Last night in Zimbabwe was an event that many residents of the South African state have been waiting for decades. 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country with an iron fist since 1980, was overthrown by the military and placed under house arrest. The military brought tanks to the street, took control of the broadcaster ZBC, broadcast which declared that no coup there, but the army controls the situation in the country, and its actions are directed against criminals surrounded by Mugabe, who “commit crimes, causing a social and economic suffering in the country.” Later it became known that the dictator placed under house arrest.
The military on the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare (photo – EPA)
The day before the coup, army commander Constantine of Chiwenga said that the army will stop those who “want to destroy the achievements of the revolution”. Statement of General was a reaction to the political crisis that began after the dismissal of 71-year-old Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, one of the leaders of the guerrilla war for independence and the perennial ally of the dictator. Mugabe wanted to give the Vice presidency to his wife, grace, actually administering government instead of her elderly husband in recent years.
Emmerson Mnangagwa (photo – EPA)
52-year-old grace Mugabe is an iconic figure in the history of Zimbabwe. A native of South Africa, she began as a typist Robert Mugabe, then became his Secretary and mistress, and in 1996 – the second wife of the dictator. Grace Mugabe gradually began to pull the blanket over himself, and even stated its readiness to govern the country on behalf of the corpse of the dictator. “One day when God so decides and Mugabe dies, he dead will appear as a candidate on the ballot. You will see people voting for Mugabe dead”, she said.
The life of first lady differed exorbitant luxury in a poor country she lived in the Palace built for $ 26 million, went to an expensive shopping tours to European capitals, where he spent tens of thousands of euros on clothes from expensive Western brands. “I have very little leg, so I can only wear Ferragamo”, she explained. In 2010, WikiLeaks published the information that grace Mugabe has earned tens of millions of dollars in the diamond trade.
Their opponents, the first lady threatened: “Maybe I have a small fist. But when it comes to wrestling, I can draw him with stones to increase. I do not advise to test my”. Grace really sets a temper. In August 2017, she beat of the models I lived with her sons in South Africa – but due to diplomatic immunity had not been brought to justice. Prior to this, has repeatedly shown rage against journalists.
Grace Mugabe (photo – EPA)
The first lady has formed within the ruling party, the faction “Generation 40” and persistently went to the presidential office. She had angered many of the people around Mugabe, consisting of fighters of the movement for the overthrow of white rule of the settlers, which ended in 1980, after 15 years of war under pressure from the West.
Come the election in 1980, Mugabe quickly established in the country’s authoritarian regime, relying on the support of the USSR and other socialist countries. The power of the dictator, who came from the dominant ethnic group of the Shona, has caused resistance from the minority matabele people. In 1983-1987 trained by North Korean instructors Zimbabwe military suppressed the revolt of the matabele, from 4 to 30 thousand people were executed.
Zimbabwean girl looking for food in the dump in the town Chitungwiza 25 km from the capital of Zimbabwe, 2008 (photo – EPA)
Soon because of the policies of Mugabe, Zimbabwe has become a symbol of economic collapse and total poverty. The economic crisis in Zimbabwe began in 1998. To win the support of voters in 2000, Mugabe endorsed the campaign of land seizures of white farmers: it represented less than 1% of the population but owned 70% of arable land. The following year, the country began a shortage of food, which in the West was explained by the seizure of farms in Zimbabwe – drought. Western countries have stopped aid to Zimbabwe and condemned the land policy of the government, has imposed sanctions. The opposition failed to knock out of the hands of Mugabe’s power for three consecutive presidential elections, despite the fact that in 2008 inflation was 231000000% and the unemployment rate is 94%. In 2009, the country was forced to abandon the national currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, and transfer payments in American currency.
The Zimbabwean bill into a million dollars, released in 2008 (photo – EPA)
In recent years within the ruling party began bickering over who will succeed the dictator. Grace Mugabe has created in the ruling party, the faction “Generation 40”, so young officials, and in 2014 has achieved the dismissal of Vice President Joyce Mujuru, which was accused of anti-President conspiracy, and the attempt to divert the President from his wife.
Eliminating the new Vice President of Mnangagwa was to open grace Mugabe’s path to absolute power. In August, the Vice President tried to poison at the feast, but health failed former rebel. In the end, on 6 November he was dismissed with the explanation “for disloyalty, disrespect, lies and insecurity” that caused outrage of the military. Mnangagwa proved too much for grace Mugabe a tough nut to crack – he was one of the founders of the ruling party, the first Minister of state security in Zimbabwe in the 1980s, then Minister of justice and defence, was one of the initiators of the hardships of white farmers land and has the full location of veterans.
Today on Twitter the ruling Zimbabwe party ZANU-PF there was a message showing that Mnangagwa could become interim leader of Zimbabwe before the elections in 2018. “There was no revolution, it was bloodless, peaceful transition to power … the First family was taken into custody and is safe, for the sake of the Constitution and common sense of the nation that is necessary. Neither Zimbabwe nor the party does not belong to Mugabe and his wife. Today begins a new era and comrade Mnangagwa will help us to achieve improvements in Zimbabwe,” the statement reads. At the same time it reported the arrests of people of the environment, grace Mugabe.
About the future of Zimbabwe after the coup in comments LIGA.net said the co-founder of the Ukrainian Center of researches of Africa Alexander Mishin.
This is the first time in Zimbabwe’s history when the military intervened in the political process. There was a successful coup. The military has ceased to obey the Supreme commander – President Mugabe. They explained that Mugabe is responsible for the economic failures of the country and need to change the situation in the country, explaining their actions by the fact that the country is in economic terms is degrading to live in this way is impossible.
The army will not say that made a military coup. First, because membership in the African Union suspended sanctions. And given the critical situation of Zimbabwe, they are such sanctions is not needed. Therefore, the military want to set the situation so that the revolution actually made Mugabe, eliminating the Vice-President, which was to become the receiver. It was perceived by the local clans as a revolution in favor of grace, which for the love of foreign brands is called Miss Gucci, and they rebelled against Robert Mugabe. It is not excluded that in the near future he will retire because of disability. Many have not liked that because of such condition of the President, the country was ruled by his wife. Mnangagwa is likely to be interim President, and announced early elections.
What will be the fate of Mugabe? It does not wait for the massacre, as Ceausescu. It is not a revolution, this is a showdown within the ruling party and among the clans of the dominant Shona people. All those who organized the coup – supporters of Mugabe, which can’t be destroyed, because he is “the father of the nation” and the Creator of an independent state. This all could provide him with immunity from prosecution. The trial also will bring dividends to anyone.
In political terms, greater progress in the country should not be expected. But some economic improvement is possible. Many foreign investors did not want to go to Zimbabwe because he feared chaos after the death of Mugabe, the struggle for power between grace and her opponents. And the coup that happened, he gave a clear military control of the situation. And Zimbabwe as a country for investment is very interesting for the West as a producer of chromium, a country with beautiful lands for agriculture. The return of white farmers lands excluded – the new leader Mnangagwa was one of the initiators of the campaign for its expropriation.