Is a coup indeed…albeit a soft one
It is definitively a coup, the variance is in the characterization of the coup. Bizarrely, the coup emanated from internal political party mechanics that did not sit well with the higher echelons of the military (Lacoste faction); it spilled over to the state where the looting patronage is immersed. The trigger was the removal of an army confidant in Emmerson Mnangagwa from the vice president of the country’s position. His removal threatened the Lacoste faction grip on state resources. The Army realized G-40 (Grace Mugabe faction) was gaining momentum through Grace Mugabe presidential treatment. It started by warning Mugabe to stop purging their people (Lacoste) from government. Then, to everyone’s surprise, the army conducted a coupe in the name of fighting criminality around President Mugabe. Fighting criminality is police work, once the army on their own accord, assumes that role, is a coup. To avoid retribution from AU, SADC and UN they denied that the coup was indeed a coup…
Political party and army factional coup d’état could derail a new economic dispensation for Zimbabwe.
Usually, a coup d’état takes over the functioning of the state, kill(s) or capture(s) the president and his/her close allies. Everything in the country ceases to function during the process. Most importantly, the coup leader(s) declares the takeover of state power. In case of Zimbabwe, none of the above occurred, the Lacoste faction coup even deemed it fit to call a leader they put under house arrest their commander in chief. After all, the coup plotters main goal was to stop a rival faction from replacing the current ailing leader (Uncle Bob). Like any other coup, this one is centered on the aspirations of a particular cabal. Should this coup result to elections, the opposition can only govern at the behest of the army irrespective of their electorally support and the will of the people. Also, it means other organs of state can function as long as they don’t upset the army generals. No separation of powers and responsibilities, the army, state and ZANU-PF is intertwined. This is a historical justified patronage that emanates from the liberation struggle against the British rule, for anyone to gain the army support and respect, they must have been part of the struggle. No country can be a functioning democracy when the military can collapse a state in pursuit of party political objectives. After all, this army made it clear that it will only salute political leaders who fought against colonization.
Positives from the coup
This provides an opportunity for Zimbabwean’s to start afresh. Map a way forward and possibly start a new economic path that is less ruinous and acceptable to some investors. Also, it will provide a timeline for a long overdue retirement for Mugabe instead of waiting for him to die in office. A significant achievement would be the uncaptured of Zimbabwe from the clutches of ZANU-PF. Any solution that excludes the army restructuring and the assurances of state institutions independence is devoid of sustainability. Opposition parties as well as the populace at large should take the opportunity and ride the wave of change. They must demand non-partisan reforms through structures like United Nations, African Union and SADC. The end result must not be centered on the interest of ZANU-PF internal political stunts, but that of the country. It should be a framework that would allow any political party that wins elections to govern without having to worry about the army general’s next “coup”.
By Sivodlo Silombo
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