Sunday, January 17, 2021

What is Happening with Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe?

Since Tuesday, residents, and guests of Harare cannot understand what is happening in the city. First, armored vehicles unexpectedly appeared on the outskirts, where fighting had not been seen a long time ago. Then the general spoke on television and said that the military had taken control of the situation. Neighboring South Africa and other countries of the world hurried to suspect a military coup and made calls for calm and observance of the constitutional order. However, the Zimbabwean army reassured: the president and his family are alive and well, just under the protection of the military.

There is no end to disputes and gossip, as well as the scenarios of development of events proposed by analysts, but this very development suddenly stopped, and the silent question hung in the air: why exactly is happening in Zimbabwe and What’s next?

Zimbabwe – A Miracle Country with a Record Holder President

This country, whose name derives from the toponym of the ancient stone complex of the Shona people, and is translated as “the edge of stone houses” – without exaggeration, the land chosen by the Almighty. Its bowels store impressive reserves of gold, platinum, uranium, there are some of the world’s largest diamond deposits. The climate is heavenly, almost everything grows on the fertile land, in the past, they grew famous tobacco for the most famous brands of British cigarettes, and now – roses and other flowers for the whole world.

Mugabe in his 93 years will give odds to many significantly younger presidents. The son of a peasant, a village teacher, he became the leader of the partisans, even the famous Rhodesian special forces “Scouts of Selous” could not counter anything.

What led to the Military Coup in Zimbabwe & Ouster of Robert Mugabe?

Biography of the President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe
Becoming president, he firmly and confidently ruled the country, defeating opponents from among the former guerrillas of another movement, famous for the boldly thrown challenge to US and British policy in Africa, as well as promises to rule up to 100 years. His support – the support of the majority of the population, mainly influential veterans of the war of liberation, without whose sympathy in Zimbabwe is indispensable.

However, in recent years, more rumors about the deterioration of his health began to appear, among the politicians of the first row in the country, his energetic wife, Grace, actively began to be nominated. This caused discontent among the veterans who believe that Mugabe has the right to change only those who declared themselves in the war with the colonialists. And last week, the first vice-president and veteran Emmerson Mnangagwa was dismissed from his post.

Tanks in Harare

In the evening on Tuesday, residents of the suburbs of the Zimbabwean capital Harare saw how tanks occupy comfortable positions in the entrances to the city. Later, the statement made by the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Force (POP), General Konstantin Chivengi, was made public the day before. He warned that if President Robert Mugabe does not stop cleaning in the ranks of veterans of the national liberation struggle, the army will intervene in the course of events. “We must remind those who stand behind the current treacherous tricks that, when the question of protecting our revolution arises, the military will not hesitate to intervene,” Chivenga said.

Military at the Forefront

On Tuesday night, the command of POPs took decisive action. The military announced the taking control of the building of the national television and radio broadcasting corporation. Approaches to government buildings, parliament, and courts in the capital were blocked. A POP representative, General Sibusiso Moyo, appeared on television and officially announced that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace were placed under house arrest. According to him, we are not talking about a coup d’état. Their goal is to “call criminals to justice” around Mugabe.

What led to the Military Coup in Zimbabwe

Later, rumors appeared that Grace Mugabe managed to leave the country. According to some reports, she moved to Namibia. How she managed to escape, it is unknown. According to the Zimbabwean opposition, Albert Ngulube, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Organization (CRO), Kudzai Chipanga, head of the Youth League of the ruling party ZANU-PF, was arrested. The Minister of Finance of Zimbabwe, Ignacius Chombo, was also taken into custody. While the fate of Zimbabwe Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri is unknown.

Reaction of Neighbors

Having learned about the incident, the President of South Africa and the head of the regional organization Southern African Development Community (SADC), Jacob Zuma, sent to Zimbabwe and Angola his special representatives – the Minister for Veterans and Defense Affairs Nosivive Mapis-Nkakul and the Minister of State Security Bongani Bongo. In Zimbabwe, they are in talks with President Robert Mugabe and the POP command.

According to the President of South Africa, SADC will closely monitor the situation in Zimbabwe and, if necessary, assist in efforts to overcome the crisis in accordance with the rules and agreements of SADC.

The situation in Harare

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean capital of Harare is not at all like the city where the military coup took place. The military intervention is only reminiscent of the police officers seized all the time by arrest, and guard against the soldiers at the entrance to the territory of warehouses with weapons and ammunition.

By the end of the first day of the political crisis, the situation in Zimbabwe remains uncertain In the rest, life goes on as usual: people are rushing about their business, working shops and offices of companies. After a brief break, the publication of the government newspaper the Herald resumed. The business is calm, the Harare Stock Exchange even recorded a 10 percent rise in quotes. True, the large South African bank Nedbank Group sent some of its employees from Harare to South Africa, but others did not follow suit. The world’s leading producer of platinum, Anglo American Platinum, says that the production process at its mines in South Africa has not been affected by the events.

What Next?

Now, observers are racking their brains trying to guess what will turn out the alarming events in Zimbabwe, especially since there are few reliable news sources from there. During the day, Mugabe’s speech was expected, but it did not take place, and many commentators predicted that the president was ready to resign. President of South Africa Zuma held a telephone conversation with Mugabe on Wednesday, who confirmed that he was under house arrest, but he was all right.

Nothing is heard of the whereabouts and actions of Mnangagwa, whom some observers hastened to call the future leader of the country. In favor of this, the facts of his biography speak: 75-year-old Mnangagwa is an active participant in the liberation struggle, he has known Mugabe since 1962. After receiving Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, he held many high posts – he was chairman of the lower house of parliament, Minister of State Security, Defense, Justice, and Finance. Known by the nickname “Crocodile”, obtained by the name of the sabotage group, which he headed during the war against the white minority regime. He also headed the partisan security service.

Yet the most cautious analysts forecast the formation in Zimbabwe of a broad coalition of political forces, a new version of the government of national unity under the auspices of the army, whose influence will now only increase.

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