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MILITARY COUP IN ZIMBABWE

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Thousands of Zimbabweans flooded the streets of Harare
on Saturday, waving national flags, singing and dancing in
an outpouring of elation at the expected fall of President
Robert Mugabe.
“These are tears of joy,” Frank Mutsindikwa, 34, told
Reuters, holding aloft the Zimbabwean flag.
“I’ve been waiting all my life for this day. Free at last. We
are free at last.”
NAN reports that on Friday, President Ian Khama of
Botswana urged Mugabe to end his attempts to remain in
office after the military seized power, as he has no regional
diplomatic support to stay in power.
The military intervention, which political sources say could
pave the way to a national unity government after 37 years
of Mugabe rule, also presented “an opportunity to put
Zimbabwe on a path to peace and prosperity”, Khama told
Reuters.
“I don’t think anyone should be President for that amount of
time. We are Presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just
common sense,” Khama said.
Earlier, Mugabe arrived at a university graduation ceremony
in the capital on Friday, his first public appearance since a
military seizure of power that political sources say is aimed
at ending his 37 years in office.
Mugabe, who is 93, opened a graduation ceremony at
Zimbabwe Open University in Harare.
He wore blue and yellow academic robes and a mortar
board hat and appeared to fall asleep in his chair as his
eyes closed and his head lolled.
Mugabe led the country’s liberation struggle and has
dominated its politics since independence in 1980.
He said he is still in charge but a senior member of the
ZANU-PF ruling party said it wanted him gone.
“If he becomes stubborn, we will arrange for him to be fired
on Sunday,” the source said. “When that is done, it’s
impeachment on Tuesday.”
In contrast, the military said in a statement on national
television it was “engaging” with Mugabe. It referred to him
as Commander in Chief and said it would announce an
outcome as soon as possible.
Mugabe is revered as an elder statesman and member of
the generation of Africa’s independence leaders but he is
also viewed by many in Africa as a president who held his
country back by remaining in power too long.
He calls himself the grand old man of African politics.
Zimbabwe’s official newspaper, the Herald, ran
photographs late on Thursday showing him grinning and
shaking hands with military chief Gen. Constantino
Chiwenga, who seized power this week.
The images stunned Zimbabweans who thought it meant
Mugabe was managing to hold out against Chiwenga’s
coup, with some political sources saying he was trying to
delay his departure until elections scheduled for next year.
The ZANU-PF source said that was not the case. Anxious to
avoid a protracted stalemate, party leaders were drawing
up plans to dismiss Mugabe at the weekend if he refused to
quit, the source said.
“There is no going back,” the source told Reuters. “It’s like
a match delayed by heavy rain, with the home side leading
90-0 in the 89th minute.”
The army is camped on his doorstep.
His wife, Grace, is under house arrest, and her key political
allies are in military custody.
The police, once a bastion of support, have showed no
signs of resistance.
Furthermore, he has little popular backing in the capital, a
stronghold of support for opposition parties that have
tapped into the anger and frustration at his handling of the
economy, which collapsed after the seizure of white-owned
farms in 2000.
Unemployment is now running at nearly 90 percent and
chronic shortages of hard currency have triggered
hyperinflation, with the prices of imports rising as much as
50 per cent a month.
The only words Mugabe spoke at the graduation ceremony
were met with ululations from the crowd.
In a telling irony, one of the graduates was the wife of
Chiwenga.
The U.S., a longtime Mugabe critic, is seeking “a new era”,
the State Department’s top official for Africa said, an
implicit call for Mugabe to quit.
In an interview with Reuters, acting U.S. Assistant Secretary
of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto appeared to
dismiss the idea of keeping Mugabe in an interim or
ceremonial role.
“It’s a transition to a new era for Zimbabwe, that’s really
what we’re hoping for,” Yamamoto said.
The army appears to want Mugabe to go quietly and allow
a smooth and bloodless transition to Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the vice president, whose sacking last week
triggered the military takeover.
The main goal of the generals is to prevent Mugabe from
handing power to his wife, Grace, who appeared on the
cusp of power after Mnangagwa was pushed out. (Reuters/
NAN)

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6 Comments

  1. Good update

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  3. Great

  4. Good

  5. Na wa o

  6. Good

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