Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president for the last three decades, has been forced to resign by Monday. If he doesn’t step down as president, he will face an impeachment. All of this comes five days after the military forces put him under house arrest.
Mugabe’s regime suffered a coup d’état last Tuesday. He has been put under house arrest, and his own party expelled him today. As well, his wife Grace Mugabe, who was Mugabe’s most likely successor, has also been blocked by the new authorities. Though it all seems like the end of the regime, it appears that Mugabe is not willing to resign.
“Whatever the pros and cons of how they (the army) went about their operation, I, as commander-in-chief, do acknowledge their concerns,” he said, in reference to the army’s move last week to take over the state broadcaster.
Mugabe has no support by now
Robert Mugabe, 93, has been a fundamental figure in Zimbabwe’s history for the last four decades. He assumed as Prime Minister of that African country in 1980, and in 1987 he became its president. From that moment on, Mugabe has ruled the destiny of Zimbabwe, limiting the rights and liberties of its people.
Though many around the world believed he would assume the role of president until his death — to be succeeded then by one of his family’s member, most likely his wife — the recent actions might have changed the expected trajectory of Zimbabwe’s political affairs.
On November 14, 2017, there was turmoil in the African country that led to the arrest of President Mugabe. Now the international community along with the Zimbabwean people are waiting for Mugabe to resign, but there is still uncertainty about what is going to happen with him.
Apparently, Mugabe has had meetings with the military groups about the conditions of his departure. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s central committee, Mugabe’s party, reunited today and decided to fire Mugabe given the current conditions of the country.
They also ordered him to resign, or he will be removed anyway. Many of Mugabe’s allies were also arrested. Phelekezela Mphoko, the nation’s other vice president, has even been expelled along with other senior officials. The party has also barred Mugabe’s wife. Therefore, it all seems as if Mugabe’s power in Zimbabwe is getting close to its end.
People in Harare and Bulawayo — Zimbabwe’s capital city and second most important city, respectively — came out to the streets to celebrate the end of Mugabe’s hegemony.
“Zanu-PF has fully endorsed the military intervention and lent some democratic credence to what is effectively a military coup,” said Robert Besseling, executive director of political risk advisory firm EXX Africa. “This is the end of the line for Mugabe.”
Mugabe doesn’t want to resign
Though resigning would be the most reasonable thing to do for Mugabe, it looks as if the President is not willing to let go of his power so easily. In fact, the military authorities gave Mugabe the opportunity to address the country this Sunday.
The 20-minute statement went on without Mugabe mentioning anything about him leaving the power. He did mention that he will preside the party congress, scheduled to take place in a few weeks.
“The (ruling Zanu-PF) party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes,” President Mugabe told the nation, while he was flanked by senior military generals.
On the other hand, Emmerson Mnangagwa assumed the interim presidency. Mnangagwa was the vice-president of Zimbabwe. However, Mugabe dismissed him last month. Mnangagwa is expected to be the Zanu-PF’s presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections to be carried out this year.
Mnangagwa, 75, is a former spy chief and defense minister. If he turns out to be the future president of Zimbabwe, he will inherit a deeply deteriorated economy. It is estimated that 95 percent of the Zimbabwean workforce is unemployed. About 3 million Zimbabweans have decided to leave the country looking for freedom and better living conditions.
What to know about Mugabe?
Mugabe was the son of a carpenter and a catechism teacher. He was born in Zvimba, west of Harare. He was trained to be a primary-school teacher. He entered in the world of politics while studying at South Africa’s Fort Hare University.
In 1963, he helped to found the Zimbabwe African National Union party. He was in prison for inciting a violent overthrown against Ian Smith’s white-minority government. While he was in jail, he obtained degrees in economics, education, and law.
Once he was released, he went to Mozambique becoming the leader of the then exiled Zanu, which controlled the biggest two guerrilla armies that were fighting Rhodesia. After a peace deal that ended the war, Mugabe took power as prime minister, and he has held on to the power ever since.