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17th November 2017, One year on - Was it a second coup?

14 Nov 2018 at 01:55hrs | Views
Dr Masimba Mavaza
For Zimbabwe to achieve stability, there was to be a return to constitutionality. Sanity had escaped the political landscape. The operation restore legacy was not be complete without  order and a conclusion of presidential elections. So 2018 completed the legacy legitimises the government beyond any doubt.

On 15th November 2017 the people of Zimbabwe and the international community were surprised by a military intervention Otherwise known as an operation restore legacy.   There has been a coup since the country fired the Vice president Joyce Mujuru.  The only difference was that the coup was military less. No single short was fired. It was a strategy used by a cabal to capture the then head of state and his government.  

A group known as the G40 led by the clever but not wise professor had taken over the party and the country. To make their coup legitimate they had to make the then president believe that he was still in power. They realised his popularity and indeed exploited it. They have to put the first lady in their bag and they have to use her to achieve their goals. The idea was well strategised such that when people in each and every province protest agains the G40 the voices of the people were ignored. The protests against Kasukuwere were poured cold water at one rally. How could the nation protest against the kingpin.

Ten provinces called for NPC to Be fired but the first lady overturned the majority vote. All those who took part in the push for restoring order in the party were fired. They were all labelled Lacoste. The fight for succession was brutal but very political and only those near it would understand the dynamics. Even the then President did not understand what was going on. In reality the centre was not holding. Mugabe was captured but the ones who captured him made a fatal mistake of allowing the first lady to believe that she was above the law. She got a false sense of security. Every ZANU PF member including the majority in the to offices today literally worshipped the first lady. What destroyed Mugabe was those people who got to him through his wife. They created the office of the first lady to be at par with the presidium. Even in the politburo the sitting arrangement had changed.
This bottom power rule should be shunned by any president no matter how the first lady pretend to be nice, only Mugabe can tell you that if not controlled the first laddies will pull you down very fast.

There was indeed a coup with no soldier involved. The biggest problem was that this went beyond  party politics. The first lady became the judge, the police, the court, the mother, all in one. While ZANU PF has become accustomed to violence and tragic events this one led by the first lady was the lowest point of all. Unfortunately the first lady was being used and too much power she got was used to elbow out the perceived enemies.  It came to an extent where the nation was told that vice presidents took notes from the first lady.  You would see big bosses in the party kneeling down before he Grace the Grace. Do not be fooled all those acting brave now went on their knees and elbows before the first lady and indeed the land scape of the politics in ZANU PF took a sharp dimension.

The country was turned to a personal property and every one was an employee of the husband of the first lady.  and the firing of another vice president and other high state officials, including several chiefs of staff of the armed forces) no one was prepared for this event. The country was a few months away from the presidential elections set for 2018.

Among diverse explanations, It should be good to distinguish between those given by the instigators of the coup, and those advanced by those couped. Among the latter, there is consensus that there are multiple causes, some with deep historical roots. From a holistic perspective concerned with the deeper causes of a political unrest prevalent in society, The army had to come in firstly having been  concerned with the immediate motivations, while the second refers to older and more structural causes. Although they are of different nature, function, and range, the factors that explain the coup cannot be understood separately, as they are different links on the same chain.

In terms of the immediate causes, it is important to recognize the deterioration of relations between the executive and the military elite. The deterioration can be traced to public castigation of the military at rallies. Accusing the army of wanting to bomb the Gushungo dairy.  With all their ammunition the soldiers were accused of wanting to use petrol bombs to bomb the dairy. The first lady was made to believe that  her life was in danger and the CIO was ordered to beef up her security. She now had security as strong as that of the president. In actual fact she was the president. This signified the take over of the state.
The first lady got unconstitutional powers to fire executive. You cross her path you are gone. The country was put where the Those controlling the first lady wanted it.

Great enmity between the army and other security services was made very wide. Security officers were now reporting to the minister of Higher Education and to the first lady.     The governance system was a big joke. The president's age was not helping and the country resembled a dogs dinner table.

