Zimbabwe Moves to Set Up Interim Govt as Mugabe is Apparently Ousted

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  •  Nigeria, UK, US others call for calm, respect for Zimbabwe’s constitution

Okechukwu Uwaezuoke, Tobi Soniyi in Lagos and Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

With the Zimbabwean military insisting that its intervention in the southern African country’s politics Wednesday was not a military coup d’état, indications were that the troubled nation might be exploring an interim administration as an option out of the apparent political logjam.

The military had rolled out the tanks in the early hours of Wednesday, placing President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, under house arrest in an apparent forceful takeover of government that was greeted by muted reactions from the globe’s leaders and international organisations.

President Muhammadu Buhari led the pack in urging caution, calling for calm, peace and respect for the constitution of Zimbabwe.

The governments of the United Kingdom, United States, China and South Africa were similarly inclined with the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) urging an amicable resolution of the impasse.
Perhaps aware of the substantive objection of the world order to unconstitutional takeover of government and the abiding commitment to democratic rule, Zimbabwean military leaders have been strident in their claim that their action was not a coup.

“We assure the world that this is not a military takeover of government,” an army spokesman said in a televised statement on state television network, adding: “We are only targeting criminals around him (President Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice. As soon as we have accomplish our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

Addressing Mugabe as the president and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, the military spokesman gave assurances that the president and his wife were safe and sound and that their security were guaranteed.

Although the military spokesman did not give details of how the soldiers would carry out their mission, informed analysts warned Wednesday that the military itself might have been sharply divided, leaving the country with no other option than an interim arrangement that would be based on a power sharing arrangement between the emerging contending forces.

Zimbabwe slipped into the current impasse, following the sacking of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa by Mugabe in what many opposition politicians see as concealed move by the president to position his wife to take over power in 2018.

The sack immediately attracted a threat by the head of the Armed Forces of Zimbabwe, General Constantino Chiwenga, warning that the military would not hesitate to step in if the issue had to do with protecting the revolution.
Mnangagwa, a veteran of the liberation wars that won independence for Zimbabwe, is reportedly widely respected in the older cadre of the military while Mugabe’s wife, Grace, too is said to be popular among the youths of the ruling ZANU-PF with strong influence among younger elements in the military.

The military, therefore, would appear not unanimous, a situation that is said to be heading the nation towards an interim arrangement if the country is not to descend into chaos.

Nigeria’s President Buhari in a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, urged all political and military stakeholders in Zimbabwe to avoid any action that might plunge the country into unnecessary conflict and impact negatively on the entire region.

According to Buhari, “Every attempt must be made to resolve all contentious issues by constitutional means in Zimbabwe to save the country from avoidable political instability.”

South African President Zuma also called for caution, asking Zimbabwe’s defence forces to show restraint.
He expressed hope that the military would not move and do more damage.

He said: “I am hoping that the situation is going to be controlled so peace and stability comes back to Zimbabwe.”
Zuma’s office said the South African’s president would send special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in the light of the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Zuma is the chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which includes Zimbabwe and 14 others.
“The President is sending the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and the Minister of State Security, Adv Bongani Bongo, to Zimbabwe to meet with President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force,” Zuma’s office said.

From Britain also came words of caution. Its Foreign Secretary, Mr. Boris Johnson, said it was crucial for Zimbabweans to refrain from violence.

According to him, “At the moment it’s very fluid and it’s hard to say exactly how this will turn out. I think the most important point to make is that everybody wants to see a stable and successful Zimbabwe. I think we’re really appealing for everybody to refrain from violence. That’s the crucial thing.”

The United States advised its citizens living in the country to “shelter in place” until further notice and urged its embassy’s staff to remain in their homes until the situation improves.

China said to be Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, said it was closely watching the situation and expressed the hope that the relevant parties could properly handle their internal affairs.

The UK government also asked its citizens living in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer.

