Nov 20, 2017 Last Updated 2:48 PM, Nov 20, 2017


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All Eyes On Zimbabwe

Governing political parties in Southern Africa including Malawi are being pushed to set up clear democratic succession processes if recent developments in Zimbabwe are to be avoided.

All eyes are on the southern africa nation as President Mugabe is under more pressure from his own Zanu-PF to step down following an intervention by the Military last week.

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces refuse to call their intervention a Coup.

Zimbabwe’s governing -Zanu-PF on Sunday sacked Mugabe as the party’s leader, and ordered him to tender his resignation as the country’s President by mid-day Monday or face impeachment.

Zanu-PF has appointed former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who apparently, had been fired by Mugabe two weeks ago from his position.

The sacking of Mnangagwa had prompted an extraordinary chain of events as the military intervened to block Mugabe, 93, from installing his wife, Grace, in his place.

The first lady has been expelled from the party altogether.

The developments in Zimbabwe are being monitored in Malawi and the rest of the world.

It is doubtful if Mugabe will tender in his resignation as during his live address to the nation on Sunday night, he vowed to stay in power and preside over the ruling party's congress scheduled for December.

Happy Kayuni, an Associate Professor of Political and Administrative Studies at the Chancellor College says there should be a method used to ensure that a president clearly identifies individuals to take over once the president is no longer in power.

On Saturday protests were also held which are being described as peaceful, all opting for Mugabe to step down.

Emmaculate Maluza, a Human Rights Lawyer says the developments in Zimbabwe are a reflection of what happens when the public is being taken for granted by those in power.

All in all what the whole world expects is a peaceful transition of power in Zimbabwe and that all African leaders should not take the presidency as a dynasty.

Zimbabwe's ruling party has sacked President Robert Mugabe as its leader, officials say.

Zanu-PF has instead appointed ex-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago.

The sacking of Mr Mnangagwa had prompted an extraordinary chain of events as the military intervened to block Mr Mugabe, 93, from installing his wife, Grace, in his place.

The first lady has been expelled from the party altogether.

Mr Mugabe is set to meet military leaders on Sunday and a motorcade has been seen leaving his private residence.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes.

BBC correspondent Andrew Harding, who is at the Zanu-PF meeting, said cheering erupted as the decision was announced.

One senior official later told him: "It's the dawn of a new era. Mugabe can go farming."

The move has yet to be formalised, but it increases further the pressure on Mr Mugabe that has been building over the past few days, and there are now moves to impeach him as president if he does not resign.

The recent events:

  • Two weeks ago Mr Mugabe sacked his then-deputy Mr Mnangagwa, who then fled the country
  • The army's chief of staff, Gen Constantino Chiwenga, warned last Monday that the military might intervene to stop purges in the party - and was roundly criticised by allies of the Mugabes
  • On Wednesday, soldiers seized the headquarters of the national broadcaster
  • Mr Mugabe has been mostly under house arrest for several days
  • On Saturday, unprecedented mass protests further weakened Mr Mugabe's position

The head of the influential War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, threatened to "bring back the crowds and they will do their business" if Mr Mugabe did not step down.

Mr Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe for 37 years.

Governments in Malawi and the rest of Southern Africa are closely monitoring developments in Zimbabwe where the military has intervened in a power struggle that has rocked the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union known in short as Zanu-PF.

The announcement followed the sound of explosions early Wednesday morning after tanks and army vehicles drove into Harare and took over key government buildings and offices including the state controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

According to international media reports, the military has placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest in the capital Harare.

South African President Jacob Zuma spoke to Mugabe on the phone where he said he was fine.

The developments in Zimbabwe are moving swiftly after the recent expulsions of potential successors of the country’s 93 year old leader.

One of them is Emmerson Mnangagwa a former intelligence chief who was also the Vice President of the country. 

He was purged after being regarded as a threat to Mugabe’s personally marked successor, his wife, Grace Mugabe.

Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe last week and reports said he had fled to Malawi where he sought refuge. 

Amid the unrest in the country, Mnangagwa tweeted on his personal account urging Zimbabweans to keep calm.

It read: "Zimbabweans stay calm &remain tuned to national news. I'm back in the country &will be quite busy over the next few days. My communication​ with you will now be via formal broadcasting channels so I'm unlikely to use the twitter handle. Thank you all for the support & solidarity".



Zimbabwe's military has read out a statement after taking over the national broadcaster, ZBC, saying it has taken action to "target criminals".

However, it said this was not "a military takeover of government" and President Robert Mugabe was safe.

Heavy gunfire and artillery were heard in northern suburbs of the capital, Harare, early on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe's envoy to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, earlier dismissed talk of a coup, saying the government was "intact".

The statement read out by Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo came hours after soldiers overran the headquarters of ZBC. He said: "We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed."

The statement added: "We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes... that are causing social and economic suffering in the country. As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy."

The statement did not name those targeted but a government source quoted by Reuters said Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo was among those detained.

It is not clear who is leading the military action.

Other key points of the statement included:

  • Citizens should remain calm and limit unnecessary movement
  • The military assures the Zimbabwean judiciary that its independence is guaranteed
  • Security services should "co-operate for the good of our country" and any provocation would "be met with an appropriate response"
  • All leave for the defence forces is cancelled and personnel should return to barracks immediately

The UK Foreign Office advised Britons "currently in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer".

The US embassy in Harare tweeted that it would be closed on Wednesday "due to ongoing uncertainty".

It also advised US citizens in Zimbabwe to "shelter in place" until further notice.

Alex Magaisa, former adviser to Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, told the BBC he believes the military's claim that they haven't carried out a coup is untrue.

"They have decided not to call it a coup because they know that a coup does not sell, it will be condemned," he said.

"But as far as authority is concerned it seems very clear that President Mugabe is now just a president in name and authority is now residing in the military."

The latest events came hours after Zimbabwe's ruling party accused the country's army chief of "treasonable conduct" after he warned of possible military intervention.

General Constantino Chiwenga had challenged 93-year-old President Mugabe after he sacked the vice-president

The government of Malawi is neither confirming nor denying reports that fugitive former vice president of Zimbabwe Emerson Mnangagwa has sought refuge in the country.

Mnangagwa was fired from his position last week by President Mugabe in what is being described as political power struggle within the ruling Zanu-PF.

Mnangagwa, 75, was accused of being disloyal to Mugabe and his administration.

His removal made it more likely that President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace will follow in her husband's footsteps as leader of Zimbabwe.

She had earlier called on her husband to remove his vice-president who is a former intelligence chief, had been a leading candidate to succeed President Mugabe, 93.

According to reports, Grace Mugabe is expected to be appointed vice-president at a special congress of the ruling Zanu-PF party next month.

Mnangagwa was later ultimately fired from the ruling party, Zanu-PF on Wednesday last week and he then fled the country.

Reports say he has sought refuge in Malawi.

Speaking to Capital FM, however, Foreign Affairs Minister Emmanuel Fabiano demanded for more time before he could comment on the issue.

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