Zimbabwe military take-over: what next for Mugabe?

2017-11-17 18:10
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe

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'My whole life, there's only been one man in charge' - Zimbabweans call for change

2017-11-17 14:00

Talks are set to continue after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe refused to resign during a crunch meeting with military generals who have seized control of the country. News24 met with Zimbabweans who are still struggling to eke out a living. Watch. WATCH

Harare - Zimbabwe was facing an uncertain future on Friday after President Robert Mugabe made a defiant public appearance and the army said negotiations with the 93-year-old head of state were continuing.

AFP asked Anthoni van Nieuwkerk, a politics professor at Wits University in Johannesburg, to analyse the unfolding crisis:

 How is Mugabe still in office? 

"He is under house arrest but the military allows him to step out from time to time in an attempt to show the world that the law and order are being maintained in Zimbabwe," said Van Nieuwkerk.

What is being negotiated? 

"There is an attempt now to develop a process for an inclusive government to take over from the military so that within a few months, or a year, the path can be paved for a new election," he said.

"The pre-condition for the inclusive government is that Robert Mugabe must resign as the head of state. The problem with this scenario is that he is refusing to do that."

 What caused the takeover? 

"It is a palace revolution where one section of the ruling Zanu-PF party is using elements of the military, but not all of the security services - the police for example - to bring change within the ruling party.

"Grace Mugabe was trying to get rid of her opponents, who were using aspects of the military to get rid of Grace.

"So it is a limited military intervention with political purposes. The coup is against G-40," he added, referring to the faction of young Zanu-PF figures seen as loyal to Grace.

Who will the army hand control to? 

"The calculation that the military is making is 'let's treat him with dignity and respect as we search for the way forward'. That is why he made the appearance at the university.

"The best option is to be as inclusive as possible. The problem with opposition politicians in Zimbabwe is that they are pretty weak - and the most prominent, Morgan Tsvangirai, is ill."

"I don't think he has the stamina to lead, which means that the Zimbabweans should probably search for somebody like Tendai Biti to represent the political opposition," he said referring to the respected former finance minister during the coalition government after the 2008 elections.

What about 'The Crocodile'? 

Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa "wants to become the president - nothing less - and he might get it.

"He might lead the interim arrangement and he might stand as the candidate for the ruling party in the coming election next year or the year.

"He is not an angel, he is not a democrat by definition. He is a very old politician. He has blood on his hands, but that means he has significant pockets of support inside the military and inside the ruling party."

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  grace mugabe  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  robert mugabe  |  tendai biti  |  morgan ­tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa
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