Confusion abounds in Zimbabwe: Military Coup or preventing the planned takeover by Grace Mugabe?

Confusion abounds in Zimbabwe: Military Coup or preventing the planned takeover by Grace Mugabe?

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Zimbabwe remains tense after the military stepped in and seized the chains of power. However, it remains to be seen if this is the end of President Robert Mugabe because certain military elites seem focused on his wife Grace and certain individuals close to the president of this nation. Hence, it is difficult to grasp the real motives of the military because they could possibly change tact if the mood becomes over joyous – or if crowds demand the return of the president.

Since Zimbabwe obtained independence then many brutal deeds have occurred under the presidency of Mugabe. Despite this, and notably in the early stages of Zimbabwe once the opposition had been crushed, then Mugabe appeared popular to certain sections of society – while being reviled by others. However, for far too long the economy lies in ruin and cronyism is the order of the day.

Reuters reports, “It was not clear whether the apparent military coup would bring a formal end to the 93-year-old Mugabe’s rule; the main goal of the generals appeared to be preventing Mugabe’s wife Grace, 41 years his junior, from succeeding him.”

Immediately after the military took control of the state broadcaster and blocked important areas, including the parliament of Zimbabwe, the capital remained extremely calm. In a sense, it shows how unprepared the entourage of Mugabe was and how apathetic the populace is towards his presidency. Of course, the army should be prepared for future demonstrations in the following days in the knowledge of the longevity of Mugabe and how he ruled by fear. Similarly, anti-Mugabe forces may demand real change and not the limited statements that have currently been made by the military. Therefore, tensions may ensue if things remain unclear.

Major General Sibusiso Moyo, in a rather defensive tone, said, “We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.”

The BBC reports, “This is, fundamentally, an internal power struggle within Zanu-PF and whoever emerges victorious can expect a newly purged party to fall obediently into line… Mr Mugabe’s mistake, at 93, was to assume he was still powerful enough to build a dynasty to back his wife, Grace, to succeed him.”

It is too early to say what will develop from ongoing events in Zimbabwe because much depends if a political vacuum emerges based on pro-Mugabe demonstrations – or counter-demonstrations that hope for change. Or, like the BBC hints – and given the words of the military – then it may be an internal Zanu-PF political struggle.

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