It said: “Due to the uncertain political situation in Harare, including reports of unusual military activity, we recommend British nationals currently in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer. “

The European Union toed a similar line, calling for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.
“The recent political developments in Zimbabwe, and their spillover, including in relation to the country’s security forces, are a matter of concern,” an EU spokesperson said, adding: “We call on all the relevant players to move from confrontation to dialogue with the aim to a peaceful resolution.”

While the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for calm, non-violence and restraint, Sky News quoted an unnamed African Union (AU) spokesman as saying that the takeover in Zimbabwe had all the elements of a coup.

More specifically, however, African Union leader Alpha Conde, who is also Guinea’s president, said the AU condemned the actions of military chiefs in the southern African country, adding that they were “clearly soldiers trying to take power by force”.

“The African Union expresses its serious concern regarding the situation unfolding in Zimbabwe,” he said, before demanding “constitutional order… be restored immediately” as he called “on all stakeholders to show responsibility and restraint”.

The insurrection in Zimbabwe, which the military’s supporters called a “bloodless correction”, had effectively ended Mugabe’s 37-year long rule.

The roads leading to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare were blocked by armoured vehicles and the country’s radio station seized even as taxis ferried commuters to work nearby.

The calm atmosphere in the capital belied the tense political climate even as there was a cloud of uncertainty around the whereabouts of the 93-year-old Mugabe and his wife, although one of the coupists, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, according to AP, said they were being held by the military.

But BBC had reported South African President Jacob Zuma as saying the nonagenarian had been placed under house arrest in Harare. A statement from the South African leader’s office, according to BBC, also said that Mugabe had told Zuma in a phone call that he was fine.

There were also speculations that the military intervention might be a bid to replace Mugabe with his sacked deputy, Mnangagwa, as troops, who said they were targeting “criminals” were seen patrolling the streets of Harare.
On Monday, Chiwenga had stated his preparedness to “step in” to end a purge of Mnangagwa’s supporters. “We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that, when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Coming on the heels of his threat on Tuesday, four armoured tanks were seen heading towards Harare.

Touted as Mugabe’s likely successor before he was fired on November 6, the ousted Mnangagwa was a long-serving veteran of the southern African country’s liberation wars of the 1970s. His ouster was seen as a ploy to pave the way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace’s eventual succession of her husband.

  • henry price

    comrades this action by military as undesired as it may be is necessary for multiple reasons however, it may give Zimbabwe citizens access to sustenance they need to upgrade themselves financially plus socially. As a whole Buntu (negroid) people of Zimbabwe are likely most educated in all of Africa. Teacher Robert Mugabe have done a fantastic job at educating his people but, he also deprived them of access to sustenance needed for upward financial plus social mobility. Moreover he became oppressive to those who acknowledged his deliberately depriving them of sustenance for upward mobility in order for Mugabe to maintain power plus allegiance. It appear Grace “pussy control as sung by artist Prince” methods plus Mugabe excessive greed caused that allegiance to run out. With that allegiance running out there is hope that people of Zimbabwe will no longer be greatest underachievers in Africa but will be given opportunity to be all they are able to be as law abiding citizens. If given that opportunity people of Zimbabwe are likely to make Zimbabwe Africa’s development GIANT. Very much sincere, Henry Author (people of books) Price Jr. aka Obediah Buntu IL-Khan aka Kankan aka Gue.

  • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

    In Mugabe, you find the African story.

    COULD HAVE BEEN GREAT!

  • remm ieet

    Mugabe was bold as a revolutionary leader and politician. The army waited for him to get very old before they struck, knowing that Mugabe could no longer defend himself. Already, the revisionists have jumped out condemning Mugabe as this monster who overstayed in office. They will say he ordered the killing of people in Matabeleland in the 80s and maintained a long list of criminal offences. Nobody will remember how he switched the land to black farmers and restored black confidence. Zimbabweans paid dearly for reclaiming their heritage.They became vulnerable to a political system stripped to the barest minimum. At the moment Zimbabweans are offering bales of cash for a loaf of bread. Like Assad, they left Mugabe with his ruins. The army have come to stay in Zimbabwe. They will seize the momentum to reconstruct Zimbabwean politics in their favour.

