Zimbabwe: The End of Mugabe's Era
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Zimbabwe: The End of Mugabe's Era

IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: File photo of Zimbabwe's 93-year-old supreme leader Robert Mugabe taken in Ghana on March 9, 2017. Source: AFRICAMETRO | AFRICAMETRO

Image Attribute: File photo of Zimbabwe's 93-year-old supreme leader Robert Mugabe taken in Ghana on March 9, 2017. Source: AFRICAMETRO

On November 18, 2017, Zimbabweans from all political, racial and social divides came together for a common purpose, to denounce president Robert Mugabe and force him to resign. People were sitting on their cars, horns blaring, and on top of buses, holding Zimbabwean flags. The rally was the outcome of a clearance provided by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday for a rally, considered to be a "solidarity march" by citizens across the political divide led by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association against President Mugabe’s continued stay in office.

In a statement yesterday, the ZDF urged members of the public to be orderly and peaceful, and exercise their rights within the confines of the country’s Constitution when they attend the rally scheduled for the historic Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare.

It all started on November 14, when General Constantino Chiwenga, the Commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces spoke at a press conference in Harare, publicly reprimand Mugabe and Zanu-PF. His open criticism of ruling administration came after former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa was fired from both the government and Zanu-PF leadership council. 

The army’s intervention seems to have given lost voice to the war veterans aligned to the Team Lacoste Zanu PF faction led by sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as the ex-liberation fighters are now reaching out to the opposition political parties to map the way forward.

Mnangagwa released a statement, from an unknown location, after facing a second assassination attempt within weeks, and just days after being dismissed. Days after he was fired, he promised he would return within two weeks to instigate a comeback.

He has not returned yet, at the time of writing, but his allies have mounted a serious comeback, bigger than anyone ever saw. They are not just pushing for his reinstatement, they have gone for the jugular; Mugabe’s own head, on an expelled and impeached platter.

Last weekend Mnangagwa’s own powerful ally, General Chiwenga returned to the country his friend had just narrowly escaped from. When Mnangagwa was poisoned months ago (the first assassination attempt), it was Chiwenga who forced military choppers to airlift his friend from the scene of the attempt to a nearby town, then the capital, then South Africa. When his mate was fired he was in China, on an official visit, and unable to save him.

Political analyst Blessing Vava put the blame of Zimbabwe’s current quandary squarely on Mugabe’s shoulders.

“He failed to deal with his succession and he had the time to do it. We have reached this level because Mugabe wanted to be life president of Zimbabwe. What is important is how we are going to move forward from this. What is needed in Zimbabwe right now is the restoration of the Constitution as there is a vacuum now in Zimbabwe,” he said.

As per the latest development, today, the ruling Zanu-PF. At least eight out of 10 regional branches voted on Friday for Mugabe to resign as president and party secretary. Several regional leaders appeared on TV saying he should step down, Grace Mugabe should resign from the party and Mnangagwa should be reinstated to the central committee.

International Viewpoints:

Deputy Russian Prime Minister Yury Trutnev has blamed President Robert Mugabe for getting himself into trouble by failing to address the socio-economic issues which have left Zimbabweans impoverished and angry. Three days into the coup Moscow has not condemned the power grab, but instead affirmed its commitment to keep its investments going.

Chinese Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang having kept mum after the “coup” when contacted for comment, while Li Zuocheng, chief of the joint staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “China and Zimbabwe are all-weather friends”. China is the largest foreign investor and a key ally to Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, analysts have said China has permanent interests and only loyal to the one with power. 

Also, one should not discard the very fact - "Days after Chiwenga returned from a recent trip to meet senior Chinese military leaders, Harare was plunged into political chaos as the Zimbabwean military." In that context, Chiwenga's visit to China has come under scrutiny, with speculation that he had sought Beijing's tacit approval for a possible move against Mugabe.

In an interview with Reuters, acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto appeared to dismiss the idea of Mugabe remaining in a transitional or ceremonial role. “It’s a transition to a new era for Zimbabwe, that’s really what we’re hoping for,” he said.