‘Not a coup’ in Zimbabwe

There is confusion over whether there is a military coup taking place in Zimbabwe, but it seems likely that Robert Mugabe is being replaced as president.

Time: Zimbabwe’s Military Has Taken Control of the Capital

After a night of confusion in which tanks rolled onto the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, the country’s military said early Wednesday that it had taken President Robert Mugabe into custody. While the armed forces appear now to be effectively in control of the city, a military spokesperson took to the airwaves to insist that what just happened was not a coup d’etat.

“We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover,” the spokesperson said on a nationwide broadcast after soldiers took over a state-run television channel. “We are only targeting criminals around [Mugabe] who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.”

The spokesperson also said the military guaranteed the security of Mugabe and his wife, and sought to reassure the public the situation would soon “return to normalcy.”

The crisis was caused by a power struggle over who would succeed the 93-year-old dictator. It also marks the end of the political aspirations of Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, Grace Mugabe, who is reportedly in custody with him.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that armed soldiers in armored vehicles had been stationed throughout the capital, and that at least three explosions were heard. Soldiers then took over the headquarters of the state broadcaster and announced that they were now in charge as the president and his wife were detained.

The military’s intervention comes less than 48-hours after the army commander warned that he would “step in” to calm political tension should a recent purge of government officials continue, and about one week after Mugabe sacked his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Is it a coup?

That depends on who you ask. It has all the hallmarks of one, including foreign embassies issuing warnings to its nationals and the takeover of a national broadcaster, but the military insists that it is not a takeover.

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, which is funded by the government, praised the military’s action as “a bloodless correction of gross abuse of power,” according to the Associated Press.

What now?

Experts speculate that Mugabe will be held as a figurehead until a new ZANU-PF leader is anointed. “The military, using the leverage gained from the insurrection, is likely to broker a power sharing deal and transitional agreement between President Mugabe and former VP Mnangagwa” IHS Markit Analyst Theophilus Acheampong says in an email. “Mnangagwa is likely to lead a transitional government, which will likely be composed of his allies including former finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.”

It may take some time to see what the end result is, but it will be a big change if the rule of Mugabe has ended.

 

20 Comments

  1. Missy

     /  November 16, 2017

    uncorroborated, but the Guardian’s journalist in Africa tweeted this earlier today.

    If true then it seems that there will be a seamless transfer of power and no elections required.

    • Missy

       /  November 16, 2017

      I should say, not elections required in short term. I would suggest that if this is true then there will be elections once everything has settled down. Though to be fair this sounds like the most civilised coup ever!

      • Corky

         /  November 16, 2017

        You inadvertently posted a picture of an albino girl. Apparently they are treated poorly in Africa. Some are even killed.

        • Missy

           /  November 16, 2017

          I did not ‘inadvertently’ post a picture of anything, I posted a link to a tweet from a journalist in Africa who included a link to a story from the Guardian.

          It is interesting that is what you decided to focus on though, it is irrelevant as the young woman does not appear to be being mistreated, in fact it looks like the soldiers are letting her past.

          • Corky

             /  November 16, 2017

            I will rephrase:

            The tweet and link to a link you posted above has inadvertently captured an image of an albino girl.. Apparently they are treated poorly in Africa. Some are even killed. The girl stood out in vast contrast to the rest of the above image. I couldn’t help but notice her

            • Well, she does stand out, but that isn’t what most of us would focus on. Two girls walking behind a tank, one black, one pale,,,the point to me was that the girls were walking through unhindered.

            • Corky

               /  November 16, 2017

              Corky..remind yourself you live in a parallel universe . When looking at an image please only view it in the context of the subject matter.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 16, 2017

    The country is buggered by the old bugger. Fixing it will take a lot more than changing the liar at the top.

  3. Corky

     /  November 16, 2017

    If a new progressive President is elected(?), he will have to kick start the economy. To do that will require ”white people”. People who unfortunately were booted off their land; land that is now bush and producing nothing for the economy. Robert Guyton calls it ”living with nature.”

    That will be the first big test. Kicking deadbeats off productive land. Next will come an apology to white folk and trying to tempt them back to Zimbabwe.

    If a new government can get this right, Zimbabwe could become an economic African powerhouse.

    • Gerrit

       /  November 16, 2017

      I would not go to the extend of calling “white” people back. I would suggest that the “right” people (and no, not right wing as per political persuasion) be called in the help.

      White people don’t have a mortgage on being able to transform a nation.

      • Corky

         /  November 16, 2017

        ”White people don’t have a mortgage on being able to transform a nation.”

        I agree. But I would say on the African continent they do.

        • They have no business being there taking over in the first place and making laws that discriminate the Africans, not to mention stripping all the assets.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  November 16, 2017

            Stripping assets was what Mugabe’s thugs did to the farmers, not what the white farmers did to the land. In fact the VP said to be going to takeover has said he wants to bring white farmers back. It will take a lot more than talk to make that happen.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 16, 2017

              What about the gold in South Africa ? Who did that ?

              The whites even had the nerve to name places after themselves.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 16, 2017

              Do you think they should have left gold and diamonds in the ground then?

              Why on earth shouldn’t they name places after themselves?????

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 16, 2017

              The VP in line to take over Zimbabwe was blamed for killing 20,000 people in the 1980s. Seems a tad more blameworthy. Heavens knows how many Mugabe killed.

          • Blazer

             /  November 16, 2017

            go to bed ,before you get absolutely whipped,KC in..HAMILTON.

      • David

         /  November 16, 2017

        “White people don’t have a mortgage on being able to transform a nation.”

        Of course, Mugabe has proved this, he transformed Zimbabwe beyond recognition. Grace would have done even more transformation until the patriarchy stopped her in her tracks.

  4. artcroft

     /  November 16, 2017

    The big sticking point will be who gets to keep Mugabe’s billions. I bet Grace won’t share and the new leaders won’t be put off by smiles and promises.

    • Blazer

       /  November 16, 2017

      Grace will have a new ..beau…Mugabes almost ..dead.