    • Iskacountryman

      the shonas are in for a long bout of self immolation…

      • Jon West

        Like the Hausa/Fulani in Nigeria. In the meantime everyone suffers. Why o we have to suffer these imbecile ethnicities?

        • Iskacountryman

          wait a minute…who holds the key to aso rock?…pius anyim?

    • bigdaddy

      Are you serious? Are you calling Mugabe a saint? His sins far outweigh his good deeds.

      • remm ieet

        You are teaming up with those who are keeping the black man down to condemn Mugabe. After Mugabe let us see whether his successors will do better than him. Is Mugabe responsible for the violent exploitation of Africa? Mugabe is not the issue.

        • bigdaddy

          You need to update your knowledge about Mugabe. And please drop this ” violent exploitation of the black man” fallacy. It is no longer tenable. That is no longer tenable. Where the Malaysians and Singaporeans not colonized too? Are they still as backward as we are?

          • remm ieet

            Mugabe is not a saint, and he has never pretended to be. His main offence was that he refused to be dictated to. He is not the type to use Western principles to veil his kleptocratic tendencies while pretending to his people that he is at their service, as most African State Officials do. You can accuse him of corruption, but he did not borrow his ideas from the West, where he is loathed for other reasons, not for being corrupt. Trust them, they will ring that corruption bell loud to win followers like you. But they cannot explain why a sport like Formula One, a petrol-guzzling archaic sport is thriving under a black man as all-time champion who came to its ‘rescue’. Black men are clowned in Western political lexicon for obvious reasons unless you are content to feign ignorance. Mugabe has surely tried his best to decolonise our mentality in Africa. He should be thanked for that alone.

          • bigdaddy

            Your take is interesting but very unfortunate. A thief, a thug, a murderer and above all an incompetent leader is good because he makes no pretences about his failures. What logic!!!
            Mugabe has no one to blame but himself. He started well, would have been the first mandela but he shot himself in the foot. His past works do not erase his evil deeds.

          • remm ieet

            Where is the court judgement indicating that he has been convicted as a murderer? Point accusing fingers in the right direction. Bang Blair and George Bush who invaded Iraq into jail first. Well, Mugabe is a black man who should do what he is told. Then of course he will be celebrated like Mandela and no charges of murder will come to his doorstep. How do you expect a serving African head of state like Mugabe not to be accused of corruption when he doesn’t even conform with their playbook? Conform with their playbook and corruption will be the last thing they will accuse you of. I feel sorry for the Zimbabweans because they are victims of an internecine struggle between two tendencies for the soul of Zimbabwe

          • bigdaddy

            My last line in my previous reply suffices as answer to your comment.

        • share Idea

          People have a way of repeating itself. Lybians were told that Gaddafi was the problem, and when he was killed, the real problems now emerged.

          I am not a fan of Mugabe but once an unconstitutional means is used to achieve a purpose, it will be very difficult to predict the outcome of such purpose.

  • Lawrenece Ifo

    I love and admire the Southern Africans for always, boldly standing up against oppression irrespective of personal or ethnic affiliation.

    Mugabe and Chwenga are both Shonas but when the collective interest of the people is at stake,Chiwega stood up to be counted.

    This is similar to what happened during the ANC conference in Polokwane,when the Xhosas rose up against Mbeki (a Xhosa) when they thought that he is against Zuma due to his Zulu background.

    But if it was in the zoo, you will see bunch of zombies standing by their own man even if his actions is destroying the country.

    After that, they will turn around to pray and fast when they are confronted with the inevitable negative effect of their ill thought out decisions.Hahaha.

    Mnagagwa fiercely stood up against Grace unlike their shameless counterparts in this part of the world who will not even mind to turn around and fidget when ever any so called indecorous, brash and arrogant first ladies barks at them.

