By Senior Reporter.
LONDON:NEWS OF SOUTH – Millions of Zimbabweans at home and abroad burst into jubilation and cautious celebrations in the streets as president Robert Mugabe’s rule came to an abrupt end this week on Wednesday after the army announced their takeover of the country on the state radio and television.
Troops manned armoured vehicles in the various parts of the country including the capital city of Harare’s streets, setting up traffic controls and road blocks at various vital streets and institutions.
Taking control of the government, the Zimbabwe National Army announced on the state television that President Mugabe had been placed under house arrest and some his ministers arrested for corruption.
Finance Minister Ignatious Chombo was found with $10million. Jonathan Moyo escaped. The army’s takeover seemed to coincide with the return of the sacked VP Emerson Mnangagwa, who had gone into self exile in South Africa and a brief visit to China.
The military takeover headed by the army chief General Constantine Chiwenga was hailed and viewed by commentators worldwide as a very orderly and bloodless coup.
The coup, announced by Major-General Sibusiso Moyo, on ZTV seemed to confirm the allegations of planning the formation of parallel structures of government by the VP Mnangagwa, outlined to the ZanuPF Politburo sitting by higher education minister, Prof Jonathan Moyo. These allegations later saw Mnangagwa become victim of frequent verbal attacks against him from Mugabe and his wife, escalating right up to his dismissal last Monday.
The dismissal of VP was strongly criticised by the war veterans who also noted that Mugabe was grooming his own wife, a former typist in his office, to take over the vice president’s post.
This did not go down well with the military personnel and the war veterans who are supporting the current “coup” said to be targeted at “crooks in government”.
The army still insists that this government takeover on Tuesday night isn’t a military coup but a clean up act of getting rid of corruption and the thieves in government.
Entering its third day, frantic efforts by South Africa and SADC to reinstate Mugabe in power have failed.
Most Zimbabweans including the opposition parties have supported the military takeover but insisted that only for a short transition period before proper elections are held. Some have criticised the SADC and African Union involvement in Zimbabwe’s internal issues and are appealing to them to stay out.
The Zimbabwe teachers association said: “We commend the armed forces of Zimbabwe for their herculean effort, unparalled discipline and untrammeled energy in engineering a new political dispensation in Zimbabwe. Indeed as teachers we have suffered under the uncaring regime of Robert Mugabe over the past six years.”
Negotiations between Mugabe, the army generals and the South Africa delegation went on for most of Thursday where Mugabe asked the generals why they were demanding he should step down. They cited the purges as a major problem. He asked the generals to observe the country’s constitution and then accused them of meddling in party politics. Mugabe has power to fire, appoint and disappoint according to the country’s Constitution. They were also asked on why and how they were choosing to support Mnangagwa and not Amai Mujuru or Sydney Sekeramayi.
For the purges he was ready to readmit Joice Mujuru, his former vice president. She was the first to be purged.
He accused the army of causing instability and promoting factionalism. Mugabe told the SA envoys that the purges were only in the party not government. He said no one had protested in the streets. Mugabe was ready to step down for any other constitutional reasons they could give.
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