Coup in Zimbabwe. Why? What next? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14862821
The military has seized control in Zimbabwe but has said President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, is safe.
After seizing state TV, an army spokesman announced it was targeting people close to Mr Mugabe who had caused "social and economic suffering".
The move came after Mr Mugabe sacked his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in favour of his wife, Grace.
Heavy gun and artillery fire could be heard in northern parts of the capital Harare early on Wednesday.
A statement read out by a general on air denied it was a coup and said Mr Mugabe was safe but did not say where.
There was no immediate word from Mr Mugabe himself.
Mr Mugabe, 93, has dominated the impoverished country's political scene since independence from the UK.
The UK Foreign Office advised Britons "currently in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer", while the US embassy in Harare advised US citizens in Zimbabwe to "shelter in place" until further notice.
How did the military justify its move?
Soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC broadcaster after armoured vehicles took up position on roads around Harare on Tuesday.
Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo went on air to say the military wished to "assure the nation that his Excellency the president... 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," he said.
"As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy."
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
It is not clear who is leading the military action. Army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga had said the army was prepared to act to end purges within the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Who else has been detained?
A government source told Reuters news agency that Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo had been detained.
He is a leading member of a faction of Zanu-PF led by Mr Mugabe's wife Grace.
Is this a coup?
Alex Magaisa, former adviser to Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, told the BBC he did not believe the military's claim that they had not carried out a coup.
"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."
Zanu-PF had accused Gen Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct" after he issued his warning that the army might intervene.
What do we know of the fighting?
The firing was coming from northern suburbs where Mr Mugabe and a number of government officials live, the BBC's Shingai Nyoka reports from Harare.
A witness told AFP news agency it could be heard near Mr Mugabe's residence in the suburb of Borrowdale early on Wednesday,
Some staff at ZBC were manhandled when the soldiers moved in, sources told Reuters. Workers were told that they "should not worry", a source added, and that soldiers were only there to protect the site.
What was the political situation before the army acted?
Mr Mugabe sacked Mr Mnangagwa last week, amid a row over succession.
Mr Mnangagwa had previously been seen as an heir to the president, but First Lady Grace Mugabe had since become the clear front-runner.
The rivalry between Mrs Mugabe and Mr Mnangagwa has split Zanu-PF.
Last month, Mrs Mugabe had warned of a possible coup plot, saying allies of Mr Mnangagwa were threatening the lives of those who didn't support him.
Zanu-PF said Gen Chiwenga's comments were "calculated to disturb national peace... [and] incite insurrection".
The party said it would never succumb to military threats, and that it "reaffirms the primacy of politics over the gun".
Gen Chiwenga had said the "purging" within Zanu-PF was "clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background", referring to the country's struggle for freedom from white minority rule.
Mr Mnangagwa is one such veteran of the 1970s war which ended white minority rule.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-41992351
#14862824
It sounds precisely like a coup against Mugabe. The military is claiming otherwise in order to placate any opposition and pacify any discontented loyalists. He still has plenty of supporters, and the military wants this to be as bloodless as possible. By the time the confusion is over and Mugabe is fully out of power, anyone who still supports him won't be able to do anything about it.
#14862828
The racist bastard Mugabe and his gangsters have inflicted more damage to Zimbabwe than the short fat guy did to North Korea.

It used to be a country of plenty where we went for shopping, medical services and tourism. Before Mugabe fucked it up.
#14862829
It did have a robust economy, one of the greatest agricultural centers in all of Africa, and had decent standards of living. And then Mugabe became the equally racist version of his predecessor, only even more inept and corrupt.
#14862839
It looks like Mugabe's usual genius for political manipulation has finally deserted him. He has remained in power for so long precisely because he knew how to balance the various conflicting factions within Zanu-PF in their jostling for political power and status. Even his support for the veterans' takeover of white-owned farms, and the disastrous economic and political fallout of that, was a consequence of his political savvy - the veterans were carrying out these takeovers spontaneously, without his backing, for weeks beforehand, which presented Mugabe with a problem - if he suppressed them, he risked losing their political support, which he depended on to remain in power. He hesitated for about a week, then threw his lot in with them and endorsed their violent takeover of the white farms, throwing Zimbabwe into political and economic crisis. However, his strategy worked - he kept the backing of the veterans, and he remained in power for another decade or so. But this recent crisis concerning the succession has led to a rare political fumble by Mugabe - by dismissing his deputy and heir-apparent, a favourite of the veterans, and making his wife Grace the new heir-apparent, Mugabe alienated and angered the veterans, who have finally struck back.

This is indeed a coup d'etat. However, Mugabe himself will likely not be formally overthrown or forced to resign as President - he is still, after all, the hero of the Liberation, and the father of his nation. He will likely be confined to house arrest (though the military probably won't call it that) and remain as the nominal head of state. The real power in Zimbabwe, however, will be firmly in the hands of the military. And Grace Mugabe will likely be arrested, if she hasn't already fled the country.
#14862847
Who exactly from the military carried out the coup?