    The intellectual wing in Zimbabwe did not back down in challenging the subtle moves by Mugabe to instal his wife,while a professor of law like the dwarf Osibanjo can shamelessly,turn the law upside down to protect individuals with questions character and call them father.SMH.

    At least,Zimbabweans have shown that you cannot change the country by false prophesy from Adeboye,Oyedepo and others talkless of when you are faced with bunch of obstinate lawless cabals across the unfortunate coninent with unfortunately genre of human beings.

    As society can only be changed,when brave men like Chiwenga rise up,irrespective of the cost to say enough is enough.

    Besides,the zoo and it’s acclaimed educated populace should use the bold actions from Zimbabwe to know that being educated in not a matter of wearing suits,intimidating and oppressing the vulnerables but being enlightened in the soul, to the extent that you can see negative situations and rise up to change to contribute effort to change it for the sake of humanity!
    Zimbabwe have just confirmed what Sakotzy mockingly, observed about the different between West Africans and Southern Africans.

    • Dan

      Will you keep quiet !!! (patience voice)

      The fact that the Zimbabweans allowed Mugabe to drag their country down to ruins (economy, education, health care) while his family lives in luxury is nothing to be loved or admired for.

      • Lawrenece Ifo

        Shut up and read!
        You forgot that a ruined Zimbabwe by Mugabe and his gangs is still in a better infrastructural and institutional condition more than your zoo.
        But all we hear is mere docile alleluyah from provincial sedated souls like you that litter the zoo.

    • Iskacountryman

      yeah right…what were the ndebeles expected to do?

  • RumuPHC

    A sad day for democracy and a dangerous signal to ambitious military officers in Africa and other developing countries across the globe.

    As despicable as Mugabes’ regime was, the matter of the survival of his government should have been left for the people of Zimbabwe to decide, democratically . The people of Africa and other nascent democracies in the world must learn to fight for their rights and the government they desire .

    Intervention in a democracy by a military force should never be condoned under any guise irrespective of how badly a democratically elected regime has performed. It is constitutionally and morally wrong for the military to regulate democracy in any country. First it was in Egypt and today it is Zimbabwe . What country will the military intervene next?

    It is not too late to restore democracy in Zimbabwe. First the military coup should be condemned by all. African and other world leaders must refused to recognize any government deriving its origin from this military intervention. A deal can be brokered to return Mugabe to power and return of the soldiers to the barracks . Then, ZANU, the Zimbabwe pailiarment and people should do the needful and ask Mugabe to vacate power . A combination of democratic process and civil disobedience including subtle pressure from foreign governments should do the trick.

    • Augustine Uche

      That’s if Mugabe will allow a free and fair election.

      • RumuPHC

        It shouldn’t be left to Mugabe. The people are the one to decide. Nothing is free and people have fought and died for less worthy causes. Democracy will only come to Africa when the people choose Democracy. One party structure and Sham elections is no democracy.

  • Wise One

    British Puppets want to destroy democracy in Zimbabwe. They want install an undemocratic government that will do the bids of Britain and enemies of Mugabe.

  • Romla

    Most of the world may refuse to intervene. The is obviously a justified removal of a of a leader that has lost his way.A good lesson to all humans that everything good or bad that has a beginning must have an end.

    • Jon West

      Nobody will intervene on behalf of Comrade Robert Mugabe. You can only take your people for granted for a limited period of time. His time is up. However its really a great pity for Africa, because he was a genuine revolutionary. I met him personally when he was still Comrade Robert Mugabe. He really paid a heavy price for the liberation struggle, losing his then only son and later his Ghanaian wife. Now he has joined the rouges gallery of Africas despots. That is the tragedy of Africa, a tragedy that only Nelson Mandela escaped.

      • Iskacountryman

        he also lost his manhood…BUT, this was an internal shona change of guards…nothing to worry about…remember shagari/ekwueme decapitation?…in the game of power…everyone is expendable…