Zimbabwe appears to have a new head of State in the person of General Constantino Chiwenga. Unconfirmed but authoritative sources inside Zimbabwe have said that the Central Intelligence Organisation, (CIO) is now reporting to General Chiwenga as acting Head of State and that there are discussions aimed at bringing back Joyce Mujuru as Vice to Emmerson Mnangagwa alongside Morgan Tsvangirai. While Mnangagwa is the Vice-President sacked a week ago by Mugabe, Morgan Tsangirai is the opposition veteran. Joyce Majuru was Vice to Mugabe for a decade before falling out a few years ago. Intervention has understood that the army will dismiss the government and parliament, take control of the status quo and suspend the impending elections.
In the end, the Mugabe family would have been eased out by those he has been easing out and who have now tightened their grip on power through the military muscle. ZANU-PF is expected to use the transition period to regain its past as a national liberation movement in power and win the next election.
It is further understood that the transitional nature of the military’s mission is the reason they have refused to call it a coup or military takeover but an exercise to “pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict, (see speech below).
Very credible sources speak of negotiation in which Grace Mugable has been permitted to leave the country while Mugabe himself prepares to step down. A press conference is understood to have been scheduled for tomorrow where this could possibly be the issue to be addressed. This strongly suggests that a very powerful but positive interest is shaping what is unfolding in Zimbabwe. Analysts point at China but this is not conclusive. In the meantime, soldiers are holding the president and his presidential guard under siege as well as urging Zimbabweans to stay away from the Central Business District tomorrow till further notice. In other words, they are warning those who might want to defend Mugabe not to dare.
Meanwhile, Walter Muzembi, the Foreign. Affairs Minister is understood to have fled to South Africa. His Finance counterpart, Ignatious Chombo has not been that lucky, having been reported to have been arrested at 2:25am following a gun fire exchange at his home in which a security guard was probably injured beyond life. Saviour Kasukuwere , a minister whose portfolio was not given has equally been reported to have fled while S.K Moyo, Information Minister is said to be refusing to speak to the media.
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa who is also the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community, (SADC), has announced sending a special envoy to Zimbabwe and Angola on the ensuing situation in Zimbabwe. This is coming after his telephone conversation with detained Mugabe sometimes this morning in which Mugabe is reported to have confirmed he has been under house arrest but fine. South Africa is the other big player in the region.
He has named Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the South African minister of defence and military veterans and Bongani Bongo, the minister of state security for the two seperate missions. While the Defence Minister would head for Harare to meet Mr Mugabe and the Zimbabwean military authorities, the second special envoy would head for Luanda to meet President João Lourenço who is currently on the chair of SADC’s organ on politics, defence and security.
What the whole scenario in Zimbabwe means is that even African countries which came into existence as late as 1980 as Zimbabwe did are also not escaping the experience of a coup as Zimbabwe is practically now under military rule for the first time in 37 years.
In an August 8th, 2017 report, The Washington post, for instance, argued that there would never be a coup in Zimbabwe because, according to it, Mugabe and the senior echelons of Zimbabwe’s military share a nationalist liberation ideology wrought during the fight for independence from white rule during the 1960s and 1970s. In other words, Mugabe and the military had no fundamental differences as they were united in national liberation consciousness, warts and all. The Post correctly predicted what is happening now when it said that there would only be a coup should Mugabe die in office or pass the reins to a successor who “does not enjoy support from the military, such as his wife Grace”. The newspaper has been dead correct to the extent that this coup is coming on the heels of signs that Mugabe might have been trying to position Grace Mugabe as successor.
It is the end of an era, an exemplar of the African crisis of how good leaders transform into octopuses that have to be forced out of offices. Only Mandela and a few others have successfully immunized themselves against that. It is in that context that it would be interesting to take note of how the Zimbabwean military is choosing its words in this articulation of its mission earlier this morning by one of theirs, General Major-General Sibusiso Moyo:
Fellow Zimbabweans, following the address we made on 13 November 2017 which we believe our main broadcaster, ZBC and The Herald were directed not to publicise, the situation in our country has moved to another level.
Firstly, we wish to assure the nation that His Excellency, The President, of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde R.G Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him 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 accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.
To the civil servants: As you are aware, there is a plan by the same individuals to influence the current purging taking place in Zanu PF to the Civil service. We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect everyone of you against it.
To the judiciary, the measures underway are intended to ensure that, as an independent arm of the state, you are able to exercise your independent authority without fear of being obstructed as has been the case with this group of individuals.
To our Members of Parliament: Your legislative role is of paramount importance for peace and stability in this country and it is our desire that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective political constituencies according to democratic tenets.
To the generality of the people of Zimbabwe: We urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. However, we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual. Our wish is that you enjoy your rights and freedoms and that we return our country to a dispensation that allows for investment, development and prosperity that we all fought for and for which many of our citizens paid the supreme sacrifice.
To political Parties; We urge you to discourage your members from engaging in violent behaviour.
To the youth: We call upon you to realise that the future of this country is yours. Do not be enticed with dirty coins of silver, be disciplined and remain committed to the ethos and values of this great nation.
To all Churches and religious organisations in Zimbabwe: We call upon you and your congregations to pray for our country and preach the gospel of love, peace, unity and development.
To both our people and the world beyond our borders: We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of Government. What the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict.
We call upon all the war veterans to play a positive role in ensuring peace, stability and unity in the country.
To members of the Defence Forces: All leave is cancelled and you are all to return to your barracks with immediate effect.
To our respected Traditional leaders: You are the custodians of our culture, customs, traditions and heritage and we request you to provide leadership and direction to your communities for the sake of unity and development in our country.
To the other Security Services: We urge you to cooperate for the good of our country. Let it be clear that we intend to address the human security threats in our country. Therefore any provocation will be met with an appropriate response. To the media; we urge you report fairly and responsibly”