Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe Sidelined by Military Coup

by Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report

Amid some brief gunfire and few explosions military spokespeople in Zimbabwe declared Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe and his wife were safely in custody while, they said, a layer of criminals around the president were hunted down and apprehended. They found $10 million US dollars stashed in the home of the country’s finance minister, a political ally of the president’s wife. Military authorities were obliged to insist that despite appearances this was not a coup, lest diplomatic and economic sanctions be thrown upon Zimbabwe.

Robert Mugabe had been Zimbabwe’s leader, either as prime minister or president since the fall of Rhodesia ’s regime in 1980.

A teacher before he became a politician, Robert Mugabe founded ZANU, the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union to struggle against British colonial rule. He served a decade in prison for his political activities before escaping. ZANU under his leadership was one of the major players in the chimurenga , the peoples war against Rhodesia’s apartheid government. Mugabe came out of the bush to sign the Lancaster Agreement which laid down the conditions under which the white minority government was dissolved and became prime minister when ZANU-PF won the 1980 election.

In a Facebook exchange with BAR contributor Ann Garrison yesterday David Van Wyk, a South African who lived more than a decade in Zimbabwe described Mugabe as having swing from left to right and back and forth over almost 40 years.

“Anything to remain in power. That does not mean that he was all bad. In the early days his interventions in health and education were very progressive. His interventions on the land question came far too late. His indiginisation program in mining also came too late…

“His first fifteen years he spent dancing to the tune of the West. That effectively deindustrialised the country and led to massive unemployment. The next fifteen years became very confused and possibly self serving, taking decisions that he thought would keep him in power. He did not allow for new leadership to emerge within the ruling party or within ZANUPF. Munangagwa (who is scheduled to formally assume Mugabe’s office any day now) is already 73 years old and one of the few remaining original ZANU leaders, but one of the least inspiring also. (Robert Mugabe’s wife) Grace also was bad news…”

In the same exchange BAR contributor Ajamu Baraka noted that although the Lancaster Accords, which were brokered by Henry Kissinger, severely limited the freedom of the new Zimbabwean government, ZANU-PF was under pressure from its allies in frontline countries and other liberation movements in the region to sign…

[read more here]

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