The Zimbabwean military’s decision to intervene in the political affairs of that country is merely ‘surgical’ to remove identified criminal elements and hand them over to the police for expected due process, according to a statement from the Zimbabwean Embassy in Namibia. According to the statement: “The Military and Police are jointly identifying criminal elements.” It continues to say that Robert Mugabe is still the President of Zimbabwe as well as the Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces.
“His Government remains in office except for those ministers who will face criminal charges.“The Civil Service, Parliament and the Judiciary have been asked to function as usual. Military personnel are expected to be off the streets shortly. The country remains peaceful and stable and all security personnel are under strict instruction not to harm anyone,” reads the statement dated 16 November 2017. Meanwhile, two of embattled Mugabe’s biggest rivals-Emerson Mnangagwa and Morgan Tsvangirai have reportedly returned to the native country following the military takeover this week. The return of the duo gives credence to rumours that ZANU-PF will in the coming weeks hold an extraordinary congress to elect new leadership. Mnangagwa, the former vice president, is widely tipped to succeed Mugabe and take the country out of the military’s hands.
While the Zimbabwean military maintains that its decision to take control of the country is not a coup d’état-despite all fingers pointing to it-the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation met in Gaborone yesterday to discuss the political developments in Zimbabwe.
Continental and regional bodies such as the African Union and SADC are anxiously waiting to see how the situation will develop. If the two bodies classify the takeover as a coup, Zimbabwe risks being booted from both bodies.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by ministers from Angola, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa.
“It [the meeting] will be co-chaired by the minister of international relations and co-operation of South Africa and the Angolan defence minister.
It is expected that the ministers will make recommendations to the heads of state and government on the political situation in Zimbabwe,” read the statement.
President Jacob Zuma, who is the current chair of the regional body, on Wednesday denounced any unconstitutional takeover of government in Zimbabwe.
Zuma said SADC stood ready to assist in the political impasse currently gripping the country.
“Presidency has called for calm and restraint and has expressed hope that developments in Zimbabwe would not lead to unconstitutional changes of government as that would be contrary to both SADC and African Union positions,” said the president.
President Robert Mugabe on Thursday remained under heavy guard after soldiers cordoned off the parliament building and the defence headquarters as the security situation deteriorates in the southern African country.
Political tensions within Zanu-PF exploded after Mugabe fired Mnangagwa.
It followed numerous attacks of Mnangagwa by the first lady who was said to be eyeing the presidency ahead of the Zanu-PF congress in December.
Zuma, who has since called for restraint and calm, has dispatched special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola.
The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and the newly-appointed Minister of State Security, Advocate Bongani Bongo, will meet with President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force (ZDF).
Here is a look at Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old who has ruled the southern African country for almost four decades.
1980 – Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party wins independence elections. He takes office as prime minister on April 18.
1982 – Mugabe deploys North Korean-trained troops to crush rebellion by ex-ZAPU guerrillas. Government forces are accused of killing thousands of civilians.
1987 – Mugabe and ZAPU’s Joshua Nkomo sign a unity accord, leading to the integration of PF-ZAPU and ZANU-PF.
1990 – ZANU-PF and Mugabe win parliamentary and presidential elections.
1998 – An economic crisis marked by high interest rates and inflation provokes riots and increasing support for the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
– The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is formed and Tsvangirai is appointed leader in 1999.
2000 – Thousands of independence war veterans and their allies, backed by the government, seize white-owned farms, saying the land was illegally appropriated by white settlers.
2002 – Mugabe wins election against Tsvangirai. Observers condemn the poll as flawed and unfair.
2005 – ZANU-PF wins parliamentary election, giving it the majority it needs to change the constitution.
2008 – Parliamentary election results show ZANU-PF losing its majority for the first time. MDC says Tsvangirai also won the presidential election and calls on Mugabe to concede.
– Run-off goes ahead despite calls for a postponement as violence mounts. Mugabe is declared the winner with over 85 percent after Tsvangirai pulls out.
– Economy is crushed by hyperinflation, reaching billions of percent, due what analysts blame on Mugabe’s mismanagement.
– Negotiators from the MDC and ZANU-PF hold talks to end the deadlock over Mugabe’s re-election, eventually reaching a power-sharing deal in September.
2009 – Tsvangirai is sworn in as prime minister by Mugabe.
2012 – Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe’s empowerment minister, says he expects to finalise the transfer of majority stakes in foreign mining companies to local blacks by the end of April.
2013: Mugabe again wins the presidential elections, rejected as fraudulent by the MDC. Mugabe names Emmerson Mnangagwa vice president.
2014: Mugabe celebrates his 90th birthday. First lady, Grace Mugabe, is made leader of Zanu-PF’s Women’s League. Vice President Joyce Mujuru dismissed from post.
2017: Mugabe fires Mnangagwa, accusing him of disloyalty and plotting to seize power. He flees the country. Top military commander Constantino Chiwenga warns he will “step in” unless Mugabe stops trying to purge ZANU-PF of Mnangagwa supporters. Military takes over the state broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. Mugabe under house arrest.