Monday, 20 November 2017

The coup that wasn't in Zimbabwe

The main significance of this is that Robert Mugabe has been in power in Zimbabwe (“Rhodesia’ when I was a child) for most of my adult life. For all his failings he is the last symbol of the anti-imperialist struggle in Africa.

Mugabe Admits 'Mistakes', But Refuses To Resign In Defiant Speech

19 November, 2017

Update 8:  Bloomberg is reporting that Zimbabwe’s ruling party will proceed Monday with its plans to impeach President Robert Mugabe after the long-term leader refused to resign Sunday evening, as was expected. Bloomberg's sources said Mugabe’s speech, including a vow to preside over the party conference in December, deviated from an earlier agreement with military authorities to read a prepared statement of resignation.

Unsurprisingly given his past remarks, it seems Mugabe is comfortable risking a civil war if it means retaining his tenuous grip on power. So with the path forward for Zimbabwe looking dangerously uncertain, the AP has published a timeline reminding readers exactly how we got to this point...

  • Nov. 6: After a campaign of public insults against Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe fires his longtime deputy, later accusing him of plotting to take power via witchcraft. Mnangagwa flees the country.
  • Nov 13: Army commander Constantino Chiwenga issues a rare public rebuke, saying the military won't hesitate to "step in" to calm political tensions and criticizing the handling of the once-prosperous southern African nation's crumbling economy.
  • Nov. 14: Armored personnel carriers are seen on the outskirts of the capital, Harare. The military moves in overnight, taking control of the state-run broadcaster.
  • Nov. 15: The military announces that Mugabe is under house arrest and an operation has begun to arrest "criminals" around him who harmed the economy. Unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe, who many feared would replace Mnangagwa and even succeed her husband, disappears from view.
  • Nov. 16: State-run media publish extraordinary photos of a smiling Mugabe shaking hands with the army commander at the State House amid negotiations on the president's exit as the military tries to avoid accusations of a coup.
  • Nov. 17: The army, which continues to refer to Mugabe as president, allows him to make his first public appearance since house arrest. He appears at a graduation ceremony to polite applause.
  • Nov. 18: The bulk of the capital's roughly 1.6 million people pour into the streets in an anti-Mugabe demonstration that even days ago would have brought a police crackdown.
  • Nov. 19: The ruling party Central Committee expels Mugabe as party leader and tells him to step aside as president by noon Monday or face impeachment. In a speech on national television, he does not announce his resignation as expected.
* * *
Update 7: The path forward for the Zimbabwe military, PANU ZF and Mugabe is still uncertain, but the president has made one thing strikingly clear: He appears he intends to cling to power until he is forcibly removed...

Furthermore, Bloomberg is reporting that Mugabe's speech deviated from his prepared comments, suggesting that he deliberately misled his military handlers.
* * *
Update 6: At the close of a long-winded address, Mugabe admitted that "mistakes have been made" during his tenure as president, but insisted that the people of Zimbabwe learn to put these mistakes behind them, and move forward, adding that he would preside over the upcoming Congress.
In short, he is not resigning...

Many noted that the speech didn't sound like a resignation speech. It was also much shorter than the hours-long addresses Mugabe is known for. Mugabe's own political party, ZANU PF, promised earlier that Mugabe would resign by noon Monday. During the speech, he noted that Zimbabwe's economy had hit a "rough patch" (something of an understatement) and added that the ruling party needed to put an end to victimization and arbitrary decision-making.
He also noted in his speech that “intergenerational conflict must be resolved,” apparently a reference to the exile of his 52-year-old wife, Grace, whom he had been grooming to succeed him. Mugabe is 93 and had been backed by fellow veterans of the country’s liberation war, until they recently turned against him.
Of course, Mugabe isn't the first African leader in recent memory to pull a stunt like this...

The Associated Press reported that Mugabe has "baffled the country" by refusing to resign:

The ruling party’s Central Committee just hours earlier told him to resign as president by noon Monday or face impeachment proceedings the following day.
Zimbabweans gathered in expectation of a celebration. Instead, Mugabe appeared to hint at challenging the ruling party, which has expelled him as its leader, by trying to stay on.
Mugabe made a reference to presiding over a party congress next month. “The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be possessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public."
Officials close to the talks between Mugabe and the military had said Mugabe was resigning.

Just a few minutes after going live today, the state broadcaster, ZBC, had more than 12,000 live viewers on Facebook, which likely qualifies it as the largest Facebook Livestream audience of anyone in Zimbabwe. The number jumped to more than 20,000 soon after the announcement began and about 33,000 several minutes later. The final count we got was 36,500. At the end of the broadcast, the video had received more than a quarter of a million views, according to TechZim.

If you want to follow up on this turgid story then GO HERE

Zimbabwe's Liberation A Short And Accurate History

This week, Zimbabwe long-time leaser, Robert Mugabe, 93 years old, is finally being forced out of power as ruling party chief, as crowds rally peacefully in the country’s capital, Harare.

How did Mugabe’s revolution come to power? What was happening behind the scenes in those days leading up to the country emancipation from colonial rule all those years ago? Interestingly, British filmmakers led with the boiler plate graphic, “Portrait of a Terrorist,” in order to frame Mugabe in a negative light. But the story actually tells another story. This rare documentary captures an image of a country, formerly known as Rhodesia (named after the British globalist and luminary, Cecil Rhodes), in transition – out of its colonial ties, and striving towards a sovereign nation-state. Watch:

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