rajakpaksa Model.

No foreign troops were involved. The death of Prabakaran signaled the end of the insurgency. This is what SADC ought to appreciate.

Reprisal attacks in many of these porous bordered SADC states will make economies collapse. Imagine the negative ramifications say to tourism of one tourist resort center is attacked.

A more pragmatic way of doing it outside of the usage of guns and tanks is the institutional/law enforcement thrust

Definitely, the SADC Communique represents a dedicated belief in the efficacy of multilateralism to resolve domestic challenges but that again, has got its limits.

To understand these limits and thence predict prognosis, the Asymmetric Warfare Equation shall be used:-

The asymmetric warfare equation is thus

AW=Asymmetric Threat (AT) + Asymmetric Operations (AO) + Cultural Asymmetry (CA) + Asymmetric Cost (AC)

Simplified

AW= AT +AO + CA+AC

Are there any asymmetric operations currently underway in Moz? Yes!

  1. Diplomacy (EU etc.)
  2. Military (Wagner Group, Dyke et al)
  3. Economic sabotage (e.g. takeover of Mocimba de Pria port)

The last two aspects of the equation paint a gory picture as to cost of intervention.

Definitely, IPB (intelligence preparation of battlefield) already is making it clear that military centric COIN even per countries with strong defense budgets, shall be extreme.

Use Afghanistan and Boko Haram for there is definite similarities. As regards that, Zimbabwe does not have capacity, e.g. it needed SA engineers to help us rehabilitate broken infrastructure brought about by the asymmetric event, Idai.

What are the cultural issues per cultural asymmetry in the restive region of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique?

  1. Values (Islamic)
  2. Norms
  3. Rules
  4. Target population (demographics and structural issues indicate sympathy to the insurgency cause)

Thrust;

Is there an asymmetric threat in Mozambique? Yes

What form/kind?

  1. Terrorism
  2. Insurgency
  3. Information warfare
  4. Disruptive threats (Idai)
  5. Unknown threats e.g. Climate Change induced

We are alien to Islamic values. It will quickly escalate into a religious conflict. Check Armenia vs Azerbaijan and related alliances that are emerging.

What are the likely costs to be incurred by any intervention (AC)

  1. Cost of action (Indonesian incursion into East Timor costed an equivalent of 50% of its GDP. Forced to quit. Same as the Rhodesians and also operation sovereign legitimacy by Zim in DRC)
  2. Cost of defense

Prognosis of intervention:

POOR

Our border with Mozambique (+/-1000) is too long and porous for guerilla warfare to be defeated.

Our capacity ravaged due to sanctions and amplified vices such as corruption. Per doctrine we are ok but anything post that dololo (nothing).

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Africa

Chifamba’s Alleged Illegal Immigrant Status Takes a New Twist.

Own Correspondent

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The Court was told by an investigator in the Department of Home Affairs that the 25 March 2020 dated stamp which was on the passport of Setheo Engineering’s Brighton Chifamba was in truth and fact, fraudulent.

However, former Acting Director General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr T. Mavuso clarified the misunderstanding in a conversation with one of our correspondence today.

He pointed that contrary to the assertion made under oath by the investigator, the stamp of 25 March 2020 did not need to be endorsed as the date of re-entry fell within the 90 days maximum allowable exemption period for Zimbabweans visiting South Africa.

“The maximum period allowable for Zimbabweans to travel on a visa free basis was 90 days and if a person spends 10 days for example during the first visit, it means the person will have a credit of 80 days to visit SA without needing a visa and each time the person visits, no endorsement will be required.” He explained

Mr. E. Banda, Managing Director of law firm, Banda and Associates said: “I am not sure how the Magistrate presiding over the bail hearing is going to take it when he discovers that the Court could have been intentionally and deliberately lied to in order to induce it to make a ruling that is not in the interests of justice.”

“Based on the audio with Mr. Mavuso, it is clear that the Court was misled into believing that Mr Chifamba’s entry stamp was fraudulent and as such he was in the country illegally. After attending the bail hearing, I could not help as the question as to whether the misrepresentation made to Court was intentional or a consequence of ignorance on the part of the Home Affairs official,” said a member of the C2C initiative.

At the core of the Setheo saga is an allegation of unjust enrichment caused by purported inducement made to 2 dismissed City Power officials to fraudulently pay an amount of R66 million to Setheo with nothing to show for it

Contrary to this allegation, it is Setheo’s case in a pending civil matter against City Power that the cancellation of the contract between the two parties at the instigation of the former Mayor, Herman Mashaba, was ultra vires the law and no facts justified the allegations in the criminal matter.

The heads of arguments by the NPA and Chifamba’s attorney will be presented tomorrow and the Magistrate is expected to make a ruling thereafter on the bail application.

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Africa

South Africa’s NPA 3 Year Long Setheo Investigation Ridiculous – Advocate Banda

Own Correspondent

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In response to questions on the circumstances leading to the arrest of Brighton Chifamba, a foreman who worked for South Africa’s Setheo Engineering on the Eldorado substation, the NPA’s Ms. Mjonondwane hinted on the imminence of more arrests as investigations are still being carried on a corruption case that has been ongoing for around three years.

The upgrading of the Eldorado substation was abruptly stopped as ordered by South Africa’s former Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, following a dispute relating to allegations that City Power had paid R66 million to a contractor, Setheo in 2016 while no work was done.

Two Setheo directors and two City Power employees were then arrested and after 12 appearances in Court, the charges were provisionally withdrawn.

“It is the decision made in 2016 to arrest suspects without any prima facie grounds and evidently prior to the completion of investigations by the Hawks that must be interrogated here. One would have expected that after three years, investigations would have long been finalized. For the NPA to suggest that investigations are still ongoing is ludicrous,” said Mr. Banda, an attorney who is closely following the case.

In an article titled “Who Is Who and What Is What In The Brighton Chifamba, City of Joburg, Setheo and City Power Case?” written by Brian Kazungu, an editor of an online publication, iniAfrica.com, he said that the NPA was yet to respond on clarity sought on the matter since the spokesperson was waiting for a go ahead on draft responses.

Iniafrica.com reported Mrs Phindi Mjonondwane, the NPA Spokesperon to have said “I saw your email, I am still waiting for a CCU to respond and check if my draft response is correct because what you are asking is evidential material and the matter is subjudicae, so they are just checking my response and if I am in order, we will be able to respond as soon as possible”.

The upgrading of Chifamba’s title in relation to the Eldorado Park project has been questioned because it has been confirmed that his role was that of foreman with no direct reporting links to the targeted Setheo directors.

The NPA is also reported to be pinning its hopes on the pending bail hearing of Chifamba based on an allegation that Chifamba was at all along an illegal immigrant.

Chifamba who is said to have voluntarily presented himself to the police at Palm Ridge on 12 October 2020 has been confirmed to have been on a valid 90 day temporary visa whose expiry was due during the Covid period.

The Department of Home Affairs whose official testified at the bail hearing argued that the entry visa in Chifamba’s passport on 25 March 2020 was fraudulent in that it was endorsed as was the case in relation to the stamp of 6 March 2020.

Chifamba’s lawyer however asserted that the visa was legitimate and no endorsement was necessary as his 6 March stamp was still valid and in any event the 25 March entry was within the maximum exemption period of 90 days per year granted to Zimbabweans.

A close relative to Chifamba said that is pathetic that the NPA would attempt to cling to straws as a bait to force Brighton to be a state witness on a case that the NPA has failed to establish after three years of investigating whether fraud was in truth and fact committed.

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