It seems to be the veterans' wing of the military, which opposes the so-called 'G40' faction of Zanu-PF which backed Grace Mugabe as the candidate to succeed Mugabe. Yes, the very same people who carried out the violent takeover of the white-owned farms a few years back have now carried out a violent takeover of the Zimbabwean government itself. Lol.
#14862848
For many in Zimbabwe and those who have fled abroad this is a dream come true.

Robert Mugabe remains under detention at his home in Zimbabwe 12 hours after the military declared on national television that it had temporarily taken control of the country to “target criminals” around the head of state.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... -mnangagwa
#14862853
Ah Zimbabwe! :)

Funnily enough I've just been watching the TV series "I Claudius". While Graves certainly takes poetic licence, i feel the series gives good insights into the tribulations of primitive democracy. Rome was still formally a Republic during the period and many still hankered to return to a defacto Republic not just a de jure. Sub Saharan Africa was (relatively) seriously, seriously backward when the Portuguese first broke the Muslim encirclement and much of it was still (relatively) seriously, seriously backward before The Scramble. Africa was (relative to our pampered western existences) a living hell hole.

Were there idiots who thought that they could invade Iraq and in a few years transform it into a Jew loving, Arab economic tiger replete with Gay night clubs, diversity workships and women's studdies courses? Yes there were. But there were also idiots who thought that if we didn't intervene to police the place other powers would not and there were even idiots who thought that if no "outside powers" (what ever that meant) intervened the region would be just dandy.

If Africa was just left to itself, free to trade with the rest of the world as its leaders wished, free to war as it wished, Africa would be a nuclear wasteland by now. Many of the "Liberal" denunciations of human rights abuses are vapid, you might as well condemn Claudius for not giving his citizens internet access.
#14862854
Potemkin wrote:It seems to be the veterans' wing of the military, which opposes the so-called 'G40' faction of Zanu-PF which backed Grace Mugabe as the candidate to succeed Mugabe. Yes, the very same people who carried out the violent takeover of the white-owned farms a few years back have now carried out a violent takeover of the Zimbabwean government itself. Lol.


There’s more than a little irony to that.

I mean, it’s great that Mugabe is gone. Terrifying that a military can just do that :hmm:
#14862856
There’s more than a little irony to that.

Indeed. But it demonstrates that, back when the veterans were violently taking over the white-owned farms, Robert Mugabe had little choice but to throw in his lot with them. Suppressing them would have been political suicide. Siding with the veterans kept Mugabe in power for another decade or two, but the recent leadership succession dispute between his wife Grace (backed by Mugabe) and his Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa (backed by the veterans) caused his undoing. Ever since he became President in 1980, Mugabe has always depended on the backing of the veterans to remain in power. Over the past few years, he started taking that support for granted. He took his eye off the ball.

I mean, it’s great that Mugabe is gone. Terrifying that a military can just do that :hmm:

Tell that to the people of Chile. Lol.

Seriously, just how naive are you? :eh:
#14862898
Potemkin wrote:It looks like Mugabe's usual genius for political manipulation has finally deserted him.

At 93 he's been losing power finally and the military still has to calm down people by announcing he's safe and fine, it's not that bad relative to how dictators usually fall. Just remember how Qaddafi ended despite he'd elevated his country, whereas Mugabe did the opposite. He'll have a nice retirement it seems.
#14862903
Beren wrote:Just remember how Qaddafi ended despite he'd elevated his country,

Libya was achieving staggering rates of growth at the end of King Idris's rule. It wasn't hard. Gadaffi's economic management was amazingly bad, rather like his diplomatic skills. People seem to forget, relative to population Saudi was oil poor compared to Libya. Libya is comparable to Norway. Islam has managed to deliver a magnificent shit-hole in what should have been the north African Norway.
Last edited by Rich on 15 Nov 2017 18:51, edited 1 time in total.
#14862912
Beren wrote:At 93 he's been losing power finally and the military still has to calm down people by announcing he's safe and fine, it's not that bad relative to how dictators usually fall. Just remember how Qaddafi ended despite he'd elevated his country, whereas Mugabe did the opposite. He'll have a nice retirement it seems.


I doubt Mugabe is really loved in Zimbabwe, so I don't imagine for one second this was the reason for the armies assurances that he is safe. I expect most people feared him and perhaps even applaud this event for that reason. From my understanding from this coup (or not a coup), it appears that the issue for this event was in regards to his wifes/wifes close allies actions rather than anything Mugabe did himself (though he clearly over valued his power). It also appears that Mnangagwa has a strong ally in the army who backs his claim to the presidency. Let's hope this finally brings Zimbabwe back out of poverty.
#14862938
I doubt Mugabe is really loved in Zimbabwe, so I don't imagine for one second this was the reason for the armies assurances that he is safe. I expect most people feared him and perhaps even applaud this event for that reason. From my understanding from this coup (or not a coup), it appears that the issue for this event was in regards to his wifes/wifes close allies actions rather than anything Mugabe did himself (though he clearly over valued his power). It also appears that Mnangagwa has a strong ally in the army who backs his claim to the presidency. Let's hope this finally brings Zimbabwe back out of poverty.

