Will anything really change in Zimbabwe?


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But a good mathematician would always have told those who had ears to hear that the mathematics could only add up to nothing more or less than an internal ZANU-PF fracas that had spilled over into other sections of the country, and that the final solution could only be found within ZANU-PF’s embattled circle. Which is exactly what has happened.

The military intervened on the night of 14/15 November essentially to deal with the “instability in ZANU-PF” which was adversely affecting the economy, national security, and the lives of the people in general.

As the military explained themselves in a historic statement issued on 13 November: “Our peace loving people who have stood by their government and endured some of the most trying social and economic conditions ever experienced, are extremely disturbed by what is happening within the ranks of the national revolutionary party.”

Therefore, the military intervened to arbitrate and fix the instability within the ruling party, and this fact was missed by the international media, which also missed the fact that the real “fire fight” on the night of 14/15 November happened because the military were not happy that “counter revolutionaries” (the military’s own words) around Mugabe had hijacked state and party power.

They, claimed the military, were using it for their own selfish ends and had denied the military a voice in national affairs by instructing the national broadcaster ZBC and the national newspaper The Herald not to publish the military’s statement issued on 13 November.

If the two national media outlets had been allowed to publish the 13 November statement, read by the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), General Constantino Chiwenga, at a high-powered military news conference attended by almost all the high and mighty in the military, the intervention that led to the downfall of Mugabe would not have happened.

Zimbabwe’s military is an integral part of ZANU-PF’s architecture, though you will not see it on the party’s organogram. The two – the party and the military – have a unique history because they developed together from the same embryo during the bush war that liberated Zimbabwe in 1980.

Asked if he considered the intervention as a coup, Mugabe’s last foreign minister, Walter Mzembi, answered: “President Mugabe denied it himself that it was a coup and instructed me in the diplomatic solution I was championing, to communicate that to SADC [the Southern African Development Community]. Our courts also adjudged that it wasn’t a coup. So it wasn’t a coup but a military arbitration in a party in which the military are stockholders. Don’t look for it anywhere, nor try it elsewhere, you will not find a precedent. It was made in Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.”

The military themselves had said so in their 13 November statement. “The Zimbabwe Defence Forces remain the major stockholder in respect to the gains of the liberation struggle and when these are threatened, we are obliged to take corrective measures.”

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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