The mission to restore order was instigated.
This mission was created aiming at stabilization, peace, and support for reforms in security and defense sectors. The hotly discussed 'special' relationship between the party and the army. the principle of making a peacekeeping and stabilization force in the country became  forcing power which led the international community to consider this as a stabilisation process. Zimbabwe's situation was becoming embarrassing. It needed some strong willed Zimbabweans to restore political sanity. Zimbabwe was becoming a laughing stalk.  Therefore the establishment the restore legacy was rooted in the will of the international states and in the best interest of the nation.

Though these forces were established legally, given the hesitation expressed by some leaders as to the adequacy, correctness, and opportunity of this decision, many have denounced Mugabe and those surrounding him for mismanagement. Along with allegations that the country was now under the few none combatant egoistic thugs. They have taken full advantage of first lady's mental instability.
The country has been plunged in a unprecedented chaos.

There were allegations that The G40 has committed (or allowed others to commit) crimes such as the beatings and disappearances of prominent political and military figures, expulsions from the party became the norm.  The party constitution was trampled and the national constitution was thrown out through the window.
Still others allege rampant clientalism and nepotism in public administration, and party politics. Together these allegations have fanned the flames of discontentment, not only within the military but also among the political class-- even among personalities from the same political establishment. The decline in relations between the government and military elite reached its lowest point when certain sectors of the same elite began to feel uncomfortable with the presence of the then first lady and her influence she has over elected members.  The heart of discord appeared to be the fact that such a presence voted to fail, 'a priori', any attempt to change the constitutional order or advance any acts contrary to the normal functioning of institutions. To add to the tension, the center of certain political and military circles has developed a certain paranoia - a mental process highly influenced by anxiety and fear, with practical consequences resulting in efforts to prevent ED from acceding to the presidency. The same anxiety has allowed the military elite to believe there has been a conspiracy on the part of the President against military leaders and all war veterans. This saw a spirited fight against the first lady and her cabal by the war veterans. In a bid to silence the descending voices war vets like Mahiya Matemadanda and the team were arrested.  While these were being persecuted a number of high ranking ZANU PF cadres remained in the skirts of the first Lady Amai as she was affectionately known.

This process deteriorated in part because of the reasons analyzed above, but also because of the deliberate effort to instrumentalize ethnic identity in favor of the petty interests of one group, which can only lead to nonsensical accusations and irrational situations. The strong statements of the of The first lady not only reflects this way of thinking, but also reveals a desire to create a big gap between the military elite and a part of the political elite. This has fuelled tensions and all trust between each other was eroded. Zimbabwe was divided into Zezurus and Karangas

Beyond this, there are three other reasons that may explain the coup as the culmination of a situation of instability and the deterioration of the conditions under which state power is exercised. The first arose in the mismanagement of the resources from the national liberation struggle to the construction of a modern state. The polices and measures implemented by the powers was not likely to ensure a clear separation between civil and military affairs or permit the military contingent from the national liberation struggle to be transformed into a truly republican armed force. At the same time, for many years political life and the management of public services were dominated by the paradigm of the single-party state existing in a multiparty democracy.  

The take over of state apparatus by the G40 was opposed by elements that one belonged to the military wing of the liberation struggle but have been loyal to the first lady. After liberation, the party continued to be seen as a kind of a guide with  ability to act widely despite emancipation. On their side, the armed forces were more committed to the ideology and interests of the party than to the norms and rules that politics must rule the gun. To them the gun was to be respected together with its handlers. This resulted in a somewhat incestuous relationship between the political and military elite - a tendency that was reinforced during the mandate of Mugabe. It has since become one of the cornerstones in the relationship between civilian and military leaders.

Some analysts have focused more specifically on the breakdown of the hierarchical order and the political turmoil caused by the state of the party. This poisoned legacy is certainly not unfamiliar to the politico-military situation that preceded the 2017 coup. Who does not remember something funny about the rallies. Every person would know that rallies became battle grounds. The only problem was one person suffered the sharp edge of the other.

The behaviour was un African and it turned the hearts of many against the first lady. Some even doubted her sanity. Her handlers missed the point.

Indeed, the strong presence of the state party has constricted the space that could be filled by a civil society (which could serve as a counterweight to the excesses of a state party that became hegemonic.)

The second structural reason has to do with the mismanagement of crises and conflicts (violent or not) that have periodically developed in the political scene involving on one side politicians properly speaking, and on the other, politicians who were aligned with the military and not allowed to talk.

