After almost 40 years in power Robert Mugabe (93) has been placed under house arrest by Zimbabwe’s armed services in what looks like a coup d’état. Even though the military denies that what they are doing is taking over by stating that they were only targeting “criminals around the Zimbabwean president who were “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in order to bring them to justice”.
— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) 15 November 2017
What Led to the Zimbabwean Military Take Over
Robert Mugabe is 93 years old, as the world’s oldest ruler it was unlikely that he would be in power for much longer, coup or not. Over the past few years there has been a battle in the Zanu PF ranks for who will be Mugabe’s successor. This battle was between infamous first lady and head of the Zanu-PF women’s league Grace Mugabe (supported by her young G40) and rival faction of Zanu-PF made up of veterans of the independence war who helped Mugabe gain and maintain power.
Grace Mugabe had been successful in eliminating all her competitors such as former Vice-President Joice Mujuru in 2014 and most recently the Vice-President of Zimbabwe’s ruling party Emmerson Mnangagwa last week. Emmerson was fired by Robert Mugabe after he was accused of plotting against him by Grace Mugabe. After this move the path to succession seemed wide open for the first lady, that is until the military decided to intervene.
What is Happening in Zimbabwe Now?
Soldiers have sealed access to parliament, government offices and courts in Zimbabwe’s capital. The first lady is said to be in Namibia (but several sources say she is detained with her husband in Harare), whereas Robert Mugabe is said to be confined to his home according to a press statement by the office of South African President Jacob Zuma. The South African president has sent envoys to Zimbabwe to speak with both ZDF and Robert Mugabe and he has urged the ZDF to maintain calm and restraint to keep peace and stability.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Zimbabwe
Emmerson Mnangagwa who had fled to South Africa after his ousting, is reported to have returned to Zimbabwe on Tuesday night. The former Vice-President and veteran now seems to be the most likely successor to Robert Mugabe. The first Lady’s future looks unclear at this moment.
In just 3 days the situation in Zimbabwe has moved from a warning from ZDF arm chief to “step in” to bring order to Zanu-PF to a full-on take over, everyone is hoping for a smooth non-violent transition.
image source: https://twitter.com/kiztv7