Life carries on as normal in Zimbabwe – citizens

2017-11-15 16:13
President Robert Mugabe. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

President Robert Mugabe. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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Johannesburg – Life for most citizens in Harare appears to be normal, with schools and businesses still operational, despite a heavy military presence and President Robert Mugabe's "house arrest".

Zimbabwean citizens in the capital city have described the situation as calm, saying they have been going about their lives normally.

Sources living in Zimbabwe, who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity because they fear for their lives, said people were "happy to see their long-time oppressors on the receiving end".

"Movement and business are pretty much business as usual at the central business district and elsewhere, except for the cordoned off areas around parliament, government offices, supreme and constitutional courts. There are a few schools closed but the rest are open and are even conducting year-end exams as usual," a source said.

Another added: "The streets are calm and there is no evidence of violence and rioting, however, there is reduced traffic."

The source also said memes have been doing the rounds on social media, depicting people who want to buy Zimbabwean Army General Constantino Chiwenga his favourite whisky "for pulling the soft coup off".

Follow our live updates of events in Zimbabwe here

When News24 contacted a man, who was on his way to the capital city, he said the situation was generally calm. 

"People are spreading rumours about the army and a coup taking place. There is no army in the streets, we have seen their messages communicating to the nation on television."

He said he could not comment on Mugabe for security reasons.

"I don't know anything about a coup," he said.

'Who will be in power by the end of the day?'

Zimbabwean nationals living in South Africa are upbeat about the situation back home.

Jonathan Ruwanika, who moved to South Africa six years ago, said there was a general consensus that Mugabe's reign as president had seized.

Ruwanika said thus far, the army appeared to attempt to stay within constitutional bounds.

"There is no violence, bar blockades and a clear show of military might on the roads. I think the big issue going forward is who will be in power by the end of the day?

"A lot of rumours are suggesting Emmerson Mnangagwa is already in the country, ready to take over power," Ruwanika said.

He said his entire family stayed in Zimbabwe. 

"As a citizen, I think the sense of a new beginning is overpowering the sense of worry, of uncertainty presented by this military action."

Gloria Mhlanga, living in Johannesburg, said the news of the apparent military coup was exciting.

"We are excited that there is finally action, but you never know what can happen. Mugabe can still come out of this.

"He must step down, that is the only way that the country can survive."

Mhlanga left her family in Bulawayo 18 years ago to escape the dire political situation.

"I could not finish school. It was so hard for my father to find employment."

News24 reported that President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as the chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), had decided to deploy a special envoy to Zimbabwe in light of the developments regarding Mugabe.

The envoy, which will start in Angola, is expected to be led by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo.

Mugabe and his family have been under military guard as the army also took over the state broadcaster earlier, in what many have described as a coup.

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Read more on:    sadc  |  robert mugabe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe

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