This eventually undermined the foundations of leadership at the height of the challenges facing ZANU PF. The heart of the crisis was the deposition of ED. under the pretext that the first had acted in a 'deviant' and 'reprehensible' manner. Whether or not these allegations are true, we should ask why it is permissible for a Party to fire without following procedure. in a state of law that is guided by the regular functioning of institutions, and in which military power is subordinated to a civil power, the lawlessness demanded the army to stand up and restore order.

With this act, a dangerous and irreparable precedent was set; in the very center of the armed forces, scrupulous respect for hierarchy was abandoned, along with the knowledge that the military is subordinated to political stakeholders. Acts like this certainly serve to explain the behavior of soldiers that subvert not only the military hierarchy but also undermine the rule of law.

Another explanation for the army involvement has to do with the degeneration of the state apparatus, and the state itself. It is common knowledge that the embryo of the modern state, initially forged in the first years following independence, has suffered weakness without precedent in the last few years, especially under the first lady being handled by Jonathan Moyo. The situation resembles that of a country in which neither the law or hierarchies are respected - the combination that puts things near, if not identical to that of failed state.
That is why many voices claiming to reestablish the state are premised on strengthening national unity, on reinventing the political system, and on building a functional and independent justice.

For this coup to happen exactly when the country was preparing for the presidential elections is, at least, an 'unhappy' coincidence. It was clear from the beginning that the electoral process itself would be disrupted.

For the country to find the path to stability again, the exit from the crisis must include a return to constitutional order.

Everything has been done both nationally and internationally to bring the military to reason. The process of building lasting peace, democracy, and the rule of law is incompatible with any compromise to those that would usurp power through a coup. It is essential that the international community does not turn its back on Zimbabwe. The operation was an opportunity to ensure that Zimbabwe returns to stability and a civil peace that is sustainable. This opportunity was well taken.  

The elections came and for the first time they were so peaceful and any legitimacy lost was restored.  It is the Zimbabweans doing the same.

Zimbabwe was captured already before the army took over and the same Zimbabwe was returned back to the people by the people. The army wrestled the power from those who had taken it from the constitutional system which was in place.

As to whom did they give after the restoration of  order is a question which is already known. The majority party had the mandate to finish their term. So they appointed an interim president who was later confirmed at congress.
That president became the president of the country. He was then voted in during the general elections. There was no need to create a power vacuum. So Mnangagwa was duly sworn in as the president of the country.

Saying now that the ascendance was unlawful is in itself mischievous.

The army has a constitutional right to maintain peace and order in the country. Their duty is to the country and indeed they stood their constitutional ground.
Even though they targeted the criminals surrounding the president it was not the duty of the army to replace Mugabe with ED.

If the truth be said Mugabe resigned when the MDC populace in towns led by Chamisa marched in to state House. It was the army who stopped and addressed them. The rural populace did not take part. So for MDC to say the current government is illegitimate it is cheap politicking.

Mnangagwa is not in the office by force.  The procedure was constitutional and very lawful.

The former president had been removed by those he believed he was working with. People took advantage of him and things fell apart.

Now it is not correct to say that the country was taken by force.  The decision to make Chiwenga a Vice president soon after the operation was not a wrong move. It is indeed an unwise move but very legal. By the time of his appointment Chiwenga was not a soldier he had retired. So his appointment was not a military one.

We need to come together as a nation and work towards oneness and success of the nation.

Declaring that elections were not be free and fair is wrong and obviously not in the spirit of progress.
Now the country needs unity of purpose. The economic problems we are facing are birth pains they will go away soon and we will enjoy the fruits of our resilience.

- Those who stand aside and wait to see the country fall are not Zimbabweans at heart. You can not celebrate at the suffering of the nation. It is a highly irresponsible stunt to try and portray the country in a bad name.
- Zimbabwe now needs the support of each and every Zimbabwean. Iwe neni tine basa. We can go through these short lived economic problems if we unite beyond and above party politics.  Even if you hate ZANU PF your co-operation is highly needed. Zimbabwe needs you.
- It is important to ask yourself one question. What am I doing for my country and my people. You can make a difference.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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