In what seems to be a bloodless coup, the military known as the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) took over operations in the country’s capital, Harare.
Following the sack of the Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa for no substantial reason, the military hinted at stepping into the politics to avoid further misconducts in the ruling party, the Zanu-PF.
Making true the threat, the military stormed the country’s capital Harare. Reports confirm that the army positioned their armoured tanks in the northern suburbs where Mr. Mugabe and a number of government officials live. Their presence was accompanied by sounds of gunfire.
The seeming Zimbabwe military takeover attracted more local and international concerns as Zimbabwe fell into a tensed state.
However, the military who took over the nation’s broadcasting network (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, ZBC) unequivocally stated that the transition is in no way a coup but a necessary step to curb political misconducts by “criminals” who surround the Zimbabwean government, particularly the presidency.
Meanwhile, the army chief of staff Major Gen Sibusiso Moyo who read the statement on air advised the people to go about their normal regular businesses. He also assured the people that Robert Mugabe and his household are safe and secure.
The statement also went on to assure the judiciary that their independence will not be tampered with. While the army solicits that all security services should “co-operate for the good of our country”, it did not forget to mention that any sought of provocation would “be met with an appropriate response.”
Also, all military and police personnel on leave were ordered to return to active duty. At that moment, neither Mr Mugabe who was still assumed to be the president, not his aid was permitted to speak to his people
It would be recalled that in the months preceding the military parade, the First Lady accused Mnangagwa and his allies of plotting a coup.
Cause Of The Takeover
At the time of the military takeover, the VP was the known likely successor of the President. As their relationship got strained, Grace Mugabe came into the picture with her strong ambition to succeed her husband. The tussle between the two top figures divided the ruling party, ZANU-PF into factions.
The military seizure placed the longtime leader Robert Mugabe under house arrest and deploying armoured vehicles to the streets of the capital, Harare and though the military says the takeover is to curb the excesses of political criminals, many believe it was spurred by the latest sack of the VP.
As mentioned in their statement, the takeover is an obligatory rescue mission to salvage Zim’s failing political and economic institutions. Sustained gunfire was heard near Mugabe’s private home in the suburb of Borrowdale.
Reports say that some senior government officials were arrested and detained. Reuters’ source confirmed that Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo was among those in military custody.
Chombo is a ZANU-PF politician and a supporter of Grace Mugabe’s bid to succeed her husband.
With the official Zimbabwe military takeover backed by their statement, the latest development may actually see the end of Mugabe as the president of the Southern African country.
By extension, the takeover may potentially halt the move to make Grace Mugabe a replacement for Emmerson as well as a successor of the sit-tight president.
Speculations have it that the First Lady would most likely be announced as the VP replacement by the ruling party next month.
It is on record that the military is in favour of the recently sacked VP who is also a veteran of the Liberation War.
As of now, it is not clear who called the shot in Zimbabwe.
Side by side with the uneasiness in Zimbabwe, many have applauded the move with hopes that this will finally unseat the president who has ruled the nation for decades and refused to step down.
On the other hand, a number of Zimbabweans feared that this would usher the country out of a state of democracy into a military regime.
Zimbabweans blamed the poor economic state of the country on Mugabe’s age and leadership.
However, the likes of Alex Magaisa, a former adviser to Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, categorically described the Zimbabwe military takeover as a full-fledged coup.