Robert Mugabe and wife
The nearly four-decade regime of Robert Gabriel Mugabe has been toppled in a subtle coup d’état by the country’s military.
It was a rare coup in-the-making when on November 13, 2017 the Army Commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, warned of a possible military intervention as a means of resolving the confusion, which he said had rocked the ruling ZANU-PF party.
Wednesday dawn takeover of the state broadcaster by the military with armoured personnel carriers stationed at strategic locations, was an indication that the military was making good its promise of intervening in the affairs of the country.
The calmness in Harare, the capital, belied what was unfolding, especially after the Army Commander’s expression that President Mugabe was hale and hearty.
Some analysts did not fall for the bait as they saw in the development an unfolding coup.
It was a clever way of deposing a man whose grip over power was tight, with most soldiers coming from his Shona ethnic grouping.
The head of the police and the deputy commander of one of the critical internal intelligence organisations has been arrested.
The nonagenarian, who did not show any sign of relinquishing power anytime soon, has now succumbed to the demand of the military.
His wife is already in nearby Namibia and her hope of succeeding her darling now dashed.
When the vice president was sacked by his boss – Robert Mugabe – he left the country as though going to plan a return to Zimbabwe without Bob.
Mr Robert Mugabe had accused his sacked vice president of asking soothsayers about when he was going to die – something he let out in the public domain mockingly.
It is instructive that the takeover has been praised by the chairman of the strong Liberation War Veterans Association.
Chris Mutsvangwa, in his statement from Johannesburg, described the army commander’s action “a bloodless correction of gross abuse of power,” adding that it would restore “genuine democracy.”
Sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is very much loved by the war veterans.
Although the army commander has asked for the cooperation of the other security agencies for the good of the country, he nonetheless warned that “any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.”
A statement yesterday by the commander on state television spoke about how the degenerating political, social and economic mess called for resolution, lest a violent conflict ensued.
The army’s refusal to acknowledge its action as a coup and assurance of Mugabe’s safety were all intended to douse possible upheavals, and it worked to perfection.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” was a textual camouflage thrown into the public space by the military in the commander’s speech.
The unalloyed support Robert Mugabe had enjoyed from the military since he assumed the leadership of Zimbabwe has for the first time witnessed an open gulf never to be narrowed.
The old man, many fear, could suffer an expedited health degeneration, given the dawning reality of an end to his era.
Both the US and the British Missions have advised their nationals to be mindful of their safety, the former in particular demanding of them to work from their homes.
At least three explosions were heard early Wednesday in Harare and armed soldiers and military vehicles had been seen in the streets.
Robert Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 and hails from the Shona ethnic grouping.
He led his ZANU, Zimbabwe African National Union and later ZANU PF, to eventually takeover the mantle from Ian Smith in the Rhodesian war of independence.
By A.R. Gomda with file reports and analysis