Must read: Emmerson Mnangagwa the man behind Robert Mugabe coup.

Things took a twist when resident of Harare, Zimbabwe,recorded a video of soldiers taking over the streets of the nation’s capital as rumour of alleged coup of President Robert Mugabe went viral on  the internet.


Emmerson Mnangagwa may – or may not – turn out to be Zimbabwe’s saving grace. But that would be a rather peripheral benefit of the military coup (or non-coup) that happened early on Wednesday morning, almost certainly masterminded by Mnangagwa.

The military took over of power in Zimbabwe may, if handled according to the generals’ script, prove to be that rare thing, a benevolent coup. If the generals merely get rid of the 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, and, more importantly, his toxic wife Grace (and do so without bloodshed), and then restore rule to the civilians as they have promised, that would be a good thing.
They would then be restoring democracy and constitutionality – not to the country at large but to the ruling party, Zanu-PF. For the last few years, Mugabe, aided and abetted by Grace, has been frustrating the legitimate succession process in Zanu-PF. Two years ago at about this time, Grace Mugabe launched a vicious attack on then vice president Joice Mujuru when she revealed an ambition to succeed Robert Mugabe. Mujuru was hounded out of office and out of the Zanu-PF, creating her own party, which has duly settled into relative obscurity.
That left Mujuru’s then greatest rival, Mnangagwa, as the only pretender to the throne still standing. And so Grace turned her vitriol onto Mnangagwa this year and likewise persuaded her husband to fire him,report has it that president Mugabe was at the point of making Grace Mugabe vice president of Zimbabwe.

 
 Emmerson Mnangagwa


But Mnangagwa is made of sterner stuff than Mujuru who is cool and had no option than to succumb to Mugabe. It is not for nothing that he is known as “Ngwenya” (“crocodile”). His ruthlessness is legion. And so he didn’t ride off into the sunset to launch yet another opposition party or just retire from politics to make even more money, as many had expected.
He vowed, like General Douglas MacArthur, that he would return, to wrest control from the Mugabes. And inside a week, that’s what he has done. The difference between him and Joice Mujuru is that he had the backing of the military. Mugabe, ever attuned to where the real power lay, must have known, even as he fired Mnangagwa last week at Grace’s behest, that he had this time bitten off more than he could chew.
Where things go from here is hard to say. Both Mnangagwa’s own statement last week and that of Zimbabwe Defence Force chief of staff General Constantine Chiwenga on Monday, when he directly warned Mugabe that the military would “step in” if he didn’t stop purging liberation war veterans, looked forward to next month’s Zanu-PF congress.
They essentially demanded that the ruling party hold a free and fair election of its leader and candidate for the national elections in 2018, instead of going through the usual charade of rubber-stamping Mugabe.
This suggests that Mnangagwa’s game plan is to insist that Mugabe resign as Zanu-PF leader at the conference, allowing him to stand as his successor (and win the election, he likely presumes).
That would allow Robert Mugabe a dignified exit from the party leadership. Would Mnangagwa and the military leaders further extend so much courtesy to the liberation war hero as to allow him to remain de jure national president until next year’s elections?
Many rumours swirling on Wednesday suggest not, as they say Mugabe has already been forced to re-appoint Mnangagwa as vice president, then to step down as national president himself and so allow Mnangagwa to take over immediately in terms of the constitution, pending the Zanu-PF and national elections.

 President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, November 15, called for calm, peace and respect for the constitution in Zimbabwe.


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