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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is under House Arrest and Military currently patrolling Harare

by Felix Omondi
robert mugabe

For the first time in almost 40 years, Africa’s ‘strong man’ Robert Mugabe could be losing his tight grip on the Presidency of Zimbabwe ever since he ascended to that position in 1980. Yes, Mugabe has been the President of the Southern Africa country for close to 38 years now.

The military tanks are currently patrolling the capital, Harare and it has been confirmed that they have Mugabe under house arrest. This confirmation came from South Africa after President Jacob Zuma phoned his Zimbabwean counterpart to inquire about his whereabouts following the breaking of the news that the military might be conducting a coup.

Although the military has come out to state categorically that they are not doing a coup, there is no doubt that in this instance Mugabe is not calling the shots anymore. The military is said to have taken over control of the state TV and addressed the citizens saying they are targeting criminals.

Events leading to this seeming coup in Zimbabwe

President Mugabe (now 93-years-old) last week dismissed his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, following accusation he was plotting his death (even claiming he sought the services of a witchdoctor to know when he [Mugabe] will die).

It is popular belief that the disgruntled Mnangagwa is behind the current military action in the capital, and have also placed the President under house arrest. When Mugabe sacked his deputy, the only likely successor to the Presidency would have been his wife, Grace Mugabe.

It would not be a wild thought to say the military support Mnangagwa and their activities right now are meant to perhaps install him as Mugabe’s successor. As to when (or if), they will create room for democratic elections to elect the President remains to be seen. As the military says, they are not conducting a coup. Instead, they are hunting down criminals. Though earlier today, heavy gun and artillery fire were heard in the northern parts of the capital.

A Zimbabwean military officer, Major General Sibusiso Moy, went on live TV and told the country that Mugabe and his family were “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. As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

So far, it has not been established who is leading this military action. Though it might be important to point out, Army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga last week while on a visit to China said the army is prepared to cut ties with the ruling Zanu-PF party.

International community reactions to the current state of Zimbabwe

China, the biggest trade partner of Zimbabwe, has said it is closely monitoring the situations and hopes the matter will be solved amicably and as swiftly as possible. The U.K. and U.S. have cautioned their citizens currently in Zimbabwe to remain indoors, until calm returns.

Plans are already underway to send special envoys from the Southern African Development Community into Zimbabwe over the matter.


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