Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 7:42 AM

Military Coup Ousts Mugabe in Zimbabwe

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Frankly, this could not have happened to a nicer strongman.

Early Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo, Zimbabwe’s army chief of staff, denied on state TV that the military had overthrown longtime President Robert Mugabe, despite tanks in the streets and reports of explosions and gunfire. The ruling ZANU-PF party later tweeted that former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe had ousted last week, had stepped in as interim president, and South Africa’s News24 reported that Mugabe, 93, is ‘preparing to step down.’

The ZANU-PF account called Wednesday’s military takeover of the capital a ‘bloodless,’ and said Mugabe and his wife, Grace, are ‘detained and safe.’

(The Week, November 15, 2017)

Unfortunately, for the longsuffering people of Zimbabwe, this only portends more years of kleptocracy and oppression under general administrative incompetence. In other words, this country is fated to continue its 37-year malaise, which has seen it wither away from the breadbasket of Africa to a simple basket case. And it will continue thus – even despite the vesting efforts of its new superpower patron, China – which reportedly gave its blessing for this coup.

The man believed to be behind the coup in Zimbabwe is the country’s recently sacked vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa – also known as ‘The Crocodile’.

Mnangagwa, 75, is a notorious and much-feared figure in Zimbabwe, having led a vicious crackdown on opponents in the 1980s with the help of the dreaded North Korean-trained Fifth Army brigade. …

His reputation for cruelty is so legendary that he was one of the few leaders of Zimbabwe known to drive around the country without security.

(London Daily Mail, November 15, 2017)

I have bemoaned Zimbabwe’s descent into the “heart of darkness” in too many commentaries to cite. They include “Zimbabweans Pray for Liberation from their Liberator, Robert Mugabe,” March 29, 2005, “UN Sanctions Mugabe’s Genocidal Rule,” May 14, 2007, “Zimbabwe: From Africa’s Breadbasket to Basket Case…,” December 5, 2008, “It’s Hail, Mugabe! … Again,” August 4, 2013, and “Zimbabwe’s Black Farmers: Bring Back White Farmers,” September 16, 2015.

Which is why this de facto coup, especially with its air of déjà vu, warrants no further comment. Except that I feel obliged to note that most Zimbabweans will consider this a second liberation – no matter how pyrrhic.

Meanwhile, say what you will about Fidel Castro of Cuba, at least he was shrewd and humble enough to step down on his own terms.

By contrast, Mugabe now joins the rogue’s gallery of dictators like Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire who were unceremoniously overthrown. In this case, the ignominy includes the fact that the triggering event was this pussy-whipped old fool moving to install his “trophy” wife (52) as his successor.

Now Mugabe has to pray he does not suffer the fate that befell dictators like Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and Saddam Hussein of Iraq who fulfilled that famous proverb:

He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

But, if his captors were shrewd, they would exile him to Morocco posthaste. Because, like his strongman comrade Sese Seko, Mugabe would probably die of disgrace there within six months.

Finally, much is being made about President Jacob Zuma of South Africa vouching for democracy in Zimbabwe, despite this coup. But this is rather like the frying pan vouching for safety in fire. After all, newspapers have been replete for years with reports about the kleptocracy and oppression under general administrative incompetence that have characterized Zuma’s rule.

As it happens, some of us warned of this foreboding symmetry:

One wonders what could have prompted the ANC to emasculate Mbeki. … If he heeds the ANC’s recall … Zuma will become the next duly elected president.

Then, I fear, he will do for South Africa what Mugabe has done for Zimbabwe.

(“South African President Mbeki Forced to Resign … Hail Zuma,” The iPINIONS Journal, September 22, 2008)

How telling then that Zuma is moving today to install one of his many wives as his successor … too.

It took Zimbabweans 37 years to arrive at this fateful rendezvous with destiny. But South Africans witnessing events unfolding in neighboring Zimbabwe must be thanking God that:

There but for the wisdom of Constitutional term limits, go we.

Related commentaries:
Zimbabwe’s black farmers
South African President Mbeki
Zuma doing to SA what Mugabe

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