Actually, there is tremendous respect for Mugabe in Zimbabwe, not least among the veterans of the liberation war who staged the coup against him. I must emphasise again: this coup was carried out by the veterans, the very people who fought under Mugabe's leadership in a successful liberation war against the apartheid regime in Rhodesia (as it then was). For them to finally turn against him shows how bad things have got in Zimbabwe, but it also means that they have no intention of harming him or even forcing his retirement as President. They may even allow him to stay on as a powerless figurehead. Their real enemy is, of course, Grace Mugabe and the 'G40' faction within Zanu-PF, whom they regard as traitors and thieves. This is a coup, but it's a 'guardianship' coup. And no, they are not sparing Mugabe because they 'fear' him; he has no power any more, so what can he do to them? No, they respect him. But even they have had enough.
#14862950
@Potemkin, I have no doubt that Mugabe is popular with party members or from anyone who has profited from him. And being that he hasn't been vilified or in any danger of arrest, I suspect that yes he will be given the dignity to resign and end his days in privilege. But I doubt 'the ordinary people' who are the majority and are starving or have lost everything, would be fighting the army if they hadn't been given such assurances of Mugabe's safety. I would even bet that most Zimbabweans are sleeping very happily tonight - but perhaps still wise enough not to celebrate in the streets.
#14862955
its worth remembering that there were moves to push both Stalin and Mao upstairs so to speak. Sergei Kirov received 3 more votes than Stalin in one election. Many of the party's top officials looked to him to become de-facto leader. I think its fair to say that Stalin was not a good loser. He was worse than Ayrton Senna and Donald Trump. The cultural revolution was Mao's move to regain power. Ho Chi Ming also lost power, but perhaps he never possessed the psychotic egotism of a Mugabe in the first place.

For a leader like Mugabe, your days are numbered as soon as people start thinking your days are numbered. It doesn't matter how loyal you are when the Emperor's on the way out you need to think about your future, you need to think about succession, missing the starting gun can be deadly. Now whats the point of being dictator if you can't have a pretty smart young / younger wife? The trouble is as the final curtain approaches those younger wives become extremely dangerous.
#14862988
Bloomberg wrote:Zimbabwe Doesn’t Have Its Own Currency and Bitcoin Is Surging

By Robert Brand, Brian Latham, and Godfrey Marawanyika

2017. november 15. 10:05 CET Updated on 2017. november 15. 14:41 CET


  • Cryptocurrency rises as high as $13,499 on local exchange
  • Bitcoin sales climbed to more than $1 million in past month

Bitcoin climbed as much as 10 percent on Zimbabwe’s Golix exchange on Wednesday after the country’s armed forces seized power.

The price of the cryptocurrency in the Southern African nation jumped as high as $13,499, almost double the rate at which it trades in international markets, according to prices cited on Golix’s website. It traded at $13,010 by 3:34 p.m. in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital.

Demand for bitcoin in Zimbabwe has surged amid a shortage of hard currency. Golix processed more than $1 million of transactions in the past 30 days, compared with turnover of $100,000 for the whole of 2016, according to data on the exchange’s website. Zimbabwe doesn’t have its own currency, with the government adopting the U.S. dollar and South African rand, among others, as legal tender in 2009 after hyperinflation rendered the local dollar worthless.

Golix, an unregulated platform that also trades other cryptocurrencies including bitcoin cash, has been in operation since 2014. Prices for bitcoin are set by supply and demand, according to Taurai Chinyamakobvu, co-owner of the exchange. Sellers are paid in U.S. dollars deposited electronically, which can only be converted into hard cash at a steep discount on the black market.

Zimbabwe’s army moved into the capital, Harare, on Tuesday after a week of confrontation with President Robert Mugabe’s government and said the action was needed to stave off violent conflict in the southern African nation that he has ruled since 1980.

Deep Crisis

The events unfolded as Zimbabwe is in deep crisis. The economy has halved in size since 2000, an estimated 95 percent of the workforce is jobless and as many as 3 million Zimbabweans have gone into exile.

While most major currencies are legal tender in Zimbabwe, cash-strapped importers and retailers buy dollars -- or any currency easily converted to dollars -- at premium prices by paying the seller electronically. An “electronic” dollar buys about 8 South African rand, compared with the market exchange rate of 14.32 on Wednesday. Zimbabwe’s unpopular “bond notes” -- promissory notes issued by the central bank and officially pegged to the dollar -- are worth as little as 50 U.S. cents on the black market.

Now we can see under what circumstances bitcoin could serve as a real currency.
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