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Mugabe's extraordinary gamble

15 Nov 2017 at 13:49hrs | Views
A quick show of military force, a few arrests... and then what?

These are, of course, unpredictable times for Zimbabwe and yet there is a chance that the army's extraordinary overnight gamble will pay off, and that President Robert Mugabe, humiliated and powerless, will nonetheless be allowed to retire with at least the pretence of dignity.

It is important to remember that Mr Mugabe is not being challenged by the Western governments he has warned against for decades, or by Zimbabwe's political opposition, or by a mass uprising against economic hardship.

This is, fundamentally, an internal power struggle within Zanu-PF and whoever emerges victorious can expect a newly purged party to fall obediently into line.

Mr Mugabe's mistake, at 93, was to assume he was still powerful enough to build a dynasty to back his wife, Grace, to succeed him.

Instead, his once loyal deputy, Emerson Mnangagwa, may be poised to take control. If so, many foreign governments are likely to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he can rescue Zimbabwe from years of misrule.

The rivalry between Mrs Mugabe and Mr Mnangagwa has split Zanu-PF.

Gen Chiwenga is a close ally of Mr Mnangagwa and both are veterans of the 1970s war which ended white minority rule.

The leader of the war veterans, Chris Mutsvangwa, welcomed the military move, telling Reuters news agency: "This is a correction of a state that was careening off the cliff.

"It's the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife."

Source - BBC
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