Zimbabwe takeover – It has been a political circus in Zimbabwe as the country’s military embarked on a takeover, seized control of the country and detaining President Robert Mugabe who has ruled for 37 years.
The 93-year-old was put under house arrest during a military takeover on Wednesday, October 15, amid a power struggle over who would succeed him.
The Military takeover came on the back of gross political, social, and economic situation which greatly threatened the peace and stability in the country.
The army moved in after Mugabe last week sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, signaling that he favored his wife Grace Mugabe to take over his Zanu-PF party and thus the presidency.
According to the military who came out to trash rumors of a coup, the seizure was for the sole purpose of preventing a political crisis in the state.
The Military gave their word that the President, of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. Major-General SB Moyo said the actions of the country’s defence forces were not a coup.
While this may seem to summarize unfolding events in the Southern African country, there are key issues pertaining to Zimbabwe takeover we would like to bring to your notice.
1. Mugabe Has Ruled For 37 Years
Robert Mugabe 93, has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly 4 decades. He is the last living African head of state who has been in power continuously since his country’s independence.
The President has been in power since 1980 when the country gained independence after he coordinated a guerrilla war against white colonial rulers. Mugabe became the president in 1987, after first serving as a prime minister prior to that.
Mugabe rose to power as a freedom fighter. However, the African leader shortly after, waged a campaign of oppression to consolidate his position. He achieved through violent crackdowns and has long been accused of corruption and abuse of power. Various attempts to sanction the leader has proved futile over the years.
2. Zimbabwe’s Economy Poor
The country has been on the receiving end of various forms of economic crisis over the years. According to a trade union report, Zimbabwe’s rate of unemployment was as high as 90 percent this year.
The country was forced to abandon its own currency at a rate of Z$35 quadrillion to US$1, adopting the use of foreign cash. The continuous dwindling of the hard money had caused the government to issue their own version of dollars called bond notes. However, they still lost their value.
One of the indelible dents on Mugabe’s image is his seizure of lands.
Mugabe’s government introduced a controversial land reform program in 2000 that led to squatters invading and seizing the majority of white-owned farms across the southern African country. The seizures were often violent and resulted in the murder of multiple white farmers.
3. Zimbabwe Takeover: Sacked Vice Has Returned
Another key thing to note on the Zimbabwe takeover is that the embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who fled the country after he was sacked by Mugabe has returned to the country.
Mnangagwa, whose sacking last week triggered the military takeover, landed at Manyame Air Force Base to take control of the country’s government according to reports.
The veteran of the country’s liberation struggle against white domination fled to South Africa after death threats. President Robert Mugabe, had accused his former deputy of plotting to take power from him.
This was after the exiled politician issued a direct challenge to the nation’s long-ruling leader Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace.
4. Mugabe Refusing to Step Down
President Robert Mugabe is reportedly refusing to step down immediately, despite growing calls for his resignation. The 93-year-old resisted calls for resignation during a crunch meeting with military generals who seized control of the country.
Mugabe’s motorcade took him from his private residence to State House for the talks which included envoys from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc. But the president reportedly refused to co-operate with the officials.
Mugabe’s refusal to step down has been described as his “last card” to retain power. This is in the sense that his power to confer legitimacy onto his successor can never be disregarded.
If the 93-year-old steps down by agreement, his successor can say he (or she) did not come to power through a coup. But if Mugabe is forced out, then it will be a coup and Pan African bodies will have to intervene.
5. Grace Mugabe
Wife of Zimbabwean President Grace Mugabe is a key player in the power struggle that has gotten the best of the country.
The sacked VP had been the leading contender to succeed 93-year-old Mugabe, but his abrupt removal appeared to clear the way for the president’s wife Grace to take over as president.
Mrs. Mugabe had been pushing for the removal of the vice-president, referring to him as a snake that “must be hit on the head.” She would have been appointed vice president at a special congress of the ZANU-PF if the military had not taken over a few days ago.
However, bearing in mind the unfolding events, we cannot say that she has entirely lost the battle.